All you Need to Know about the Field of Human Services

There are several fields of study out there that might come across as relatively unknown to you. That’s not because they are in any way lackadaisical in what they have to offer but rather their purview is wholly different from their more conventional counterpart. Human services are one of those interdisciplinary fields of study that might easily get looked over as a fully realized field of study, both in academia and the practical world outside, since it branches out from a very simple idea.

The term ‘human services’ is pretty much self-explanatory; yes, if you think it is concerned with providing services for human beings out there then you are totally right. It is, more colloquially put, about ‘helping others, except that it takes a more systematic approach than your regular charity works, with applications that very much incorporate scientific and philosophical reasoning and approaches. From what can be inferred in the human services definition, it has come to be a nuanced and progressive field of study that is becoming ever so relevant in modern society.

Here is all you need to know about the field of Human Services.

What it is about

The field of Human Services aims to fulfil the human needs vis-à-vis systematic approaches made possible through an applied knowledge base. The whole concept behind this field of study extends out of charitable activities and other similar works done along the lines of social welfare of a human being.

What justifies the placement of human services in the numerous fields of study is that it expounds upon the human service delivery by making it more efficient, widespread, and effective, all the while allowing space for healthy careerism; those involved in Human Services not only get to explore its expansive practicum but also theoretical side, as in any academic discipline. That is why many institutes and universities are offering formal training in human services in the form of graduate and post-graduate programs.

In a larger scheme of things, those involved in human services work for the betterment of an individual and overall quality of life. However, their efforts are not limited to social-work alone, in the most basic sense of the term.  The mechanics used in human services go far beyond instinctual goodwill, as they have very much intellectual backing up of ‘that will’ via a fully actualized curriculum that involves a dynamic course-work and its practical applications.

How it works

Although the methodologies involved in Human Services are very much circumscribed by demands of a situation and specific needs therein, the two main premises upon which it usually operates are that of prevention of problem or if past that scenario, the remediation of such a problem. For example, if a Human Services practitioner is focusing on the health domain of a certain populace, they will first try to prevent that populace from being exposed to potential diseases; this will be done by providing the right facilities and making them aware through precautions and lifestyle changes. Such a premise is that of prevention of the problem.

However, if the populace is already caught in a certain disease and thus negating the prevention scenario, they will very much be aided by medication, hospitalization, and other medical facilitations – this then is the remediation of the problem. These two basic mechanics can be applied across the spectrum, from the overt adversaries like a health crisis, natural catastrophes, to more genial albeit ever so important needs like counseling, behavioral management aid, etc. Human Services are often represented in the form of organizations, institutions, groups, and local governments that provide community-based services.

Careers in Human Services

Human Services train individuals who are generally identified as Human Services professionals or practitioners and go on to contribute to some part of society with their respective roles. The role can be that of a nurse, psychologist, therapist, counselor, child welfare specialist, community outreach manager, substance abuse counselor, clinical social worker and many more variants of all these. In short, career opportunities abound in leaps and bounds when it comes to human services and is offered a wide range of varieties to suit your potential.

It is perhaps one of the few fields of study that not only demands performance on the side of its practitioner in the fullest sense but also nourishes his or her ethical compass as well. The careers in human services will always be directly concerned with humans in the most immediate manner possible. Therefore, as much as it is rewarding, it can also be challenging and difficult.

 Place in academia and beyond

A degree in Human Services has a very unique place in academia. It is often unregulated in the sense that each school has its degree program content. Human Services are frequently conflated with Social Work when in fact the two have very disparate structures, both academically and career-wise, even as they end up serving the same end in the long run. Unlike Social Work, Human Services often will not be provided with internships to boost your credentials on the practical side of the career. You’ll have to volunteer for some or do a diploma in Social Work to compete in the job market.

A graduate in Human Services, for example, is not eligible to sit in a licensing test that will qualify him as a licensed social worker. As much as these setbacks can be off-putting, they also make room for one of the biggest benefits that come with doing a major in Human Services – you can do it online! Yes, while there’s a good range of degree programs being offered online these days, Human Services is perhaps the most virtual friendly one, owing to its combinatory compulsion of practical and theoretical experience. You can work from home, volunteer in community-based services and do other stuff, and not be constrained by your classes for having to be present in them.


Your degree, career, and by extension life in Human Services can be both exciting and difficult depending on how you adapt to it. It can be a very easygoing field of study in a sense that most of the time you are dealing with commonsensical frameworks, both theoretical and practical, that do not require the stretch of your IQ like hard sciences.

On the other hand, it can also be challenging as it requires a great amount of discipline, personal integrity, sense of management and above all, a very stable temperament. Human Services, however being an extension of Social Work, is an even more wide-spread and interdisciplinary field, since it pervades into all domains found in every stratum of society. It’s very much an edifice for perceptive and creative individuals to solve the immediate problems of progressive society without having to undermine their ethics. On the contrary, they are given an opportunity to nourish their humanism.