Best Online Associate in Human Services Programs

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The multidisciplinary field of 'human services' is dedicated to three overarching goals: assisting people in need using applied knowledge and best-practice methods; placing equal emphasis on prevention of and solutions to common societal problems; and improving the quality of life of as many assistance-seeking people as possible. At the collegiate level, degree programs in this field explore the various tools, organizations and theories guiding today's human services systems. Students also learn how to encourage and motivate vulnerable people to become independent and less reliant on institutionalized assistance through education, employment and increased self-worth.

Most careers in human services are attainable with a high school diploma or less, although positions often require extensive on-the-job training. An associate degree in human services program equips students with the skills, knowledge and insights to assist people with different problems and issues. Courses cover a wide range of subjects, including sociology, anthropology, economics, history, psychology and urban studies. Associate in human services degree pathways also typically include internships, which allow students to receive supervised, hands-on training from experienced professionals. Many of today's students are choosing to earn their associate degree in human services online, rather than in a classroom. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, often leading to the same number of post-degree job opportunities. The asynchronous (or self-paced) format and flexible, study-from-home schedule are ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other important commitments.

Learn more about what you can do with an online associate degree in human services and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

An associate degree in human services will prepare students for this demanding ― yet highly rewarding ― professional pathway. The curriculum will focus on how human services have evolved over the years, as well as the individuals and ideas that have impacted the way people receive social assistance. Internships also give students the opportunity to apply what they have learned to real-world problems in working facilities.

WILL AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online associate degree programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional college education. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their home computer. Current technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable devices with Wi-Fi capabilities.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN HUMAN SERVICES?

Although some careers in human services (such as social work) require at least a bachelor's degree, those who leave school with an associate in human services will be qualified to fulfill various roles in the field. Common job titles include social and human service assistants, social and community service managers, corrections officers and youth counselors, as well as clerks, office administrators and other clerical personnel that work in offices. The associate degree will also serve as a stepping-stone for those who plan to advance in their education and pursue a bachelor's degree.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online associate degree in human services programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online associate in human services, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Location Description
1 Bismarck State College RANKING SCORE 78.46 COST Graduation Rate 70% LOCATION Bismarck, ND

Located in North Dakota and boasting an enrollment of over 3,500 students, Bismarck State College is the third largest institution in the North Dakota University System. The college offers 20 degree programs completely online, all of which prepare students for entry into their designated field. Nearly half the student population of BSM participates in an online degree program. BSM's online associate degree in human services is a 60-credit program that a full-time student can complete in two years.

Students particularly enjoy the the program's flexibility, which allows learners to match their class choices and interests within the field of human services. Since many different types of job opportunities are available in the field, students tailor their class choices to meet specialized needs. Students choose between asynchronous or synchronous classes, all of which are offered at the same per-credit-hour fee whether or not the student is considered a North Dakota resident.

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2 Excelsior College RANKING SCORE 78.25 COST Graduation Rate 70% LOCATION Albany, NY

A leader in adult education, Excelsior College has provided adult learners with convenient, flexible higher education options for over 45 years. This completely online college offers flexible, affordable degree programs and certificates in five colleges: business and technology, human services, liberal arts, nursing, and public service. Excelsior offers distance learners an online associate degree in human service, as well as a bachelor’s degree, and a master's program.

Excelsior's associate degree in human services online is designed to ready students for positions in their intended field. Students pursuing this degree will gain the knowledge and skills needed for a job in a variety of healthcare settings. The 60-credit program is designed to fit into the busy lifestyle of the adult learner. Students can choose a full class load or opt for a slower pace and take one class at a time. Classes are offered in an accelerated, eight-week format and include subjects like professionalism in healthcare and medical terminology.

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3 Elizabethtown College School of Continuing and Professional Studies RANKING SCORE 76.40 COST Graduation Rate 70% LOCATION Elizabethtown, PA

Pennsylvania's Elizabethtown College of Continuing and Professional Studies is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for both the busy professional and the student looking to enter the job market armed with necessary skills and experience. Students have the option to complete one of seven online associate degrees in an accelerated, five week format. The institution’s human services associate degree is not only 100% online but also yields a smooth transition into a bachelor’s degree.

