Human Services

What is the study of Human Services?

Human services is a diverse interdisciplinary field encompassing a wide range of sub-fields that are all united by a common goal – supporting the vast array of human need in society.

Human services include areas such as aged care and support, social welfare, child protection, probation and parole, community outreach, social justice advocacy, crisis support, housing, access to medical care and more. Professionals in this field frequently work together to support individuals and assist in achieving outcomes.

The resolution of issues is a core aspect of human services. Most human service-oriented organisations work closely with individuals undergoing significant challenges in their life. This could include poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, the inability to access resources in their first language or mental health issues. Human services support workers may help these people to access programs to ease their burdens, advocate for their needs and provide instruction in matters such as parenting, finance or job-seeking.

Prevention is also a key concern of the human services field. Organisations within this industry are often responsible for devising and implementing early-intervention programs to help protect individuals and groups and try to connect them with resources to help them achieve their goals.

Programs can be individualised, with many people accessing a support or case worker, or targeted to particular groups.

Human services workers are committed to improving the quality of life within their community.

Advocacy is another area in which many human service workers dedicate their time. Human service advocates ensure that the community is made aware of key issues affecting vulnerable individuals or groups. They work with businesses, governments and other human services departments to help improve social issues. At times, human service advocates will also take their work onto the national or international stage, pressing for changes to law, policy and government support.

Human services practitioners generally take a human-centered approach to their work. Conversation and an ear to listen are often the most valued attributes of a human services worker. While reporting and due diligence is still essential to any organisation, human services are people-focused first and foremost.

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Bachelor of Arts

Engage with individuals and vulnerable groups on a personal level. Assist in equipping people and communities to be empowered and make their own choices.

What do those who major in human services do?

Working in the human services field, you’ll have the opportunity to put your strong interpersonal and communication skills into action by pursuing a vast array of roles.

As a case worker, you may be assigned one-on-one to a designated list of clients. Depending on your role, you may be responsible for assessing their daily support needs, facilitating their access to programs, liaising with their medical team or simply discussing their concerns. You’ll develop patience and compassion as you engage with vulnerable and under-supported individuals, finding the best ways to help them live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Crisis support is another common avenue for those in the human services field. Responsiveness and decision-making skills will be crucial as you assist those who find themselves suddenly without housing, money or support. In this fast-paced environment you’ll work closely with other providers to get people back on their feet as quickly as possible.

If communication is a strong point for you, there are several opportunities to work with those who require language or communication support during everyday activities. Support officers are often used in environments that are unfamiliar to many people, such as courts, hospitals and even some government departments. You’ll assist others in understanding important documentation, instructions or requests, and empower them to communicate their needs confidently and effectively.

Those with a passion for child welfare can undertake roles within the child protection field. Become knowledgeable in the legislation and government policy designed to support vulnerable children and improve their outcomes. You’ll have the opportunity to educate and support families, respond to child safety issues and seek to ensure safe environments for raising children.

What jobs are there for those in human services?

Human services requires a flexible approach, as you may have diverse responsibilities within your position. It is a career where every day may be different.

JCU graduates are equipped with the transferrable skills to deliver support to individuals and groups across many organisations. JCU Human Services graduates have gone on to work for government departments, charities and other non-government organisations.

Human need is a global concern, and you may find opportunities to work both domestically and internationally. Your passion for helping others will be your most powerful asset, as human services offers numerous opportunities for you to explore.

With a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Human Services from JCU, you may find yourself in roles such as:

  • Case worker
  • Community outreach officer
  • Child welfare officer
  • Housing officer
  • Court support worker
  • Social justice advocate
  • Policy advisor
  • Substance abuse counsellor
  • Migrant support worker
  • Crisis support worker.
  • Youth worker.
Happy person helping another human

Why study Human Services at JCU?

Human Services graduates require highly developed interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills. JCU is at the forefront of learning by embedding these into your degree. You’ll emerge with the skills to engage people and make a difference in their lives.

At JCU you have the flexibility to tailor your degree to suit your interests. Our skilled lecturers and small class sizes mean that you’ll benefit from opportunities for personalised learning and one-on-one discussion.

A strong focus on hands-on learning means you’ll have opportunities to work with people sooner. JCU has strong industry partnerships and offers a Work Integrated Learning program to empower you to put your knowledge and skills into practice.

With flexible majors and a variety of elective options, embrace the opportunity to specialise in one particular field, or broaden your knowledge base with complementary double majors. Develop transferrable, real-world skills that can take you anywhere with a Bachelor of Arts from JCU.

Transferable skills Expand employability opportunities through elevated thinking
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1 2024 Good Universities Guide
Associate Professor Abraham Francis.

Associate Professor Abraham Francis


Social Work and Human Services

“JCU Social Work and Human Services is grounded on the principles of social justice and human rights. We welcome our students to be connected to the grassroots realities around them. We need competent, confident, and compassionate social workers and human service professionals in the field, and we inspire our students to be change agents.”

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