Associate in Science Degree
This curriculum is designed to prepare students to perform effectively in a human service setting and/or to transfer to a baccalaureate program in human services, social work, psychology, counseling, or other fields in the helping profession. Emphasis is on the empirical and theoretical aspects of the disciplines of psychology, sociology, social work, counseling, and group work, with application through practicum experience in community facilities and settings. Students are trained to work with specialists in psychology, social work, community services, anti-poverty programs, mental health, gerontology, education, and advocacy.
Admission to the program requires placement in ENG*101, a written application, and a personal interview. All human services students must be advised by full time faculty from the Human Services Program.
HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAM OVERVIEW
Do you enjoy helping others? Want a fulfilling career where you can work directly with people – and, in one of the fastest-growing fields out there?
Start here with a Human Services degree from Middlesex.
Whether you want to build skills and qualifications for your current position, seek a new and exciting career, or aspire to be a leader in the field of social work – we offer a wide range of programs in Human Services specializations with a flexible schedule that fits your life. You’ll learn about the challenges and the rewards of working in Human Services – while gaining practical hands-on experience in your focus area.
Our curriculum is designed for those seeking continuing education or further enhancement of their skills in human services as well as those planning to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in human services, social work, psychology, counseling or other areas.
In this hands-on educational program, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the attitudes, thoughts and feelings of working in a human services area through our top-notch clinical courses.
Gain direct experience with human service consumers and agencies through a variety of diverse internships and class experiences.
Middlesex can train you to work in the career of your dreams – helping people in need, in areas including social work, education, advocacy, community services, mental health and more. Get right to work in a field that’s projected to grow by 25 percent over the coming years, with an Associate’s Degree in Science or one of our sought-after certification programs.
The Human Services degree is part of MxCC’s Social Sciences Division, which also includes anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology; and oversees curricula in Human Services, Therapeutic Recreation, Criminal Justice, and Early Childhood Education.
Professor and Program Coordinator of Human Services
Office Location: Snow Hall 508
See office hours here
CARA MCPHEE, FAMILY SUPPORT PROVIDER
Genise Rodriguez, GEAR UP Tutor
Dan Pagan, Emergency Needs Coordinator
SALLY SMITH MAKES SENIORS SMILE
Back in the 1950s, some women didn’t attend college right after high school, and while MxCC alumna Sally Smith liked to learn, she began college much later in life.
Originally from East Hampton, Sally grew up in Meriden and graduated from Meriden High School in 1958. Her father initially discouraged her from going to college or joining the Navy like her brothers. Instead, she started her own family. But years later, Sally was divorced and, because her children were still small, she had to sell her house and go on state aid.
In order to get off Medicaid, Sally became a licensed practical nurse (LPN) through the Vinal Tech program in Middletown in 1973.
While working as an LPN in a nursing home, Sally met a patient in her eighties who was a talented painter and always wanted to exhibit in her own art show. Sally simply went ahead and arranged an art exhibit and reception for her in Cheshire, where the patient even sold two paintings. “She was beside herself with joy!” recalled Sally.
By the 1980s, Sally’s kids were grown and she explored the idea of attending college. She first attended Southern Connecticut State University, but that campus experience was not for her. Instead she decided to audit an algebra class at Middlesex Community College. She then enrolled in more classes and worked with a tutor to improve her grades. For a while, she lived near the former MxCC Meriden Center and also took classes there. She even reconnected with old acquaintance in one of her classes, Betty Berger. They knew each other previously when their kids were in dance class together.
After attending MxCC part-time into the 1990s, Sally earned her associate degree in human services. “I had a very good experience at Middlesex. I enjoyed being there, and the teachers were great,” she reiterated.
While still working as a nurse, Sally met an elderly male patient of Irish descent, who said he never had been to Ireland. She talked with his daughter to see if this was even physically possible for him to travel. She agreed, so Sally again proceeded to see how to arrange this for him. She spoke with other senior wish agencies that told Sally she would have to do all the work. If that was the case, why not start her own foundation with the mission of fulfilling the dreams of senior adults?
In 2007, Sally and her friend Betty launched a nonprofit organization called Seniors Have Dreams, Too. The group’s purpose is “to make a difference in the lives of the elderly and create opportunities for seniors with limited resources to experience a lifelong dream.” The nationwide program is offered to seniors 65 years of age or older, living below the poverty level, and physically and mentally able to experience a wish. Receiving no grant money, the group operates on individual donations and holds an annual arts and crafts fundraiser.
