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Online Education (health And Human Services Online Degree)

By Expert Author: John Srob

The area of human services encompasses a wide variety of careers, all of which are focused on seeing people through challenging times. Human services professionals work in health care, social work, counseling, and corrections, among other areas of life where clients need help from experienced and caring professionals.

Human services jobs demand devoted individuals with extensive knowledge in their area of specialty. Because of the sensitivity of the work, almost all jobs in the field require formal training, and professionals in this field often hold advanced degrees. The public sector, which employs many human services workers, may also need candidates to pass proficiency exams and drug screenings.

An associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in Human Services will impart the skills needed for success in the field. Depending on the area they plan to work in, students may be trained in administration, counseling, management, planning, reporting, grant writing, and research skills. Fieldwork and/or internships are common in these programs. To better communicate with and on behalf of their clients, human services students will also need to develop their verbal and written skills.

Most human services professionals work in the fields of health care and social assistance. Common career paths for human services majors include: social worker, substance abuse worker, case manager, child welfare worker. Administrators are also needed to run human services agencies across the public and non-profit sectors.

Since there are always more people in need than there are professionals trained and dedicated to serving them, there will always be job prospects in the area of human services. Human services students not only learn about society, but how to change it for the better.

Health and Human Services Degree Options

While some universities offer bachelor's degrees in health and human services, many schools instead offer majors within a department of health and human services concerning one or more areas of public health and social work. An associate's degree can prepare you for entry-level service positions in human services departments, such as social work assistant or home care aide. A bachelor's degree in health and human services may open up levels of employment with more responsibility in a wide range of fields within social services. For example, with a bachelor's degree, you could work as a child welfare social worker.

If you'd like to work in counseling, management or health education and promotion, you might want to pursue a master's degree. With a Master of Health and Human Services, you could work in operations or administration at hospitals, long-term care facilities and health agencies. You could also choose to specialize in a particular type of counseling, like substance abuse or rehabilitation counseling.

Specializations and Industries of Employment

As a health and human services professional, you'd focus on building partnerships with community, government and business leaders to address the health and social services needs of a particular area. You may choose to specialize in an area such as environmental health, public health education, counseling or public policy. Some popular industries of employment you could pursue include legal assistance, non-profit management or administration, substance abuse clinics and elder care. Some of these areas might require higher levels of training and education than others.

Social Work Assistant

As a social work assistant, you could help a diverse population of individuals who need help getting food, shelter, work, social activity and caring for themselves. You might work directly with a particular group of people, such as the elderly, developmentally disabled individuals, those recovering from addiction or the homeless. Your work may involve travel as you may need to visit clients in their place of residence to teach life skills or assist them with daily tasks. You may also work in a more administrative role managing paperwork and office tasks in a department of social services or similar office.
Child Welfare Social Worker

In child welfare - sometimes called child protective services - you could work to help children and their families. You might work in a social services agency and help connect families to such services as shelter or food assistance. Your job might also entail locating foster homes for children who are victims of abuse or neglect. You could also work in a school, providing counseling services for children and teens who might be struggling to complete their studies or dealing with problems such as teen pregnancy, drug abuse or gang activity.

Substance Abuse Counselor

If you want to help individuals who are struggling with addictions they can't control, such as food, drugs or alcohol, you might wish to become a substance abuse counselor. Your work would involve providing one-on-one or group counseling sessions, designing plans of recovery and giving suggestions for adjusting their behaviors or lifestyle. You might also help the communities and families of an individual, extending treatment plans to include others and creating a support network.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), state requirements for the licensing of counselors varies, depending on the area of counseling you provide. Substance abuse counselors are usually monitored by a separate state agency than other types of counselors. Thus, you might wish to check your state's requirements. While it may be helpful to hold a master's degree for advancement, some states require only high school diplomas for this position.


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