Human Services Degrees in Public Health

The need for workers in Human Services is on a steady incline as the US population ages and the stigma surrounding seeking help for mental health and drug use becomes less. A degree in human services prepare an individual to help humans through prevention and remediation to improve quality of life. This is a vary broad job description and shows just how varied a degree in human services can be.

Types of Human Services Degrees

Some schools and programs offer more specific degrees in human services such as:

  • Child Development
  • Behavioral Science
  • Family and Community Services
  • Mental Health Administration
  • Psychology in Addictions

Each of these will have one commonality: to provide students with the skills needed to advocate for and improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Where Can You Get a Human Services Degree?

Online programs in Human Services are very popular. This may be because it is a rising field or because the online format is a better fit for already working human services professionals. Bachelor’s degrees similar to human services are more often offered in traditional settings (i.e. Child development, psychology, public administration) but a number of schools offer masters and doctoral degrees accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

What Can You Do With a Human Services Degree?

A degree in human services can be quite broad, but by narrowing it with specializations and course work, a career path can be easy to find. Some examples are:

Bachelors Degrees in Human Services

  • Health Educator
  • Community Health Worker
  • Probation Officer
  • Community Service Manager
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
  • Mental Health Aid
  • Child Advocate

Masters Degrees in Human Services

  • Group Home Administrator
  • Rehabilitation Administrator
  • Community Programs Director
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Program Coordinator or Manager
  • Case Manager

Doctorate Degrees in Human Services

  • Advocate
  • Behavioral Specialist/ Consultant
  • Director of Community Service
  • Lobbyist
  • Grant Writer
  • Full-Time Faculty
  • Executive Director

Why Work in Human Services and Who Should?

A career in Human Services is both challenging and rewarding. Often the individuals served by those working in Human Services are in great need, and this can make for a stressful career path. However, individuals with a great concern for others, integrity and tress tolerance will find it a satisfying career. A career in Human services will have a great impact on society as the individual will work to make improve the lives of those around them. It is a very rewarding career for those who seek to help individuals at their lowest reach their best potential.

An individual who is flexible, enjoys working with others, and is dependable and detailed will do well in human services. The ability to organize, obtain information and collaborate with others are highly sought after skills. The most important skill however is compassion and the desire to help others.

Types of Human Services Degrees

Associates Degree or High School Diploma

While a college degree or higher will provide many more opportunities for career and personal growth, for those who wish to enter the work force immediately after high school graduation there are opportunities in Human Services. Work as a childcare worker, home health or personal care aide, and community educator are potentials. These are also good opportunities for individuals who think they may want to start a career in Human Services, but would like some work experience first.

Bachelors Degree in Human Health Services

A Bachelor’s degree in Human services or a similar degree will provide skills in case management, crisis/trauma response, advocacy, conflict resolution and community collaboration. Most universities will require a certain number of credits before declaring a major, but students may be able to take a few classes before declaring a Human Services major to get a “feel” for the degree.

Course work will consist of classes in communication, health and health care, communities and populations, and technologies and informatics. Some programs will allow for further specialization such as Health Care Informatics. A final capstone class is often apart of the curriculum and requires students to synthesize their experiences and knowledge.

Masters Degree in Human Health Services

A Master’s Degree in Human Services is ideal for the individual who has gained work experience and is looking to further their career, often with the support or encouragement of their employer. Skills in management, grant-writing, and finances are the base of a master’s degree in human services. Additionally, course work will cover project and service management, ethics, systems management, theory, and research methodology.

Specialization is often available or required for those in a master’s program. Examples are;

  • Mental Health Administration
  • Not-For-Profit Management
  • Gerontology
  • Social and Community Services

Each of these will have course work and projects specific to their field. A final exam, oral presentation, or paper is required at the end of most master’s degree programs in human services.

Capella University – offers certificate, master’s and doctoral degrees in Human Services. With multiple accreditations, Capella offers a flexible schedule and access to professors with years of experience and knowledge.

Doctorate Degree in Human Health Services

Doctorate Degree’s in Human Services are developed for those who are interested in research, academia or continuing their career. Course work will be chose by the student to further their career interests including research methods, ethics, principles and theories of social work, communication and counseling. In addition to course work, in-residence workshops and a dissertation are required for graduation. The workshops provide hands on learning experiences that further an individuals dissertation.