Not everyone who is interested in pursuing higher education already has a sense of what they want to do with their career. Many students know that they want to obtain a degree and improve their career prospects — but they aren’t certain what they should study or how they should plan for life after school.
Human services is a field focused on helping the most vulnerable members of a community achieve health and success. Examples of human services include assisting in the development and maintenance of homeless shelters, working within child welfare agencies, offering job coaching to the unemployed and helping patients navigate the healthcare system.
Regardless of your undergraduate degree experience, you might take steps toward a master’s in human services if…
You Want to Do Good in the World
Human services professionals have the rare opportunity to contribute directly to programs and services that result in improved circumstances for individuals and communities. In other words, when you work in human services, you are almost certain to do a significant amount of good. Different human services professionals do good in different ways: Some fight homelessness; others work in healthcare; others still function as counselors or social workers. If making the world a better place is important to your sense of satisfaction with your career, you should seriously consider the impact you might have in the human services field.
You Maintain an Open Mind Toward Others
Every individual comes to rely upon human services for a different reason, and it is imperative that human services professionals treat everyone with the same degree of professionalism and care. This requires that professionals maintain an open mind toward others, regardless of personal values or preferences. Professionals in this field also benefit greatly by the ability to remain flexible, as professionals often encounter wildly different challenges and circumstances from day to day. If you find yourself consistently giving people the benefit of the doubt, you might be well-suited for a career in human services.
You Are Incredibly Organized
Perhaps because the human services field is not as rigid as others — and perhaps because human services organizations chronically lack the administrative resources they need — organization is an important characteristic to develop before beginning a human services career. Often, human services professionals are multitasking, balancing several projects and programs while addressing other immediate challenges. It is typical for human services professionals to work with many different clients at once, which means they need systems for organizing case information, such as personal details, goals and progress. If you do not already have strong organizational skills, you might take the time during your graduate program to develop organizational systems that work for you.
You Have a Good Sense of Self-awareness
It is typical for a person with a strong sense of empathy and a drive to make the world better to have a great deal of social and self-awareness. These qualities help a person recognize what needs to change for circumstances to improve for a group or an individual — to include the person themselves. Often, a high amount of self-awareness drives a person to endlessly gain new skills and knowledge, which will allow them to continue increasing their performance and raising their effectiveness in their career field. In human services, social and self-awareness are must-have qualities as they will keep you committed to the good work and on the path to achieving success with your programs and projects.
You Are Committed to Ethical Action
Human services professionals are often working with individuals and groups at their most vulnerable. People who need help from human services tend to be in desperate need of some kind of assistance, and it would be relatively easy for a corrupt professional to take advantage of their need for personal gain. Therefore, you must develop and maintain a strong ethical core throughout your human services practice if you are going to work in this field. Unwavering commitment to acting morally and ethically will bring success to you and to the individuals and groups with whom you work.
The field of human services is perpetually in need of more passionate and productive professionals. If you are a flexible, organized, self-aware and ethical person with a strong desire to do good, you should investigate how you can work in this career today.