Human Services Technology/Social Services Overview
Human Services is a distinct field of study just like Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work are. Many people do not realize that Human Services is a field that is similar to but different from the field of Social Work just like the field of Psychology is similar to but different from the field of Sociology. The field of Human Services is one of many different types of "helping" disciplines and has its own unique professional code of ethics which can be found through one of its national organizations, the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS).
Students enrolled in the Human Services Technology Program are in the process of earning 75 hours worth of college credit toward an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Human Services Technology with a concentration in Social Services. Students take courses that are offered in traditional, hybrid, and online formats. A substantial portion of the contact hours required for this degree can be earned at a distance.
According to the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) and the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE) (2006), Human Services is a broadly defined field that focuses on meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, prevention and remediation of problems, commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations, improving service delivery systems by addressing the quality of direct services, and improving accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery. In earning this degree, students undergo generalist training to assume a diverse range of entry-level professional positions within the social services arena.
The program emphasizes the practical application of theory, skills training, and the development of a professional self within the context of broad theoretical exposure. Although students are not earning a degree directly in “Social Work”, they will be able to perform several of the functions that Social Workers and other social services/"helping" professionals typically perform.
Students learn professional theory, skills, ethics, and values by taking coursework in counseling, interviewing, crisis intervention, group processes, case management, community resources, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, the sociology of the family, anatomy and physiology, critical thinking, public speaking, computers, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, psychopathology, diversity, and Social Work (including Social Work law, welfare, and ethics)– among others.
The program’s students are of varied ages and backgrounds. They come not only from the Asheville-area but also from throughout Western North Carolina. Many have a successful history of previous work experience-- outside and/ or inside of the social services arena. A few are bilingual. They sincerely desire to help others with their problems.
The degree is designed as a working degree and is not formally designed as a transfer degree. Students qualify for entry-level employment in various types of social service organizations. Some students will go on to pursue advanced academic degrees and/ or credentialing-- often in one of the following areas: Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Counseling, or substance abuse counseling. Course credits from the Human Services Technology program that are recognized by a bachelor's degree program in a helping discipline differ depending on the type of bachelor's degree program that a student desires to transfer into.
The program’s students have a wide range of professional interests, including, but not limited to, health, mental health, substance abuse, developmental delays and disabilities, public assistance/welfare, case management, civil and criminal justice, domestic violence, homelessness/ housing, grief, death and dying, trauma, abuse and neglect, immigrant-based service delivery, religious-based service delivery, school-based service delivery, recreation-based service delivery, veteran’s issues, women’s issues, vocational training and placement, the elderly, children and families, teens, adults, entry-level counseling, social services management, and outpatient, residential, and inpatient service delivery. Upon graduation, they should qualify for entry-level employment with local, county, state, federal, nonprofit, for profit, and public social service agencies.
The state and national job forecasts for human services workers are good. National employment statistics and wages for human services workers can be investigated through the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. State employment statistics and wages for human services workers can be investigated through The Employment Security Commission of North Carolina at https://www.ncesc.com/home.asp.
Some of the advantages of pursuing an associate's degree in Human Services Technology include:
- Earning an associate’s degree in Human Services Technology is a less expensive way for a person to obtain entry-level status as a helping professional than is earning an bachelor's degree.
- Earning an associate’s degree in Human Services Technology takes less time to complete than does earning a bachelor's degree.
- Earning an associate’s degree in Human Services Technology provides a person a less expensive way to test out his/ her ability to succeed in college than does earning a bachelor's degree.
- Earning an associate’s degree in Human Services Technology is less expensive way for a person to test out his/ her ability to work long-term as a helper than is earning a bachelor's degree.
- Earning an associate’s degree in Human Services Technology tends to increase a person’s chance of securing entry-level employment as a helper over those who lack a formalized academic training in a helping profession.
- Earning an associate’s degree can provide a person with a means to support him/ herself while he/ she works as a helper and pursues a bachelor’s degree.
- For a person whose college financial aid is limited to a couple of years' worth of coverage, earning an associate’s degree in Human Services Technology offers an opportunity to earn a professional degree in a helping field without exceeding the limits of coverage.
- Several of the credits that a student can earn through the associate’s degree in Human Services Technology program are applicable toward the education credentialing requirements needed for qualification as a substance abuse professional in North Carolina.
- In comparison to earning a bachelor’s degree in a helping profession, earning an associate’s degree in Human Services Technology often means that a student has had more direct practice experience utilizing several of skills that professional helpers rely on.
- Depending on the type of bachelor's degree that a student is interested in pursuing, several course credits from the associate's degree in Human Services Technology program might very well transfer toward that degree.
If you are interested in learning more about the program, please contact:
254-1921 ext 465
Your interest is appreciated!