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Top Human Services Schools

Top Human Services SchoolsHuman services is the process of delivering social welfare, education and health care services directly to individuals through individual counseling or a group setting. Human service workers, commonly known in the U.S. as social workers, identify people who may need help as a result of an illness, disability, abuse or sudden change in their life, such as having a child. Workers may also assess their needs and develop plans to improve their well-being and connect them with support groups.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) reports that many social workers spend their time in offices but some may be required to travel to see their clients and that the work may be stressful. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) also notes that a bachelor’s degree is required for many social worker positions and some may require a graduate degree. Human service assistants, however, do not need a post-secondary degree. Although, the bureau notes, lacking one may limit career advancement. Additionally, some employers may require certification or work experience in lieu of a post-secondary degree.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), the most common degree for human service workers is a bachelor’s degree in social work, or a BSW; although degrees in other, related areas such as psychology or sociology may also be accepted. Health care service workers are required to obtain a master’s degree in social work, or a MSW, which takes two years to complete and prepares students to make clinical assessments and perform supervisory rolls in a social worker setting. The Association for Social Work Boards provides information on each state’s licensing requirements.

Top Human Services Schools

U.S. News & World Report publishes a yearly ranking of graduate schools based on entrance scores, student-body size and size of alumni, among other criteria. The following schools were ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the top schools for social work education. These schools are some of the best schools in the nation to earn a graduate degree in social work.

1.  University of Michigan
1.  Washington University in St. Louis
3.  University of Chicago
3.  University of Washington
5.  Columbia University
5.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
7.  University of California, Berkeley
7.  University of Texas, Austin
9.  Case Western Reserve University
10. Boston College

Below are some of the human services focuses available from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

Human services assistants

Human service assistants do not necessarily need a post-secondary degree, in fact O*Net Online reports that 38 percent of human services assistants responded that they felt a human services assistant does not need any college degree at all. However, assistants are required to work under a qualified social worker. As a result, human services assistants perform duties similar to that performed by the social worker they are assisting. This can include removing children from abusive homes, helping families get relief assistance or helping the elderly.

While human service assistants may be unable to work in a clinical setting, as they cannot be licensed, the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports that many may help find rehabilitation centers and support groups for those with disabilities or other illnesses and work with employers to make offices more accessible to those in need. Assistants may also help seniors stay independent and out of nursing homes by coordinating meal deliveries and helping the elderly during their day-to-day activities, such as running errands, whenever possible.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), the national median wage for a social and human service assistant is reported as $13.82 per hour in May of 2011. That was lower than the national median for all other occupations. Assistants employed by state and local governments, however, were reported to have earned $17 an hour. Employment for human service assistants is expected to grow by up to 28 percent from 2010 to 2012, per the BLS. Growth is faster than other social services occupations and a result of an aging baby boom generation and (BLS.gov, 2012).

Child and family social workers

While human services assistants in a child and family service setting may direct low income families to support centers and benefit programs, social workers work with functioning, albeit poor families, to find child care centers and assistance programs. They may also council parents-to-be and couples expecting to adopt on the changes that they will have to make to their lives and homes as a result of a new child. They also work to get families back together after a child has been taken away and make the decision to remove a child from an abusive home.

Most child and family social workers are employed by state and local governments, excluding schools and health care centers and the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) expects an employment growth of up to 20 percent from 2010 to 2020. Growth may be tempered by a decrease in budgets for social work. The national annual salary for a child, family and school social workers in 2011 was $40,680 median, per the BLS. (BLS.gov, 2012).

Health care and disabilities service workers

Health care and disabilities service workers work in hospitals and clinics and council patients with chronic or terminal illnesses or those who have suffered a disability. Disabilities social workers help patients understand their diagnosis and the changes that may have to be made to their homes and lives as a result. They also connect patients with support groups and help patients manage their disease. Health care social workers may also advise doctors on the emotional effects of a disease in addition to creating support programs.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports the 2011 national annual salary for health care social workers was $48,620 median. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) also expects an employment growth of up to 34 percent between 2010 and 2020. Growth is expected as a result the aging baby bomb generation, which could increase the demand on health services as they get older.

Senior services workers

Senior services workers assist families find meal programs and assisted living centers, or nursing homes, for their aging family members. They may also work with health care providers in those settings to provide care for elderly patients. Workers may also help families and elderly individuals plan for possible future health complications and where individuals may live if they can no longer care for themselves.

Service workers may also work in hospice centers, where care is provided to terminal patients. Workers may offer counseling for family members or provide support groups for both the terminally ill and their families. Senior services workers may also make decisions as to when to admit a patient into hospice. Senior service workers are required to be licensed and have earned a MSW (BLS.gov, 2012).

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), the national annual salary for a senior services worker was the same as other health care social workers, at $48,620 median in 2011. Employment for senior services workers is also expected to increase up to 34 percent nationally from 2010 to 2020 as the aging baby bomb generation will require more help from social workers (BLS.gov, 2012).

Learn more about accredited human services programs from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

When researching colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that approved by The U.S. Department of Education or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.

The Council on Social Work Education, a national accreditation body, has accredited 701 social work bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. They provide a searchable list of accredited social work degree programs in the U.S. For students in Canada, the Canadian Association for Social Work Education also provides a list of accredited Canadian schools which provide social work degree programs.

Sources and further reading:

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation

The U.S. Department of Education

The Distance Education and Training Council

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

O*NET Online

The Council on Social Work Education

The Canadian Association for Social Work Education

U.S. News & World Report

The Association of Social Work Boards