The program’s five week format makes it easy to obtain an associate degree in a short period of time, which enables students to get out into the workforce or obtain a bachelor’s degree quickly and affordably. Students in the human services associate degree online will take courses on subjects like community-based treatment, social issues, and marriage and family. The program focuses on how the human services field can help with societal issues. Students will be immersed in courses that promote best practices and practical application.

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4 Westmoreland County Community College RANKING SCORE 72.98 COST Graduation Rate 62% LOCATION Youngwood, PA

Founded in 1970, Westmoreland enrolls more than 5,500 students. In addition to an 80-acre main campus in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, the college has six education centers and offers more than 50 online programs.

Students earning the online associate degree in human services and social work have opportunities to network with agency workers. Students in the hybrid program complete 51 of the 60 required credits online and take three skills-based courses in person. Students may spend one semester in an agency, during which they apply classroom skills and knowledge.

Graduates of the AAS program can apply general education credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and Westmoreland charges no application fee.

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5 Minot State University RANKING SCORE 72.89 COST Graduation Rate 70% LOCATION Minot, ND

Based in North Dakota, Minot State is a public university that offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and several graduate programs. The university's associate of science in human services with a major in intellectual and developmental disabilities program works closely with North Dakota’s community-based service system.

Students working full-time or part-time in the industry can take core courses at their place of employment; others complete the human services associate degree entirely online. The 68-credit curriculum comprises 38 general education credits and 30 major credits. The program includes a capstone seminar and a field experience.

The university offers most required courses once every two years. Minot State accepts transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions.

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6 Thomas Edison State College RANKING SCORE 72.72 COST Graduation Rate 70% LOCATION Trenton, NJ

Dedicated to serving adult students, Thomas Edison State College provides flexible learning formats for the mature student who would not otherwise be able to obtain a college degree. One of the ways the institution achieves this is through its array of online program offerings. Thomas Edison's programs are designed to help students excel in their chosen field. The school's online associate degree in human services is tailored to meet the needs of learners already working in the human services field. This 60-hour program is set up so that students can easily transfer into a bachelor’s program for human services.

Thomas Edison’s associate in human services includes a capstone requirement, which can be completed through full-time employment within the field, volunteer experience, or by way of an internship. The program includes required courses in the fields of psychology and sociology along with several cultural diversity classes aimed at assisting students in becoming more familiar with populations they may encounter in the field.

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7 Wake Technical Community College RANKING SCORE 67.02 COST Graduation Rate 70% LOCATION Raleigh, NC

Wake Tech is the largest community college in North Carolina, with five campuses and three training centers in and near Raleigh. Each year, more than 74,000 students take courses through Wake Tech. The college offers more than 200 associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs, and students participate in continuing education programs, workforce training, and personal enrichment classes.

Wake Tech’s online associate degree in human services technology offers optional concentrations in mental health and substance abuse. Graduates with the substance abuse concentration are eligible for certification from the North Carolina Substance Abuse Board. The human services technology program includes a hands-on internship.

The program requires at least 66 credits. Wake Tech offers courses in fully online, hybrid, and on-campus formats. Some courses require in-person attendance to complete student interaction and practice components.

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8 Eastern Florida State College RANKING SCORE 64.61 COST Graduation Rate 70% LOCATION Cocoa, FL

Eastern Florida State College has four campuses and enrolls more than 15,000 students in bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs on campus and online.

Students in EFSC's AS in social and human services program must pursue a nine-credit specialization in either domestic violence or aging; the college also offers the specializations as stand-alone certificates. The online associate degree in human services requires 60 credits, including at least 45 credits in career-related courses.

Most students require at least two years to complete the program. EFSC delivers courses sequentially and guarantees the availability of courses during the appropriate term. Out-of-state students need special permission to take online courses.

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9 Herkimer County Community College RANKING SCORE 63.99 COST Graduation Rate 58% LOCATION Herkimer, NY

Founded in central upstate New York in 1967, Herkimer enrolls 3,000 students and is part of the State University of New York system. The college offers more than 40 associate degree and certificate programs, including 20 fully online programs.

Most students complete the 64-credit associate degree in human services online in four semesters. The program requires a year-long internship comprising 120 volunteer hours in a human services agency.

Herkimer maintains articulation agreements with six colleges, allowing graduates to transfer easily into a bachelor’s program. Online and on-campus students have access to the same support services, including tutoring and disability services.

