What’s the difference between a PhD or Doctor of Human Services?

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As many people know, Human Services as a professional field is all about helping people. Anyone at the doctoral level in Human services must have a strong passion for it in order to provide the services well. The primary goal of Human services is to empower those who need help by bringing professional resources to the community they serve. The entire profession is centered around serving others. Students choose this career path because they want to make a difference in their communities and build strong relationships with clients in the process. For those working already in the field who want to advance in their careers, earning a Doctorate or Ph.D. in Human Services will offer even more opportunities to help individuals than you could without one. Some background fields of interest in Human services are sociology, psychology, public health, counseling, and criminology.

What does it mean to have a Doctorate in Human Services?

A doctoral degree can provide a student with valuable leadership skills to engage the community and bring positive changes to those they serve. It may also help Human service professionals to advance their work and research new theories of Human services. A Doctorate in Human Services is often a practical degree, meaning those who earn it continues to work with clients or patients on a daily basis. A doctoral degree also focuses on the profession they have acquired outside the school environment.

Many people who have earned their Ph.D. in a Human services field work as Managers, Directors, or some form of administrative position. Nonetheless, earning a Doctoral degree is the highest level of education or learning one can achieve, in any field of study. Some typical positions of individuals with a Doctorate in Human Services are social service managers, executive directors of mental health facilities, or administrators of a rehabilitation hospital. Other areas open to these professionals include managing agencies for children in the foster care system, or running an organization that directs disaster relief funds.

How is that different from earning a Ph.D. in Human Services?

A Human Services Ph.D. will give a person a fresh look at understanding the behavior of people in society. Ph.D. graduates are the research side of the highest level of learning in Human Services. This type of research degree often finds graduates researching trends, practices, and interventions of new information available in the advancement of the human services field. Using research can help in determining the specific need of a community, as well as government and private funding needed to secure resources for these groups. People with PhDs in Human Services must be excellent at academic research, as demonstrated by their doctoral dissertation. They must also demonstrate excellent written and oral communication, and excel at developing leadership strategies and techniques.

A Ph.D. graduate will find work at either a college or university to teach students about various topics in the field of Human Services. This can be as faculty for a social work department at a university, or in the psychology or anthropology departments. Another career path for a Ph.D. graduate is a researcher for both nonprofit or corporate organizations and government agencies. In the field of human services, working for the government is one option many choose. For researcher positions, many people report long hours and not much interaction with colleagues. Becoming an advocate for a client or a lobbyist for a cause is one other way to use a Ph.D. in Human Services. Standing up in the interest of others is what Human Services is all about. Lastly, the one job that many human service Ph.D. graduates consider is research publication, such as writing books on topics that are important to Human Services.

Opportunities for those with a terminal degree in Human Services

Both the Ph.D. in Human Services and the Human Services Doctorate will provide a graduate with the deepest understanding of the Human Service field. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics suggests that this in-demand field will grow much faster than average, at 18% by the year 2026. Both degrees will also equip the graduate with advocacy, research, and organizational skills. If you prefer a career in research and teaching others at the university level, a Ph.D. is a great next step. If your interest lies more in supervising those in the hands-on, practical application in the field, the Doctorate degree is for you.