Checking the employment outlook for jobs in the human services field is smart before investing in years of service-oriented college education. Human services is an umbrella term used to identify social welfare careers that are concerned with helping people live their best lives. Some possible human services jobs include counseling veterans with PTSD, delivering life skills training to autistic teens, advocating for neglected children, overseeing adoptions, and rehabilitating inmates. Human services is a vocational calling that reaps more intrinsic rewards than money for altruistic, compassionate workers. If you’re an avid volunteer with a passion for building community through giving, let’s take a closer look at your chances for getting hired in the human services.
Job Growth in the Human Services Field
Whether you’ve specialized in case management, child welfare, or gerontology, the employment outlook for human services jobs is very bright. Some factors that are stimulating job growth include the aging baby boomer population, better access to insured counseling help, rising disability prevalence, poverty rates, and a worrisome opioid crisis. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the human services sector will have faster-than-average expansion by 10 percent for 257,700 added jobs from 2014 to 2024. Psychiatrist, occupational therapist, marriage counselor, and clinical social worker are a few of the “Best 100 Jobs” according to the U.S. News. Human services jobs have a relatively poor salary potential though with a median yearly wage of $42,990.
Most In-Demand Human Services Careers
Human services is a wide-ranging field, so it’s expected that some specialized careers are performing better in the jobs department. Entry-level human services assistant jobs that only require a high school diploma are growing faster than average by 11 percent. As addiction rates rise, demand in substance abuse counseling is projected to surpass 22 percent by 2024. Licensed clinical social workers have an outstanding 10-year job growth outlook of 19 percent in healthcare settings. Similarly, mental health counselors will see prospects blossom by 19 percent and licensed MFTs will see openings grow by 15 percent. Human services graduates working in community health education can also look forward to 13 percent growth.
Where to Find Human Services Jobs
Certain areas of the United States are struggling to attract enough human services workers to fulfill the growing demand. For example, the Massachusetts Providers Council report indicated that the state’s human services sector needs 25,000 more employees to avoid shortage by 2027. The BLS shows that California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the “Bay State” itself have America’s highest human services employment levels. Inner-city and rural communities are typically the most underserved nationwide. Human services degree holders offer find jobs in social assistance agencies, charities, and NGOs. Other places to look include outpatient healthcare centers, residential facilities, hospitals, prisons, schools, counseling practices, and government human services departments.
Benefiting from rapid job growth in the human services could require anything from a high school diploma or GED to a master’s degree and licensure. Attending college is your best hope for advancing into higher-paying jobs like social services manager or public policy consultant. Consider pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree from schools accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE) to test the waters. The employment outlook for jobs in the human services field is sunny, so you’ll have plenty of in-demand specializations to choose from.