Seattle Public Schools

Programs and Career Pathways

Education and Human Services Pathway

Video with example of Education and Human Services Pathway

Is this the right pathway for me?

  • Do you enjoy working closely with others and have an appreciation for diverse perspectives? 
  • Are you passionate about social justice, empathetic, and a life-long learner? 
  • Are you a strong, honest communicator? 

What is Education and Human Services?

Education and Human Services is a pathway built for the future teachers, social workers, non-profit and other administrative leaders among Seattle Public School students. Students in this pathway learn and practice skills that prepare them for training and/or college after high school for careers in government, education, and human services.  

What sort of work would I do?

Two high school students wearing masks presenting to a group of elementary school students

Teachers, social workers, and principals educate students, providing guidance, safety and structure through reading and writing basics as well as technical training required for the future. Human and social service workers help connect clients with community resources and may provide key mental health support. This is a versatile pathway that leads to a wide variety of careers in providing support and resources for others.   

Leads to these Careers

  • Community Health Worker 
  • Teacher (Pre-K through 12th Grade) 
  • Child, Family, or School Social Worker 
  • Non-Profit Manager 
  • Rehabilitation Counselor 
  • School Counselor 
  • Teaching Assistant 
  • School Administrator 

In-Demand Occupations

Typical Education RequiredCareer TitleAverage Annual SalaryJob Outlook in WA State (2020-2030)
High School Childcare Worker $40,142 22% increase 
Associate’s Degree (or Certificate) Teaching Assistant $45,445 19% increase 
Bachelor’s Degree Interpreter and Translator $59,082 34% increase 
Doctoral Degree Psychiatrist $208,000 18% increase 
Check Career One Stop, Bureau of Labor Statistics for updated career trends

What Courses can I take now?

Check with your school counselor and administrators to find out which classes are available at your school.

This course sequence ranges from beginning to advanced sign language. Students are introduces students to American Sign Language and the Deaf community. Students are introduced and gain mastery over the remarkable, complex and beautiful language used by Deaf people in North America and Canada. It is the third most widely used language in the United States. Students learn expressive signing skills and receptive skills to meet the communication needs of real-life encounters in the Deaf community. Close attention will be paid to developing communication skills which focus on receptive comprehension and expressive signing skills.

Course numbers: HCT4354 & HCT4355; HCT4356 & HCT4357; HCT4368 & HCT4369; HCT4370 & HCT4371 

This course sequence is for students who speak two languages (one of them must be English) and are interested in helping others communicate. Leadership projects, applied problems, and participation in a Student Interpreter program, help students practice their skills. The course introduces students to a wide variety of interesting careers requiring knowledge of more than one language and culture. They use the skills of a professional interpreter, learning about the ethics of translation and interpreting, (what to do, what not to do, and what they are allowed to do). Skills of poise and confidence are gained as students give excellent oral presentations to other groups and classes. Students increase their vocabulary and achieve better reading, writing, and thinking skills in both of their languages.

Course numbers: HCT4034, HCT4035

Description: Family Health is designed to prepare students for lifelong problem solving, critical thinking, and management skills related to health and wellness issues impacting families. The primary goal is to enable students to develop healthy lifestyles for themselves and others by focusing on healthy choices and living a productive, satisfying life.  

Course numbers: HCT7004, CHE7004 

Certifications: First Aid/AED, Stop the Bleed 

This course prepares students for responsibilities, life skills, and independence including topic related to finances, foods, wellness, relationships, housing, transportation, and career planning.  

Course numbers: HCT2429 

The Child Development course is designed to assist students in developing appropriate skills and attitudes in working and living with children. Areas of study include intellectual, social, emotional, and biological development of children; parent-child relationships; parenting practices; special needs of children; parental and environmental influences on child development; and external support systems. 

Course numbers: HCT2430  

Certifications: Students may qualify for STARS certification, available through North Seattle College 

GRADS (Graduation Reality and Dual Skills) Teen Parenting is a part of a program to support pregnant and parenting students grade 9 -12. The program focuses on work and family foundations, parenting, child development, health and wellness, economic independence, career guidance, and support leading to high school graduation. The program requires district support including a certified Family Consumer Science instructor, child care , student learning activities, health and wellness screening for infants and toddlers, counselor support, and home and community outreach. 

