The primary purpose of a Human Services professional is to assist individuals, families, and communities to function as effectively as possible. Because people or communities may experience a need they can’t meet under a variety of different circumstances or at multiple points in time, the need for trained workers who can provide assistance to a diverse and ever-changing population is great. As a result, Human Services is currently one of the fastest growing fields in the United States and abroad. The purpose of the Human Services major is to prepare a student to understand the socioeconomic, psychological and political foundations of a multicultural society and to utilize that knowledge to identify needs and to coordinate and provide appropriate social services to help populations in need.
The Human Services major is designed to provide a broad interdisciplinary knowledge base focusing on both prevention and intervention, while maintaining a commitment to strengthening and improving the quality of life of all populations served. Courses will educate students about the various populations they may serve, how these populations interact with one another and the larger community in which they reside, as well as the impact of local, state, and national policies. Students will also develop and enhance their interpersonal skills to allow them to effectively select and implement appropriate strategies and interventions designed to improve functioning. Emphasis is also placed throughout the curriculum on the importance of ethical practice when working with diverse populations.
There are a wide variety of job settings and duties available to Human Services professionals. Workers may find employment opportunities within for-profit or nonprofit social services agencies, corrections, mental health or substance abuse treatment facilities, hospitals or community health centers, group homes, shelters, DHS, independent living or long-term care centers, among countless others. Currently, Upper Iowa Human Services graduates occupy or have recently occupied the following professional positions across the country:
Chemical Dependency Counselor Reproductive Health Educator
Rehabilitation Case Manager School Support Specialist
Life Skills Instructor Youth Worker
Child Life Specialist Domestic Violence Shelter Advocate
Family Support Worker Child Advocate
Homeless Outreach Coordinator Early Childhood Intervention Specialist
Juvenile Court Liaison Health Care Patient Support Coordinator
Nonprofit Organization Executive Director Behavioral Health Aide
Adult Day Care Worker Income Maintenance Worker
Child Protection Services Worker Veteran’s Peer Support Specialist
The Human Services bachelor’s degree also prepares students for a variety of graduate programs. Graduates of Upper Iowa’s program have gone on to successfully pursue graduate degrees in psychology, social work, public administration, human development and family studies, mental health counseling, rehabilitative counseling, health services administration, marriage and family therapy, as well as business administration and leadership development.