Human Services Workers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 413,700 human services workers are employed in the United States. Twenty-nine percent work in individual and family services, and 19 percent are employed by local and state government agencies. Employment settings include agency offices, community centers, group homes, halfway houses, mental health facilities, hospitals, shelters, and the private homes of clients.

Starting Out

Students may find jobs through their high school or college counselors or local and state human services agencies. Sometimes summer jobs and volunteer work can develop into full-time employment upon graduation. Employers try to be selective in their hiring because many human services jobs involve direct contact with people who are impaired and therefore vulnerable to exploitation. Experience with helping others is a definite advantage.

Advancement Prospects

Job performance has some bearing on pay raises and advancement for human services workers. However, career advancement almost always depends on formal education, such as a bachelor's or master's degree in social work, counseling, rehabilitation, or some other related field. Many employers encourage their workers to further their education and some may even reimburse part of the costs of school. In addition, many employers provide in-service training such as seminars and workshops.

Tips for Entry

While you are in high school, volunteer with a social services agency, such as the Red Cross.

Volunteer or work part time in facilities such as a nursing home or senior center.

Join a school peer counseling group or set one up with a school counselor to gain experience in helping others.