Introduction to Human Services

This course introduces high school students to the possibilities for careers in the human services professions. Through anecdotes, lessons, and a variety of assignments and projects, students will learn about the broad variety of jobs available in the human services. These begin with entry-level positions, such as associate social workers, that require only a two-year Associate of Arts degree. At the apex of the profession, being a psychiatrist brings the most prestige and the biggest salary, but only after many years of school and training. Students will learn exactly what the human services are and the ethics and philosophies of the helping professions. The history of the profession will be covered, as well as the impact of the cultural, social, and economic environment on individual people, especially those who need social services assistance. By the conclusion of this course, students will have a firm introductory understanding of the social services professions. Employment at all levels of social work and related jobs is projected to grow rapidly over the next decade. Students will have a better idea of whether this is a career course they would like to explore further.

  • Human Services: Changing and Improving People’s Lives: Students will learn exactly what defines human services, some essential history of the field, and the underlying philosophy of the helping professions. Students will also be shown how professionals use the available human resources to achieve specific goals in the human services setting, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary team approaches.
  • Values, Ethics, and Legal Issues: Students will learn about the underlying values and moral responsibilities that drive the field. Students will learn how to seek advice and guidance on legal, ethical, and professional questions when necessary.
  • Systems Theory, the Ecological Framework and other Perspectives: Students will learn how to conceptualize client problems as the way an individual interacts with other people, especially in groups: family, work, friends, and society at large. Students will also explore the basics of how people work with systems, within systems, and as part of a system, especially as they relate to human services.
  • From Theory to Practice: Students will pursue a deeper understanding of the change process. What is the change process? Can people change, and, if so, how? They will also explore delivery models for helping people in need, different stages of intervention, and basic communications and interviewing skills.
  • Clients and Helpers in Human Services: Students will explore the personal characteristics needed by people who want to help others as a career. Intellectual capacities and cognitive skills that are necessary will also be part of the unit’s topics.

State: National
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Human Services
Course Length: Semester