Recently, the organization granted several wishes—a 78-year-old woman with cancer living in Las Vegas went to a concert for the first time; a Connecticut woman’s dream was to visit the casino again with her friends; a woman in her eighties received piano lessons and recorded a CD; a former airline hostess rode in a helicopter—all made possible through the work of Sally’s organization.
“No matter how old you are, you should always have something to look forward to. None of your memories should be old,” she said, who now lives in Wallingford.
Sally still takes her nursing job very seriously. “ I love my job working in nursing homes. This is where I belong. I love working with the elderly and kids with disabilities. I’m getting things for nothing, and so I have to give back,” said Sally emphatically.
What is Sally’s dream? “To complete a bachelor’s degree before turning 90 years old,” she said. “But now my job is to make people smile.”
To donate, sponsor or apply for a dream, or attend the December 1 crafts fair, visit www.seniorshavedreams.org.
ALENE HARRISON ’12 FINDS A LEGACY IN HUMAN SERVICES
Alene Harrison’s wish was really a simple one: to bring a smile to people’s faces. Today, that is how she spends most of her day—and for that, she gives credit to Middlesex Community College.
Working at the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction and then at River Valley Services in Middletown, where she was living, gave her the chance to directly help people in need. She wanted to make this her life-long work, but that meant building her academic credentials. Fortunately, Middlesex Community College was right next door.
Alene enrolled in MxCC’s highly regarded Human Services program, and once she started taking classes, she appreciated the smaller size of the College, making it easier to connect with her classmates and professors. Alene was drawn to the ways Judith Felton, coordinator of the program, would push students to work harder and get out of their comfort zones to challenge themselves. The connection deepened when Alene learned that Judith had, ironically, worked with and admired Alene’s grandmother early in her own career.
Alene’s passion for social work does indeed come from her grandmother (also named Alene). She often watched how her grandmother made a difference in other people’s lives.
Now, Alene was motivated to show these two influential women that she would succeed in their shared profession. And as an older student, Alene felt she was more tuned in to how college was important to a great career. She dedicated herself to learning and working, scheduling her classes and meetings around her full-time job. Individualized feedback from professors helped her improve as a student—a great relief to Alene after realizing age was not a factor in her success.
“It is never too late to go back to school, no matter what age,” she said with a smile.
In 2012, Alene received her hard-earned associate’s degree in Human Services from MxCC. She then graduated magna cum laude from the University of Bridgeport with a BS in Human Services.
“My grandmother often said since each person is different—a good social worker needs to work with each person differently,” Alene said. “After working in this field for many years, I now know what she means, and I keep her words close to my heart. I feel MxCC follows that same philosophy—working with each person differently and treating each person as unique individuals.”
THOUGHT FOR FOOD
It’s not unusual for a Middlesex Community College student to be someone who did not enroll in college immediately after high school graduation. This was the case for Carolyn Russell, a native of Middletown, CT. She first managed a local coffee shop for several years before realizing she wanted to pursue a career helping people. Knowing MxCC as a local and affordable school, she registered there to study human services.
During her time at the College, Carolyn greatly valued her internships. This experience gave her excellent exposure in learning what it’s like to work for nonprofit organizations. Her first assignment was at the Stork Club Preschool in Rocky Hill, CT, working with infants and toddlers. Next she worked at an outpatient program for children at Elmcrest Hospital in Portland, CT. She also interned with the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth organization as a case manager.
After graduating from the human services program at MxCC in 1999, she moved to the Seattle area to be near her sister. On a whim, she responded to a newspaper ad for a position at a food bank, not expecting to get the job. But to her surprise, she was hired as the food resources coordinator at Food Lifeline, a Feeding America network member food bank and distribution center, serving more than 300 hunger relief organizations. Her role involved soliciting food donations through government programs, food distribution warehouses, wholesalers, retail stores and farms.
At this point, Carolyn was hooked. She really enjoyed doing good and helpful work as a career.
Being from New England, she decided after seven years in Seattle that she wanted to move back to the East Coast. She first headed to Maryland’s Delmarva Peninsula, where she became the operations and food sourcing manager for the Maryland Food Bank–Eastern Shore Branch, also part of the Feeding America network.
