Field of Study: Human Services
Human services programs prepare people to work for organizations that serve people in need. Students learn the theories, principles, and practice of providing services. They also learn how to counsel and refer clients to related services.
There's an old Beatles song that includes the line, "I get by with a little help from my friends." Everyone faces rough times in life and sometimes needs a hand getting back on track. Human services programs teach you to be that "friend" to people in need.
In human services programs, you learn about human behavior and problems. You learn how human biology, psychology, and social forces influence each other. You also learn ways to help people meet their physical, mental, and emotional needs.
In human services programs, you take courses in sociology, psychology, and philosophy. You study social inequality, child and adult development, cultural diversity, and social research methods. Depending on your interests, you can study issues that face young people, older people, or people with mental illnesses. You can also focus on preventing domestic violence or treating drug and alcohol abuse. Overall, your courses will help you develop skills in critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving.
With a degree in human services, you can become a drug abuse counselor, youth worker, mental health aide, or probation officer. You can work with schools, prisons, government agencies, and nonprofit groups.
Many four-year schools have human services programs that grant a bachelor's degree. They are often part of sociology, psychology, public health, and social work departments. Some community colleges offer two-year programs in human services that can be transferred to a four-year school. Typically you finish your bachelor's degree in four years.
A few schools offer graduate programs in human services. Graduate degrees take from two to five years after you finish your bachelor's degree. Most people with graduate degrees in human services become supervisors or administrators.