If you have a deep desire to help the overlooked people in society, an online master's degree in human services might be a great career choice for you. The field focuses on serving the underserved, from impoverished families and veterans to the elderly and those suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues. Human services positions are found in a variety of organizations, from nonprofits and government agencies to schools, churches, and medical facilities. A graduate degree ultimately gives students the tools they need to work effectively within these institutions and offer support to underserved populations through effective leadership, organizational management, and new social and health programs.

What are the most affordable human services programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 California State University, Northridge Northridge, CA
2 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE
3 University of Illinois Springfield Springfield, IL
4 St. Joseph's College New York Brooklyn, NY
5 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI
6 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
7 University of Oklahoma Norman, OK
8 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
9 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN
10 Concordia University Chicago River Forest, IL

An online master's in human services program is worth considering if you currently work in the field of human services and want to further your education or advance your career. Online programs allow you to continue working while managing the costs of your education. With average human services salaries lower than those of profit-driven employment sectors, affordability is most certainly a factor in your education decisions. Any degree program requires an investment of time and money, but rest assured there are affordable online master's in human services programs available. All distance education programs can help reduce ancillary costs such as commuting expenses, but not all schools can offer you a high-quality education and return on investment. It is not enough to simply consider the cheapest online master's in human services programs in terms of tuition because there's a difference between cheap colleges with poor programs and schools that provide a robust education at an affordable price.

The colleges listed below are some of the best and most affordable online master's in human services programs in the country. They offer reasonable tuition and a variety of grants, scholarships and graduate assistantships to help students control costs. If you're considering going back to school for an online master's in human services, be sure to check out these top programs.

2020 Most Affordable Accredited Online Master's in Human Services Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

California State University, Northridge

Northridge, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

California State University, Northridge offers an online master of science in assistive technology studies and human services that positions graduates for successful careers in a fast-growing field. Students develop technical skills alongside humanitarian sensitivities to serve the nation's rapidly aging population.

CSUN's program is the first of its kind offered by an accredited Southern California school. The curriculum introduces the underlying design principles that power the more than 4,000 adaptive, assistive, and access technologies currently used in the United States.

Degree-seekers can complete this 10-course master's program in two years. Applicants do not need a science background; the program accepts learners with a four-year degree in any field.

2

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lincoln, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a master of science in child, youth, and family studies program. Degree-seekers can select an entirely online concentration in human and family services administration.

The institution features some of the most complete and advanced family studies research infrastructure in the Midwest. Students in the program enjoy full access to the university's Family Resource Center and Child Development Laboratory, both of which offer comprehensive teaching and learning resources.

These facilities engage in service delivery research for forward-looking initiatives, such as telemental health programs for rural populations. This program also holds specialized accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which applies to just 9% of relevant programs nationwide.

3

University of Illinois Springfield

Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

The online master's in human services at the University of Illinois Springfield features four specialized concentrations. Students can customize their learning by following highly focused tracks in alcoholism and substance abuse, child and family studies, gerontology, and social services administration.

All four specializations prepare human services professionals to help their clients overcome challenges and improve their lives. Programmatic accreditation from the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association applies to the alcoholism and substance abuse track.

This 44-credit program also features an intensive internship requirement. Degree-seekers participate in 100 hours of supervised, hands-on learning in a real human services environment. This requirement allows students to apply their learning and develop their professional network.

4

St. Joseph's College New York

Brooklyn, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 68%

Degree-seekers interested in leadership roles with community-oriented organizations can prepare for career success by earning an online master of science in human services leadership at St. Joseph's College New York. Designed to build organizational management and supervisory proficiencies, the program emphasizes applied information technology and helps learners better understand advocacy, fundraising, community-building, and multicultural issues.

This master of science program requires all learners to participate in a competency application project. Students use self-guided assessment paradigms to evaluate their skills against a master list of desired learning outcomes. These assessments help ensure learners' professional and academic development remains on track throughout the program.

To be considered for admission, candidates must hold a four-year degree from an accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Applicants must also submit a current resume and at least two letters of recommendation.

5

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Oshkosh, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Designed to be accessible and affordable, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh's master of science in human services leadership emphasizes organizational analysis, sustainability, inclusivity, and the achievement of meaningful change through sound professional practice.

Students in this master's in human services program explore root causes for international issues, as well as the subsequent impacts on communities at a local level. Learners also examine multiculturalism, social marketing, and operational essentials related to topics like cover staffing, financial management, and strategic development.

This 30-credit, fully online program is delivered asynchronously. Students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer. Applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores or letters of recommendation.

6

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 89%

The online master's in counseling and human services at Wake Forest University features two specialization options. Learners can concentrate their studies in clinical mental health counseling, preparing for future careers in community settings, or earn an emphasis in school counseling to help provide direction to young people.

The clinical mental health counseling concentration covers issues including substance abuse, addiction, family counseling, and marriage counseling. School counseling specialists focus particularly on the unique needs of at-risk youth.

Based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Wake Forest was founded in 1834 and ranks among the region's best-known schools. The school embraces a community-oriented campus culture and enjoys high levels of faculty engagement for a major research university.

7

University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

The University of Oklahoma's master of arts in human and health services administration prepares degree-seekers for careers in the management and administrative sides of community services. Designed to meet the growing demand for healthcare administrators, this program explores issues related to physical and mental health service delivery.

Students pursuing this online master's degree in human services take 16-week classes in the fall and spring, and summer semesters include eight-week terms. Learners complete 33 credits of classes.

Incoming students should have an existing academic or professional background in a related area. Core coursework covers topics like ethics, strategic asset management and planning, diversity, and cultural sensitivity.

8

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 0%

Bellevue University's online master of arts in human services program prepares graduates for careers in nonprofit and community-based organizations. Learners build strong collaboration, advocacy, and leadership skills.

The curriculum includes 36 credits, and core courses cover topics like statistical analysis and qualitative research, ethics, community engagement, funding and fundraising, nonprofit administration, and leadership topics. Additionally, each student concludes the program with an applied learning project or an internship/fieldwork experience.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's or master's degree and they may be asked to submit letters or recommendation and essays. Nebraska-based BU is a private institution that holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

9

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

Winona, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota offers a master of arts in health and human services administration that prepares learners to improve service delivery programs for community members in need. This program is credentialled by the Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators.

While the program chiefly helps degree-seekers pursue careers in gerontology, graduates qualify for professional opportunities in many care settings. Alumni of the program have gone on to work as nursing home administrators, hospice administrators, medical and health services managers, and community service managers.

Coursework is delivered entirely online, and students complete 36 credits to earn their degree. Practicum coursework is available to students who wish to pursue professional licensure as long-term care administrators.

10

Concordia University Chicago

River Forest, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Concordia University Chicago's master of arts in human services follows a psychology-oriented interdisciplinary approach. This online master's degree in human services may be particularly attractive to individuals seeking mid-level career opportunities in social services and community advocacy.

The program focuses on human services in outpatient physical and mental healthcare settings, emphasizing skills in counseling, gerontology, organizational management, and administration. Graduates are also prepared for future doctoral studies.

The curriculum covers topics like intervention strategies, ethics, and organizational evaluation. The program culminates in a professionally supervised internship that encourages students to synthesize and apply their learning in a pre-approved practical setting.