Earning a bachelor of science in health and human services allows you to pursue meaningful careers focused on helping others. This online degree, which also can be earned online as well as in a traditional classroom setting, prepares students to serve communities and underserved individuals, including the elderly, disabled, at-risk-youth, ill, immigrants, children, and others. It prepares students to help them in the areas of healthcare, addiction recovery, mental health, housing, legal services, and more.
Those with a health and human services degree can pursue the following careers:
- Social and Human Services Specialist
- Case Manager
- Community Health Worker
- Community Health Manager
- Correctional Treatment Specialist
- Family and Social Services Manager
- Elder-care Services Worker
- Child Welfare Specialist or Advocate
- Community Outreach Manager
- Mental Health Technician
- Disability Specialist
- Career Counselor
Those working in health and human services work in various settings, which include government, for-profit, and nonprofit organizations.
Below is a sample of organizations common to professionals in health and human services:
- Food and Nutrition Agencies
- Employment Agencies
- Healthcare Organizations
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Housing and Shelter Organizations
- Public Safety and Disaster Relief Organizations
- Multipurpose Human Services Organizations
- Youth Development Organizations
- Legal and Victims Assistance Organizations
The degree is also general enough to allow students to pursue careers in other settings beyond those listed above. For example, someone could pursue a human resources career in a business setting. If someone decides to focus on healthcare, they may end up in a hospital or elderly care facility. Or, if they continue with graduate school in a counseling-related field, they could work at their own practice.
What Can a Health and Human Services Degree Offer?
A health and human services degree provides a wide range of skills for a number of service-oriented careers. These include interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills. A degree ultimately offers foundational knowledge for pursuing careers focused on serving individuals and communities.
Earning a health and human services degree can provide some or all of the following:
- Ability to understand and evaluate various needs of both individuals and communities at large
- Familiarity with the history and/or current nature of relevant areas, including the healthcare industry, the criminal justice system, mental health services, etc.
- Capacity to develop strategies of intervention to assist clients
- Familiarity with managing and leading others within health and human services settings
- Understanding of the social, personal, psychological, and mental factors that play a role in patients’ behaviors
- Familiarity with developing strategies to acquire funding and address the operational needs of an organization
- Knowledge of ethics and professional codes related to health and human services settings
- Knowledge about effectively, empathetically, and attentively working one-on-one with patients to assist them with various challenges
- Understanding of diverse cultural background and perspectives that allow for respectful and civil interactions
The specifics of what you learn will depend on the program. Some programs may offer special tracks for those interested in mental health or family services. While others may have a stronger focus on the administrative and organizational aspects of health and human services. In other words, one student may opt for a track in criminal justice and victimology. Another may opt for one focused on the healthcare system and its practices.
For example, Central Christian College of Kansas offers four elective tracks in its health and human services degree online. These include:
- Community and Family Services
- Health Services
Since there are several careers within health and human services, different programs offer varied combinations of skills and knowledge.
What Do Careers in Health and Human Services Entail?
Careers in health and human services can generally be broken into two major categories. The first category includes careers in which individuals work directly with patients. Some examples are counselors, caseworkers, and child welfare specialists.
Individuals in these roles need strong interpersonal and communication skills to directly assist others. Some may work with a disabled person to help them find suitable employment. Others may serve as a caretaker for a sick or elderly patient. And others may help someone with drug addiction find a 12-step group or rehabilitation center.
Additionally, they provide emotional support to others. The people they assist often have challenging life circumstances and are in need of resources, guidance, and care. Because of this, individuals pursuing such careers need both empathy and patience.
Below are some of the responsibilities professionals might have:
- Provide counseling and emotional support to clients
- Help disabled, elderly, or ill patients by taking care of basic needs (bathing, eating, etc.)
- Identify areas of clients’ lives that need assistance and map out a plan to help
- Help clients tend to necessary paperwork for purposes of employment, housing, etc.
- Demonstrate patience with a variety of clients with unique and difficult circumstances
- Connect patients with appropriate resources, professionals, or organizations when helpful
The second category includes careers in which individuals work indirectly to serve others on the administrative side. Some examples are community outreach managers, fundraisers, and administrators.
Individuals in these roles may manage staff and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure services are meeting clients’ needs. They may develop fundraising strategies to reach donors to help financially support their organization. Or they may work to expand their organization’s services to reach clients in currently non-supported areas of a community.
Below are some of the responsibilities professionals might have:
- Ensure services are efficiently meeting client needs at a high level
- Hire, manage, and collaborate with others to reach organizational goals
- Work with key community members to increase awareness of the organization's services
- Conduct outreach initiatives and events to educate communities on available resources related to health and human services
- Write and develop grants for funding and/or develop fundraising initiatives to support the organization
What Are the Requirements to Enter a Program Offering a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services?
A high school diploma and/or GED is required to begin a bachelor’s program. Those desiring to transfer into a program from a two-year or four-year college can do so by transferring any credits they have already earned. Each program and school will likely have its own transfer credit requirements.
