Your human services PhD qualifies you for a very generally defined field that strives to meet human needs using interdisciplinary skills and knowledge. Human services workers employ tactics to both prevent and remediate problems in order to enhance the general quality of life within all service bodies. The field works to improve service systems through the enhancement of direct services and by increasing accountability, coordination and accessibility within all individuals, businesses and agencies that participate in service delivery. Entry level positions for the field can be obtained often after the applicant has obtained an undergraduate degree.
Human Services Education and Training
Entry level positions are obtained in this field are obtained by earning a degree from an accredited university or junior or community college at the Technical Certificate level at the very minimum. There are also mandatory post-degree requirement that must be fulfilled before the individual is able to apply for the now voluntary certification exam, the HS-BCP or Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner exam. While this exam is now only a voluntary offering, its completion is one that most employers in this field look for as a standard for excellence within the related interdisciplinary skills that must be fostered in order to provide competent assistance in prevention, mediation and organization efforts. Specializations vary and may include:
- Clinical Social Work
Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention
- Family Studies and Intervention Strategies
- Human Services Administration
- Public Health
- Social Policy Analysis and Planning
Course requirements also vary but would likely include advanced coursework in human services and related areas, research design and methodology, as well as completing original research presented in the form of a dissertation.
Once certification has been obtained there is also a need for continued education throughout the five-year certification. Earning a PhD in Human services enables practitioners to fulfill this basic requirement. It also qualifies practicing professionals access to some of the highest paying and most functional and effective positions within the human services field.
With the new certification exam, which is meant to further solidify the structure that helps to define the mission of human services, students can expect a broad range of changes within the field. Entry-level positions such as that of the Home Visitor, may ultimately require certification before an applicant can proceed. This means a larger educational commitment before beginning services, but ultimately also better performance and a higher standard within the field, which promotes enhanced outward recognition of this vital part of any community, whether large or small.
Human Services Careers
Human services PhD holders qualify for positions such as a Behavioral Counselor working with children that have a broad range of issues from autism to even histories of abuse. The work performed will target the total body of counseling that the children will receive in order to better organize and structure for both accessibility and efficiency.
An example of a typical entry level position would be that of the Home Visitor, in which the human services professional would work directly beneath a project supervisor to enter the home environment of children that have been or are at risk of being abused or neglected by parents and families. The goal of the work performed would be to optimize the environment and to improve the parenting skills within the home as well as the parent-child bond. By providing adequate resources, the goal is also to lessen tension and make certain that the support needs of adult household members are met as well.
The goal of such a position is to help both the children and their families access all resources whether medical or non-medical in order to help each individual child reach his or her full potential in life. With advanced education and experience, human services professionals are eligible for senior track level positions with well-known colleges.
Here he or she is able to share the knowledge gained from experience within the field, and help train students for their entrance into human services. The ideal goal however is to broaden the knowledge and understanding of the field, even beyond students, and to help this much needed area of service get the recognition it needs in order to continue to thrive and possess adequate functionality in order to provide the results that a healthy society requires.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
There is always be a strong need for qualified human services professionals. Employment of social and human service professionals is expected to grow by nearly 34% through 2016.The projected increase in educational requirements however offers students a greater push towards a human services PhD, in order to obtain higher level positions, and to be better able to provide optimal performance throughout their careers.
With an undergraduate degree most human services professionals starting as home visitors or other related positions might earn around $20,000 per year until more education is obtained. At the next level of service however, students can project an income of $40,000 to $50,000 per year in the position of Behavioral Counselor. The average salary for human services jobs is $54,000.
With a human services PhD, when qualified for instruction with an accredited university, professionals can earn salaries that near $100,000 when working with the right institution. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between 2008 and 2018, the employment of social workers is expected to increase by 16%.
Human Services Programs
- Walden’s unique MSW program can help you to enhance your knowledge of the field through award-winning case studies and valuable in-person Social Work Skills Lab.
- Gain real-world knowledge as you learn on-site from practicing professionals.
- Benefit from our 24/7 tech support, Writing Center, Career Services Center, and more.
- Walden University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
- PhD in Human and Social Services - Conflict Management and Negotiation
- PhD in Human and Social Services - Community Intervention and Leadership
- PhD in Human and Social Services - Global Social Services
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The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.
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