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10 Northwest Iowa Community College RANKING SCORE 63.51 COST Graduation Rate 76% LOCATION Sheldon, IA

Founded in Sheldon as a small technical high school, Northwest Iowa Community College was the first community college in Iowa. Enrolling 2,600 students, NCC boasts a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 100% job placement rate.

NCC is one of six Iowa schools comprising an online consortium of community colleges, which means students have access to more than 750 online courses. NCC offers a human services associate degree in a hybrid format; students attend on-campus classes one day per week and complete all other requirements online. The 60-credit curriculum includes 45 general education credits and five human services courses. Most students complete the human services associate degree online in two years.

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11 Cornerstone University RANKING SCORE 62.63 COST Graduation Rate 82% LOCATION Grand Rapids, MI

Students can earn Cornerstone's AS in human services degree in an on-campus, online or blended format. Most students complete the 62-credit program in 28 months. The human services associate degree emphasizes practical skills and field experience to equip students with communication and problem-solving skills as a leader and facilitator. During a capstone course, students conduct interviews and complete 20 hours of supervised work in an agency relevant to the student's area of interest. Applicants must have at least two years of work experience.

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12 Alexandria Technical & Community College RANKING SCORE 62.63 COST Graduation Rate 71% LOCATION Alexandria, MN

One of two technical colleges in Minnesota, Alexandria Technical & Community College boasts the highest student retention rate among the two. Understanding the need for flexible schedules, ATCC offers several online degree programs for students with busy schedules. The school's associate in human services online, which can be completed 100% online or in a blended format where students attend classes both online and on campus.

ATCC's associate in human services focuses on readying students for jobs in the field. Coursework includes life span psychology and community social welfare services. Designed for students working in the human services field and those interested in a future career in the field alike, this 60-credit program also includes practical learning through internships and shadowing. Students are required to complete and pass a background check before any internship can begin. Once completed, students may either use the associate degree to gain employment in the human services field or choose to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program.

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13 Hagerstown Community College RANKING SCORE 59.61 COST Graduation Rate 65% LOCATION Hagerstown, MD

Founded in Maryland in 1946, Hagerstown Community College was the state's first community college. HCC offers three online human services program options: an AAS in human services technician, an AS in arts and sciences with a human services concentration, and a letter of recognition in human services.

Both human services associate degree online programs require 60 credits and are available completely online. HCC offers a transfer option for students planning to enter a bachelor’s program; students complete at least 31 general education credits and choose electives with their transfer institution in mind. HCC maintains an articulation agreement with Salisbury University.

The human services technician program is ideal for students planning to enter the workforce after completing their associate degree. The program includes field experiences at community agencies.

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14 Niagara County Community College RANKING SCORE 58.25 COST Graduation Rate 62% LOCATION Sanborn, NY

Located just minutes from Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York, Niagara County Community College is situated on 250 acres in rural upstate New York. NCCC is dedicated to meeting current and future student needs, and the institution does so by providing many different learning options, from traditional classroom settings to night classes and online programs. This online associate degree in human services can be achieved 100% online.

Niagara's 64-credit hour human services program is designed to prepare students for further education at a four-year university. At NCCC, students in the associate degree program for human services focus on five outcomes: familiarity with human services as a field, an understanding of the grief and loss process, professional ethics in the field, practical application of theory, and a demonstrated understanding of research in the field. The program also offers enrollees first-hand, professional on-site experience through practical application courses.

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15 University of the Cumberlands RANKING SCORE 57.94 COST Graduation Rate 66% LOCATION Florence, KY

Founded as Cumberland College in 1913, University of the Cumberlands is a Christian, liberal arts university located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. UC offers 40 majors and minors, plus preprofessional programs.

The university's 61-hour online associate degree in human services requires 31 general education hours, 18 core hours, and 12 elective hours. Core coursework focuses on practical skills, and students can take electives outside the discipline.

UC accepts applications on a rolling basis, and admitted students can begin classes at the beginning of any term. All online students pay the same affordable tuition rate, regardless of state residency. UC accepts transfer hours from any regionally accredited institution.

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16 Nassau Community College RANKING SCORE 57.68 COST Graduation Rate 71% LOCATION Garden, NY

Located on 225 acres in Long Island, New York, Nassau Community College is the largest single-campus community college in the state. NCC is part of the State University of New York system and offers programs in more than 70 fields of study to more than 20,000 students.

Most students complete the 64-hour online associate degree in human services in four semesters. Many of the required general education courses are available online. The core curriculum includes three social work courses, two of which are available fully online, and a semester-long internship involving seven hours of community service per week.

