What Does a Human Services Professional Do?

The human services field is a broad and interdisciplinary field that covers many areas, so many people ask the question, “What does a human services professional do?” The answer is just as broad because there are so many career opportunities within this field. Human services professionals help individuals, families and members of their communities function as individuals in society. They offer a variety of services to their clients to help them live better lives. Here is an overview of human services professionals and their careers.

What is Human Services?

Human services is a field that involves helping those in need of help to lead normal, healthy and productive lives. The objective of human services is to meet human needs by focusing on both remediation and prevention of problems and helping clients maintain a lifestyle that improves their overall quality of life. They do this through counseling, interventions and by offering assistance in finding jobs, homes and any benefits they might need.

Professionals working for human services also strive to improve accountability, coordination and accessibility among the professionals and agencies in delivering the necessary services to clients. A human services department provides a variety of services to clients depending on the type of organization, the client group and the human services professional’s role in an organization. For almost every person in need, there is a human services professional that deals with that particular situation.

What Do Human Services Professionals Do?

The term “human services professional” is generic in nature because it covers almost any person who holds a professional or paraprofessional job in various settings, such as halfway houses, group homes, family, child, and young services agencies, community mental health centers, correctional centers, and programs dealing with drug abuse, alcoholism, family violence and aging. The National Association for Human Services indicates that while most human services professionals work 40-hour weeks, they spend as much time out in the field as they do in the office.

Human services professionals usually have at least a bachelor’s degree, although, those in leadership positions typically hold master’s degrees. Depending on the job and the state in which one works, there may also be certification and licensure requirements that must be met. Here are just a few of the many jobs human services professionals may have.

  • Social and Human Services Assistants
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Social Worker
  • Case Worker
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselor
  • Public Policy Analyst
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Adult Daycare Worker
  • Child Advocate
  • Probation Officers
  • Social Service Liaison
  • Child Welfare Worker

Career Outlook for Human Services Professionals

The career outlook and wage potential for human services professionals vary depending on the job. Below is the predicted job growth for various human services professionals for the decade of 2016-2026 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Also included is the median annual wage for these workers as of May 2017.

• Social and Human Services Assistants – 16 percent – $33,120

• Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors – 23 percent – $43,300

• Probation Officers – 6 percent – $51,410

• Social Worker – 16 percent – $47,980

• Social and Community Service Managers – 18 percent – $64,100

• Health Educators and Community Health Workers – 16 percent – $45,360

• Rehabilitation Counselors – 13 percent – $34,860

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Masters in Social Work

People who have a strong desire to help others often choose human services as a career. If for no other reason, human service is chosen because of the many career choices it offers. Knowing what a human services professional does can make the choice easier because the individual can choose the career that best meets their career goals and desires.