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What is Health and Human Services?

Health and Human Services is both an agency of the federal government and a description of a wide range of jobs and activities within the medical and mental health fields. The agency – The Department of Health and Human Services – administers a variety of programs dealing with welfare and health. The department oversees programs and administers grant money relating to these industries and is the umbrella under which the following federal agencies operate:

  • National Institutes of Health
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Indian Health Service
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Administration for Children and Families
  • Administration on Aging

Outside of the federal government, the range of health and human services jobs are quite diverse. By looking at the agencies that operate under the government's department, individuals can get an idea of the types of jobs that might be related to a health and human service degree – positions might range from administration work in research or health management systems to caring for children or elderly.

Human Services Involve People

The primary job of anyone working in a human services job is to assist people in functioning effectively across various domains of living. As such, anyone considering the field should have a strong desire to both work directly with people and help others. Some other skills and requirements that a healthcare management job description might include are:

  • Understanding how human systems work together, including individuals, organizations, communities, and families.
  • Ability to identity and implement solutions and interventions that are helpful to others in both the short- and long-term.
  • The ability to identify and understand physical, mental, emotional, and organizational limitations in order to enact appropriate interventions.
  • Organizational, communication, and leadership skills.
  • Compassion and empathy.

Working in Human Services

While many jobs in human services revolve around fields such as mental health case management or safety regulations, there are niches within the industry for other skill sets. Most jobs require direct contact with communities and individuals, but professionals with higher degrees often land management or administrative jobs. These jobs require individuals to direct teams or create processes that, in turn, deliver direct assistance to patients and communities.

In addition to management work, individuals with degrees in health and human services might work in research, policy-making, or regulatory jobs dealing with healthcare law. Any of the federal agencies listed above hire candidates with such training, and there are hundreds of state and local agencies in the field.

Top-Paying Human Services Jobs for Masters-Level Applicants

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health service managers in the country made an average of $92,810 per year in 2014. The BLS also reports that job growth in this sector is much faster than the average for other types of jobs.

Healthcare administrators – those who run clinics or hospital departments – make an average of $65,287. A similar job – executive director of a non-profit organization – pays an average of $60,532 per year. Most organizations hiring executive-level administrators look for a master's degree.

Individuals that want to help others in a less hands-on way might consider work in policy management. Policy managers work with executive leadership at hospitals, clinics, and government agencies. The jobs usually require experience in public health as well as an advanced degree in a related field, such as health and human services. Median pay for a health policy analyst is $53,635 per year, and with the changing political environment, demand will certainly grow for individuals in this space.

A Flexible Degree

A Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration educates individuals for wide-ranging work at a variety of levels. While classes are targeted to work in medical, mental health, and community service environments, the degree would also be valuable in general management and human resource fields because it prepares individuals for working with others, problem solving, and understanding how regulations and policy interact with the needs of individuals and groups. Learn more about how this master’s degree program could give you the confidence and compassion you need to lead.