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Human Services Major Careers

Human Services Career Information




Social Services

  • Administration and Planning
  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Program Evaluation
  • Policy Development
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Prevention
  • Public welfare agencies
  • Federal, state, and local government including:
    • Administrative agencies
    • Department of Human Services
    • Department of Education
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Department of Justice
    • Job Corps
    • Head Start
    • Indian Health Services
    • State legislatures
  • Private social service agencies
  • Group homes and halfway houses
  • Religiously affiliated organizations
  • Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers
  • Social services are designed to provide support for poor, disabled, ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.
  • Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to gain relevant experience and demonstrate interest.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.
  • Cultivate multicultural competence.
  • Become familiar with government and community resources available for those in need.
  • Learn about government application procedures and apply early as the process can take at least four to six months.
  • Complete an internship with the federal government.

Criminal Justice/Corrections

  • Counseling/Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Youth Services
  • Victim Assistance
  • Case Management
  • Prisons and correctional facilities
  • Courts
  • Police departments
  • Probation and parole offices
  • Victim services organizations
  • Private treatment facilities
  • Group homes and halfway houses
  • Human services workers in corrections focus on rehabilitating clients and assisting victims.
  • Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or a victim services organization such as a rape crisis center.
  • Gain experience as a juvenile probation officer; many states allow reputable citizens to serve as volunteer officers.

Child Welfare

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Service Coordination
  • Public or private child welfare agencies
  • Local, state, and federal government including:
    • Department of Children’s Services
    • Department of Human Services
    • Child Protective Services
  • Adoption agencies
  • Foster care organizations
  • Day care centers and Head Start programs
  • Recreational facilities (i.e., YMCA or YWCA)
  • Child welfare workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through interventions and programming.
  • Volunteer at day care centers, children’s shelters, camps, YMCA/YWCA, Scouts, CASA, or other agencies that aid youth and children.
  • Take additional courses in child development or early childhood education.

Developmental Disabilities

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Policy Development
  • Rehabilitation
  • Research
  • Community residential homes
  • State and local agencies including:
    • Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment programs
    • One-stop career centers
  • Medical facilities
  • Mental health organizations
  • Schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Employment agencies
  • Human services workers specializing in this area help people with disabilities to adjust to and lead productive lives.
  • Volunteer at special needs camps, child care centers, schools, or hospitals to gain experience.
  • Learn about a variety of disabilities and accommodations.
  • Obtain specialized training in areas such as sign language or assistive technology for additional opportunities.
  • Earn a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling for opportunities in vocational rehabilitation.


  • Advocacy
  • Administration
  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Programming
  • Public Policy
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing and retirement homes
  • Senior centers
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Hospice
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Community agencies serving the elderly
  • Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.
  • Become involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.
  • Join the American Society on Aging.
  • Supplement curriculum with course work in life span development and aging.
  • Obtain specialized training and credentials oriented toward gerontology.


  • Case Management
  • Counseling
  • Program Development
  • Administration
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prevention
  • Education
  • Research
  • Hospice Care
  • Hospitals
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospice programs
  • Home healthcare agencies
  • Community health centers
  • Public health programs
  • Social service organizations
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Group homes
  • Specialized camps/schools
  • Federal, state, and local government including:
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Human services workers in healthcare facilitate the medical and emotional treatment of patients.
  • Volunteer in health related settings such as hospitals or the American Red Cross to gain experience.
  • Supplement curriculum with course work in public health or community health education.
  • Gain membership in relevant professional associations.
  • Become familiar with community resources.


  • Management
  • Policy Development
  • Planning
  • Supervision
  • Fundraising
  • Budgeting
  • Grant Writing
  • Social service agencies
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Probation departments
  • Public interest groups
  • Local, state, and federal government including:
    • Department of Human Services
    • Department of Children’s Services
    • Department of Education
    • Department of Justice
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • State mental health departments
    • Job Corps
    • Head Start
  • Public welfare agencies
  • Residential or outpatient hospitals/treatment centers
  • Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, management, fund raising, and other crucial operating responsibilities that keep an organization functioning.
  • Supplement curriculum with course work in areas such as public relations, advertising, accounting, or management.
  • Consider earning a business minor.
  • Obtain a master’s degree in social work or related field for additional opportunities.
  • Gain management experience through internships, part-time employment, or leadership in relevant student organizations.
  • Research government application procedures.

Business and Industry

  • Human Resources
  • Management
  • Market Research
  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Public Relations
  • Corporate Giving
  • Development
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Financial Counseling
  • Business firms in various industries
  • Developers of educational products
  • National foundations and associations
  • Consumer protection agencies
  • Social service organizations with business components, i.e. tax assistance, financial planning
  • Graduates of human services programs may apply their skills and knowledge in the private sector of business and industry.
  • Earn a minor in business or related field.
  • Develop computer skills particularly with spreadsheets, databases, word processing, and desk top publishing.
  • Learn to communicate effectively with a wide range of people.
  • Take courses to enhance writing skills.
  • Gain experience through part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships in business environments.
  • Get involved in student organizations and seek leadership roles.

General Information and Strategies

  • A bachelor’s degree in human services prepares individuals for entry-level positions in the helping professions.
  • A master’s degree in counseling, social work, occupational therapy, or related field, in addition to appropriate professional licensure, is usually necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.
  • Complete practicum experiences and internships to determine suitability for the helping professions and to gain exposure to various practice settings and clients.
  • Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change.
  • Gain experience with a wide range of clients and client systems including individuals, families, groups, communities, and minorities.
  • Join a human service organization while in school and seek leadership positions.
  • Look for ways to impact your community and get involved with local organizations and issues.
  • Become familiar with local social service agencies and resources available for those in need.
  • Learn a second language to better communicate with diverse client populations.
  • Develop ability to work well under pressure and manage stress.
  • Update your resume as you acquire new accomplishments, skills, knowledge, and interests.


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