The nationwide growth of social service and mental health programs has created exciting opportunities for prospective human services professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of nearly 350,000 community and social service jobs between 2019 and 2029, with most coming from counseling and social worker careers.
With an online associate in human services, graduates can pursue entry-level positions in the field and lay the foundation for more advanced training. The degree equips learners with the skills and credentials needed to give back to their communities and help people manage and overcome various challenges.
Get more information from our associate in human services program guide.
What Are the Best Online Associate in Human Services Programs? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||Great Basin College||Elko, NV|
|2||Madisonville Community College||Madisonville, KY|
|3||Ocean County College||Toms River, NJ|
|4||Minot State University||Minot, ND|
|5||Union County College||Cranford, NJ|
|6||Brescia University||Owensboro, KY|
|7||Cornerstone University||Grand Rapids, MI|
|8||Columbia College||Columbia, MO|
|9||Herkimer County Community College||Herkimer, NY|
|10||University of the Cumberlands||Williamsburg, KY|
- How We Rank Schools
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Best Accredited Online Associate in Human Services Programs
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Great Basin College
|Elko, NV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
Great Basin College enrolls about 4,000 students across multiple campuses in Nevada and online. Students can choose from more than 75 degree, diploma, and certificate programs at nine major schools, including more than 30 available through GBC Online.
GBC's 61-credit associate in human services can be completed online in four semesters. Course topics include substance abuse fundamentals, introduction to counseling, and ethics in human services. Students must complete a two-part practicum and a human services seminar to conclude the program.
Over the past five years, graduates of this AAS in human services program have a cumulative GPA of 3.38. Students can also pursue related programs at GBC, including a bachelor's in human services and a substance abuse counselor certificate program.College
Madisonville Community College
|Madisonville, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Comprising three campuses across Kentucky and an online division, Madisonville Community College offers multiple education and training programs in fields like business, technology, healthcare, and arts and sciences. Students may also choose from a variety of online AAS degrees.
MCC offers an online associate of applied science in human services. This 60-credit program includes general education, technical core, and elective coursework in topics such as psychology, communication, and quantitative reasoning. Students must also satisfy a digital literacy requirement and complete a course in clinical practice, paraprofessional practice, or cooperative education in human services.
Students may begin the program in the fall or spring semester. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or the GED equivalent and provide ACT/SAT scores or submit to placement testing.
Ocean County College
|Toms River, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 34%||
Ocean County College enrolls more than 8,000 students online and at its campus in Toms River, New Jersey. Students may choose from more than 40 associate degrees and certificate programs, including nearly 20 that are available online.
OCC's 60-credit associate of science in public service can be completed in four semesters. Students can choose from eight concentrations, including human services/social work. Core concentration coursework explores topics like introduction to social work, gerontology, and human behavior and the social environment. This online program culminates with a social work seminar and practicum.
OCC accepts applications on a rolling basis and admits students at the beginning of each semester. Online learners enjoy the same support resources as on-campus students, including library, advising, counseling, and career services.
Minot State University
|Minot, ND||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Located in its namesake city in North Dakota, Minot State University enrolls more than 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students. MSU offers dozens of programs through five major academic colleges. It also delivers more than 20 degrees and certificates online.
MSU's online associate of science in human services features a major in intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Students must complete 66 credits of general education and core coursework. The curriculum explores topics like human development, healthcare in IDD, and dual diagnoses. The program culminates in a field experience.
MSU offers most IDD courses once every two years. Students may also choose to pursue a certificate or bachelor's degree in IDD through MSU.
Union County College
|Cranford, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Established as New Jersey's first community college, Union County College now hosts students across three campuses, two learning centers, and online. Students may choose from more than a dozen degrees and certificates offered fully online or through hybrid classes.
Union offers an online associate of science in social services to prepare aspiring social workers and human services professionals for entry-level careers. The 60-credit program spans four semesters and includes coursework in psychology and sociology. Students explore topics such as social inequality, community resources in human services, and social policy and welfare.
Students may submit their application at any time, and the program enrolls new learners in the fall and spring. Union offers various types of support to distance learners, including tutoring, advising, counseling, and career services.
|Owensboro, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
One of the nation's leading Catholic liberal arts institutions, Brescia University offers more than 50 graduate and undergraduate programs. Students can attend classes on campus in Owensboro, Kentucky, or pursue one of 10 degrees and certificates available through BUonline.
