Top 5 Human Services Careers That Make a Difference

By Lionel Valdellon

If you’re looking at your career options and thinking there must be a job that allows you to earn a good living while impacting the lives of people for the better, then it may be time to consider a human services career.

Human services is a broad term for a field where people assist individuals and communities in living out a life of better quality. Human service workers can be professionals (licensed to practice) or paraprofessionals (unlicensed assistants to professionals) who help out in various settings such as assisted living facilities, group homes, halfway houses, correctional institutions, mental health centers, youth agencies, and programs that deal with substance abuse or family violence.

The place of employment, job title and clients you serve may vary, but one common denominator remains: the desire to help others. Take a look at these top five human service careers that offer a good paycheck and a chance to make a difference in people’s lives:

Social Worker

Social workers often deliver services that emphasize short-term intervention, such as counseling, or they might simply provide a referral to an appropriate source of assistance. Most social workers specialize in a particular field such as family services, mental health, medical social work, school social work, community organization activities, or clinical social work.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and public health social workers earn a median annual salary of $46,300 as of 2009.

Child Advocate

A child advocate is an individual who actively promotes the health and welfare of children. They work to protect children’s rights and become a public voice for abused or neglected children’s needs.

General advocacy workers earn a median hourly wage of $37.37 as of 2008, notes the Department of Labor.

Child Social Worker

A child social worker arranges and delivers personal, psychological or social services that protect and counsel vulnerable children. To accomplish this they employ an assortment of techniques and resources in a variety of situations, including counseling and possibly even legal alternatives. They are usually employed by service agencies, schools, or state or local governments.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, child, family and school social workers earn a median annual salary of $39,960 as of 2009.

Federal Law Enforcement

Federal law enforcement includes police, probation officers, immigration, homeland security, deputies and sheriffs. The job entails protecting the public or government officials at any cost, and it requires education and training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, patrol officers earn a median annual salary of $53,210 as of 2009.

School Counselor

Counselors are primarily found in elementary and secondary school settings, assisting students with their academic, personal and social challenges. They provide support and guidance to students dealing with difficulties involving family, education, mental health and other problems.

According to the Department of Labor, school counselors earn a median annual salary of $52,550 as of 2009.

If these jobs look interesting, why not consider a career in human services today? Complete the form on this page to begin.

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