Online Human Services Degree Programs

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WHAT IS AN ONLINE HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE?

If you pursue a human services program, you will focus on improving communities and helping people in need. You will study issues affecting different populations. So, you will look at groups like veterans, for example. Or, you could look at the LGBTQ community. In addition, you will learn about policies and programs that can assist these groups.

Human services, you will find, is a broad field. You will find roles in counseling, social work, personal care, and more.  So, you will come across programs that often reflect this diversity. You could study anything from abnormal psych to the needs of aging people. Some programs, you will find, offer concentrations, such as criminal justice. Or , you could study child and adolescent services.

Are you compassionate? Do you enjoy serving others? Then, earning a degree in human services may be ideal for you. You will find this kind of program could be a jumping off point for many career paths for you. Especially if you wish to make a difference in the world.

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TYPES OF ONLINE HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE PROGRAMS

B.S. Human Services

In this B.S. program, you will cover many areas across community. And, you will learn about social services. These areas, you will find, include elderly support and case management. You could also study crisis intervention, and more. You will learn how to make a difference across diverse contexts. So, you could work with diverse groups, from families to organizations.

Course Examples:

  • Human Development
  • Human Services Administration
  • Working in Modern Society

M.S. in Human Services  Organizational and Social Services

This M.S. program is designed for you if you are a current professional in human services. In it, you will explore issues and skill areas within the field. These, you will find, include delivery and accessibility of services. You will also study how you can plan and administrate programs that meet community needs.

Course Examples:

  • Skills and Practice in Human Services
  • Professional Ethics & Personal Values

Ph.D. in Human Services  Human Services Administration

In a Ph.D. program, you will focus on global policy. You could also focus on research and practice. As a candidate, you will apply theory to current challenges. You will also conduct original research. In the Administration track, you can additionally expect to cover leadership. Also, you could learn about the management of nonprofit organizations.

Course Examples:

  • Board Governance and Volunteer Management
  • Grant Writing
  • Research Theory, Design & Methods

ONLINE HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE PROGRAMS

Are you wondering what an online human services program will cover? Well, in an online human services program, you can expect to focus on helping people with diverse needs. As such, you will take on coursework that is usually interdisciplinary. So, you will study social problems. And, you will do so through the lenses of psychology and public policy. You could study human services at the undergrad, master’s, or PhD levels. In each program level, you will have different learning goals. You may find this helps lead to different outcomes for you.

ASSOCIATE’S (A.S.) DEGREE

An online A.S. degree program introduces you to the complex field of human services. You could study psychology, or sociology, for example. Or, you could take on the history of social services. You will also explore human diversity. So, you could take on issues such as race, gender, and sexuality. As such, you could prepare to work with people who are experiencing a wide range of challenges.

There are a few types of Associate’s in Human Service’s programs you will come across. Two common ones you will see are:

  • Associate of Science (A.S.) in Human Services: This program may be perfect for you if you are interested in further study. You could build the base knowledge needed to pursue a B.A. or B.S. program, later. As such, your programs could focus on both theory and skill areas.
  • Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Human Services: This program may be ideal for you if you are seeking an entry level career path in human services. You could focus on applying the concepts you learn in practice. So, fieldwork may play a bigger role for you on this track.

In an A.S. in Human Services program, you will find courses like:

  • Delivery of Human Services
  • Substance Abuse
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services
  • Working with Families
  • Overcoming Prejudice and Discrimination

BACHELOR’S DEGREE

In an online B.A. or B.S. program, you will take a more comprehensive look at the human services field. You could examine policy, for example. Or, you could study fundraising, and grant writing. You could also learn the ropes of leadership. You could use this skill to work in administration for human services organizations. In addition, you might delve into areas like crisis intervention. Or, you could look at case management.

As you can guess, these areas are all interconnected. They could also open your eyes to unique paths in Human Services. Besides having you complete basic coursework, your program may also let you choose a focus. And, many Human Services programs require you to do practicums or internships. What could this do for you? Well, it could be a chance for you to put your knowledge into practice, in a supervised setting.  

