3 Human Services Careers You Could Launch with an Associate's Degree
Everyone faces challenges in their life—some more so than others, and you’re no stranger to that. While others look the other way, you’re not one to turn a blind eye to the struggles that keep people from reaching their true potential or enjoying a better quality of life.
There are people who need help, and fortunately, services are available to serve their needs. But sometimes the people who need help also need assistance in acquiring that help. That’s where human services professionals come in. If you’re the type of person who is inclined to lend a helping hand while the rest of the world turns its back, you might be a natural fit for a human services role.
The human services field depends on compassionate people like yourself—but you likely have some questions about what to expect in these roles. If you’re looking to learn more about human services careers, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to explore three fulfilling career paths you could follow with Human Services Associate’s degree.
3 Human Services Associate’s degree jobs to consider
You’ll be happy to hear there are options for you to start making an impact relatively quickly. In fact, you could earn your Human Services Associate’s degree online in as few as 18 months.1 The practical knowledge and training you’ll receive will help equip you for the following human services careers.
1. Social services assistant
Social services assistants work with individuals in a host of areas, including psychology, rehabilitation and social work. They play a secondary role, assisting social workers, psychologists and other social service workers in helping clients find the resources and community services that they need.
Social services assistants work with these professionals to develop treatment plans and determine the type of aid each client needs. They assist clients with daily activities and help them acquire necessary services, such as healthcare or food stamps.
Social services assistants also help coordinate the services and care a client receives and manage the paperwork needed for these services. They are a vital resource to clients, ensuring that each individual receives an adequate amount of resources.
- Who they work with: Social services assistants may work with special populations. Some work with children, while others work with the elderly. Some work with veterans, and some work with those overcoming addiction. Others work with the homeless, immigrants, former prison inmates and people with disabilities.
- How to become one: Requirements to become a social services assistant vary. You will need at least a high school diploma, and many employers look for some education beyond high school, such as an Associate’s degree or Certificate.2
- Earnings and outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social and human services assistants earned a median annual salary of $37,610 in 2021.2 The BLS also reports that employment of social and human services assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2020 through 2030, a rate that is more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations.2
2. Social and community service managers
Social and community service managers oversee programs that provide social services to the public. These services may focus on certain challenges, including unemployment, hunger, mental health or substance abuse.
They may work for nonprofit organizations, for-profit social services or government agencies. Social and community service managers may supervise and train staff who provide services to clients. They may also report to stakeholders and analyze the effectiveness of their programs.
- Who they work with: Social and community service managers may run programs catered to certain demographics, including children, veterans, aging adults or the homeless. They may work alongside trained staff, including social workers, as well as community members and stakeholders of their organization.
- How to become one: Social and community service managers typically need an education in social work, public or business administration, public health or a related field such as human services. Hiring managers may look for related experience and often provide on-the-job training. Some positions may require a Bachelor's degree, but earning an Associate's degree could allow you to get your foot in the door to start on your career path to this position.2
- Earnings and outlook: The median annual salary for a social and community service manager in 2021 was $74,000, according to the BLS.2 The BLS also reports that demand for social and community service managers is projected to grow at the much-faster-than-average rate of 15 percent from 2020 through 2030.2
3. Community and social service specialists
Community and social service specialists help individuals who lack certain skills or resources they need to thrive. They work across different demographics to help vulnerable individuals achieve a higher quality of life and overall wellbeing. They may travel between an office, healthcare facility and the homes of individuals with whom they work in order to track their clients’ progress.
- Who they work with: Community and social service specialists support the individuals in their local area. Their focus may be on certain demographics or groups of individuals, such as the elderly, individuals in drug treatment, foster children or at-risk youth.
- How to become one: While requirements to become a community and social service specialist vary, they typically need a high school diploma as well as an education in a field such as human services, developmental services, behavioral sciences or community organization and advocacy.2
- Earnings and outlook: Community and social service specialists earned a median annual salary of $47,390 in 2021, according to the BLS.2 The BLS reports that careers in the community and social services sector are projected to grow 10 to 15 percent from 2020 through 2030, which is faster than the eight percent average for all occupations.2
Launch your Human Services career
Now that you know more about some of the Human Services Associate’s degree jobs out there, are you feeling inspired to start making a difference in your community? The human services field needs compassionate leaders like yourself. What could be more rewarding than a lifetime of helping clients conquer their challenges to have a better quality of life?
Take the next step in making that dream a reality. Learn how an Associate’s degree in Human Services can help equip you for a meaningful career.
1Completion time is dependent on transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each term.
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed June 2022]. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
The Rasmussen University Human Services program is designed for non-licensed positions and does not academically qualify graduates for any state professional license. It is not intended for those seeking employment as a licensed social worker.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2017. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2022.