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Career Highlight – Human Services Workers

Human service workers are employed by public and private organizations and agencies that assist people in need. The workers evaluate clients’ needs and develop plans that will help each client overcome current challenges. The key role human services workers play is to put the plan into action, either by providing direct services or coordinating services of other organizations. Types of human services organizations include:

  • Employment agencies
  • Food and nutrition agencies
  • Housing and shelter organizations
  • Legal and victims assistance organizations
  • Public safety and disaster relief organizations
  • Target population services organizations
  • (e.g., foster and adoption agencies, senior citizens centers, women’s centers)
  • Youth development organizations

Interpersonal and communication skills are critical for workers in this field. They also need to be able to work effectively as a member of a team, think creatively, and have compassion and patience – even when under stress. Human service workers typically complete postsecondary degrees in human services, counseling, social work or psychology. The level of education often dictates the type of work someone may perform and the amount of responsibility that they bear. Associate degree level workers may interview new clients, manage the details of cases, and connect them with appropriate services. Those with bachelor’s degrees spend much of their time managing cases, but may also provide some clinical support. A master’s degree enables human service workers to focus primarily on clinical work. For more information, read the full article in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.

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