Human Services Majors: Salary and Career Facts

A major in human services can help to prepare you for a career in criminal justice, social work or another related area. Read on to learn about course topics, job duties and salaries. Schools offering Health & Human Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Expect From a Human Services Major?

As a human services major, you can expect to complete courses in case management, counseling theory and human growth and development. You may be required to choose an area of emphasis, whether it be addiction counseling, victim services, developmental disabilities or youth services. You will be required to complete several terms of field work or internships to gain experience during your college years.

What Jobs Can I Apply For?

As a graduate of a human services degree program, you qualify for work as a social or human services assistant. In that position you would be responsible for helping social and healthcare workers provide services and other aid to clients. You may also be responsible for assessing client needs, determining whether clients are eligible for benefits, monitoring clients and updating case managers as to the status of their clients' cases. You could work in hospitals, group care facilities or shelters.

You could also find work in the criminal justice system, as a parole or probation officer. You would work with criminal offenders on parole from prison, on probation after completing a jail sentence or on probation as part of a deferred sentencing agreement.

Your job would include monitoring an offender's behavior through regular meetings (sometimes weekly) and enforcement of the terms of parole or probation, including administration of tests to ensure compliance with a sobriety requirement. You may also be responsible for helping your clients find resources for substance abuse treatment or job training. You may specialize in your work, working with adults or juveniles exclusively.

How Much Can I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there were 92,910 probation officers working in 2009, and that those individuals earned an average hourly wage of $22.37, or $46,530 annually (www.bls.gov). Salary.com notes that parole officers earned an average of $50,378 in 2009.

According to the BLS, in 2009 a social or human services assistant earned an average of $13.44 per hour, or $27,940 annually. The BLS notes that the industry with the highest employment of these professionals was individual and family services. In that industry, human services assistants earned an average of $13.62 per hour.

However, individual and family services were not the highest-paying industry for social or human services assistants. The highest-paying industry, as indicated by the BLS, is the insurance-related agencies and brokerages, which paid an average of $22.35 per hour to human services assistants.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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