Concentrations Added to Human Services Program

by Diane VanDyke

As the number of jobs continues to grow in the expanding field of Human Services, Montgomery County Community College is taking the lead in preparing students for these careers by offering new concentrations in its Human Services degree program.

Students will now be able to earn their Associate in Applied Science degree in one comprehensive Human Services program with the option of selecting three areas of concentration: Addictions, Gerontology and Child, Youth and Family Services.

Students, who already have their degree or who work in the field and want to update their skills or advance in their careers, may opt to enroll in one of the Certificate of Completion programs in Human Services, Addictions or Gerontology.

Recognizing the roles and skills of human services professionals and practitioners have changed and become more diverse in recent years, the College revamped its program so the courses focus more on professional skill development. The new skill building program includes courses in assessment—documentation, social policy and, ethics, volunteer administration and professional development.

“Student success and fostering a positive learning environment is a major goal for us in Human Services,” said Maureen Rose, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Human Services, about the changes. “For example, we eliminated one of the two practicums. The elimination of more than 300 practicum hours will now make the program more attainable for students with a myriad of life responsibilities.”

“We are also currently seeking national accreditation for the revised program from the Council for Standards in Human Services Education,” she said.

The accreditation allows students to graduate from a nationally recognized Council-approved program and gives them an edge in receiving their board certifications as human services professionals (HS-BCP).

After earning an AAS degree in Human Services students will be able to easily transfer to four-year institutions, such as Chestnut Hill College, Gwynedd Mercy and Drexel University, to obtain baccalaureate and master’s degrees.

The number of jobs in the Human Services field is expected to grow by 23 percent during the next several years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2008, social and human service assistants held more than 352,000 jobs nationwide. More than 65 percent of the people employed in this field are working in the health care and social assistance areas.

Career opportunities are plentiful in the Human Services field. In the area of Gerontology, for example, potential jobs include, activities director, adult day care provider, case worker, consumer advocate, lifelong learning instructor, senior center manager, social services coordinator and volunteer coordinator.

Other job-growth areas include veterans’ services, behavioral health, child, youth and family service agencies, correctional facilities, domestic violence centers, community and mental health centers, group homes, halfway houses, developmental disabilities and addiction services for profit, non-profit and government agencies and programs.

The College’s program can be completed within two years. Currently the program offers courses in the traditional classroom setting, hybrid and online. Starting in summer 2011, accelerated core courses will be offered online.

“Applicants interested in pursuing a career in the human services/social service profession are strongly encouraged to contact me for program information at 215-641-6413. I am more than willing to discuss career and academic goals with potential students. We want everyone to get off to a good start to ensure success,” Rose said.

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