Certificate in Human Services Program Guide

April 14, 2021

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A certificate in human services can lead to diverse jobs in communications, education, public administration, and psychology. Many schools offer a certificate in human services as the first step toward an undergraduate behavioral and social sciences degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for social and human services assistants to increase 17% between 2019 and 2029. Many graduates with a certificate in human services go on to careers as counselors or social workers, which are also high-growth occupations, according to the BLS.

The following guide explores the full spectrum of career options with a certificate in human services.

Should I Get a Certificate in Human Services?

A certificate enables students to join the workforce in a high-demand field more quickly than a traditional degree.

Earning a certificate in human services can provide the career skills students need for entry-level jobs in social services, childcare, communication, and healthcare. The typical certificate program takes 12 months to complete, though many online certificates in human services offer accelerated programs, some lasting for as few as nine months.

Many graduates become social and human services assistants or communications assistants to gain experience on the path toward a social work or PR career. A certificate enables students to join the workforce in a high-demand field sooner than a traditional degree. Graduates can launch their career immediately as childcare workers, home health aides, or community services coordinators.

Students can develop their interpersonal and communication skills, critical to human services professions, through a certificate program. Graduates who pursue an online certificate in human services can also go on to earn a bachelor's degree, which meets the minimum education requirement for jobs like mental health assistant and social and community service manager.

Check out the Best Online Certificate in Human Services Programs

What Will I Learn in a Human Services Certificate Program?

While programs vary, most certificates in human services provide a broad introduction to core social work and policy concepts. Students can also develop general job skills for entry-level employment and explore new technologies by earning their certificate online. Graduates are qualified to perform common tasks in a variety of human services occupations.

The typical certificate in human services emphasizes social work and social policy coursework. The program introduces students to common social work specializations like substance abuse, child welfare, and domestic violence. Courses also outline the functions and intersection of social services systems like mental health care, corrections, and welfare benefits.

Certificate programs do not always require internships for field experience. However, employers generally prefer candidates with work experience. Human services certificates typically emphasize the most in-demand career skills, including communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.

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How to Get Into a Human Services Certificate Program

Most students enroll in an undergraduate certificate program as recent high school graduates. Certificate programs typically include minimal admission requirements. Applicants usually need a high school or GED diploma and must submit transcripts and standardized or college placement test scores. Some certificate programs may include prerequisites in basic subjects.

At the certificate level, most schools do not require professional experience or licensure. Students with previous experience may qualify to transfer completed credits toward the certificate, though schools vary in their requirements for transferable credits. Many schools waive the application fee for certificate programs.

What Can I Do With a Certificate in Human Services?

A certificate in human services can lead to entry-level employment or an undergraduate degree.

Many in-demand fields, including social and community services, do not include formal education requirements for entry-level jobs, which means professionals with a certificate may hold an advantage. These learners often become social and human services assistants or personal care aides.

Students also qualify to continue their education in pursuit of an associate or bachelor's degree. A certificate in human services can provide seamless enrollment in a degree at the same school, many with transferable credits. Naturally, many graduates of a certificate in human services program go on to pursue a bachelor's in social work, sociology, or psychology.

While all of the career options below offer positive job growth, the BLS projects the highest growth rates for home health and personal care aides (34%) and social and human services assistants (17%) between 2019 and 2029.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continued Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Certificate in Human Services?

Many students pursue an online certificate in human services to enter the workforce and build experience. Learners who complete a certificate program can qualify for entry-level positions assisting social workers and human services managers. According to the BLS, social and human services assistants earned a median annual wage of $35,960 in 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions About Certificate in Human Services Programs

What do human services professionals do?

Human services workers help coordinate social services for clients in need. They may assist social workers, psychologists, or community organizers in providing services like food stamps, childcare, or rehabilitation. They often serve a variety of clients, including families, the elderly, the homeless, and the mentally ill.

How much does a human services certificate cost?

Though tuition rates vary, most human services certificates cost $200-$450 per credit. Schools may charge variable rates for in-state and out-of-state students or offer discounts for online learners. Learners should consider whether their school offers scholarships or financial aid benefits for certificate coursework.

How long does it take to get a certificate in human services?

While most certificates take roughly one year to complete, many schools offer accelerated programs, especially online. Students qualify to enter the workforce immediately upon graduating from a certificate program.

Is human services a good career?

Human services professionals often work in noble and rewarding careers. Graduates of a certificate in human services program can enter a variety of fields. Social and human services assistants and home health and personal care aides benefit from especially high projected job growth between 2019 and 2029.

Can you get a human services job without experience?

Yes. Entry-level and assistant jobs in fields like social and community services enable graduates with a certificate to gain experience before advancing their career or earning a higher degree. Many social workers and community managers begin as human services assistants.

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