If you are considering a career in human services, you will find lots of opportunities to make a real difference in people's lives. You can choose from many facets of the field, working with families, kids or seniors. Your compassionate people-oriented personality, verbal and written skills and self-discipline are positive qualities that will help you get started. Begin your career path by first listing your goals, and then connecting them with objectives for reaching those goals.
You can think of your goals as tasks that, once completed, will put you closer to establishing your career. Write down your ultimate goal -- having a career in human services -- and beneath that, list the secondary goals you'll need to reach to bring you closer to your mission. For example, you'll need to have a deep understanding of how humans develop, how people interact with one another, and how communities are organized. Your list could include other goals, such as becoming highly knowledgeable in the causes of human problems and well-versed in the needs of clients and how you can best meet those needs.
Now that you have a list of secondary goals, you can look for ways to achieve them. That's where objectives come in. Objectives give you solid guidelines to follow in order to reach your goals. For example, if one of your goals is to be a highly skilled administrator helping people with physical challenges, an objective for reaching this goal might include earning a degree with this specific focus while volunteering as a caregiver. You can determine what your objectives should be by reviewing information found in "Community Support Skill Standards," provided by the National Organization for Human Services.
To help you meet your objectives, consider joining one or more organizations that support human services. Some of these agencies are: Council for Standards in Human Services Education; Child Welfare League of America; Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities; and, Service Employees International Union, to name a few. You can deepen your knowledge by attending a college that offers related coursework. Additional helpful information can be found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
Your earnings in human services will vary, depending upon your specific focus and the depth of your education; the greater the education, the higher the pay. In May, 2011, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a national average annual wage for workers with high school diplomas and short-term on-the-job training to be $30,710. However, human services workers in fields requiring a master's degree, such as in education, guidance, vocational counseling and other areas, earned an average annual entry-level wage of $56,540. Human services managers who have a broader education can move beyond that figure.
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.