5 Career Paths for a Human Services Graduate
Choosing to earn a degree in human services not only prepares you for a good-paying job, it also opens up your future to helping others.
There are a number of jobs that require or recommend that you get a human services degree. If you like working with people and want a career that lets you truly make a difference in the community, you might enjoy one of these career paths that are open to human services majors.
1. Community Organizer
A community organizer focuses on assisting groups of people in creating a safe, productive community and championing their rights. As a community organizer, you could work in a low-income or high-crime area of a city or town to help make the community more safe or more promising. You could also help champion the rights of minorities, the disabled, people suffering from a specific illness or any group of people in the city or town of your choice who need a helping hand.
Community organizing is a flexible job. You can focus on specific issues — getting recycling services in a city, for example, or making buildings more handicapped-accessible — or on long-term goals like getting kids off the streets and into productive after-school activities. You can work with government departments, such as the Department of Public Health, or even take matters into your own hands and rely on public donations to keep your cause going.
2. Probation/Parole Officer
Probation and parole officers work with recently released prisoners to make sure they stick to the terms of their release and lead productive lives. As a probation officer, you can help guide and rehabilitate these men and women so they can have their second chances and become valued members of the community. On the other hand, you’re also helping to protect the community if you catch people who violate the terms of their parole or probation.
A caseworker is an employee of the government or a non-profit organization. As a caseworker, you’ll be working with individuals and families in order to help them build and maintain safe, stable home environments. Caseworkers may advocate on behalf of children’s rights and investigate potential cases of child abuse and neglect in order to make sure that children grow up in healthy environments. You may also help adults obtain jobs, government assistance and counseling.
4. Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counselor
Drug and alcohol abuse can devastate both the individual suffering from the addiction and their loved ones. Addicts may lose their jobs, see their relationships suffer and become physically ill and a danger to themselves and others. As an alcohol and drug abuse counselor, you could help separate addicts from their addictions and guide them down the path to a more productive life. Addiction is a lifelong problem for those who suffer from it, and counselors are in for the long run, assisting addicts to overcome their addictions at a safe and reasonable pace.
5. Group Home Worker
The group home worker works one-on-one with residents of group homes to help them engage in independent living as much as possible. Group homes may include the developmentally disabled, people in addiction recovery or people recently released from prison or rehabilitation centers.
As a group home worker, you may be responsible for the residents’ transportation to jobs or family visits, or you may act as a liaison between a probation officer, doctor or supervisor and give regular updates on a resident’s progress. You may provide counseling, and you may coach the residents in useful life skills. You’ll also supervise the residents and mitigate any disagreements that arise between them, encouraging them to resolve disputes in a safe and constructive way.
What is human services? It’s exactly what it sounds like: a career that involves providing support for others. If you’re interested in becoming a community organizer, probation or parole officer, caseworker, alcohol or drug abuse counselor or group home worker, speak with your academic advisor or a career counselor at your college or prospective college in order to learn more about the types of classes you should take and internships you should apply for in order to get these jobs.
These aren’t the only human services jobs available, so be sure to look into all of your options and find your ideal career.
This has been a Guukle guest post
About the Author: Emilia Rodenberg is a contributing writer and recent graduate school graduate. She currently works as a career counselor at a Minnesota university.