An individual interested in helping others and being of service to their community can find a rewarding career in health and human services or social work. Both of these fields focus on helping communities and the individuals within them obtain a better quality of life and solve problems, through organized assistance from various services and access to resources. However, while these two career paths share a similar mission, they lead to work that is quite different.
Defining Human Services
Health and human services and social work careers alike require a strong desire to serve others and excellent leadership ability. The National Organization for Human Services’ definition of human services is “uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations.”
By this broad definition, social work falls under the umbrella of human services. Where the difference lies is that health and human services professionals more often work in leadership positions within an organization, such as a nonprofit or a government organization.
Their role is to focus on the needs of the organization so that it can improve efficiencies and continue to fulfill its mission of serving community members. Social workers primarily focus on assessing the needs of individuals and families within the community.
Career Differences Between Social Work and Human Services
The health and human services field attracts individuals who are interested in a higher level of management, communication, leadership, and perspective. Those working in positions in this field often spend less time working one-on-one with individuals, and more time determining and planning the needs of the organization, so that it may best service the needs of its constituents. Individuals interested in a career in health human services can begin by earning a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services.
Jobs for health and human services graduates include:
● Case Worker/Case Manager
● Youth Services Worker
● Community Organization
● Non-Profit Director/Program Administrator
Health and human services graduates interested primarily in clinical work may decide to pursue a graduate degree.
Social workers are required to earn a master’s degree and pass a licensure exam to serve as a licensed social worker (LSW). They typically spend more time “in the field” and may serve as professional counselors in their communities.
In comparison, health and human services professionals spend much of their time listening to clients, assessing their needs, organizing community services and providing access to resources to help improve their quality of life.
Taking the Next Step
Central Christian College of Kansas offers an Online Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services degree program for inspired individuals with a passion for servant leadership.
Coursework can be completed 100% online and at your own pace - with no mandatory login times - allowing students to continue working full-time while pursuing higher education. Reach out to our enthusiastic admissions advisors today, who are ready to help you determine if this program is the right fit for your higher education and career goals.