NCC provides numerous academic support centers and maintains articulation agreements with four-year institutions to ease the transfer process for graduates.

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17 Great Basin College RANKING SCORE 57.02 COST Graduation Rate 82% LOCATION Elko, NV

Located in rural Nevada, Great Basin College serves ten Nevada counties and borders five additional states, including California and Oregon. The school offers affordable career, technical, and academic education to about 3,800 students. Additionally, the institution provides online classes and programs tailored specifically to the unique needs of the distance learner. When a student pursues Great Basin's associate degree in human services online, that student never needs to attend a single class on campus.

This human services degree also encompasses certificates of concentration as well. While pursuing an associate degree, students can simultaneously earn a substance abuse counselor training certificate, which paves a solid foundation for a student's entry into the field. This human services associate degree is a 60-credit program.

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18 Madisonville Community College RANKING SCORE 56.54 COST Graduation Rate 60% LOCATION Madisonville, KY

One of the fastest growing community colleges in the country, Madisonville Community College is located in Madisonville, Kentucky and serves over 4,500 students. As part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, MCC’s community connections provide great value to students in the form of multiple campuses on which to study and job opportunities. The institution offers several online programs, including an online associate degree in human services.

This 64-credit hour program can be completed in two years. Students have the option to complete courses at any institution that is a member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (note that 25% of all course work must be completed at MCC). Additionally, 24 credit hours must be taken on campus. MCC's associate in human services online is designed to ready students for an entry-level job opportunity in a variety of settings under the human services umbrella. To gain real world access in the field — and to graduate — students are required to complete four hours of clinical field instruction or cooperative learning.

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19 Middlesex Community College RANKING SCORE 56.32 COST Graduation Rate 63% LOCATION Bedford, MA

Located in the Boston, Massachusetts, metropolitan area, MCC offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs and enrolls about 12,000 students. MCC is a public college with an open admissions policy.

MCC’s online human services associate degree requires at least 61 credits and comprises online and hybrid courses. The two-year program emphasizes communications and counseling skills. Students complete community service and a supervised field placement. The program offers a career option for students planning to enter direct care positions after graduation and a transfer option for those planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in human services.

Students who select the transfer option take courses necessary for guaranteed transfer to Massachusetts state universities and the University of Massachusetts. MCC charges no application fee.

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20 Hopkinsville Community College RANKING SCORE 55.61 COST Graduation Rate 59% LOCATION Hopkinsville, KY

One of the benefits of attending a college in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System is the access to an array of amenities and resources of a large college system. Hopkinsville Community College offers students this benefit along with a large selection of online courses and programs. In turn, students pursuing an associate degree from HCC can then transfer seamlessly into a four year university. Learners who choose not to transfer can also use their associate degree to gain access to the job market in their chosen field.

HCC offers a human services associate degree online, where students can use their degree to obtain employment in a variety of settings. The human services degree available at HCC is broad and comprehensive so that students have access to jobs in many markets. Students who take 15 to 18 credit hours per semester can complete this 60-credit program in as little as two years.

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21 Northcentral Technical College RANKING SCORE 54.61 COST Graduation Rate 59% LOCATION Wausau, WI

Founded in Wisconsin in 1912, Northcentral Technical College offers courses at its main campus in Wausau, at six satellite campuses in the surrounding area, and online.

Students earning NTC’s associate degree in human services online have flexibility in how, when, and where to access courses. All of NTC's campuses offer the program's required courses and provide computers. Students can also complete the program mostly online, in an asynchronous format, which allows students to begin courses at their convenience, work at their own pace, and set their own due dates. The program requires 67 credits and offers occupational experience through internships and service learning.

NTC offers affordable tuition rates and provides transfer pathways to help graduates pursue further education.

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22 Tompkins Cortland Community College RANKING SCORE 54.43 COST Graduation Rate 46% LOCATION Dryden, NY

Tompkins Cortland was founded in 1968 outside Dryden, New York. The college has educational extension centers in Cortland and Ithaca. Tompkins Cortland is one of 30 community colleges comprising the State University of New York system and enrolls more than 3,000 students.

Tompkins Cortland offers an associate of science and an associate of applied science in human services. Both online human services associate degrees require at least 61 credits and are available 50% online. Students complete a six-credit internship involving 224 hours of direct care in a human services agency.

