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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Juliet Bradley, Faculty, Human Services Department
Human services is a rewarding career field that many
individuals find very satisfying. There are, however, some myths and
misconceptions related to this helping profession.
Below are seven myths and
misconceptions about the field of human services and the truths related to them.
Human service professionals only work in direct care positions with
Human service professionals may work directly with individuals. However, there
are other opportunities in the field as well that may not include direct work
with individuals. Some examples of these types of opportunities may be
advocacy, fundraising, and developing interventions for community members.
Advocacy is an important component of the field of
human services, as it allows professionals to promote a cause and approach a
problem that is impacting others in a different way. Human service professionals
may involve the government, businesses, or schools in their advocacy efforts.
Fundraising may also be an aspect of the field of
human services that does not include direct work with clients, but benefits
them in an important way. Fundraising may consist of human service professionals
developing different events to raise money from individuals and organizations
to benefit an agency. It may also consist of submitting grant proposals to
foundations, businesses, or the government to raise money for an organization.
Developing interventions for communities is also
important work that a human service professional may complete. This type of
work would include identifying the problems in a particular community by
getting input from community members and professionals, and then developing
appropriate interventions to address the issues that were identified.
in the human services field are only interested in hiring candidates with paid
work experience related to the field.
volunteer experience related to the field of human services on a resume may be
beneficial and appeal to employers. Volunteer work can be especially useful if
you are making a career change to the field of human services from another type
of work. Volunteer work can help employers see that you are committed to
working in a new field and making a career change.
Becoming a volunteer can help individuals develop many
important skills that will benefit them in the workplace, including effective
communication and leadership. Despite the fact that volunteer work is not paid,
it can still provide an individual with valuable experience that employers may
view in a positive light.
of the individuals that you work with in the field of human services will be
interested in receiving your assistance and will work hard to make changes in
individuals will benefit from the services that you provide them, and will make
positive changes in their lives. However, there are times when individuals will
be required to seek services from a human service professional for different
reasons, and may be resistant to assistance. There may be other individuals that
seek services voluntarily but are not ready to make changes in their lives.
Despite any potential resistance, it is still
important to build trust and respect with the individuals that seek assistance.
Sometimes individuals who come to trust a human service professional may
overcome their initial resistance and begin to make changes in their lives.
service professionals only work in nonprofit organizations.
human service professionals work for nonprofit organizations. However, human service
professionals can be employed in many other types of settings as well,
including hospitals, schools, juvenile justice facilities, and nursing homes.
There are many different job titles that human service
professionals may hold, both in nonprofit organizations and other settings.
Some of these job titles include Case Worker, Probation Officer, and
can only get a job in the field of human services with an advanced graduate
are many opportunities in the field of human services with an associate’s or bachelor’s
degree. The types of opportunities that are available will depend on the
organization and the state where an individual lives.
Some of the examples of the type of work that
individuals with an associate’s degree may do include entry-level duties such
as interviewing clients to determine their needs and helping them access the
resources that would be beneficial to them.
Individuals with a bachelor’s degree may also help
individuals access resources that they need, and in addition they may do job
training, provide clients with emotional support, and manage numerous client files.
service professionals will never experience job burnout working with clients as
long as they are passionate about their work.
burnout among human service professionals can occur even if someone is
passionate about working in the field. Individuals working in helping
professions may be even more prone to experiencing job burnout than those
working in other fields. People may experience job burnout for many different
reasons, including having unclear expectations, having a work-life imbalance,
and feeling a lack of control due to factors such as the absence of appropriate
resources to complete one’s job duties.
There are numerous ramifications of experiencing job
burnout, including excess stress, depression, and anxiety. In order to avoid
job burnout, or lessen the possibility of it occurring when working in the
field of human services, it is important to employ self-care techniques. Some
self-care techniques include eating a nutritious diet, exercising, getting support
from others, and engaging in hobbies and activities that are enjoyable.
Human service professionals only work with children from dysfunctional
Human service professionals work with a wide range of different types of
individuals. They work with children from dysfunctional families, but also
other children as well. They may work with children with developmental
disabilities, or juveniles involved with the court system.
In addition to working with children, human service professionals
may also assist individuals who are homeless, those with mental health issues,
individuals with a history of substance abuse, and the elderly. The elderly
population is expected to expand greatly in upcoming years, which may increase
demand for individuals in helping professions, such as human services. Overall,
human service professionals work with many different types of individuals in
need of assistance in an effort to help them improve their quality of life.
Take a look at our "What I Actually Do: Human Services" video and learn how much more there is to a career in human services than you
Chapter 46. Section 12. Designing
and implementing a fundraiser. (n.d.). Community
Tool Box. Retrieved from http://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/sustain/long-term-sustainability/fundraisers/main.
Chapter 42. Section 4. Applying for a grant: The
general approach. (n.d.). Community Tool Box. Retrieved from
Chapter 30. Section 1 overview:
Getting an advocacy campaign off the ground. (n.d.).Community Tool Box. Retrieved
7. Developing an intervention. (n.d.).
Community Tool Box. Retrieved from
Isaacs, K. (n.d.). Leverage volunteer work on your
resume. Monster Jobs. Retrieved from http://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/leverage-volunteer-work-on-resume.
Hayes, L. (2001). Special to
counseling today. Human Services Career
Network. Retrieved from http://www.hscareers.com/news/articles.asp?id=5.
Helping those in need: Human
service workers. (2011). United States
Department of Labor Bureau of
Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2011/ fall/art03.pdf.
Berry, J. (n.d.). My clients, my
students, my patients, myself: Self-care advice for caring professionals. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center: Center for Learning and Leadership. Retrieved from
Job burnout: How to spot it and
take action. (2015). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved
What is human services? (n.d.). National Organization for Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.nationalhumanservices.org/what-is-human-services.
Dr. Juliet Bradley is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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