Human Services Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Human Services professional, or Client Advocate, is responsible for assisting people having emotional, financial, mental, physical and social problems that put them at risk for negative outcomes. Their duties include providing peer counseling to clients, referring them to community resources and accompanying clients to treatment.

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Human Services Duties and Responsibilities 

Depending on the field of Human Services they enter—for example, mental health, youth services or adult care—workers may perform various tasks, including:

  • Providing transportation for clients to and from appointments
  • Observing or supervising parent and child visits
  • Providing direct care services and support to clients to ensure they are well fed, cared for, in good health and included in decisions
  • Assisting in the planning and delivery of services and programs for youth, families, seniors, the homeless, volunteers and community groups
  • Assessing individual and family needs, determining eligibility and identifying appropriate services 

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What Does a Human Services Worker Do?

Human Services professionals are employed by community programs, mental health clinics, addiction treatment centers, group homes and other human welfare organizations to teach clients about coping and life skills that they can apply to their specific situation. Their role is to act as a resource that clients can rely on when they are struggling as they try to improve their life. Human Services employees coordinate group sessions where their clients can build a support system and encourage them to develop healthy relationships with others in their community. They assist with resolving conflicts, finding housing, facilitating custody agreements and pursuing goals.

Human Services Skills and Qualifications 

A successful candidate for a Human Services job will possess the following qualifications and skills: 

  • Active listening: This is one of the most important skills required for working in Human Services. A worker must be able to listen to and understand each individual while assuring that person that they are there to help. 
  • Critical thinking: Rather than simply absorbing the needs and opinions of their clients, workers should take an objective overview of the situation in order to recommend the best course of action. 
  • Empathy: People working in Human Services must strive to truly understand and relate to each individual. 
  • Ability to set boundaries: Because workers may deal with emotional situations and difficult circumstances, they must set boundaries to avoid becoming personally involved with those they are helping.

Human Services Salary Expectations

The Human Services field includes a large number of jobs and skill levels, and thus a wide range of salaries. In such job titles as Case Manager, Counselor, Service Coordinator, Social Worker and Program Assistant, the average salary found by Indeed is $18.53 per hour. This may vary depending on the worker’s duties, education, certification and experience, as well as the budget of the company or organization.

Human Services Education and Training Requirements

Although it is possible to acquire a Human Services job with a high school diploma, most people working in the field have at least an associate degree in Human Services or some related discipline. To get an entry-level position, Human Services workers need to obtain bachelor’s degrees in fields such as sociology, psychology or social work. For those looking to work in positions such as a Licensed Social Worker (LCSW) or other similar career paths, a master’s degree or doctorate is required. Ongoing training is typically a part of any long-term position, and depending on the state where the job is located, certifications may be required.

Human Services Experience Requirements

To be eligible for most Human Services positions, candidates must first work under the supervision of a qualified mentor in the field. While the number of hours can vary depending on the position, 1500 hours is the most common requirement to complete Human Services mentorship programs.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

If this general Human Services job description is not quite what you seek, the following more specific job descriptions may be useful: 

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Frequently asked questions about Human Services


What are the qualities of a good Human Services employee?

Good Human Services employees have to be emotionally intelligent and self-aware to be able to provide emotional and lifestyle support for others. They must be adept at setting and enforcing boundaries with their clients, who may attempt to dominate the Human Services professional’s time or ask them to do something unethical. The best Human Services professionals are truly passionate about helping others and have a non-judgmental attitude about their clients’ past. They understand social risk factors and use compassion and strategic support to help overcome those challenges alongside their clients. They are great listeners, teachers and organizers.


What are the daily duties of a Human Services professional?

Human Services professionals structure each day differently depending on their care load and what their clients need. They often travel to meet clients and provide them with direct care by bringing them food, clothes, medicine and personal hygiene materials. They talk with clients about their immediate concerns and give them instructions on how to get financial, legal or medical help. Based on these meetings, they assess the client’s risk factors and may recommend additional treatment or support. Human Services professionals can also supervise family visitation and testify in court on behalf of their clients to advocate for them.


What are the types of Human Services employees?

Human Services is a broad category that can include several different types of social support professionals that work in different environments. Group Home Human Services Workers, for example, often provide live-in support for people living in a halfway house or sober living home. Crisis Intervention Workers are another type of Human Services professional that specializes in responding to emergency situations and helping people decide that they need to accept outside help. Family Support Workers provide Human Services support to children in foster care, host families and families dealing with separation or custody issues.


What is the difference between a Human Services Worker and a Counselor?

Human Services Workers provide personal counseling as part of their position, but Counselors go more in-depth with their clients while Human Service Workers mainly assess a client’s initial mental state as a starting point for referring them to other forms of support. Human Service Workers emphasize general social work while Counselors are mental health experts who may collaborate with a Psychiatrist or Psychologist to manage their patient’s mental illness and other challenges.

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