The following year, Carolyn was offered the chance to return to Connecticut to work at the Connecticut Food Bank, now located in Wallingford. Today, she is the procurement director there, responsible for securing more than 23 million pounds of food, which is distributed to nearly 600 hunger relief organizations throughout the state each year.
Her desire to continue her education in a field related to the nonprofit work she has accomplished throughout her career motivated her to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in organizational management from Ashford University, an online college founded in Iowa. She successfully transferred all her MxCC course credits to enroll in the program.
Looking back, Carolyn appreciates the personal attention and motivation professors Judith Felton and Greg Horn gave her while attending MxCC. She loved the smaller class size and how it led to a good and different learning experience for all students.
“The professors knew who you were, and that was a big deal,” she added.
DISCOVERING SOCIAL WORK
Cait Zinser always knew about Middlesex Community College having grown up in nearby Haddam, Conn. When she was in high school, she admits academics were not a priority. She had a hard time with studying and didn’t really look into pursuing a college education. After high school, while her friends went off to college, Cait realized she needed to think about what she was going to do with her life.
That’s when she turned to MxCC and signed up for some basic classes. This convenience gave her the opportunity to find out more about herself, especially with self-directing her course schedule. And she particularly loved the smaller class sizes. She enrolled in a psychology class early on and discovered that she enjoyed learning about people and their environment. This then led her to focus on human services courses and discover the lasting inspiration of Professor Judith Felton.
Professor Felton assigned the students in her class to videotape themselves practicing active and reflective listening. After viewing Cait’s recording, Professor Felton told her, “You should be a social worker.” Even with this encouragement, Cait was still unsure.
So after graduating from MxCC in 2003, Cait was still searching for her career focus and transferred to the University of Connecticut. She enrolled in the BGS program (bachelor of general studies with a focus in human services) and felt at home commuting to UConn’s West Hartford campus, which is smaller than the Storrs campus and more like the familiar MxCC.
After completing her degree at UConn, she worked for four years at Wesleyan University in the Office of International Studies and in the chemistry department. During this time, she enrolled in STEP classes at UConn, which is a professional development program for social workers. It was then she realized that she really wanted to help people and found her calling to be a social worker after all.
Cait describes social work as a versatile field, with opportunities to work with different environments and diverse populations. Her first internship brought her to a family services agency, working with children and parents. At her next internship with the Connecticut VA hospital in West Haven, she was humbled by working with adult patients suffering from trauma. Learning about the many forms of mental illness and the complex, effective interventions for mental health helped her to focus on providing psychotherapy.
Currently, she is a dialysis social worker at the VA but is trained as a psychotherapist and soon hopes to transition into private practice. Every Friday in Middletown, she is available for consultation, specializing in trauma work, anxiety and depression, as well as ADHD and bipolar conditions. Her approach with clients is from a strengths perspective, as she believes people are inherently resilient and already have a variety of tools in their personal toolbox.
Today, Cait fondly recalls the comfortable setting while studying at MxCC and is grateful to the supportive nature of her MxCC professors. Read more about Cait here.
Students should meet with a Guided Pathways Advisor/Faculty Advisor to review graduation requirements and plan for future semesters by logging into MyCommnet and clicking on Degree Works.