Tompkins Cortland maintains articulation agreements with more 30 colleges and universities, which eases the transfer process for graduates pursuing four-year degrees.

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23 Columbia College RANKING SCORE 53.51 COST Graduation Rate 57% LOCATION Columbia, MO

Though Columbia College’s main campus is located in Columbia, Missouri, the institution has campuses all over the country and online, allowing the school to serve over 29,000 students across the United States. The college offers 27 accredited degrees completely online and the school's programs are notably affordable. In fact, Columbia’s 60-credit programs cost about half that of similar programs at nonprofit, private institutions.

One such program is Columbia's associate in science in human services degree. This degree program takes a total of 60 credit hours to complete and, with a full-time class load, it can be completed in two years. The institution allows the students to take breaks from the program if needed — say for military leave or a family commitment — and pick up where they left off. Columbia's human services program is designed to provide students with the empirical knowledge and skill set needed for a career in fields such as counseling and advocacy.

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24 Brescia University RANKING SCORE 53.33 COST Graduation Rate 64% LOCATION Owensboro, KY

Brescia University’s online programs are specifically designed with adults in mind. The institution provides associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in 14 concentrations from human services to political science. The institution’s online associate degree in human services is a 60-credit program designed to fit the working professional’s busy schedule. This program is 100% online and students that take on a full course load can finish it in two years.

Brescia University’s human services degree focuses on several areas within the healthcare field, including information theory, case management, and crisis management. Provided core requirements are met, students tailor their degree plan to fit their interests. Additionally, students can transfer up to 42 credits from other regionally accredited institutions. Once obtained, Brescia's associate degree in human services may be used to pursue an online bachelor’s degree in one of four concentrations: social work, psychology, integrated studies, and theology.

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25 Gateway Community and Technical College RANKING SCORE 52.54 COST Graduation Rate 62% LOCATION Florence, KY

Focused on helping adult students find alternatives to the traditional classroom, Gateway Community and Technical College provides flexible, adaptive online programs of study that easily fit the busy lifestyle of the working adult. At Gateway, students earn their degree completely online and the institution's online programs have been ranked among the best and most affordable in the state of Kentucky.

Gateway's online associate degree in human services is geared toward providing students with the skills they need to pursue an entry-level position in fields such as mental health or community health, or to work in a private office.

Created to seamlessly work around busy schedules, learners at Gateway choose to take classes at the pace that fits their needs. Gateway’s human services associate degree online is a 65-credit program that may be completed in as little as six semesters. Classes focus on subjects including group dynamics, sociology, and hands-on learning in the student’s chosen field within the human services realm.

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Timeline
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs
$8,000 to $25,000 in annual tuition
Concentrations
Social Work, Sociology, Psychology, Substance Abuse Counseling, Family Counseling, and Economics

WHAT TO EXPECT AS A STUDENT IN AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN HUMAN SERVICES PROGRAM

The coursework of an associate in human services degree program online will largely revolve around the fields of sociology, psychology and economics. Specific courses may include topics related to aging, cultural diversity, law and ethics, counseling and substance abuse/addiction. Courses in foreign language ― particularly Spanish ― are also usually offered. Concentrations at the associate level are somewhat rare, but programs may allow students to focus their studies on fields like youth and family services, substance abuse counseling, community outreach or corrections. Capstone research projects are also relatively uncommon, but students should expect at least one on-site internship or field experience during their two-year program.

It's crucial to research the accreditation status of an MBA program before making a final decision. In the U.S., online associate degree in human services programs usually receive accreditation from the associate degree division of the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). In addition to programmatic accreditation, make sure that the college or university has received regional or national accreditation.

JOB PLACEMENT: ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN HUMAN SERVICES

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the 'community and social service' sector (including human services) are expected to rise 10% between 2014 and 2024, resulting in a total of roughly 257,700 new positions. Comparatively, the average growth rate for all occupations currently sits at 6%.

The table below features a more detailed job growth breakdown for four common careers in human services.

Occupation Current Number of Jobs Projected Industry Growth (2014-24) Projected Number of New Jobs (2014-24)
Social and Human Service Assistants 386,600 11% 44,200
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs 474,800 4% 17,900
Health Educators and Community Health Workers 115,700 13% 15,600
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 91,700 4% 3,300

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

EARNING A LIVING

Like unemployment rates, the earning potential of an employee with an MBA in sustainability will largely depend on their specific professional title. Other factors to consider include experience level, employer size and city/state of employment. The next table looks at career salary growth expectations for five of the most common job titles for sustainability MBA recipients.

