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What Can You Do with a Health and Human Services Degree?

Health and human services” refers to the programs and services that provide individual health, public health, and human services assistance to all people, particularly disadvantaged groups in society. This career is the perfect choice for individuals who enjoy taking care of others and improving quality of life in whole communities through prevention, education, and remediation. The healthcare field needs quality health and human service professionals now more than ever, and earning a bachelor’s degree in health and human services is the first step to success in this impactful career.

Key Learnings in a Health and Human Services Degree Program

This degree is for those who work in the healthcare field, have medical certificates or licenses, have obtained an associate degree, or simply want to enter the medical field. Students will become skilled at coordinating with healthcare providers, patients, caregivers, and medical services to improve the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of an increasingly complex healthcare system. The degree program covers areas such as patient-focused healthcare, leadership, communication, cultural awareness, person-centered care coordination, and more.  

WGU’s Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services degree will prepare you to create positive change for communities in need. You'll become skilled in patient advocacy in a variety of settings, with expert knowledge of current theories on:

  • Value-based care systems.
  • Community and public health strategies.
  • Communication of health plan information to patients.
  • Promotion of client-centered holistic care.
  • Strategies on how to be a change agent for integrated care management.

Health and Human Services Careers

Health and human services is such a wide field with many different careers, so there is a suitable niche for everyone. With a bachelor’s degree in health and human services, you can start applying for all entry-level roles and aim for higher-level roles when you have more work experience. Keep reading to learn about some very promising health and human services roles you’ll be able to apply for after completing this degree.

Community Health Worker

Community health workers (CHWs) are public health professionals who have an intimate understanding of the communities they serve. The relationship they build with community members allows them to act as an intermediary between health and social services and the community. They facilitate access to services created to improve the quality of life in the community and most commonly work in low-income areas where quality healthcare services are less accessible. Community health workers’ key responsibilities include:

  • Helping individuals, families, and groups access health resources such as insurance, food, housing, quality care, and information.
  • Facilitating communication and client empowerment in interactions with healthcare/social service systems.
  • Assisting healthcare and social service systems in becoming culturally relevant to their local population.
  • Educating community members about their health conditions and how to develop strategies to avoid substance abuse and improve wellbeing.
  • Sharing health information using culturally relevant language.
  • Linking individuals on probation to healthcare.
  • Connecting people to healthcare and social service resources.
  • Advocating for local health needs.
  • Providing basic health services such as monitoring blood pressure and providing first aid.

Community health work is a growing field, which means that job opportunities will continue to increase in the foreseeable future. Salaries in this profession vary depending on local economies, wage scales, and demand. In major cities, starting annual salaries range from $35,000 to $42,000. Senior-level professionals can expect to earn $42,000 to $52,000, while supervisors can earn $52,000 to $60,000. Manager-level community health workers generally earn salaries over $60,000.

Patient Care Coordinator

A patient care coordinator is a trained health professional that assists in managing a patient’s care. They monitor and coordinate treatment plans, educate patients and their families on health conditions, link patients with healthcare providers, and track their progress. Health services coordinator’s day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Consulting with patients and their families about their health conditions.
  • Educating patients about their medications and rehabilitation instructions.
  • Assisting in developing care plans according to specific health needs.
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to set up appointments and treatment plans.
  • Checking in on patients’ progress throughout the healing process.
  • Helping the care team with developing health interventions.
  • Attending training and courses to keep current on new developments in healthcare.
  • Treating patients with compassion and respect throughout the care process.

The average annual pay for patient care coordinators is $35,533 a year. Depending on geographical location, demand for the job, and years of experience, wages for this position can range from $20,000 to $53,000.  

Health Services Coordinator

Health services coordinators act as a liaison between healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients to keep everyone on the same page in understanding the requirements of a patient’s care. These healthcare professionals are similar to patient care coordinators but are more involved in direct patient care situations like keeping track of vitals, working with pathologists in lab testing, scheduling testing and diagnostic processes for patients, and working with emergency triage. Health services coordinators are generally responsible for:

  • Discussing health problems with patients and their families.
  • Educating about medication, conditions, and care instructions.
  • Providing basic medical care.
  • Executing a care plan created by physicians according to patient needs.
  • Being familiar and complying with healthcare guidelines and laws.
  • Administering medication to patients.  
  • Making sure patients understand the services available to them.
  • Providing ongoing case management for individuals with special needs.

A health services coordinator's annual salary averages $49,148, though these professionals can earn upwards of $69,000 a year.

Health Educator

A health educator works with groups in community settings or with individuals to educate them on how to live a healthy lifestyle. They assess the needs within a community and develop programs to meet those needs. They also educate the community on how to correct unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Health educators are known to wear many hats, but some of their main responsibilities include:

  • Assessing community needs.
  • Helping community members access important health information.
  • Assisting people to manage their existing health conditions.
  • Creating and facilitating workshops and programs to address the health concerns of patients.
  • Sharing information related to the health and wellness of the community.
  • Offering one-on-one support to those with the greatest health needs.
  • Collaborating with education professionals, physicians, and medical centers.
  • Collecting and analyzing data on a community to design future programs and services. 

The average salary of a health educator is reported to be $69,063 but typically ranges between $60,338 and $77,617. This range varies widely depending on factors like education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience.

Steps to Building a Health and Human Services Career

Professionals in the health and human services field must always hold a relevant bachelor’s degree. This education requirement shows employers that you’re equipped to effectively and compassionately care for patients in need.  

Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, you can begin applying for entry-level roles and gaining work experience. At this point, you can also seek certifications in your area of interest to make yourself more competitive in the job market.  

You may also find that you want to continue advancing your education by earning a master’s degree in a specific field of healthcare, such as in healthcare management or health leadership

There is a high and growing demand for health and human services professionals. This profession is expected to see a growth rate of 28% from 2021 to 2031, which will equate to 56,600 job openings per year, on average, over the course of the decade.

Many employers require prospective health and human services managers to have some work experience in an administrative role in a hospital or other healthcare facility when applying for managerial roles.  

Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Services

Professionals who have skills in health and human services are some of the most sought-after workers. With a bachelor’s degree in health and human services, you can join this high-demand workforce and dedicate your career to helping people and communities live better and healthier lives.

WGU’s Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services degree will equip you to inspire change in the healthcare field and facilitate a stronger, healthier community. You'll learn how to effectively advocate for patients and clients to drive systemic change in a variety of settings, in turn creating a landscape for people to live better lives. 

In this degree program, you’ll take interesting and engaging courses like History of Healthcare in America, Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health, Care for Individuals and Families, Community Relations and Leadership, Human Growth and Development, and many more, all designed to set you up for success in your career.

Why study at WGU? There are many reasons WGU students start on the path toward their career with one of our degrees:

  • Our programs are affordable. Tuition is charged per six-month term, not per credit. So, if you work faster through the online health and human services program, you can end up paying less.
  • You can cater your education to your schedule. At WGU, you don't have to log in to classes at a certain time, and your assignments don't have set deadlines, which means you can do your schoolwork anytime, anywhere. Keep working at your job and keep up with your family responsibilities all while earning a degree.
  • Our programs are accelerated. At WGU, your existing knowledge can help you finish your degree faster. Our competency-based model allows you to move through your courses as quickly as you show mastery in the material, so you don’t have to wait to start your career.

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