Also, it’s important that you are interested in health and human services and related careers. It’s worthwhile to consider a health and human services degree if one or more of the following applies to you:
- You have good interpersonal and communication skills
- You are passionate about taking care of those struggling with challenging life situations
- You are interested in serving children, the elderly, immigrants, the sick, veterans, those with mental/emotional difficulties, those struggling with addictions, the homeless and/or other potentially underserved populations
- You have an interest in helping organizations in health and human services run more efficiently and provide quality care
- You are good with people and can see yourself working with others to raise awareness and support for an organization
- You have an in interest in counseling others to help them overcome challenges and live healthier and more fulfilling lives
- You have patience and a willingness to walk alongside clients over time
- You have an interest in such fields as healthcare, the criminal justice system, victimology, psychology, and social and political initiatives
- You can see yourself managing a team and/or leading an organization committed to serving others
- You are interested in applying problem-solving skills to identify ways to help individual patients and/or make an organization run more efficiently
- You have a commitment to serving others despite the inherent challenges, disappointments, and setbacks that you and/or others may experience
The above is certainly not meant to be taken as comprehensive. Instead, it should help you begin thinking about whether pursuing a health and human services degree sounds compelling.
How Can I Know if a Health and Human Services Degree Is a Good Fit for Me?
Enrolling in a health and human services degree program is a decision that should be taken seriously. A program like this demands an investment of effort, time, and money. However, the payoff can be tremendously worthwhile. And it can lead to many job prospects and the potential for a higher salary.
As you consider programs, it’s important to ask yourself the following:
- Will you be starting a program without any previously earned credits or transferring with credits? If transferring, do you have the right number of credits to do so?
- Do you have a preference for the type of program that you would like to enroll in? Online, hybrid, or in-person? Which program type is most likely to best accommodate your needs?
- Do you have family obligations? Do you work full-time or part-time? Will the program allow you to meet these other responsibilities?
- For a given program, what are the student support resources like? Would you have regular access to mentors, counselors, and tutors throughout the program?
- Can you reach out to alumni to learn about their experience in the program? How about current students?
- What is the campus “feel” or “culture” like? Are you interested in a faith-based program? A program at a smaller college? A school located in an urban setting?
- Can you learn more about the experience level and expertise of the faculty in the program?
- Do you have to attend a campus close by? Must it be online because of your location? Can you commute?
- Can you afford to attend a program at this point in time? How will you pay for it? Does the program offer financial aid for which you are eligible?
Each program will offer a combination of features. Some may offer fantastic faculty and student resources. Others may provide a convenient and flexible course schedule that accommodates your other responsibilities. And some may provide a faith-based approach that closely aligns with your values.
Central Christian College of Kansas offers a faith-based health and human services degree online. A program like this offers a combination of industry knowledge and a Christian worldview.
Lastly, don’t forget to reach out to an admissions counselor as you consider this important decision. A counselor can help you clarify what matters most to you in a program. And this knowledge can help you evaluate whether a program would be a good fit or not.
What Different Program Formats Are Available for a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services?
Full-Time Face-to-Face and Hybrid Programs
These programs are ideal for those who are able to take in-person courses or a combination of courses online and in-person (hybrid) in full-time status.
This is the general format for most traditional undergraduate programs, which usually require four years to finish. If previously earned credits are applied, though, then a program like this can be finished much quicker. For certain adult degree completion programs, students can finish in as few as 15 months.
Part-Time Face-to-Face and Hybrid Programs
Programs like these work well for those who cannot commit to full-time enrollment but can still attend classes in person or in-person and online. This makes it an ideal format for those working jobs and/or with busy personal lives.
Programs like this work well for certain students because they require less class time per week. As a result, they do require a bit more time to complete. A program like this can take anywhere from two to six years.
Of course, the specific length will depend on the exact program format and how many credits are transferred. Someone taking a program “half-time,” for instance, would finish quicker than someone taking it “quarter-time.”
A health and human services degree online can be a favorite for those needing maximum flexibility. Often, ideal students for this type of program are working, have families, or live in a remote area. They sometimes need the flexibility that can only be offered through a program conducted completely online. The length of a program will depend on status (full-time, etc.) as well as previously transferred credits.
Central Christian College of Kansas offers a health and human services degree online. Students enrolled in the program take only one course every few weeks. This allows for a unique and flexible format. With start dates throughout the year, the program also enables students to begin the program when they want.
A health and services degree online, due to its inherent flexibility, is popular with nontraditional adult students. Students older than 23 years of age are those that are considered nontraditional.
What Is the Job Outlook and Median Salary for Those with a Health and Human Services Degree?
The job outlook and median salary vary according to the specific career in health and human services. Below are some popular careers with their projected job growth rates and median salaries from 2018 through 2028:
- Social and Human Service Assistants: 13 percent - Much faster than average; $35,060 per year
- Social and Community Service Managers: 13 percent - Much faster than average; $67,150 per year
- Psychologists: 14 percent - Much faster than average; $80,370 per year
- Correctional Treatment Specialists: 3 percent - Slower than average; $54,290 per year
- Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: 22 percent - Much faster than average; $46,240 per year
- Rehabilitation Counselors: 10 percent - Faster than average; $35,950 per year
- School and Career Counselors: 8 percent - Faster than average; $57,040 per year
- Medical and Health Services Managers: 18 percent - Much faster than average; $100,980 per year
- Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides: 36 percent - Much faster than average; $24,060 per year
Salaries can vary for each career depending on the industry, organization-type, geographic location, and other factors.
It’s important to note that some of the above careers require additional certification, schooling, or years of experience. For example, psychologists and counselors require a master’s degree as well as certification. And certain administrative positions, such as medical and health services managers, require work experience beyond a bachelor’s.
Still, a health and human services degree offers a great first step for pursuing the meaningful careers listed above, as well as many others.
What Can I Do Next If I Want to Pursue a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services?
Ready to earn a health and human services degree and have access to many important and meaningful careers? If so, learn more about the Central Christian College of Kansas health and human services online degree. Or connect with a counselor to see if the degree is right for you.
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Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm.