Human Services

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What can I do with this major?




Social Services/Nonprofit

  • Administration and Planning
  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Program Evaluation
  • Policy Development
  • Volunteer Coordination

Public welfare agencies

Federal, state, and local government

Private social service agencies

Group homes

Religiously affiliated organizations

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers

Social services are designed to provide support for poor, disabled, ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.

Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to gain relevant experience and demonstrate interest.

Criminal Justice/Corrections

  • Counseling/Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Youth Services
  • Victim Assistance

Prisons and correctional facilities


Police departments

Probation and parole offices

Victim services organizations

Human services workers in corrections focus on rehabilitating clients and assisting victims.

Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or a victim services organization such as a rape crisis center.


  • Advocacy
  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Programming
  • Public Policy


Nursing and retirement homes

Senior centers


Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.

Become involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.

Child Welfare

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Service Coordination

Public or private child welfare agencies

Adoption agencies

Foster care organizations

Day care centers and nursery schools

Recreational facilities (i.e., YMCA or YWCA)

Head Start programs

Child welfare workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through interventions and programming.

Volunteer at day care centers, children's shelters, camps, YMCA/YWCA, Scouts, or other agencies that aid youth and children. Take additional courses in child development or early childhood education.

Developmental Disabilities

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Policy Development
  • Rehabilitation

Community residential homes

State and local agencies

Medical facilities

Mental health organizations


Employment agencies

Vocational Rehabilitation

Human services workers specializing in this area help people with disabilities to adjust to and lead productive lives.

Volunteer at special needs camps, child care centers, schools, or hospitals to gain experience. Gain experience with and knowledge of a variety of disabilities.

Obtain specialized training in areas such as sign language or assistive technology for additional opportunities. Earn a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling for opportunities in Vocational Rehabilitation.


  • Case Management
  • Counseling
  • Program Development
  • Administration
  • Rehabilitation


Community health centers

Outpatient clinics

Public health programs

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)

Nursing homes

Group homes


Human services workers in health care facilitate the medical and emotional treatment of patients.

Volunteer in health related settings such as hospitals or the American Red Cross to gain experience. Supplement curriculum with course work in nursing or health.

Complete appropriate prerequisites for entrance into professional programs such as occupational therapy, physician's assistant, or physical therapy.


  • Management
  • Policy Development
  • Planning

Family service agencies

Child welfare departments

Social service agencies

State mental health departments

Employee assistance programs

Probation departments

Public interest groups

Local, state, and federal governments

Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, management, fund raising, and other crucial operating responsibilities that keep an organization functioning. Obtain a master's degree in social work or related field for additional opportunities. Gain management experience through internships, part-time employment, or leadership in relevant student organizations. Supplement curriculum with course work in areas such as public relations, advertising, accounting, or management.


  • Teaching
  • Interpreting
  • Case Management
  • Student Affairs

Universities and colleges

Public (K-12) school systems

Private (K-12) school systems

Human service agencies

Private learning centers

Free-lance tutors or consultants

Human services graduates working in education focus on providing instruction for a wide range of students including children with disabilities as well as adult community members. Learn American Sign Language and manually coded forms of English for specialized opportunities. Volunteer in schools or programs that serve disabled children. Obtain appropriate teacher licensure for public school teaching opportunities. Earn a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling, school counseling, social work, or college student personnel. Seek campus leadership positions such as peer mentor or resident assistant. Obtain a doctorate degree for teaching and research opportunities in colleges and universities.

Business & Industry

  • Human Resources
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Public Relations
  • Corporate Giving
  • Development
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Financial Counseling

Business firms in various industries 

Developers of educational products

National foundations and associations

Graduates of human services programs may apply their skills and knowledge in the private sector of business and industry.

Earn a minor in business or related field. Develop computer skills particularly with spreadsheets, databases, word processing, and desk top publishing. 

Gain experience through part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships in business environments.

Strategies for placement in Human Services

  • A bachelor's degree in human services prepares individuals for entry-level positions in the helping professions.
  • A master's degree in counseling, social work, occupational therapy, or related field, in addition to appropriate professional licensure, is usually necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.
  • Complete practicum experiences and internships to determine suitability for the helping professions and to gain exposure to various practice settings and clients.
  • Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change.
  • Gain experience with a diverse range of clients and client systems including individuals, families, groups, communities, and minorities.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section
504/ADA /ADEA Employer.


Human Services Career Network
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
American Counseling Association
National Board for Certified Counselors
Deaf Linx