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What Are the Career Options for a Master’s in Human Services?

Get a closer look at public- and private-sector career choices.

An MS in Human Services degree can open up a range of career possibilities in a fast-growing field. Employment of social and community service managers is predicted to grow 13% from 2018 to 2028.1 With the increasing need for individual and family social services such as senior care and addiction treatment, there’s an emerging opportunity for qualified human services professionals who are ready to make a difference in their communities.

Degree programs often include specialization options such as community and social services, family studies, and military culture, allowing students to pursue the course of study that best suits their professional goals. Explore some of the career options that await those who earn an MS in Human Services below.

What Are the Career Options for a Master’s in Human and Social Services?

Nonprofit Leadership

People who choose to pursue human services careers are often gifted in leadership and may be drawn to a particular group or cause. For those people, a leadership position within a nonprofit organization or NGO can be a perfect fit. Executive positions within nonprofits typically require a master’s degree, and job particulars may vary greatly depending on the size and focus of the organization. In any situation, good leaders capture and pursue the organization’s big-picture goals and oversee projects that will effect positive social change within their realm of influence. They must have the skills to interact well with others in the organization to oversee projects, encourage positive working environments, and keep everyone focused on goals.

Public-Sector Roles

Human services career opportunities are abundant in the public sector, from the local and state to federal levels. There are opportunities to work with children, senior citizens, and adults through aging and disability services, employment offices, child welfare departments, schools, and the state or federal departments of human services. The range of possible roles is vast, but most public-sector human services careers involve working directly with the public. Depending on your role, you may interact with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, so states typically provide ongoing diversity training. While public-sector organizations may have stringent rules and regulations, they often provide excellent benefits and salary levels.

Medical and Health Services Management

Health services managers—also referred to as healthcare administrators—oversee medical and health services for clinics, hospitals, or even entire health systems. Depending on the role, you might manage a single department within a larger entity, such as a hospital, or the entire practice for a group of doctors. Healthcare administrators must keep up with emerging government regulations to ensure that their practice remains compliant, manage finances throughout the facility, oversee record-keeping activities, and take steps to enhance efficiency and quality of medical care for patients. Specific roles in medical and health services management could include a nursing home administrator, health information manager, or clinical manager.

Foster Care Coordinator

If you want to make a difference in children’s lives, becoming a foster care coordinator could be the right career choice. Often referred to as a case manager or case worker, the coordinator is responsible for ensuring that children or youths in foster care are receiving appropriate treatment or services. Coordinators typically oversee billing and other interactions with foster parents, and keep records to chart the child’s progress for the applicable government agency. Most of all, foster care coordinators interact directly with children who have experienced trauma and may be suffering from mental illness, behavioral challenges, or substance abuse. Through this role, you will have the opportunity to effect positive change in their lives and ensure that they have the resources they need to succeed.

If you’re interested in taking your career in human services to the next level, consider Walden University’s MS in Human Services program online. Our coursework aligns with rigorous professional standards set by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE) and includes a focus on marketable skills such as grant writing and ethical considerations. You’ll also gain valuable perspective as you interact with fellow students around the world through our online platform.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Human Services degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Note on Licensure: The MS in Human Services program, including its specializations, is not designed to lead to professional licensure, including licensure as a professional therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychologist.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,