Common programs include:

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Human Services If you pursue a B.A., then you will earn a liberal arts degree. In this program, you may take a more interdisciplinary approach. So, you might be able to pursue more electives on this track.
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Human Services  In a B.S. program, you will focus more on the sciences, and courses within the major. So, you may have a bit less flexibility. You could also have fewer electives.

Human Services B.A. or B.S. programs include courses like:

  • Addictions and Mental Health Counseling
  • Children and Youth
  • Human Services Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Gerontology

MASTER’S DEGREE

Online M.A. or M.S. in Human Services programs could help you take your knowledge even further. You could prepare for enhanced roles on this track. Are you interested in leadership? Well, you could hone your career focus by choosing a concentration. Perhaps you would like to concentrate on counseling or administration.

Often, you will find online M.A. or M.S. programs are aimed at working Human Services professionals. These programs could be perfect for you if you are looking to take your career in a new direction. For example, perhaps you are interested in pivoting toward case management or social work.

DOCTORATE DEGREE

Online Human Services doctorates, you will find, are often Ph.D. programs. On this track, you will need to complete a combination of course work and research. You could seek answers in more complex areas of human services, like strategic planning and evidence based practice. In most cases, you will have to write an original dissertation.

WHAT DO HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE COURSES LOOK LIKE?

Some common courses include:

Delivery of Human Services: This course aims to give you the basic tools to deliver services to others. You could learn to supervise a staff and run a human services company.

Human Development: You may look at research studies about how humans develop. Subjects could include how humans develop physically, mentally and emotionally.

Substance Abuse: This course could examine the harmful effect of alcohol and illegal drugs. The groups studied may include teens, college students and the poor.

Working with Families: This course could teach you to work with families that need crisis counseling. You may learn coping skills, problem solving and how to provide aftercare.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services: You could explore legal and moral issues that human services workers face. You may learn decision making and helping people overcome challenges.

Race, Gender and Ethnic Relations: You may look at social issues based on race, gender and other factors. You could also examine how politics and court cases have helped or hurt people.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO EARN A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE ONLINE?

An A.S. program in Human Services will require you to earn roughly 60 to 64 credits. If you are a full time student, it can take you about two years. If you would like to earn a B.A. or B.S. in Human Services, it will require you to earn about 120 credits. This program will often take you about four years if you are a full time student. An M.A. or M.S. program could require about 30 to 40 credits from you. These will often take you one to two years, or longer. Earning a Ph.D. in Human Services usually calls for you to earn 55 to 62 credits. You will find that other requirements, such as the dissertation, can lengthen your program. But, you could still finish in three to four years.

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HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE PROGRAM EXAMPLES

School# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Walden University48 quarter creditsMultiple20
Liberty University30Multiple18
Rasmussen College91Multiple18

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST OF A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE?

The closest tuition data you will find, is for Public Administration and Social Services programs. If you are a student in this program, you can expect to pay a median in state public tuition of $7,512 (as of 2022). If you are out of state, tuition for a private college would be more like $33,310.

You can compare the above costs with tuition prices for these sponsored Human Services programs:

School# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Purdue Global University45$420$18,900
Colorado Technical University183$325$59,475
UMass Online120$390 to $525Up to $63,000

TOP SCHOOLS FOR HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE PROGRAMS

Last check, you could find 1,469 schools with Public Administration & Social Services programs. From those schools, you will see 98,575 degrees were awarded to students. The majority of these, you will find, were B.A. or B.S. degrees.

