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: 2016-2026*
The Human Services cluster is projected to exhibit the highest percentage of growth between 2016 and 2026 among all clusters in both the U.S. (19 percent) and Virginia (27 percent), based on Trailblazers analysis of information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This cluster employed approximately 186,900 Virginians in 2016 and is expected to employ about 50,800 additional workers in the Commonwealth by 2026, for a total of over 237,700.
*NOTE: The methodology for classifying occupations within the cluster/pathway system has been updated since the previous data cycle (2014-24), so 2016-26 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||43,702||$19,050||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Childcare Workers||23,613||$20,430||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists||17,704||$30,030||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
|Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors||12,654||$41,490||Bachelor's or more & Training/Certification|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||8,727||$46,490||Bachelor's or more|
|First-Line Supervisors of
Personal Service Workers
|7,441||$40,970||Associate/Some college & Work experience|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||6,835||$30,040||Bachelor's or more & Training/Certification|
|Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers||5,336||$20,590||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||4,344||$47,000||Bachelor's or more & Training/Certification|
|Massage Therapists||4,068||$35,420||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
- Wage data: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2017.
- Employment projections data: Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Long-Term Occupational Projections, 2016-2026.
- 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 VERSO – includes information to help local school divisions plan and schedule instructional programs. VERSO is organized by program area, 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.
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.