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Human Services

The Human Services program prepares you to serve people in need through community social service organizations. The program has a core of courses that all students complete for the ATA degree in either the Generalist or Chemical Dependency emphasis. All students working toward an ATA degree experience 450 hours of on-the-job training in a community agency.

Program Options

Associate in Technical Arts degree with Human Services Generalist emphasis

The Human Services ATA degree provides a generalist education for employment in a wide variety of social service agencies.  You’ll learn about human behavior and social problems and how individuals interface with systems to address these issues.  You'll also learn ways to help people meet their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Students will develop the professional values, skills, and knowledge needed to assist individuals and groups with personal, interpersonal, and situational problems.

In this occupational area students will be prepared for employment as case managers in rehabilitation, employment services, corrections, nonprofit groups, government agencies, educational programs, and community based organizations serving youth, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. SVC's Human Services Professional program is a competency-based program that prepares students for work as practitioners in social, mental health and addiction service agencies.

Associate in Technical Arts degree with Human Services Chemical Dependency emphasis

The Chemical Dependency emphasis program is available for students interested in focusing their studies on Chemical Dependency rehabilitation. This Degree is designed for students who wish to fulfill the education requirements for certification as Chemical Dependency Professionals through the Department of Health in Washington State (WAC 246-811-030).  Students take classes that directly fulfill Department of Health requirements toward acquiring the C.D.P. certification. This program prepares the student for work as a Chemical Dependency counselor in various settings from detoxification units to residential treatment programs.

Chemical Dependency Professional Certificate

This certificate is designed as a “fast track” option in Chemical Dependency Counseling for those who have previously earned a college degree. If you are a returning college graduate who meets the Washington State Department of Health's (DOH) criteria for prior completion of a degree, we offer a 47-credit program that covers the educational requirement for obtaining a Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) certificate.

The CDP designation is granted by the Washington State Department of Health upon successful completion of a minimum of 45 credits of specific academic coursework, completion of internship hours, and successful passage of an examination through DOH. More specific information about the CDP can be found at the DOH website.

Program Learning Outcomes


HS - Generalist
HS - Chemical Dependency
  • Graduates of the Human Services Generalist emphasis program will

    • Assess client needs, plan strategies, implement services, and document relevant information in styles and formats consistent with best practices models.
    • Establish a respectful, nonjudgmental, and professional therapeutic or supportive relationship with clients of Human Services and colleagues in a variety of settings.
    • Provide quality client care by integrating interpersonal communications skills, relationship building skills, teamwork skills and problem solving skills in various social service and addiction treatment settings.
    • Based on a thorough assessment, create a treatment plan that recognizes and maximizes individual and family strengths, respects ethno-cultural values, and addresses the needs and challenges of the individual and/or family.
    • Work collaboratively with others (family members, program staff, representatives from other programs) to solve problems and resolve conflicts.
    • Integrate cross-cultural competencies with sensitivity toward uniqueness to better meet the needs of the clients served.
    • Effectively communicate orally and in writing in ways that minimize conflict and maximize clarity with diverse people.
    • Resolve conflict and crisis situations in a professional manner.
  • Graduates of the Human Services Chemical Dependency emphasis program will

    • Understand the pharmacological actions of alcohol and other drugs.
    • Develop an understanding of effective drug and alcohol prevention and relapse prevention programs as well as local client, family and community drug prevention education opportunities.
    • Successfully complete Washington State’s HIV/AIDS brief risk intervention (4 hours) training for the chemically dependent.
    • Demonstrate familiarity with substance abuse and addiction treatment methods, addiction placement, continuing care, and discharge criteria (including American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria).
    • Learn and practice professional and ethical behavior which includes being respectful, reliable, culturally sensitive, respecting of each client’s personal boundaries, knowing the rules of confidentiality, and adhering to mandatory reporting laws.
    • Apply key principles in developmental and abnormal psychology to the experiences of drug abusing and drug addicted patients (both youth and adult).
    • Learn and practice current assessment and case management techniques.
    • Receive an abundance of information around each the 26 focus areas that the Washington State Department of Health has mandated as essential knowledge for those entering the substance abuse treatment field.  Upon completion of the coursework, successfully test to become a Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP).

Why Skagit Valley College?

  • The Human Services program at Skagit Valley College has produced trained professionals for over 35 years.
  • Students have practicum opportunities in a wide range of community agencies within Skagit, Whatcom, Island and Snohomish Counties.
  • Program classes provide 21st Century skill set development in a supportive academic environment.
  • The Chemical Dependency professional track is nationally recognized and includes all course work required by the Department of Health for Chemical Dependency Professional certification.

Career Opportunities

Human Services is a growing field with diverse employment opportunities. Typical job titles include mental health case manager, chemical dependency professional, residential treatment staff, and outreach workers. If you are interested in helping and supporting people with their problems, a Human Services degree might be right for you. 

Placement Rate

Placement and Completion Data

Contact Us

Department Co-Chair CD Track: Bob Malphrus

Email Bob

Co-Chair Generalist Track: Jere LaFollette

Email Jere

The Skagit Valley College Human Services Program is an approved academic provider through the NAADAC—National Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCCAP).  This status identifies the program as meeting nationally approved standards of education developed for the alcoholism and drug abuse counseling field.  Program participants are assured that the contact hours or CEUs provided will be accepted toward national credentialing by the NAADAC (NCCAP) and by many of the individual state licensing/certification bodies. 

Program Video