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Bryant & Stratton College Blog Staff

What Is Human Services?

Human services is a growing field with a wealth of employment opportunities, yet it’s one that’s often misunderstood. Due to its broad nature and diverse set of opportunities, many people don’t fully understand what human services is. Get to know this field better and you may find your dream job is waiting just over the horizon.

What is Human Services?

Human services is a field that focuses on meeting human needs by aiding the overall populace. These professionals service the community as a whole, typically working in administrative roles to supply programs and services that will aid several people at once.

If you love helping people, human services should be at the top of your list of career options. This field is even better suited to you if you enjoy management duties. Do you prefer to head large organizations and manage complex programs? Human services is all about serving society on a broad scale. If you have a keen eye for the bigger picture and thrive in projects where you’re working on widespread systemic changes, this is the area for you.

Are Human Services and Social Services the Same?

People often lump human services in with social services, but the two are actually separate fields with different approaches to helping society. Human services looks at the broader scale of human needs, working to develop programs that will help an entire community at once. Social services, on the other hand, focuses more on the individual. 

So what does social services do? Social services approaches individual clients who are struggling with issues of social injustice. Social workers form one-on-one relationships with these individuals and work to craft personalized plans that will help them out of their unique situations. Social services may ultimately address many of the same issues as human services, yet it does so on a micro scale, focused on the individual more than the society as a whole.

Where Human and Social Services Overlap

While the technical definitions for human services and social services are different, you’ll find that these areas are overlapping more and more in the modern community. Many jobs have overlapping duties that make it difficult to determine whether you’re working more on social services or human services. For example, you might work in a residential care center. Some of your duties, such as coordinating group programs, are within the scope of human services, assisting a large group of people at one time. Meanwhile, other tasks such as offering individual counseling sessions are more in the scope of social work. 

The landscape for human services is shifting toward a focus on increasingly older communities and lower-income groups with increased access to healthcare due to federal health insurance reform. This is creating a higher demand for professionals in this area. It takes more employees to serve a community in groups of 1,000 than it does to serve them in groups of 10,000. If you’re drawn to this career path, there’s great potential waiting for you.

What Can I Do With a Human Services Degree?

Many degree programs pair human and social services together. With a combined human & social services associate degree, for example, you’ll be equipped to work in a variety of settings. Some of the jobs that you might explore include:

  • Community and Social Services Specialist – Community and social services specialists help place individuals and families in service programs that offer social assistance. They can help those in need navigate the complex social services landscape to determine eligibility and find the right program for their needs.
  • Crisis Intervention Associate – Crisis intervention is a high stress job, but it can have great rewards. You’ll help clients navigate a moment of crisis where they have an immediate need for emergency services or assistance.
  • Recreation Worker – Recreation workers help develop and lead community programs and service groups of people. These programs are generally provided purely for entertainment purposes, yet they can still fill a very important need in a community, such as the need for safe and educational activities for children outside school hours.
  • Community Health Worker – Community health workers focus on empowering individuals to care for their own health. They provide educational resources, outreach programs, and informal counseling that promotes self-sufficiency and healthy living.
If you’re interested in a fulfilling career that’s focused on helping others, a career in health services will help you achieve your goals while working in a growing field with ample openings for newcomers.  For more information on educational opportunities in human services, contact the Bryant and Stratton Admissions office at 1.888.273.2758.

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