CAREERS IN HUMAN SERVICES
In the “Helping those in need: Human service workers” the Occupational Outlook Quarterly (2011) defines Human Services as the provision of “a variety of services aimed at improving clients’ lives” (23). Consequently, Human Services encompass different approaches depending on the nature of a particular problem and the services required in solving said problem. Evidently, it is impossible to cover all the careers that qualify and fit the characteristics of human services. However, it is plausible to look at a particular problem from different fields that could in turn be made up of a variety of professionals all of whom qualify as Human Services personnel. To aid in this research, a hypothetical case will be used as guidance to identify the five unrelated yet possible careers in Human Services for analysis.
In a home with an abusive and alcoholic father, the children and his uneducated wife are neglected despite the fact that the man earns a good income. Due to said neglect, the children cannot attend school and the wife is forced to leave the children unattended to perform odd jobs in the neighborhood to put food on the table for her family. The abuse comes in the form of insults to his family and constant quarrels with the wife. How will Human Services aid the family?
In addition, referred to as social and human service assistants, a caseworker would be the first human services personnel in the home. The main action entails to assess the situation, determine the possible solutions, and in turn, follow up on the family to ensure the form of approach is suitable (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011, 28).
According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, (n.d) a Caseworker’s tasks entail the “provision of home based casework services for multi-problem and/or dysfunctional families provided in the family’s home” (Home Based Casework Services). Consequently, the tasks encompass visits to the family, family assessment, case planning, and Community referrals and follow-up through Monitoring progress of parenting skills (Indiana Department of Child Services, n.d). With the Caseworker in a home or other avenues, that need the intervention of human services, the development of the plan of action keeps in mind the needs of the family and the specific problems that ought to be addressed by the same. Finding basis in the given definition of Human Services, a caseworker improves the lives of the target group by aiding them in identifying and implementing identified solutions.
The qualifications for work as a Caseworker are a Bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, sociology, or a directly related area (Indiana Department of Child Services, n.d). However, aside from a degree, multiple skills can aid a caseworker in his or her abilities to manage the situation successfully. Major skills include the ability to identify and utilize available resources in the community while maintaining a good rapport with the target population. Both factors aid in determining the influence caseworkers will have on the society from the family level to that of the state. In turn, good social skills are vital in proper management of an identified problem.
The target population in this line of work encompasses children. Therefore, families and homes with minors can receive the services of a caseworker (Indiana Department of Child Services, n.d). Nevertheless, troubled youth can also fall into this criterion because they are incapable of looking after themselves and can at times be a danger to themselves, their families, and the community. In the article “Social and Human Service Assistants” the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of the year 2012 estimated the salary for Caseworkers to be at twenty eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty dollars per year.
On the other hand, the occupation of a caseworker has its own challenges, which can hinder effective aid towards a target population while at the same time frustrate the social and human services assistant. Major challenges are rooted to the need to identify the real problem with a particular group. For instance, the target population might not be aware of the main source of a problem they are facing and as a result, the professionals miss the source of the problem. At the same time, the occupation calls for the ability to be patient with the aided group and at the same time ensure all the necessary resources are exhausted at the community level before those beyond such jurisdictions are accessed. In this case, if for example, a child needs to be adopted, a caseworker has to know all the adoptive agencies near the child before those that are far can be considered. Jurisdictions can be a hindrance to proper management of a problem as the immediate environment plays a role in the lives of a target group.
Since families are in constant need for help, caseworkers’ have a lucrative career in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) estimates a twenty-two percent increase in employment as caseworkers by 2022. With all these factors in mind, working as a caseworker can be frustrating for an individual because while the work calls for constant attention, maximum cooperation from different parties is vital for success. Depending on too many people for a positive outcome is unpredictable.
