What is a Human Services Specialist?

Human service specialist is a popular job within the human services field. But what exactly is a human services specialist? A human service specialist is an advocate for an array of clients in need of social services of one form or another.

Human service specialist

Human service specialists make a difference in the lives of the people they work with

What do they do?

She or he has in-depth knowledge of services available and is able to match programs with clients’ needs. Clients include the poor, the disabled, the elderly, or the mentally impaired, including those who have drug or alcohol abuse issues. The specialist conducts interviews, usually in his or her office, and fills out the forms required to start the programs. The specialist has often received a referral from an in-field social service worker or a community nurse. They will work as a team with the in-field worker to provide the best services available and to provide follow-up to make sure the services have been implemented. The specialist may also make referrals to different agencies as determined by his or her evaluation of the interview results. Knowledge of the programs available is essential. That knowledge is taught in college. Most human services specialists have a bachelor’s in human services. Online bachelors in human services are also widely available.

What are the educational requirements to be a human services specialist?

Although some government agencies or charitable institutions that employ human services specialists will hire entry-level employees with an associate’s degree, most require a four-year bachelor’s degree, or someone with two years of course work from an accredited college or university. Because online bachelors in human services degrees are so widely available, an entry-level specialist can complete her or his degree program while also earning both money and experience.

What is the salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics combines social services workers and human services specialists together and gives a median salary of $28,850. Depending, though, on area of country, amount of experience, and level of education, the pay ranges from $22,000 for entry-level to $47,000.

What makes a successful human services specialist?

Besides the knowledge gained in college, a successful human services specialist will have excellent communication skills. The specialist needs the ability to understand and explain complicated social service programs to clients with different levels of education or comprehension. The specialist must be organized and have the ability to do accurate paperwork. The human services advocate must be compassionate without being judgmental. He or she must have the ability to follow up and make sure the programs recommended have been instituted. She or he will work as a team with the other people involved with the welfare of the client, so they need to be a team player.

What is a typical workday like for a human services specialist?

A day usually begins by interviewing the new clients who have made appointments. Determination of programs available and the client’s eligibility for the program is then made. Paperwork is filled out and filed. Telephone calls are responded to and questions are researched. Referrals to different agencies are made. If an in-field interview is necessary, travel time must be allocated. Follow-up to make sure recommended programs have been implemented is done. A day will also include unscheduled walk-ins who must be talked with. Days stay busy and multitasking is very often required.

What are the types of social programs that may be utilized?

The client may need paternity testing for child support orders. The specialist will write up orders for the lab work and follow up with results. He or she may be the person charged with collecting the cheek swab and sending it to the lab. Perhaps the client is the sole support of a family and has become disabled. The specialist will determine if there is a worker’s compensation claim or a disability claim. He or she will fill out insurance paperwork and file the forms with the proper agencies. Follow up will be scheduled. Maybe food stamps are necessary. The specialist will make an estimation of how long work will be impacted by the disability and schedule food stamps for that period. A follow-up will be scheduled to make sure the wage earner is able to go back to work when the time has passed.

A human services specialist has the potential of doing great good for people in need. If a person has compassion, a love of doing good for fellow humans, and is patient and kind while remaining firm and level-headed, he or she may very well make an outstanding human services specialist.