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Factors to Consider When Selecting a College with a Social Services Major

Higher Education Articles February 3, 2015

Many career choices, such as counseling, community outreach, and social work, are available to individuals that major in the broad field of social services. These individuals may also consider programs in human services and social work.

Selecting a College with a Major in Social Services

The choice of a social services school will depend on many factors since there are many options available within the field, career goals must also be assessed. A student must choose an appropriate program in accordance with their career choice that could include youth worker, life skills counselor, or social worker, among various other choices. Four-year universities and colleges offer appropriate programs.

Program Choices

The choice of an appropriate program would depend mainly on the available program options or the career objectives of the prospective student. Few schools, if any, offer programs for students that want to specifically major in social services; however, these individuals can choose from two available options: human services or social work.
Theoretical concepts of social services are emphasized by programs in human services. Usually, students who complete these programs end up in general positions that require them to work with groups of people. Contrastingly, students within social work programs are trained to work individually with people beset with societal problems, such as substance abuse or unemployment.

Career Objectives

Those that complete human services degree programs seek careers as counselors in religious institutions, healthcare facilities, and community outreach centers. Majoring in applied human services or human services can make students adept at working with people with substance addictions, mental illnesses, or disabilities, among other conditions, in addition to victims of domestic abuse or street violence.

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in social work are trained to work one on one with people in order to help them handle challenges on a day-to-day basis; these could relate to relationships, discrimination, or employment, among other things.

Programs in social work, which can vary according to the location of the school, also offer internship opportunities and field experiences. For instance, schools in large urban centers are best suited for those aspiring to work with inner-city youth, while schools with well-known medical facilities would be appropriate for the needs of individuals that seek employment in healthcare.

Bachelor Degree Programs in Human Services

Social services programs may be offered as a bachelor’s degree in human services or a bachelor’s degree in social work. Coursework within human services degree programs at the baccalaureate level involve an in-depth examination of the concepts of social services, including courses on topic areas such as:

•Human services administration
•Crisis intervention
•Research methods

Internship requirements in students’ areas of interest are also included, in addition to courses in psychology and social services law. A typical program also incorporates a final project, whereby students can complete a case study and portfolio or both.

Bachelor Degree Programs in Social Work

An aspiring social worker may seek a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Social Work degree. Students enrolled in these degree programs are trained to pursue general entry-level positions in social work, and coursework includes such topic areas as:

•Social welfare
•Human behavior
•Social work research

Field experiences are a large component of these programs, and a student can choose the locale of these experiences by working closely with advisors.

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