In the hypothetical case, therapists are needed in providing closure for the children and their mother to deal with possible emotional traumas. At the same time, the man’s behavior might be a manifestation of other problems, therefore, dictating the need for counseling for the man as well. In this case, a family therapist will be ideal.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (2011), the general functions of a family therapist is to provide counseling for family members individually and as a whole to aid them make decisions and cope with problems they are facing (Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy). Therefore, the primary role of a family therapist is to help families determine the factors that inhibit cohesion among family members and deal with said factors effectively. The identified problems can be emotional or mental hence, calling for occasional focus on specific members of the family otherwise referred to as the one-on-one counseling. As a family therapist deals with societal issues at the family level, problems are addressed at the origin. Families are in most cases the origin of the problem because most people relate the problems they face to their homes. Consequently, family therapy is related to human services in the sense that, with successful therapy, constructive and socially acceptable individuals are released into the society thus, guaranteeing healthy relationships at the societal level.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (2011) quotes the requirements for a profession in family therapy to be “at least a Master’s degree for the person who intends to practice independently as a family therapist” (Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy). As evidenced by the title, a family therapist concentrates on groups of people that live under one roof. While the nuclear family is the main focus of family therapy, there are cases where people outside the family unit live with and affects the initially targeted family. In such case, it is important to include said people in the therapy sessions so as to cover all possible avenues and sources of an identified problem. For that reason, family therapists “treat the clients’ relationships, not just the clients themselves” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists) As of May 2012, the annual median wage for family therapists was forty six thousand, six hundred and seventy dollars (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).
For successful family therapy, all members of the family need to be present and willing to participate in the exercise. Consequently, the hindrance to this career is identifying the real problem that a family is facing before tackling said problems. In case the family is uncooperative, a family therapist can spend much time on a particular problem only to discover it is the wrong one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) estimates a twenty nine percent increment in family therapy occupations by 2022 especially in the rural areas where the number of therapists is low (Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists). As family therapy deals with the situation at its possible roots, the work sounds promising and ideal for community development. Unlike other forms of therapy and counseling, one can successfully deal with the problem with finality after said counseling.
In the theoretical case, the main role of a psychologist finds basis in the relationship between the family members. In this case, a psychologist might have to observe the relationship existing between the children and each parent to determine the level of intervention required.
According to the Society of Counseling Psychology (2014), Psychologists in Human Services provide counseling that helps, “people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and increase their ability to function better in their lives” (What is Counseling Psychology). With this in mind, the primary task of a psychologist is to provide long-term solutions to issues at hand. Psychologists’ ability to carry out these tasks can be attributed to their study of, “cognitive, emotional, and social processes and human behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments” (Psychologists, 2014). In Human Services, psychologists aid in ensuring societal cohesion while giving aid to ensure interventions given at a certain point in life are long term.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) states the qualifications for psychologists as a master’s degree but in some cases, one must have a doctoral degree in psychology or specialist’s degree in the same (Psychologists). Moreover, with the set qualifications, psychologists work with different target populations. The Society of Counseling Psychology (2014) attests to this in article “Psychologists” as it points out that the target populations vary from individuals to organizations. By May 2012 the median wage for psychologists was sixty nine thousand two hundred and eighty dollars per annum.
Psychologists require multiple skills besides the academic papers. Said skills include the ability to detect lies while maintaining the established rapport with clients. Consequently, the set qualifications for one to gain a license as a psychologist can prove to be complicated for some while the desired skills need patience for full implementation. On the other hand, for long-term solutions, there must be constant relations between a patient and the psychologist for complete recovery. Occupations in counseling psychologies are expected to rise by an estimated twelve percent by 2022. The qualifications and impacts of psychology require many years of commitment and self sacrifice. One would rather look into other forms of counseling that have a concrete effect within a specific timeframe.
In the given hypothetical situation, a social worker would act as an advocate for the family in ensuring the set goals and means of achieving said goals are carried out to the end. Social workers coordinate and correlate other human service professionals.
Consequently, the National Association of Social Workers (n.d) dictates multiple fields of practice for social workers (Mental Health/Clinical Social Work). Therefore, the primary tasks for social workers find basis in the needs projected by the field in which said social workers are stationed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics places the work of social workers in ensuring that people acquire coping skills to deal with problems as they emerge (Social Workers). Social workers are the epitome of human services. Consequently, social workers can assume different roles in Human Services as both advocates and supervisors to the other involved professionals.
