Top 3 Career options with a PhD degree in Human Services

With the growing number of low-income families, Human Service jobs have become a much-needed and growing field. For those who enter or continue their careers at the doctoral level, supervisory roles in social and human services organizations are common professional roles. There are more positions in these fields available now than ever, due to the increase in population in major cities. Human Services provides basic human needs and services to those seeking government assistance with food, healthcare, and in some cases, emergency shelter. Human service professionals help people in their communities become more self-sufficient, educate their clients in financial stability, and improve peoples’ overall quality of life. There are many career opportunities to choose from when going into Human Services. The three most popular jobs in this field are eligibility worker, behavioral health practice management specialist, and a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), with PhDs, often serving in leadership positions of each.

1. Eligibility Worker Supervisor

Eligibility workers spend their day interviewing and investigating applicants to determine their eligibility for programs or services available to them. They must have excellent social skills, the ability to communicate information effectively, and must be an active listener to those with whom they work. In some cases, being Bilingual can be a tremendous asset. Program Directors or Supervisors of these workers determine the structural regulations to approving applications, as well as determining the special-case scenarios for non-traditional clients. They are also responsible for reporting to state agencies the statistics of client records of those they serve.

2. Behavioral Health Practice Management Specialist Director

In this line of work, the specialist will supervise a primary care team in a behavioral health clinic. Their duties include the assessment of workers who care for patients’ behavior and health needs, establishing and enforcing patient care standards and determining non-pharmacologic interventions for those with acute needs. They oversee the management of patients in collaboration with doctors and health staff. They may also focus on short-term therapies with patients and the primary care team. The ultimate goal is to prevent any stigmatism from occurring between the patient and the health staff.

3. Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Even though some may believe social work and human services are entirely different fields, many times they coincide with each other. Professionals in each of these fields are dedicated to the care of people in need. A client of an LCSW can receive better care when providing emotional and mental health counseling. The social worker may also assist in substance abuse treatments and interventions. The impact that a Licensed Clinical Social worker has on society is sometimes seen not only on a personal level but on a broader scale as well. They can help increase student graduation rates in high schools, decrease domestic violence in urban cities, and increase the emotional wellbeing of society as a whole.

In human services, there are many other career paths. Some may begin their professional journey at a Bachelor’s level, however, supervisory roles such as director and different leadership positions require further study of the theoretical basis of the issues, as found in a Ph.D. program. Whether it be overseeing departments who handle case-management, grief counseling, or even probation officers, they are all under the umbrella of human services, and they all will impact the lives of their clients and patients. Whichever career path a professional may choose within the field of human services, the objective is to assist in making a difference in the lives of communities and provide the best services and programs to the population they serve.