Course number: HCT7037

This course introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation and emotion.   

Course numbers: HCT2513, HCT2514 

Career, Community, and Family Connections is a .5 CTE course that seeks to engage and prepare 9-12 grade students for multiple life roles and responsibilities in family, work, and community settings. The course involves students from various cultural, ethnic and religious perspectives and provides opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. The course draws from many fields including: human relationships, civics, government, psychology, and sociology. Topics include studies of diverse individual, family and community values and goals and cultural and ethnic studies. Students may be eligible for college credit. The course may integrate well with an identified Academy. 

Course numbers: HCT4050

This course studies the principles of lifespan development from birth to death. This course draws from multiple fields of study including psychology, sociology, human relations, human development, and family studies. Included in the class are opportunities to explore careers.  

Course numbers: HCT5484 

This course brings together the study of three major perspectives, one optional area and Statistics, including: The Biological Perspective, The Cognitive Perspective, and the Learning Perspective, in addition to the Psychology of Dysfunctional Behavior, Introduction to Research methodology and Statistics. The aim of the course is to provide the student with a learning experience that contributes to the IB Diploma.   

During the second year of this course, students will conduct psychological research; interpret diverse methods to support the study, including interviews, observations, and case studies; examine the systematic and critical study of human experience and behavior; collect, describe, and analyze data, and methodologies and develop an awareness of how psychological research can be applied to benefit human beings.

Course numbers: HCT8065, HCT8066, HCT2515, HCT2516 

The course focuses on the interrelationships of healthy choices and a productive satisfying life through the study of social psychology, cultural psychology, and Health Psychology.  Communication skills, decision making skills and refusal skills are applied across all units of study 

Course numbers: HCT7006 

Description: Students study human behavior through the approaches of various schools of psychological thought. Topics of investigations include such areas as sensation, perception, states of consciousness, memory, thinking and intelligence, personality theory, learning, meta-cognition, brain theory, mental disorders, and social psychology.  

Course numbers: HCT2514, HCT2515

Teaching Academy is a specialized, preparatory course designed to prepare students to enter the exciting field of education. This class is for students who are interested in teaching diverse populations of children and youth in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary classrooms, or in educational administration, or in professional or classified support, this may be the career experience to determine aptitude and interest. This specialized occupational course will provide students with valuable training and hands-on experience necessary to enter the expanding field of Careers in Education. This course provides classroom experience and observation of basic teaching techniques. 

Course numbers: WCT5987, WCT5988, WCT5989, WCT5999

Clubs and Activities at SPS

Interested in learning more about education and human services? SPS students have the opportunity to deepen and expand their knowledge alongside their peers through Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). FCCLA hosts competitive events, provides leadership opportunities, and helps students prepare for career and college. Find a chapter at your school here

What training do I need after high school?

For jobs with family wages (in other words, jobs that pay well enough for a person to support a family), it is preferable to enroll in two-to-four-year training programs. Examples of plans for training or college can be found below:  

High School Diploma or Associate’s Degree – Students who are interested in working in schools after graduation without further study may pursue the Paraeducator Certificate and related coursework to become a paraprofessional. Students interested in getting training in this certificate during high school should consider attending Seattle Skills Center’s Teaching Academy.  

Students who want to further explore before committing to a career in education or human services might also consider searching AmeriCorps and/or City Year . These opportunities are currently only available to students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents (green card holders). 

Bachelor’s Degree (Transfer) (Academy for Rising Educators)Seattle Public Schools works with Seattle Central College, the City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning to increase teacher diversity. The Academy for Rising Educators (ARE) trains students underrepresented in teaching to join Seattle Public Schools as a teacher. Tuition costs are paid in full by Seattle Public Schools after eligible grants and scholarships have been applied.  

University of Washington College of Education—University of Washington offers a series of education and human services classes including Bachelor’s Degrees in Education, Social Welfare, and Psychology as well as a variety of Social Work Master’s Degrees.  

Explore more college and training opportunities on Naviance! 

More questions? Contact Education and Human Services Specialist Susan Grant at