What is a Human Services Board Certified Practitioner?

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If you want a career in helping people you might consider becoming a Human Services Board Certified Practitioner. These professionals have a lot to contribute to the fast-growing field of human service occupations and allow many more people to find help through them.

What is a Human Services Practitioner?

Human services practitioners augment the work of social workers and counselors by performing many supporting tasks. These generalists provide direct and indirect service to clients and have an educational background in the helping services. They do not go deeply into psychology but are able to support behavior changes in clients and facilitate growth. In other words, these professionals support social workers, counselors and human services agencies the same way a paralegal supports an attorney. They adhere to six competencies:

  • An understanding of human systems such as families and society and the way they interact
  • An understanding of what things can limit adequate functioning whether those things are psychological, medical or physical
  • The skill to select appropriate interventions
  • Skill in designing and evaluating appropriate interventions
  • Interpersonal skills that allow them to act as the main tool for addressing needs

What do they do?

Human services practitioners often study situations and cases to anticipate problems and attempt to access resources should they be needed. They might supervise parental visits with children who have been removed from the home, provide transportation to and from appointments for elderly clients, or lead group activities. These professional are generalists, and they work in a number of varied settings. Human service practitioners work in agencies, such as social services departments, in counseling offices and rehabilitation hospitals, long term care facilities and other locations. According to Human Services.org, those human services practitioners who work in group homes often work in shifts, generally in a 40 hour week but often at odd hours. Depending upon where they work, they may have close supervision or they may have no supervision at all.

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What is a Human Services Board Certified Practitioner?

The Center for Credentialing and Education explains that the HS-BCP credential is new, and many employers may not have heard of it yet. The credential is voluntary; you do not have to be board certified but certification denotes standards and quality of performance. Students who have nearly finished their degree programs may apply to sit for the exam then finish the requisites after graduation with no other application fee.

Regular applications are from people who hold a degree in psychology, sociology or a related discipline from an accredited board-recognized school. There is a $195 initial fee, then $35 per year thereafter and an experience requirement as explained in the application packet. Maintenance requires 60 hours of continuing education over the five-year certification. The main reason for certification is that taking and passing the exam demonstrates proficiency in the skills and the knowledge needed for this career, and the maintenance requirements show a dedication to the field.


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Human Services Practitioners allow services to reach more clients by performing much of the direct contact necessary to the helping professions. The addition of the certification initials to their credentials may make their resumes more attractive. Prospective employers may set apart, in a preferred category, the professional who is a Board Certified Human Service Board Certified Practitioner.

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