Occupation Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (Less than 5 Years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Social/Human Service Assistant $29,000 $37,000 $33,000 $27,000
Case Manager $35,372 $39,971 $43,705 $57,457
Family Support Worker $29,854 $32,804 $30,619 $33,000
Community Support Specialist $31,443 $34,921 $37,649 $38,194
Corrections Officer $33,509 $38,753 $45,028 $49,189

Source: PayScale

As the table indicates, all five occupations experience minimal salary growth ― and in the case of social/human service assistants, a $2,000 loss in annual earnings after 20 years on the job. Case managers reported the highest rate of salary growth: a 62.4% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Corrections officers placed second with 46.8% career salary growth, followed by community support specialists with 21.5% growth.

Career Opportunities

Those who earn an associate degree in human services online will be eligible for a wide range of entry-level positions. Three common career paths for these degree-holders are outlined in detail below.

Correctional Officers and Bailiffs: Correctional officers oversee prisons where convicted offenders are kept (also known as correctional facilities); they ensure safety, security and prisoner wellbeing throughout the facility. Bailiffs are responsible for maintaining order and safety in courtrooms during trials and other legal proceedings. Many human services associate degree recipients will be qualified for either of these positions with some on-the-job training.

Social and Human Service Assistants: These personnel provide services for people who need assistance in different areas, such as employment and financial support, education or counseling. According to the BLS, roughly 28% work in individual and family services; 20% are employed through state and local government agencies; and 16% offer their services in nursing and residential care facilities.

Health Educators and Community Health Workers: These employees work at the community level to educate people about topics like diet and nutrition, exercise, disease prevention and positive lifestyle choices. The associate degree track is perfect for community health workers, who collect different types of data from community members and use these findings to develop impactful education programs and services.

Profession Median Annual Salary Median Hourly Wage
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs $40,580 $19.51
Social and Human Service Assistants $30,830 $14.82
Health Educators and Community Health Workers $43,840 $21.08

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to human services is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for human services professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • National Organization for Human Services: The NOHS is home to the Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner, a voluntary credential that can help associate degree-holders boost their professional standing and advance in their careers. The organization also publishes a peer-reviewed online journal, sponsors six regional U.S. chapters and hosts an annual nationwide conference.
  • American Public Human Services Association: Established in 1930, the APHSA strives to create "better, healthier lives for children, adults, families and communities". Membership options are available for individuals, associate members and industry partners; the association also maintains affiliate partnerships with nine other organizations working in the field of human services.
  • National Human Services Assembly: The NHSA is the organization behind the Extra Mile Pathway, a memorial in Washington DC honoring notable Americans in the human services field. Other projects include the National Reframing Human Services Initiative, the National Collaboration for Youth and the National Collaboration for Families.

Despite the relative affordability of online associate degree programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.

MASTER'S IN FINANCE

Finance -- the study of money and asset management -- is one of the most popular degree concentrations for MBA students. Learn about the best schools for this area of study with our comprehensive degree guide.

MASTER'S IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Another popular specialization field for MBA students, human resources (or HR) focuses on hiring, new employee orientation and other administrative needs. Visit our guide to master's degrees in HR for more information.

BUSINESS RESOURCE

Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, open courseware, industry publications, books and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.

BUSINESS CAREERS

Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Associate Degree in Human Services Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Bismarck State College Bismarck, ND
2 Columbia College Columbia, MO
3 Thomas Edison State College Trenton, NJ
4 Madisonville Community College Madisonville, KY
5 Coastline Community College Fountain Valley, CA
6 Excelsior College Albany, NY
7 Brescia University Owensboro, KY
8 Gateway Community and Technical College Florence, KY
9 Great Basin College Elko, NV
10 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
11 Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard, KY
12 Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Elizabethtown, KY
13 Hopkinsville Community College Hopkinsville, KY
14 Niagara County Community College Sanborn, NY
15 Big Sandy Community and Technical College Prestonsburg, KY
16 Owensboro Community and Technical College Owensboro, KY
17 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN
18 Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington, KY
19 Elizabethtown College School of Continuing and Professional Studies Elizabethtown, PA
20 Franklin Pierce University Rindge, NH