By Stephanie Nora, MSW, CSW
Presentation College is excited to begin offering a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services starting in the Fall 2018 semester! This new degree program at Presentation College is an excellent choice for students who have a passion for helping people achieve their full potential and reach their goals. If you are the type of person that others come to for support, then Human Services might be the career for you!
The Human Services courses at Presentation College focus on giving students a variety of hands-on-learning experiences. During Introduction to Human Services, students get to visit multiple human services agencies in the Aberdeen community and meet with human services professionals who are working in diverse settings such as; mental health centers, child protective services, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, addictions services, developmental disability services, domestic violence shelters, foster care, adoptions, and youth group homes. These experiences help students explore the vast career opportunities in the Human Services field. In more advanced Human Services courses, students role-play conducting assessments and setting goals with clients. Additionally, students practice their active listening, empathy, and helping skills by mentoring a child at the Aberdeen Boys & Girls Club. Students also develop planning and leadership skills by creating and facilitating skills-building groups at the Aberdeen Boys & Girls Club as well.
All of these hands-on-learning experiences culminate in a 450-hour field practicum during students’ final year of study. The field practicum is truly the start of a rewarding career in Human Services, and field practicum agencies students often offer students employment after graduation. Students engage in many exciting professional experiences during Field Practicum, such things as:
- Co-lead addictions groups for adults and adolescents
- Observe and participate in individual and family therapy sessions
- Teach children with autism social skills
- Coordinate nursing home placements for hospital patients
- Support survivors of domestic violence
- Help adolescents in foster care build independent living skills
- Counsel families about end-of-life care planning
The Human Services degree at Presentation College is a customizable degree, so that students may choose minors or elective courses that fit his or her specialization interests. Minors that often complement a Human Services degree include Psychology, Criminal Justice, Health Services Administration, Communications, and Nutrition.
The need for workers in human services oriented occupations is growing. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2016 indicate that there were 3,998,210 jobs in human services related occupations in the United States. Currently, there is a multitude of employment opportunities in the state of South Dakota searching for candidates with a Bachelor’s in Human Services degree. These jobs include:
- Youth Educator
- Independent Living Specialist
- Director of Residential Services
- Crisis Services Specialist
- Human Services Counselor
- Youth Counselor
- Assistant Program Supervisor
- Residential Group Leader
If you enjoy helping people; have empathy for others; like learning about people’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and life events; or are passionate for advocating for human rights (particularly for at-risk populations), than a Human Services degree from Presentation College can open up many exciting career opportunities for you!