The field of human services is incredibly wide and varied, as well as being very rewarding, both personally and financially. If you hold a master’s in human services (MHS) degree, then a fascinating career awaits you. That said, obtaining this degree requires a considerable investment of both time and money. While you are likely to be interested in it because you have a genuine desire to make the lives of other people better, you probably also want to see a return on your investment for your degree. So how do you get the best masters in human services salary?
What Is a Master’s in Human Services
The MHS degree is considered to in the field of healthcare. It trains people to deliver the best types of services to people in their community, with a focus on their physical and mental health. Within human services, there are a number of more specific degrees, such as health educator, social worker, and rehabilitation counselor.
The focus of the MHS degree is on making sure that every individual within a community has his or her most basic needs met. It has a preventive focus, ensuring issues that have a negative impact on health and well-being do not occur, but also a reactive focus, allowing people to get the help they need when they need it. The field is incredibly broad, which also means that there are a lot of different career options available to you. Some of them will require more specialized degrees, as well as licenses and certification. A good example of that is the marriage and family therapist.
With the MHS degree, you will be able to take on positions in a huge variety of different organizations, ranging from private practices to government agencies, and from schools to sober living facilities. Your job description will be equally broad and varied, and will depend largely on where you work and in what capacity.
Getting a Job in Human Services
In order to get the best MHS salary, you need to make sure that you make yourself attractive to prospective employers. This can be quite complex, because there is a lot of information out there and the field is so wide and varied that you may feel somewhat overwhelmed. A lot of people do not start searching for work until they have graduated, but there are a number of things you can do long before that, which will make you more attractive once you do enter the workforce. These include:
• Joining professional organizations relevant to the field that you are interested in. These organizations can help you with networking, and they can also point you towards job opportunities. Two good organizations are the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS).
• Creating a strong resume with references of past employers, professors, colleagues, clients, and peers.
• Getting ready for an interview by researching questions likely to be asked, and by role playing with your fellow students.
• Networking in a variety of different ways, ensuring that you build professional relationships with many people you come across during your degree program
• Using your university’s career services, where you can also get help in terms of determining which area of human services is most interesting to you
• Subscribing to online job boards with vacancies for human services jobs
• Setting out a career trajectory that showcases what you want to achieve and by when. Some people find making a picture board to be particularly beneficial.
Another very important thing is to make sure that your MHS degree is properly accredited. The main accrediting body for these degrees is the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). Without accreditation, your degree will not be recognized in the workforce. This is because, when a program is accredited, it means that it meets all the relevant standards required for that particular field of study.
Getting the Right Job
During your program, you should already research the types of positions that are available for people with your degree. This is where you will also see just how wide and varied the field of human services actually is. Some of the most popular positions for those with an MHS degree are:
• Case worker, earning between $32,000 and $62,000 per year
• Child advocate, earning around $44,280 per year
• Child life specialist, earning around $56,060 per year
• Community economic development officer, earning around $64,270 per year
• Community outreach worker, earning around $38,300 per year
• Crisis intervention counselor, earning around $41,920 per year
• Emergency management specialist, earning between $53,680 and $82,560 per year
• Family and human development worker, earning between $34,440 and $47,790 per year
• Grant writer, earning around $63,280 per year
• Grief counselor, earning around $39,710 per year
• Health educator, earning between $38,870 and $80,870 per year
• Human resources director, earning between $37,506 and $123,291 per year
• Human resources generalist, earning around $50,000 per year
• Human resources manager, earning between $47,829 and $88,672 per year
• Nonprofit program coordinator, earning around $36,648 per year
• Nonprofit program manager, earning around $45,636 per year
• Probation officer, earning between $30,830 and $77,230 per year
• Public administrator, earning around $81,630 per year
• Rehabilitation case worker, earning between $23,890 and $46,450 per year
• Social and community services manager, earning between $43,500 and $77,080 per year
• Substance abuse counselor, earning between $32,050 and $59,230 per year
• Youth worker, earning between $28,840 and $64,410 per year
Work for the Right Company
Another key factor that will significantly drive your salary is the size of the organization that you work for. According to recent data by Salary.com, the average annual salary for an MHS degree holder depending on the size of the organization is:
• $49,031 for companies with between one and nine employees
• $49,217 for companies with between 10 and 49 employees
• $59,665 for companies with between 50 and 199 employees
• $56,296 for companies with between 200 and 599 employees
• $65,003 for companies with between 600 and 1,999 employees
• $65,000 for companies with between 2,000 and 4,999 employees
• $67,270 for companies with between 5,000 and 19,999 employees
• $103,540 for companies with between 20,000 and 49,999 employees
• $89,850 for companies with 50,000 employees or more
Work in the Right Geographical Location
Also of importance is where in the country you work. If you want to earn the best possible salary as an MHS degree holder, you should consider one of the following states:
• Virginia, averaging at $44,128
• New York, averaging at $49,392
• Pennsylvania, averaging at $49,481
• Texas, averaging at $64,043
• Illinois, averaging at $67,000
• Florida, averaging at $67,407
• California, averaging at $78,000
Specialize in the Right Area
Finally, during your degree program and beyond, you should consider taking on extra training in certain specialized areas. Data from Payscale.com has demonstrated that people who have certain types of specialized training under their belt, or having completed elective courses in these areas during their degree program, can attract far higher salaries. As such, those with training in:
• Performance management earn an average of $78,812 per year
• Employee relations earn an average of $76,121 per year
• Benefits and compensation earn an average of $74,150 per year
• Operations management earn an average of $68,400 per year
• Recruiting earn an average of $63,723 per year
• Training earn an average of $57,704 per year
• Microsoft Excel earn an average of $52,241 per year
• Microsoft Office earn an average of $49,963 per year
• Counseling earn an average of $39,161 per year
• Case management earn an average of $38,821 per year
As you can see, there are many factors that will affect how much you can earn once you graduate from a master’s in human services program. It also shows that your career can be incredibly varied, and that you can set yourself on a career path that is suitable specifically to your personal interests and needs. And by properly planning your professional future, you should be able to see a significant return on investment on the cost of your degree.
Master of Human Services (MHS) Degree Average Salary. (2017, Mar. 25). Retrieved from http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Master_of_Human_Services_(MHS)/Salary
Jill Hamburg Coplan. Best and worst graduate degrees for jobs in 2015. (2015, Apr. 27) Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/04/27/best-worst-graduate-degrees-jobs/
Jessica Blanchard. Human Services Salary: What to Expect with Your Degree. (2013, Sep. 9) Retrieved from http://online.shorter.edu/human-services/human-services-salary-what-to-expect-with-your-degree/