When someone begins studying to work in Human Services, they commit to improving the overall quality of life to the communities they will serve. As a student, they develop skills that prepare them to work in organizations which directly affect the lives of the community. This evolving field is nearly always incorporating new ideas, studies, and theories as they become available and necessary. With the help of professional Human Services organizations, new approaches to human services mean that individual providers have more resources to do their work effectively in communities. Below are the top five Professional Organizations working to assist professionals in their work to serve others. Some offer memberships to students as they work hard to finish their degrees in social work, psychology, counseling, and other human services areas of focus. Other organizations mainly focus on resources for educators and practitioners.
The National Organization for Human Services
NOHS is a membership organization that works to transform individuals and communities. They do this by providing professional development opportunities, promoting certifications, and advocating for social change. They also support the Keep Families Together Act which advocates for reconnecting children currently being held in custody without their parents at the border of the U.S. and Mexico. NOHS has different levels of membership for Students, Educators, and Practitioners.
The American Public Human Services Association
APHSA is a bipartisan membership organization that represents state and local health and human services. It is committed to using all of their resources in influencing modern policies that support strong families, connecting members to policymakers and human-serving organizations, and building better communities through educational conferences and publications. Membership is for local, state, and social leaders in human services.
American Counseling Association
For those working specifically in professional counseling, the ACA provides free access to publications, discounts on conferences, and help with continuing education classes. The organization works in a variety of settings and serves in multiple capacities, including helping people become a counselor, therapist or psychologist. Membership fees vary based on profession level. ACA also provides many online resources to its members, including mental health support information.
Council for Standards in Human Service Education
CSHSE was established in 1979 and its mission is to improve the quality, consistency, and relevance of human service education. Membership is geared to colleges and universities wanting to help human service educators and administrators access efficient and effective education to their students. Training and evidence-based education is focused on the mental health communities.
National Council on Family Relations
NCFR works to strengthen families and provide academic journal reviews for their members. They also organize annual conferences that bring new practices, treatments, or methods of counseling to light. It was founded in 1938, making it the oldest non-profit professional association that is nonpartisan, multidisciplinary and focused solely on education, practice, and family research. Its members range from therapists and educators to public health workers, and even clergy.
Other Organizations of Interest
For those interested in learning more about human services professional organizations, here are some other options.
- American Society for Public Administration who link practice with theory in the field of public administration. (ASPA)
- Center for Credentialing and Education who develop and offer exams for different human services studies. (CCE)
- National Association of Social Workers, a service and membership organization for social workers. (NASW).
- US Department of Health and Human Services with the mission of is to enhance the health and well-being of all people in the United States (USDHHS).