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Human Services Program

Department of Counseling and Human Services

What is Human Services?

image of a infant to an adult

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 healthindividual recieving counseling 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.

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 satisfaction.  

The following are some links that may be of further interest in exploring the Human Services field:

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