Human Services

STUDY • VOLUNTEER • INTERN

Joe Monroe, a Human Service major, is currently completing his field work at the Samaritans in Boston. Through the Samaritans, he has received in depth training in suicide prevention, crisis intervention, and counseling techniques. He is completing his field service requirement as part of a telephone hotline team Joe says, “When I leave the Samaritans after my shift, I leave there feeling that I have accomplished something important that day. Some days, I feel as though I am making a small difference in a lot of people’s lives. Some days I feel as though I am making a big difference in one person’s life. I like doing my field work at the Samaritans and working with people who are like minded, care, and want to make a difference in the world. There’s a story on the wall of the Samaritans in Boston that I want to share with you

“There was a storm one day at a beach. The storm washed a large group of starfish onto the sand. After the storm broke, the sun came out and the starfish began drying out. A man comes across a child throwing the starfish back into the ocean. He said to the child, “Why do you even bother? You can’t save enough of those starfish to make a difference”. Looking at the man, the child picks up another starfish and throws it into the ocean. The man stared at the child and then the child said, “I made a difference to that one”.

Diane Huggins, 2008 graduate of Bunker Hill Community College, Associate in Science Degree: Human Service Program “As a graduate of the Human Services Program at Bunker Hill Community College, I have benefitted from my education by being accepted to Simmons College with a scholarship. In the Human Services Program success is a requirement that follows you from your first day of class until you obtain your degree. The camaraderie of the students toward each other and tireless support of the faculty create a complete and satisfactory experience for each student regardless of the goals they may have and the curriculum covers every aspect of learning that you will utilize in the real world.”

Governor Deval Patrick/Community Action Agency of Somerville
BHCC Human Service major, Elizabeth DeLeon with Governor Deval Patrick at the Community Action Agency of Somerville.

Current Mission and Purpose of the Human Services Program

Mission

The department’s mission statement and goals state two primary purposes. These are:

  1. To provide knowledge, training and skill development for persons interested in working in the area of social services with specific educational opportunities for those interested in early childhood development, human services, and education.
  2. To serve the community as an information and knowledge-base in the area of social service, with specific expertise in early childhood education and development, human services, and education.

Goals

The department will meet these purposes for the student in Human Services Programs by pursuing four goals. These include:

  1. To provide a program of study which will develop sufficient student competence so that graduates might enter directly into entry level positions assuming responsibility in the field of social services and casework with participants in human services.
  2. To provide a program of study which will prepare graduates for upper-division collegiate work in a four year program which upon completion will lead to increased responsibility in social service programs dealing with a myriad of human services within the community.
  3. To provide a program of study which will upgrade the skills and knowledge-base of persons currently working the field of social services, increasing their competence in their professional activities.
  4. To participate in community activities in social services by collaboration with community organizations and professionals working in the areas of social services.

The current activity of the Human Services Program clearly fits into these purposes and goals. The catalog states that the study of Human Services is intended to prepare students as paraprofessionals in careers that direct the delivery of services to people. Careers include social welfare, mental health, community development, public administration, youth work, elder care, family counseling, homemaking programs, and recreational youth programs in a diverse variety of social service community organizations.

The A.S. degree and the Certificate Options allow students to enter direct line work in Human Services organizations immediately after graduation. In the A.S. program, students may transfer their credits with ease to a bachelor’s level program at many four-year colleges or universities with majors of social services and many other related areas of study.

Human Services

Special Application Requirements

While there are no special application requirements for students beyond those required by the college for admissions, students must pass a Criminal Offense Records Investigation before being placed in community settings or practicum sites. Those students with concerns about the CORI requirements should see the college CORI officer for further information.