School2022 Degrees awarded2023/24 Tuition (out of state unless *)
University of Southern California267$68,237*
University of Phoenix Arizona1,566$9,552*
Colorado State University – Global Campus846$8,400*
New York University99$60,438*
Walden University94$12,498*
Rutgers University New Brunswick601$36,001
Western Governors University926$8,300
The Pennsylvania State University678$40,188

Estimated for full time, beginning undergrad students

CHOOSING A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE ONLINE ACCREDITED PROGRAM

If you are interested in entering the human services field, then it is important for you to earn your human services degree from an accredited school. One thing you should note is that your school must be accredited in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. And, financial aid may be available for you if you qualify.

Besides your school’s accreditation, your program could also be individually accredited. Did you know that there is council that reviews programs to ensure quality? You can trust the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE) to provide accurate information. And, you can rest assured that the CSHSE accredited programs adhere to the national standards for education in human services. These standards, you will find, vary by program level. At the B.A. or B.S. level, they include:

  • Faculty with education and experience in human services
  • Cultural competence, including knowledge of diversity
  • Resources for students, including technology and library access
  • Coursework requirements, like Client Interventions and Strategies
  • Field experience within the curriculum

What do you have to gain from working with a CSHSE accredited Human Services program? Well, it could help you prepare to earn professional certification. You will find the Human Services Board Certified Practitioner certification (HSBCP) adheres to the same national standards as the CSHSE. This credential could help you showcase your professional knowledge.

Requirements for HSBCP certification include:

  • At least an A.S. degree in Human Services or a related field
  • Your degree must be earned at a regionally accredited or state approved school
  • Complete coursework in 11 content areas (e.g., Group Work, Case Management, Social Welfare)
  • You need 350 hours of post grad human services work experience (if you graduated from a CSHSE accredited program, you are exempt)

You must certify again every five years. This calls for you to complete 60 hours of continuing education.

WHAT JOBS CAN YOU GET WITH A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE?

As of 2021, you could find 788,822 Public Administration & Social Service graduates in the work force. Did you know this group had a one year growth rate of 3.54%.

Does you sound like the average human services worker? Well, for one thing, 80.7% of people who earned a Public Administration and Social Service degree were female. And, you will find, the average age of a degree holder in the workforce was 43.1 years old.

TOP SALARIES BY STATE FOR HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE HOLDERS

Below, you can see the following information for Social and Human Service Assistants. You will find the salary and employment numbers will differ for other career paths.

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
District of Columbia1,220$59,290
California55,220$51,660
Massachusetts15,150$48,460
New Jersey17,090$50,110
Washington6,940$48,870

HUMAN SERVICES CAREER PATHS AND POTENTIAL SALARIES

Human Services Administrator

As a human services administrator, you oversee the administrative functions within human services organizations. Your responsibilities span managing records, overseeing facility planning, and recruiting staff. Your role demands expertise in personal service, management, and clerical tasks. Effective communication and relationship-building skills are crucial for success in this position.

According to 2023 BLS Data:

Median Salary: $136,350 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 5% (Faster than average)

Common Entry Level Education: Career training or A.S. degree

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers oversee and manage social service programs and community organizations. They typically work in nonprofit organizations, private for-profit social service companies, or government agencies. Most of these professionals work full-time hours.

According to 2023 BLS Data:

Median Salary: $77,030 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 9% (Much faster than average)

Common Entry Level Education: Bachelor’s Degree

SOCIAL & HUMAN SERVICE ASSISTANTS

In the role of a Social & Human Service Assistant, your primary responsibility is to offer client services within psychology, rehabilitation, and social work domains. You might support specific groups, like veterans or individuals dealing with addiction. Additionally, assisting social workers with their tasks falls within your scope. Knowledge in psychology and proficiency in counseling and personal service are essential skills in this role.

According to 2023 BLS Data:

Median Salary: $41,410 per year

Job Growth Through 2032: 9% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry level Education: Certificate or A.S. degree

© Education Connection 2024. All Rights Reserved.

*https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d20/tables/dt20_311.15.asp

Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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This is an offer for educational opportunities, not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.

1 You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2018/19 school year who were approved when they returned in 2019/20. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2019/20.

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