Brescia's 63-credit associate in human services can be completed online in two years. The curriculum incorporates coursework from fields like social and behavioral science, religion and philosophy, and social work. Additionally, students must satisfy general education requirements in topics like English and public speaking.
Students interested in earning an online associate degree in human services can enroll at one of five start dates throughout the year. Experienced students may transfer in up to 42 credits from a regionally accredited school toward this associate program.
|Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cornerstone University is a Christian liberal arts institution that oversees a seminary and distance programs delivered through CU Online. Students may choose from more than 20 online programs in areas like business, counseling and psychology, ministry, education, and human services.
CU's online associate in human services prepares graduates for secular or faith-based human services careers. The 62-credit program emphasizes professional skills, offering classes related to digital literacy, leadership, sociology, and intercultural relations. Students conclude the program with a field experience or an applied project.
Participants usually graduate in 28 months. Students pursuing this AS in human services pay a universal per-credit tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence. CU boasts a graduate employment rate of 92%.
|Columbia, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Originally named Christian Female College, Columbia College hosts roughly 18,000 students through 30 national locations, a main campus in Missouri, and an online division. Learners can choose from more than 40 graduate and undergraduate programs.
CC's associate of science in human services can be completed entirely online or through a hybrid format. The 60-credit program includes a general education core and major area requirements, as well as electives and prerequisites. Students must also complete first-year writing and general education foundations seminars.
CC accepts applications on a rolling basis and admits students at the beginning of each semester. Applicants must have a high school diploma (or the GED equivalent) and a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also meet minimum SAT or ACT score requirements.College
Herkimer County Community College
|Herkimer, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
A member of the State University system of New York (SUNY) system, Herkimer County Community College enrolls more than 3,000 students on campus and online. Students can pursue more than 20 associate degrees and certificates -- as well as hundreds of individual courses -- through Herkimer's Internet Academy.
Although the school's online AAS in human services was not developed exclusively as a bridge program, graduates qualify to enter bachelor's programs at other SUNY schools. The 64-credit program can be completed in two years. Coursework explores topics like psychology, sociology, communication, and case management.
Students may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer term. Submitting ACT or SAT scores is optional. Transfer students may bring in credits from classes that they passed with a "C" or higher. However, they must earn at least 30 credits at Herkimer.Cumberlands
University of the Cumberlands
|Williamsburg, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
The University of the Cumberlands enrolls nearly 17,000 students across two campuses in Kentucky and online. UC offers dozens of graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs, including more than 40 online programs.
UC's online associate in human services emphasizes behavioral theory, current social awareness, and professional helping skills. The 61-credit program includes general education requirements from six areas, including Christian faith and values and the humanities. Major coursework explores topics like basic counseling skills, case management, and human diversity and ethics. The program culminates in an internship and a seminar or professionalism class.
UC charges the same per-credit tuition, regardless of a student's state of residence. Classes are delivered in eight-week terms throughout the year.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Human Services Program?
The typical online associate in human services program explores introductory concepts in social work, counseling, psychology, and sociology. These programs teach students how to identify areas of need in human services and how best to intervene. These degrees usually require approximately 60 credits and take two years to complete.
AAS degrees may prepare students better for the workforce, whereas AA and AS degrees may result in more transfer credits.
Most schools award an associate of science (AS), associate of arts (AA), or associate of applied sciences (AAS) in human services. AA and AS programs may differ slightly in courses, leaning more toward theoretical training in the former and analytical training in the latter. Conversely, AAS degrees usually emphasize practical training, which might require more situational courses.
While the degrees can offer similar results, enrollees' chosen program can impact their postgraduate options. AAS degrees may prepare students better for the workforce, whereas AA and AS degrees may result in more transfer credits. Some programs offer courses that can expand learners' career options, such as healthcare courses or mental health training.
Though rarer at the associate level, human services students may also encounter concentrations. Specializing in a field, such as chemical dependency, counseling, or community programming, can help students find work in those areas. Concentrations may also help applicants meet admission requirements for more advanced training in those disciplines.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Human Services Program?
The human services discipline spans multiple topics, and programs vary considerably in their focus. Nevertheless, all programs must cover similar core topics. The following list highlights the courses that often appear in associate in human services programs.
