Top Reasons to Earn a Doctoral Degree in Human Services

Top Reasons to Earn a Doctoral Degree in Human Services

There are many reasons to pursue a doctoral degree in the human services field. Perhaps the most important one has to do with the appeal of the field of human services itself. However, there are three specific reasons to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Services. 

More Opportunity

A human services PhD can open many doors of opportunity. The field is extremely vast, and the broader the field, the more professional options there are to apply your human services doctoral education. 

According to the National Organization of Human Services (NOHS), “the field of Human Services is broadly defined, uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations.” This definition includes job functions that underlie an almost endless array and diversity of fields and economic sectors. 

Deeper Knowledge

This reason leads to another appeal of a doctorate degree in human services. A human services doctorate can be combined with just about any prior degree in order to extend your professional competence in broader directions. Human services doctoral students may have prior degrees in areas as diverse as psychology, law, health and wellness, gerontology, to name a few, and these merely represent a handful of the fields under the human services domain.

If you’re currently working in the field, attaining a human services doctorate can open doors without limiting further career options. While some doctoral degrees offer a fairly narrow range of professional applications, for example a doctorate in clinical psychology, a human services doctorate offers a host of different fields and professional subspecialties open to pursue. It’s an ideal option if you want to conduct research, consult, teach or any combination thereof. The competencies gained can be applied in your immediate profession in order to expand your professional paths toward internal and external career opportunities. 

NOHS further defines the human services profession as one “which promotes improved service delivery systems by addressing not only the quality of direct services, but also by seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery.” Consequently, a doctorate in human services equips you with the research skills and theoretical knowledge base to work as an agent of change directly in your profession, whether through consulting, program evaluation, research, or leadership.

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Growth and Expansion

Finally, the field of human services is growing and evolving rapidly. Privatization and other cost-saving initiatives are leading to new opportunities in many human services sectors. Technological advances continually offer new ways of delivering services, as well as new methods of working with data to improve quality and health outcomes. Research advances in areas such as mindfulness, neuroplasticity, and self-compassion are leading to new interventions to improve the wellbeing of clients and human services professionals alike, not to mention a proliferation of new job opportunities in health and wellness. With that said, it’s an exciting time for the human services field.

If you are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree and have a desire to gain opportunity and knowledge and be part of an expanding field, become an agent of change with a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services. Learn more about why a doctoral degree in human services is right for you. Contact an Ashford advisor today. 


Written by Eric Muenks, program chair for the PhD in Human Services in the College of Doctoral Studies at Ashford University

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This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.