Associate of Science in Human Services/Students

Program Competencies

Once completing the Associate of Science in Human Services at Bunker Hill Community College, the graduate will show competency in the following areas:

  1. Participant empowerment and assessment. The student will use formal and informal assessment practices to respond to the needs, desires, and interests of participants receiving information and support from a Human Services organization. This will enhance the ability of participants to lead a self-determining life which builds self-esteem, assertiveness, and decision-making skills.
  2. Communication, collaboration, and facilitation of services. The student will communicate effectively and demonstrate skills needed to establish collaborative relationships with participants. This will allow for participatory planning, the matching of specific supports and interventions, and the effective implementation of plans to enhance the needs of participants through partnerships with family, friends and community service supports.
  3. Service networking, advocacy, and support services. The student will demonstrate knowledge about formal and informal supports available, as well as the diverse challenges facing participants (human rights, legal, administrative, financial, etc.). Participants will be assisted in identifying and gaining access to these supports, when available. The student will use advocacy strategies to overcome challenges in order to mobilize resources to support participants in reaching their goals, particularly through education and community supports.
  4. Crisis intervention and documentation. The student will demonstrate knowledge and skill in handling crisis prevention, intervention, and resolution techniques and is able to match such techniques to particular circumstances and individuals. Skills are present which provide for detailed documentation of his/her work with participants in the human service organization.
  5. Professionalism and organizational involvement with best practices. The student will be familiar with the mission and practices of the human services organization, participate in the life of the agency as a professional, and will be able to identify areas for self- improvement. This might involve pursuit of necessary education and training, participation in professional development activities, and/or sharing knowledge with other Human Services professionals.

Those students completing the Certificate Options in Human Services will have a beginning base of competency in each of these areas, but have less depth of knowledge and experience as they develop in their skills and competency than those with an associate degree.

Special Certifications

The Department's curriculum follows the standards set down by the Association of Human Service Educators. The Departments syllabi, coursework, and student outcomes assessment program have been developed in concert with this group's recommendations and standards. Additionally, the Human Service Practicum coursework is set up to follow the guidelines of the Family Development Credentialing Program, a national curriculum developed by Cornell University.

Association of Human Service Educators.

Program Success

Program success is judged throughout the program by looking at student’s work and learning in a number of ways. Students are expected to learn in four different learning modes. These include:

Levels of Learning within the Coursework Taught

The course competencies involve four differing levels of learning and involvement on the part of the student. These levels are outlined below.

Level I: Introductory and knowledge-base Formation. The student at this level of coursework will begin to develop a knowledge base of information around the subject area and consider his/her prior learning about Human Services work as a means of beginning to construct a personal and professional knowledge base for professional practice. Specific knowledge based content areas will be delineated for each course to assure the same level of learning for all students.

Level II: Observation. The student will take the knowledge gained at Level I and apply this knowledge at a deeper level by participating through observation and case studies of Human Services programs and participants so as to understand the real world meaning of theories and concepts when applied to working programs. This level implies that Level I has begun prior to observation occurring and analysis of observed information being attempted. Specific observations will be required in each course to assure this level of learning.

Level III:  Demonstrated Application of Knowledge Gained. The student will apply the knowledge-base gained and the observations completed and be able to apply this knowledge to demonstrate that the theories, concepts, and skill development expected in the course are in fact understood and able to be applied to practice.  Specific assignments will be developed for each course to assure this level of learning.

Level IV: Practice and Demonstration of Competency. The student will be required to apply the knowledge gained, the understanding from observations, and learning from applied assignments to the practicum experience which will culminate in a portfolio assessment of  best practice  using the incorporation of the program’s competencies into the practice experience.  All four levels are implied in this demonstration of competency and specific learning experiences will be built into the practicum experience to assure this level of learning.

Practicum Sites/Information

Students are engaged in learning in a practicum site during their final three semesters of their A.S. degree program.  During these semesters, students build a portfolio of assignments to prove competency in the program.  There are two ways that these placements occur.