- Introduction to Psychology
This course teaches students the field's major theories and concepts. Coursework may examine the history of psychology and the causes and effects of various conditions. Learners also typically explore common assessment and treatment methods, along with new trends and movements.
- Community Development
This course covers the uses and impacts of community programs that focus on healthy living, particularly among children, youth, women, and minority populations. Students learn how to assess community needs, run advocacy campaigns, and develop programs. Degree-seekers also learn to incorporate research and evidence into their efforts.
- Introduction to Counseling
Enrollees examine major counseling techniques and methods used by professionals. They learn about the history of counseling, some of the leading causes for therapy, and strategies for arriving at positive outcomes. Some courses may examine specific types of counseling, such as family, group, and child counseling.
- Group Dynamics
This course focuses on strategies for working with groups of individuals in a human services setting. Coursework may cover group counseling and how to mediate and accommodate discussion effectively. Some courses examine group projects and programs and how leaders can maximize the abilities of everyone involved.
- Social Issues
Students learn about the major problems facing communities and human services professionals. They examine the causes of the problems and propose solutions while also identifying areas of need.
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What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Human Services Degree?
Though many community and social service occupations require a bachelor's degree at minimum, an associate in human services can qualify graduates for various entry-level positions. The BLS projects jobs for community and social service professionals to grow 12% between 2019 and 2029, more than three times faster than the average rate for all occupations.
After completing an associate degree, human services graduates can also pursue a bachelor's degree in a more specialized field. Associate degrees typically feature lower tuition costs and several transfer credits, allowing degree-seekers to potentially reduce their overall education costs.
See where an associate in human services can take you. Learn more about social work careers.
- Community Health Workers
Community health workers teach community members about healthy living and wellness strategies. They design and run outreach programs, work with community and youth organizations, and encourage people to connect with local healthcare providers. According to BLS data, 18% of these professionals work in the government, 17% work in family services, and 14% work in religious organizations.
- Social and Human Service Assistants
Social service assistants provide many services to clients, including assisting in rehabilitation programs, helping patients with their daily routines, and aiding patients with completing required documents. These professionals also support social workers, healthcare providers, and counselors. According to BLS data, 30% of these assistants work with family services, 12% work in nursing care facilities, and 11% work with local governments.
- Substance Abuse Counselors
Substance abuse counselors help patients who suffer from various addictions and dependencies. They may offer advice, develop programs, examine mental health or underlying issues, and help clients better understand their challenges. According to the BLS, 19% of these counselors work in outpatient clinics, 16% work in family services, and 10% work in hospitals.
- Human Resources Specialist
Human resources specialists handle various staffing, compensation, and employee relations tasks. They recruit and interview job candidates, conduct orientations and training, and manage staffing paperwork. According to BLS data, 15% of these specialists work in employment services, 13% work in professional services, and 11% work for the government.
- Community Service Managers
Community service managers develop and oversee community programs and organizations. They identify community needs with research and analysis, design programs and campaigns to address these issues, and conduct advocacy and fundraising campaigns. According to the BLS, 29% of these managers work in family services, 12% work for religious organizations, and 11% work in nursing care facilities.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Human Services Programs
- Is an associate in human services worth it?
An associate in human services can grant students access to various professions and industries. For learners who thrive when helping others and serving their communities, this degree offers the quickest pathway to the field.
- What can I do with an associate in human services?
After completing an associate in human services, graduates can enter the community service field in various capacities, working as counselors, community program managers, and healthcare workers. Degree-holders can also continue their training in a bachelor's program and beyond.
- Are human services majors in demand?
As community service and support programs expand, the demand for human services majors grows. The BLS projects jobs for community and social service professionals to grow 12% between 2019 and 2029. The data also projects much-faster-than-average job growth for health educators and community health workers (13%), social and community service managers (17%), and substance abuse counselors (25%).
- How much money can I make with an associate in human services?
According to the BLS, community and social service professionals earned a median annual salary of $47,520 in 2020, exceeding the median annual salary of $41,950 for all occupations.
- What are the highest-paying jobs with an associate in human services?
The highest-paying job for graduates with an associate in human services is community service manager. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $69,600 in 2020. The highest 10% of earners in the field make more than $115,800 per year.