What is Human Services?

Human Services is the term used to describe professions that contribute
psychological and social assistance to people in furthering their growth and
development. Human Services integrates human development, counseling, education,
psychology, social work, sociology, anthropology, criminology, and other health
related fields into professionals and organizations directly helping people with
their needs and aspirations as well as their problems and concerns. Human Service
Practitioners are generalists who work in public and private organizations,
nonprofit, corporate, and religious settings where assistance is given for human
development and learning. Professionals in this field might also specialize in
such areas as communicative disorders, school counseling, or occupational therapy
by receiving specialized training. Many practitioners become certified in
competencies like wilderness counseling or substance abuse treatment to supplement
their credentials in human services.
Known by the variety of their titles and work, uniting a composite of disciplines,
Human Service Practitioners might refer to themselves as teacher-counselors, youth
counselors, community advocates, program directors, program coordinators, grant
writers, case managers, child life specialists, in-home counselors,  mental health
technicians, foster parent trainers, community organizers, unit directors, group
leaders, rehabilitation workers, community health workers, recreational
therapists, life coaches, child care workers, adoption specialists, student
activity leaders, therapeutic assistants, residential counselors, behavior
specialist, teaching assistants, group home supervisors, executive directors,
fundraisers, volunteer coordinators, family liaisons, substance abuse counselors,
youth ministers, social work assistants, behavioral technicians, training
specialists, life skills instructors, wilderness counselors, food bank
coordinators, youth service officers, and child or adult protective workers. For
more information regarding areas of opportunity, employers, and
information/strategies related to the Human Services profession check out ETSU's
"What can I do with this major?" offered through University Career Services.
Human Service Practitioners are employed in a wide variety of settings including
mental health, working with individuals with disabilities, substance abuse, aging
or gerontology, domestic violence, youth services, correction or criminal justice,
health care, recreation or fitness, and vocational rehabilitation. Graduates from
the ETSU Human Services B.S. degree program may also become a Human Services -
Board Certified Practitioner. Obtaining this certification demonstrates the
attainment of high standards and a commitment to maintaining a place at top of
the field. For more information on obtaining this certification click on the above
link and contact a Human Services faculty member, all of whom have attained HS-
The majority of positions in the helping professions are met by those with
baccalaureate degrees, yet many continue into graduate school to expand their
qualifications, licensure, employment, and earning opportunities. Being a
professional in human services is a career building process, one where it is
important to start in direct care and work up, where experience is gained while
providing services which are augmented by additional training and education. The
prospects for employment in this field are excellent. Human Services is touted
as one of the leading job categories for the future. The field is
personally rewarding, the kind of career that gives back in meaning and
The following are some links that may be of further interest in exploring the
Human Services field:
       National Organization for Human Services
       Southern Organization for Human Services
       Council for Standards in Human Service Education



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Graduates with a degree in Human Services may go further their education in graduate school to become professional counselors, school counselors, or other mental health, education, or service fields.