Human Services Associate - Learn More

Human Services Associate

Associate of Applied Science

Credits Required for Graduation: 64.00

Learn More About This Program

Helping People in Need

Human service professionals help all individuals, from children to seniors. When you earn the Human Services degree, you will gain knowledge and skills on how to work with multiple populations in a variety of settings through classroom and field site activities.

Employment as a Human Services Associate requires flexibility and adaptability in a variety of human services situations. This program trains people to provide information, support, care, and advocacy in a human services agency. Students acquire the skills needed to work with people of diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Graduates are employed in county human services agencies, community-based organizations, residential treatment programs, schools, inpatient facilities, and other settings that assist people in need. Depending on area of interest, graduates work with elders, teens, families, people with disabilities, people in the criminal justice system, domestic/family violence, community development, and prevention.

How To Get More Information

Program Chair/Instructor

Ann Lichliter, LICSW
Kumm Center - Room 202A
Phone: 608.789.6148

Summer Contact

Administrative Program Assistant
Phone: 608.785.9409

Contact Counselors and Enrollment Services Advisors

Counselors can be reached at:
La Crosse Campus 608.785.9553
Black River Falls Campus 715.284.2253
Independence Campus 715.985.3392
Mauston Campus 608.847.7364
Tomah Campus 608.374.7700
Viroqua Campus 608.637.2612

Enrollment Services Advisors

Stacey Nelson
Phone: 608.785.9842 

Debbie Kaiser
Phone: 608.785.9078 

Ku Thao
Phone: 608.785.9129

What Does It Take To Become A Human Services Associate?

If you enjoy and work well with a variety of people, human services may be the career for you. This field allows you work directly with children, adults, and seniors. You will need to be flexible and maintain a positive attitude as you will sometimes work under stressful circumstances. Because you will be working closely with clients and other human service professionals, excellent communication skills are a must. As a Human Services Assistant, you must also be willing to follow directions, be empathetic, caring and responsible.

What Is The Program Like At Western?

The Human Services Assistant program at Western currently consists of two full academic years of course work. It takes hard work and dedication for an individual to be successful in becoming a qualified Human Services Associate, as the educational program is rigorous and requires careful planning and study. Good study habits are a must.

During classes, students will be exposed to local human service agencies through interviews, speakers and volunteer work. In addition, students will gain fieldwork experience by completing two field experiences at area human services agencies during the second year. Background checks maybe required for service learning activities, community service, and field experience courses. Access to the use of a car will be necessary for some of the fieldwork assignments which may not be accessible by public transportation or are located in outlying communities. The fieldwork experience courses are required courses. Students will apply to be a field student at an approved human service agency by completing an agency application and background check. Students will be required to interview at each site. Agencies will determine if they will accept students as interns.

How Much Time Is Spent In Human Services Agencies?

Approximately 250 hours of fieldwork experience is obtained during Field Experience I and Field Experience II that take place during the second year. During this time, students will be observing and working with agency staff during agency hours. Other much shorter assignments may be made as part of a class or fieldwork assignment.

Can I Use Previous Work Experience To Meet The Field Experience Course Requirements?

Students cannot use previous work experience to meet their field experience course requirements. Fieldwork exposes students to new populations and new learning experiences. It also provides students the opportunity to develop a network of human service professionals critical for job searches and/or school references.

What Happens After Graduation?

Upon graduation, students may continue on to receive their bachelor's degree in social work, AODA, or other related fields. Students may also seek employment at a human service agency. Possible job titles include:

  • Case Aide
  • Income Maintenance Worker
  • Intake Worker
  • Social Service Assistant
  • Youth Worker
  • Job Coach
  • Residential Worker
  • Mental Health Associate
  • Life Skills Counselor
  • Independent Living Skills Trainer
  • Mental Health Aide
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Youth Specialist
  • Visitation Worker
  • Community Living Support Staff
  • Family Educator
  • Crisis Advocate
  • Shelter Direct Care Staff
  • Teen Center Worker

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment as a Human Services Associate is projected to grow much faster than other occupations, by a rate of 28% between the years of 2010-2020. Job prospects are expected to be excellent due to the aging population and increased demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment and a need for services for youth and families.