Human Services Degree Requirements by Semester
First Semester (Fall)
|ENG*101, Composition (or ENG*101E)||General Education Requirement:|
|Historical Knowledge Elective||General Education Requirement:|
|Quantitative Reasoning Elective||General Education Requirement:|
|PSY*111, General Psychology I||General Education Requirement:|
|HSE*101, Intro to Human Services||General Education Requirement:|
Social Phenomena (1 of 2)
Second Semester (Spring)
|Aesthetic Dimensions Elective||General Education Requirement:|
SOC*101, Principles of Sociology
SOC*103, Social Problems
(2 of 2)
|Written Communication Elective||General Education Requirement:|
Written Communication II
|HSE*202, Introduction to Interviewing/Counseling||Program Requirement||3|
PSY*201, Life Span Development
PSY*204, Child and Adolescent Development
Third Semester (Fall)
|COM*173, Public Speaking||General Education Requirement:|
Scientific Knowledge & Understanding Elective
|General Education Requirement:|
Scientific Knowledge & Understanding Elective
|HSE*243, Human Services Skills and Methods||Program Requirement||3|
|SOC*, PSY*, or SSC* Elective||Program Requirement||3|
(Human Services Certificate courses may be used here)
Fourth Semester (Spring)
|HSE*281, Field Placement I||Program Requirement||3|
|PSY*245, Abnormal Psychology||Program Requirement||3|
|SOC*120, Group Dynamics||Program Requirement||3|
(Human Services Certificate courses may be used here)
(Human Services Certificate courses may be used here)
Total Program Credits:
Upon successful completion of all program requirements, graduates will be able to:
- Explain and compare the theories pertaining to adjustment and development;
- Explain and compare the theories of treatment methods and intervention modalities;
- Explain and compare the etiological factors in psychopathology, including the biological, sociological, and psychological factors;
- Demonstrate attitudes of openness, candor, cooperation, and support through group work and interaction;
- Demonstrate the use of methods of research and reporting, using psychological, sociological, and clinical terminology;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the personality and behavioral factors, both integrative (adaptive) and disintegrative (maladaptive) which contribute to individuals/clients’ coping skills dealing with stress, conflict, and hardship;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the normative developmental patterns that occur in individuals from conception through old age and how this understanding impacts our understanding of abnormal behavior and clinical interventions;
- Integrate knowledge and skill in achieving competency in functional and responsive therapeutic abilities;
- Demonstrate skill in client needs assessment and in the provision of information and referral for client access to resources, whether the client be an individual, family, group, or community;
- Demonstrate an awareness of themselves as change agents through the use of such vehicles as recreational activities, modeling, contracting, client and community intervention, advocacy, and constructive use of confrontation;
- Analyze the impact of collaborative social service systems.
Employment of HS workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Opportunities for qualified applicants are expected to be excellent, not only because of projected rapid growth in the occupation but because of substantial replacement needs.
The following is a sampling of potential jobs in Human Services:
- Adult day care worker
- Activities coordinator
- Behavior management aide
- Case worker
- Case manager
- Child care worker
- Child advocate
- Child abuse worker
- Client advocate
- Community organizer
- Community outreach worker
- Crisis intervention worker
- Domestic violence counselor
- Drug counseling tech
- Family support worker
- Gerontology aide
- Group activities aide
- Group facilitator
- Group home worker
- Home health aide
- Halfway house counselor
- Intake interviewer
- Job coach
- Juvenile court liaison
- Life skills instructor
- Mental health aide
- Neighborhood worker
- Parks & recreation worker
- Pet therapy aide
- Probation officer
- Psychological aide
- Rehabilitation worker
- Residential counselor
- Social services tech
- Therapeutic recreation asst.
- Volunteer director
- Youth worker
JOBS YOU CAN GET WITH A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE:
Students with an Associate Degree in Human Services from Middlesex Community College may seek entry-level positions as social services assistants, working in residential facilities for youth or adults with mental illness or mental retardation, entry-level case management positions in psychiatric hospitals, retirement homes, assisted living or long term care facilites, or as mental health assistants in homeless shelters and agencies that deal with juvenile and criminal justice.
These positions are often assisting someone who has a higher degree. It is possible to move up within an agency through experience and education. Some private non-profit agencies will provide tuition reimbursement and flexible hours in order for their employees to continue their education.
HOW LONG WILL YOU HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL?
This degree program takes students anywhere from two-to three years to complete, depending on many factors. Individual progress, course load and need for any additional courses may affect the time it takes for degree completion. This program is intensive, requiring two internships and offering a great deal of experience to students.
To be successful in employment within the Human Services field, further education is recommended, especially in social work. A bachelor’s degree in social work is encouraged. About 60 percent of MxCC students in this program are offered jobs within the agencies where they’re doing internships.
SAMPLE SALARY INFORMATION:
JOB AVAILABILITY AND GROWTH:
Allied health and social services are growing fields, especially in entry-level positions, due to the shift from large institutions to smaller, more intimate facilities that promote clients’ independence.
In Connecticut, there is an estimated employment need of 7,590 workers annually in the Social and Human Services Assistant positions, which is far higher than many other industries.
For additional, specific salary information, visit: www.bls.gov