The Human Services cluster uses your skills in communication and problem solving to provide support to families and individuals with services from working in early childhood care to providing mental health services for older adults. This diverse Career Cluster allows you to work in a variety of settings including health care, spas, schools, and community centers.
It is expected that more social workers will be needed in the coming years. There should be an even greater need for mental health and substance abuse social workers. This is partly due to the fact that drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs, as opposed to jail, where they are treated by social workers. The massage therapy industry also should see a boost in workers. In recent years the popularity of massage clinic franchises has increased, offering consumers more affordable massages, and increasing the need for massage therapists. Job prospects will be better for massage therapists who are licensed in states that require it. However, professionals entering the field should also be aware that it takes time to build a client base.
Produced by: Highland Springs Technical Center, Henrico County Public Schools
Employment Projections: 2014-2024*
According to Trailblazers analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the Human Services cluster is projected to experience about 16 percent growth in Virginia between 2014 and 2024, which exceeds the anticipated national average growth of 13 percent among all occupations in this cluster. Slightly more than 177,200 Virginians were employed in this cluster in 2014, and about 28,100 more are expected by 2024, for a total of approximately 205,300 workers.
*NOTE: The methodology for classifying occupations within the cluster/pathway system has been updated since the previous data cycle (2012-22), so 2014-24 Trailblazers employment projection data may not be comparable to data from previous cycles.
For more information on occupations in the Human Services Cluster, visit Trailblazers – Career and Technical Education in Virginia(PDF).
|Selected Occupation(s)||Employed in Virginia
|2015 Median Wage||Predominant Level of Education|
|Personal care aides||32,418||$20,980||High school diploma|
|Childcare workers||28,524||$20,320||High school diploma|
|Hairstylists||21,829||$23,660||High school diploma|
|Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors||8,908||$36,160||Bachelor's degree|
|Mental health counselors||7,644||$41,880||Bachelor's degree, certification|
|Child, family, and school social workers||7,791||$42,350||Bachelor's degree|
|Supervisors of personal service workers||7,226||$35,710||Associate degree|
|Human service assistants||6,229||$30,830||Bachelor's degree|
|Rehabilitation counselors||3,904||$34,390||Bachelor's degree|
|Massage therapists||3,500||$38,040||Associate degree|
Wage data: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Virginia.
Employment projections data: Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Occupational Employment Projections 2012-2022.
Predominant education level: Trailblazers through the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
Career Cluster Planning
A resource for counselors, administrators, and educators
CTE Administrative Planning Guide (APG) – includes information to help local school divisions plan and schedule instructional programs. The APG is organized by career clusters, with a complete listing of courses, concentration sequences, and credentials available to students as they plan for career entry and continuing education. Users may access course information by cluster or by searching for specific courses or certifications.
Career Planning Guide – includes an easy way for students and counselors to look for courses to further career goals. One can search for occupations, browse by Career Clusters or favorite academic subjects.
Information and tips for instructional leaders, administrators, counselors and teachers/faculty for creating a career pathway academic and career plan of study.
Sample Academic and Career Plans of Study
School divisions are asked to develop sample plans of study based on the courses offered within their schools, the employment needs of the region, and the post-high school educational opportunities needed for these careers. Once these sample plans are developed, they can be customized to the needs of individual students so that all students have the opportunity to have an individualized academic and career plan of study.
Sample Pathway Plans of Study for Human Services:
- Consumer Services (Word)
- Counseling & Mental Health Services (Word)
- Early Childhood Development & Services (Word)
- Family & Community Services (Word)
- Personal Care Services (Word)
- Blank Plan of Study (with fields) (Word)
Also see Sample Plans of Study for all clusters and pathways.
Report: Education, Employment and Earnings: Analyzing Data from Human Services
Cluster Analysis Document for Virginia
- National Association for Home Care & Hospice
- American Counseling Association
- National Child Care Association
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.