Associate in Human Services

What is Human Services?
Human services is a broad term used to describe a variety of jobs and career paths. It refers to jobs which involve assisting individuals with emotional and physical needs, such as that of a social worker, client advocate, or case management aide. The field requires a great deal of training and empathy, so many students choose to get an early start; an associate in human services degree could help you get started on the right track.

What is an Associate in Human Services Degree?
This is a two-year, undergraduate degree offered at community colleges. The degree program offers students the opportunity to develop their core concepts, and learn how to address issues which may arise in their line of work. It involves coursework in a variety of topics, from sociology to psychology to professional development and even learning theories. Typically, the program is split across four semesters, with students undergoing a combination of classroom lectures and practical learning to hone their skills. Students cover topics in human biology, and understand how to evaluate a patient's physical and emotional health to identify the areas he or she needs help. In addition, students will learn how to:

  • Develop plans which address the person's issues in the best manner
  • Maintain an empathic and compassionate approach within their conduct
  • Maintain a record of the patient's progress
  • Adapt their learning of patient care techniques based on the age group they are dealing with

The emphasis in this degree is to groom the person's conduct to make it as pleasant and friendly as possible. Communication is another area that is worked upon, as human services workers need to be able to speak clearly with their patients.

Next Steps
Upon completing a human services associate's degree, students typically choose to enroll in a four-year program within a specific field like social work to earn a bachelor's degree. However, some students may choose to gain practical experience by taking up jobs within the human services industry. They could work as an assistant to a social worker, or apprentice at the local courts and work with clients. This practical experience coupled with an associate's degree may make them eligible for an entry level position as well. In order to progress within this industry, students may be required to earn a bachelor's degree.

Employment Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the expected growth within the human services field is expected to be about 22% between 2012 and 2022. This is extremely rapid growth, which shows that the field is growing in importance. Median annual wages for social service assistants was reported to be $28,850 in May 2012. Graduates with human services industry experience could work anywhere from government organizations to private industries. With the right amount of experience they could also begin to offer their services as an individual social worker. In each of these capacities, the same skill set is applicable; what matters most are your own professional and personal aspirations within the field.


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