  1. Students may be assigned a placement site in the community in which they work 150 hours per semester (300 total), usually unpaid, in a human services program.  The Department maintains relationships with many programs in the community and will help the student find an appropriate and suitable placement to do this work.  
  2. If a student is already working in  a placement site that may be acceptable to the department, he/she may use this employment site as the placement site. The same portfolio requirements are required of all students, regardless of status of site. View the Guide to the Human Services Practicum

View Rubrics of Outcomes Measurement

Life Learning Credits Through Prior Learning Assessment Program

Students may be eligible for credit through the Prior Learning Assessment Program if they have completed work in the following areas:

  • Family Development Credentialing Program (applicable to Early Childhood and Human Services Programs)
  • Child Development Associate Credentialing (applicable to Early Childhood Program)
  • BEST Youth Development Training Program (applicable to Human Services Program and Early Childhood Programs)
  • Community Outreach Education Credential (applicable to Human Services Program)
  • National Association for Family Child Care Accreditation (applicable to Early Childhood and Human Services Program)
  • Early Childhood Development Institute (applicable to Early Childhood Program)
  • Human Services Employment Ladder Program (HELP)-Morgan Memorial Goodwill Agency (applicable to Human Services Program

Additional national or community training programs may count toward prior learning credit. However, work experience alone will not count toward prior learning credit through the Department. For further information, contact the Department Chair or the Director of the PLAP program at 617-228-2350.

Specialty options

Specialty courses are offered through the Certificate Options. More information about these certificates is available on this website under the Announcements section.  See catalog information for more detail about the four certificates offered in Human Services. 

Articulations

Students may transfer credits into the program according to the college’s requirements for transfer. These courses may be from either two or four year colleges. See the Admissions office for specific information about transfer.

Human Services Degree/Certificate Students

Job Outlooks

Graduates of this program qualify for careers in social welfare, mental health, community development, public administration, youth work, work with elderly, family counseling, homemaking, and recreation in such institutions as community centers, neighborhood houses, recreational centers, and social agency rehabilitation units.

Daniel Velasquez Jr.

Daniel Velasquez Jr.

I am a 31 year old Puerto Rican-American. When I was in high school, I needed to work part time to make money for myself and my family. My employers really liked my work, so in my senior year they offered me a full time job with a better salary. At that point, money was more important to me than education, so I dropped out of school. Later though, they told me I would never be promoted again unless I got my high school diploma!

I decided to enroll in the Adult Diploma Program at the Charlestown Adult Education Program. My teacher, Judy Clough, was so patient with me. Whenever I lost confidence in myself, she would reassure me that I could meet the challenges. She was right because I was awarded my BPS high school diploma in 2004.

My positive experiences with the Charlestown program and the staff made me think of a career in education. I was very fortunate to be able to join the staff as a counseling intern while working towards my Associate's degree in Human Services at Bunker Hill Community College. It wasn't long before I was hired as the program's Computer Skills teacher for ESOL students, and in the next semester stepped in to cover a class vacated by a teacher on emergency medical leave.

I am now an integral member of the Charlestown Adult Education Program staff, instructing two sections of beginning English, plus managing the computer lab, and offering my time as a counselor and a logistical expert. And I'm still continuing my education at the same time, as a Bachelor's degree candidate in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Upon completion of this program graduates will be able to:

  • Use formal and informal assessment practices to respond to the needs, desires, and interests of participants receiving information and support from a Human Service organization, enhancing the persons’ ability to lead a self-determining life.
  • Communicate effectively and demonstrate skills needed to establish collaborative relationships with participants receiving services.
  • Demonstrate knowledge about formal and informal supports available, as well as diverse challenges facing participants, using advocacy strategies to overcome these challenges by mobilizing resources to reach participant goals.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skill in handling crisis prevention, intervention, and resolution techniques with detailed documentation of the work in a human services agency.
  • Understand the mission and practices of human services organizations, fully participating in the life of the agency as a professional and be able to identify areas of self- improvement and professional development needed for future goal attainment.