According to the National Association of Social Workers (n.d), credible social workers possess experience to ensure proper skills and license to work in the field (Mental Health/Clinical Social Work). In addition to these, a qualified social worker needs a Bachelor’s degree in social work while those seeking to venture into clinical social work are supposed to have a postgraduate degree (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, Social Workers). Very much like psychologists, social workers work with various target populations as they integrate with and guide the actions of the involved parties in seeking to elevate the identified societal or family problems.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) places the rise of work occupations for social workers at an estimated nineteen percent by 2022 while the minimum wage stood at forty four thousand two hundred dollars per annum. In turn, the major challenges in social work find basis in the many requirements for one to be a recognizable social worker and the involved workload and years of sacrifices for one to achieve proper social working skills. With these factors in mind, social working is not an ideal career for me as with the many responsibilities one might lack time for family and other important aspects of life in a bid to establish said career.
Community Health Workers
With neglect comes irresponsibility. The family in the hypothetical case could be in need of outside help to completely recover from the years of neglect. A community health worker can come into the picture because of their knowledge about the community and the families encompassed in said communities.
The American Dental Education Association (2014) suggests that the connection between the community and a community health worker allows the latter to act as a “liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services” (Community Health Worker) Consequently, with the presence of a known community health worker during an intervention, there are higher chances of proper coordination and in turn, desirable outcomes of the joint efforts. In turn, community health working qualifies as a career in Human Services in the sense that a health worker lives for his or her community. In other words, to know how families in a given community are doing, it is the duty of a community health worker to be well informed of said families and be aware of what happens in the same.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), the educational requirements for one to work as a community health worker entail the completion of some training upon obtaining the occupation and be a holder of at least a high school diploma (Health Educators and Community Health Workers). Moreover, the target population for community health workers varies from time to time as they are involved with people from different ages and backgrounds. Therefore, target populations for community health workers vary because the people involved in their work as they have to help the community as a whole and not just specific individuals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics places the median wage of community health workers at thirty four thousand six hundred and twenty dollars per year.
As stated before, community health workers target a whole population and should possess the capabilities of helping said populations effectively. Thus, the major challenge for community health workers lies in the fact that one cannot concentrate on a specific age group or look for people who share common characteristics. In turn, the amount of skills needed for one to be a competent community health worker and many while the time needed to pay attention to the community as a whole leaves none for a person give proper attention to his or her life. In other words, community health workers live for others. However, the hiring outlook for community health workers was placed at an increase of twenty-one percent by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) by 2022. Work in the community is interesting and seems to cover many areas with families and individuals. Working as a community health worker is interesting and challenging making the occupation ideal for many.
Conclusively, all the mentioned careers are rewarding in the sense that one helps others live healthy and positive lives. In addition, the job outlook for each of the careers appears promising. Such prospects should be a motivation for all in the field to excel in their areas of expertise and work towards improving the country jointly.
American Dental Education Association. (2014, April 16). Community Health Worker. Retrieved from Explore Health Careers.org : http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Career/157/Community_Health_Worker
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014 , January 8). Health Educators and Community Health Workers. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014, January 8). Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm#tab-2
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014, January 8). Psychologists. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
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Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014, January 8). Social Workers. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014-15). Helping those in need: Human service workers. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2011/fall/art03.pdf
Career Service Authority. (n.d.). Human Service. Retrieved from Career Service Authority: http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/671/documents/Job_Descriptions/Human Service Advocate rev 8-16-06.pdf
Indiana Department of Child Services. (n.d.). Home-Based Casework Services. Retrieved from Service Standards: http://www.in.gov/dcs/files/ServiceStandardsHBCS.pdf
National Association of Social Workers. (n.d.). Mental Health/Clinical Social Work. Retrieved from Social Work Careers: http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/choices/choices2.asp
National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2011, March 28). Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Retrieved from U.S. National Library of Medicine: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64259/
National Organization for Human Services. (n.d.). What are Human Services? Retrieved from National Organization for Human Services : http://www.nationalhumanservices.org/what-is-human-services
Society of Counseling Psychology. (2014). What is Counseling Psychology. Retrieved from American Psychological Association Division: http://www.div17.org/about/what-is-counseling-psychology/