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Professional activities range from formal trainings and classes to informal opportunities to increase skills and knowledge. To ensure that your career is satisfying and successful, it is important to set goals that can be used to guide your path through each stage of your career as a human services professional. In this unit, you will discuss strategies for creating effective professional development plans while employing all of the knowledge and understanding of human service concepts that you have studied during your associates’ program.

Utilizing the assigned readings and web resources, follow these steps to create some specific professional development goals. Post your results on the discussion board and then review your classmates’ goals. Offer suggestions for additional training ideas and ask questions.

Professional Development Goals

For each listed stage, name a job that most interests you (see example below) and describe the job duties it entails. Then, write two specific goals that directly relate to your growth as a professional in that job. If you are unsure of the types of trainings that are required for that specific job, do some research (use your course materials, the Internet, or call an agency human service representative for information).


Early Career and Duties: Entry Level Case Worker at a One Stop Agency.

Entry level case worker is responsible for completing the client intake paperwork at the One Stop Agency.

Goal #1

Attend college for bachelor’s degree in Human Services.

Goal #2

Volunteer at local homeless shelter. Join the NOHS and participate in the local chapter.

Mid-Career and Duties: Foster Care Case Manager

Manage a case load of 25 children in foster care. This includes monitoring the children’s needs and safety in the foster placement, assisting the families in working towards the case plan goal and attending court to report on the family’s case plan progress.

Goal #1

Enroll and complete a master’s degree program.

Goal #2

Read professional human service journals to stay current with advances in the field. Mentor new human service professionals starting in the field.

Late Career and Duties: Foster Care Program Manager

Oversees the foster care program and works with leadership, community partners and judicial system to ensure effective service delivery of the program to the community.

Goal #1

Teach part-time for a local or online college’s human service program.

Goal #2

Continue to read journal articles and take continuing education classes to stay current in the human service field.

When you have finished researching and creating your plan, post it and respond to the following questions:

1. What obstacles might you face while working towards your career goals?

2. How will you prevent or reduce the impact of those obstacles when they surface?

3. What have you learned from this exercise?

4. Were you surprised about anything that you learned during your research?

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