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What Is a Human Services Generalist?

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Make a career of helping people at different stages of transition. A human services generalist could work in many kinds of agencies, from rehabilitation facilities to nursing homes and halfway houses. You might be a professional or a paraprofessional, and your efforts will improve the lives of many clients.

Choosing Your Role

A human services generalist works in diverse social service environments, which could be funded by a combination of public, private and nonprofit funds. Some choose this career after training in social work, mental health counseling, education, criminal justice, human services or another public service discipline. Find a role that suits your preferred job tasks. If you want to work directly with clients, you might become a counselor or a caseworker. To stay behind the scenes, you might focus on administrative paperwork instead of communicating face-to-face or over the phone with clients.

Assessing Needs

This occupation often requires assessing needs of clients from diverse backgrounds or working under professionals who perform such assessments. You need strong interpersonal skills and emotional balance. You need the ability to establish trust with clients and ask good questions. You need to listen attentively and use self-direction to complete client interviews in a timely manner. Patience and empathy will help you to understand clients' problems and the ability to make them believe your treatment plan will help them. Your work gives emotional support to people in difficult circumstances who may not want to ask for help.

Recommending Solutions

This career may require helping clients qualify for appropriate program services and benefits and access them in a timely manner. Through receiving various forms of social assistance, many clients can improve their situation and become less dependent on their benefits. Your work increases the stability of individuals and families in your community.

Applying Psychology Concepts

Some human services generalists have an associate degree, a bachelor's degree, a master's degree or higher. Their studies often include psychology coursework. They work in one of many job titles reflecting their specific duties, such as chemical dependence counselor, community outreach coordinator, residential service coordinator and Social Security interviewer. Knowledge of different psychology and social service concepts will help human service generalists to create plans for clients that will alleviate or solve their problems.


Audra Bianca has been writing professionally since 2007, with her work covering a variety of subjects and appearing on various websites. Her favorite audiences to write for are small-business owners and job searchers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Master of Public Administration from a Florida public university.

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