Dear Guidance Counselor:
I am starting college next fall and think I want to do something in my life that helps people. Can you tell me more about human services? What kinds of jobs could I get? Do I need a specific major? Thanks, Julie
There will always be jobs available in human services as people's problems remain even as technology advances. In fact, health care jobs will be among some of the fastest growing occupations in the next twenty years.
Depending on your interests, there are a number of areas for you to look at. Let's investigate five different possibilities to get you started. I do suggest, however, that you speak with a guidance counselor at your high school and with your college advisor to plan your educational objectives for your best career development success.
1) Social Worker: A social worker typically has either a bachelor's degree or master's degree. For entry level positions, you should be able to find a job after graduating with your bachelor's. Social work covers a wide variety of areas such as adoption, child protection, elderly services, help for people with disabilities and more. If you have a big heart and want to help people to find more resources and live better lives, this field can be a good one.
2) Counselor: Closely related to social work is the field of counseling. If you want to do therapy, you will need to get a master's degree and a license. However, there are bachelor level jobs available in basic life skills including counseling adults with physical disabilities or mental illness, as well as working in crisis intervention centers and for hot lines. These jobs can also be excellent experience should you decide to go on for an advanced degree.
3) Teacher: Another kind of human service job is that of teacher. To work in a public school, you will need to get the proper training and certification for your state. Teachers also work in after-school programs, daycare centers and special settings for children with disabilities.
4) Nurse: If you have a nurturing personality and are interested in physical health, you might like to look into becoming a nurse. This choice will require specialized training and experience so you will need to plan ahead for your educational goals. Good nurses are always in demand and work in a variety of settings.
5) Home health aide: Over the next decade, the need for home health aides, professionals who visit elderly or disabled clients and provide home services, is expected to increase. Home health aides do not need a bachelor's degree; usually an associate degree or certificate is fine.
Of course, there are many other ways to help people, too. For instance, the medical field has many different types of jobs that require just an associate degree such as that of x-ray technician. While human service jobs tend to pay on the lower end of the scale, they can be a satisfying way to feel you are contributing something good to the world. Good luck with your career planning!