Human Services Program Highlights



Enjoy an exciting career as a professional team member working in a specialty area of  your choice!   

Specialty areas are:

  • Chemical Dependency
  • Mental Health
  • Developmental Disabilities

Program Purpose:      

  1. To prepare entry-level paraprofessionals to provide high quality care and services in community based settings.
  2. To provide students with the skills, knowledge, and ability necessary to advance in the profession.  
  3. To provide an associate of science degree for those diploma program graduates who wish to enhance their opportunities to transfer to a four-year undergraduate program.

Program Description:

The Human Services major is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in human service areas.  As team members, graduates will provide direct client care, treatment, rehabilitation, education, recreation, and behavioral direction for individuals or groups of clients.  Other job responsibilities often include problem solving skill development,  interpersonal communication, intervention and medication administration.  Typically, Human Services Technicians work closely with and under the direction of social workers, psychologists, registered nurses, teachers, counselors, and various other professionals in providing treatment services to clients in need.             

The three major employment areas include those relating to mental health, developmental disabilities, and chemical dependency.  Opportunities for employment include, but are not limited to, both public and private settings, such as residential treatment facilities, mental health programs, nursing homes, schools, group homes, half-way houses, sheltered workshops, juvenile detention centers, and other human service agencies.

Instruction includes courses related to providing personal care, communication skills, behavioral and rehabilitation techniques.   Emphasis is placed on the three specialty areas.   Human Services professionals from the community complement the curriculum as guest speakers and also by providing supervision and mentoring during field experiences.

Students are required to do a field experience in each of the 3 specialty areas.  This allows students to become involved in contributing to and learning from ” hands on” experience in an actual work setting.  Training in three different agencies allows graduates flexibility to individualize their employment to an extent not usually found in similar occupations.

Career ladder opportunities are built into the curriculum plan.

  • Students have the option upon satisfactorily completing 11 credits of selected courses to earn a certificate or certificates as a Mental Health Assistant, Chemical Health Assistant, and/or a Developmental Disabilities Assistant.
  • Another option is to complete the Human Services Technician Program earning a diploma after completing 36 credits
  • Rochester Community and Technical College offers an Associate of Science Degree as a Human Services Specialist and an Associate of Science Degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling.  Each program requires completion of 60 credits.

Graduates of the Associates of Science Degree wishing to continue their education in the human services field may receive college credit with the approval of  the receiving institution.  Students who choose to pursue a four-year degree can usually complete AA requirements in one additional semester.   Students are encouraged to work closely with the counseling department to insure that all courses meet requirements.

Scholarships are available. 
The Rochester Foundation has a $250.00 scholarship given out annually. 
The Mayo Chapter of  the Disabled American Veterans also awards a $250.00 scholarship to a graduating student who is going to continue his/her education in the Human Services field.

Field experience locations in the Human Services Program provide students with the experiential learning component of the program.  The HS program has a wide variety of field placement contracts with human services organization in southeast Minnesota.  Students work collaboratively with faculty to determine the appropriate placement site that will best meet the student’s learning needs.  The cross training in chemical dependency, disabilities, and mental health is unique to college training programs in Minnesota.  Students who complete the Human Services Program at RCTC  are well prepared for any entry-level position within the broad range of the human services field.   


Students are required to provide their own transportation to the field experience site. Successful completion of a background study conducted by the Minnesota Department of  Human Services is required prior to placement.  The field experience rotation may be paid or unpaid, depending upon the student’s qualification and work experience.