A degree in human services best serves students with a passion for making a difference in their communities. Many careers in this field involve providing essential services like counseling, addiction treatment, and social work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in human services occupations will grow by 12% between 2019 and 2029, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations.
Most positions in this field require at least a bachelor's degree, so completing an undergraduate program is vital to launching a successful career. Consult our program guide for more in-depth information on human services bachelor's degrees.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Human Services Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||Colorado State University Global Campus||Greenwood Village, CO|
|2||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College||Saint Mary of the Woods, IN|
|3||LeTourneau University||Longview, TX|
|4||University of Wisconsin Oshkosh||Oshkosh, WI|
|5||Western Washington University||Bellingham, WA|
|6||Central Washington University||Ellensburg, WA|
|7||Bellevue University||Bellevue, NE|
|8||Anderson University||Anderson, SC|
|9||Southern Wesleyan University||Central, SC|
|10||Judson University||Elgin, IL|
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2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Human Services Programs
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Colorado State University Global Campus
|Greenwood Village, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
The online bachelor's in human services degree offered by CSU-Global features core courses in community development, fundraising and grant writing, and crisis intervention. Additional requirements include a practicum or a seminar in human services strategy. All learners also complete a capstone project in human services strategy and execution.
CSU-Global's graduates find jobs that pay, on average, about $20,000 more than typical entry-level positions in Colorado. The university helps students achieve career success by offering 50-minute career coaching sessions and resume critiques.
Admission requirements include two years of work experience and high school transcripts or GED scores. All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of residency. CSU-Global awards institutional scholarships to students who maintain an excellent undergraduate GPA.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
|Saint Mary of the Woods, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
SMWC's online bachelor's degree in human services includes a 55-credit major curriculum with coursework in general psychology, sociology, and racial and cultural minorities. Outside of class, students gain hands-on experience by completing two practica in their local community. Learners customize their experience by selecting four electives within the major.
SMWC provides students with a list of internship opportunities, self-assessments, and resume guides. Alumni partners assist current undergraduates with their job hunt.
Prospective students do not need to submit recommendation letters or standardized test scores. SMWC charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all learners. The college participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
|Longview, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
LETU's bachelor of human services program teaches coursework from a Christian perspective. During five-week courses, students analyze topics like abnormal psychology, criminal law, and addiction theory. The program prepares graduates for entry-level positions and graduate school.
LETU's career services office provides students with access to Handshake, Focus 2 Career, and resume guides. Additionally, recent alumni of LETU boast a 95% job placement rate.
Admission requirements include high school or undergraduate transcripts. Individuals who hold a GED certificate are also eligible for admission. LETU provides a significant tuition discount to Texas residents. The university awards three institutional scholarships to distance learners.
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
|Oshkosh, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
UW-Oshkosh's online bachelor's degree in human services leadership emphasizes transferable skills related to topics like program development. Distance learners use the Canvas platform to complete coursework, taking classes like globalization in human services, social issues and solutions, and financial sustainability. All students in the program also complete two internships.
UW-Oshkosh features a graduate job-placement rate that is 4% higher than the national average. The university achieves this impressive statistic by offering students resume samples, salary negotiation tips, and skill self-assessments.
Admission requirements include an associate degree from a Wisconsin technical college or at least 30 undergraduate credits from an accredited institution. All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate. Financial aid options include payment plans, private scholarships, and federal grants.
Western Washington University
|Bellingham, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
Students who graduate from Western's bachelor's in human services program can find work as mental health professionals and nonprofit administrators. The 76-quarter-credit major features courses in applied research methods, grant writing, and mental health. Students personalize the program by selecting multiple electives.
Western's career center provides distance learners with virtual counseling sessions, workshops, and resume critiques. Eighty-nine percent of alumni find a job or enter a graduate program within six months of earning their degree.
Admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA, essays, and a criminal background check. Washington residents receive a significant tuition discount. The university awards merit-based scholarships to in-state, out-of-state, and transfer students.
Central Washington University
|Ellensburg, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
CWU's online bachelor's degree in social services features noteworthy elective classes, such as death and dying, the minority experience, and the sociology of families. The program includes a practicum component in which degree-seekers work at a food bank, vocational rehabilitation center, or a similar human services setting.
CWU's Wildcat Career Network connects students with the latest job opportunities throughout Washington and beyond. The network also offers an in-depth career guide to current students and alumni.
Prospective students should submit a CWU application before sending in transcripts or GED scores. The university also requires ACT or SAT scores. Out-of-state online learners pay in-state tuition rates. Incoming students can find institutional financial aid opportunities on CWU's Scholarship Central website.
|Bellevue, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 0%||
Students who graduate from BU's bachelor's in behavioral science program can find entry-level work or enroll in a master's program in clinical mental health counseling. The 40-credit major curriculum of this program includes courses in research data and analysis, diversity in human services, and social deviance. All students create an e-portfolio as a capstone.
BU's career services office works one-on-one with students to craft a resume and practice interviewing skills. Additional online resources include an in-depth guide on how to create a LinkedIn profile.
Admission requirements include at least 60 undergraduate credits; these can be earned at BU or another accredited school. All students pay the same per-credit tuition rate. Merit-based scholarships require an additional application.
|Anderson, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
AU's online bachelor's in human services program allows students to take 1-4 courses per seven-week term. Some courses include synchronous sessions delivered through Zoom. Transfer students can earn this degree in just 18 months.
AU's career center features numerous resources for online learners, including career guides and Handshake. These services help nearly 90% of undergraduate alumni find a job or enter a graduate program within one year of earning their degree.
First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores, and transfer applicants should have a 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Full-time and accelerated degree-seekers pay a per-semester tuition rate. All students in the program receive some form of financial aid.
Southern Wesleyan University
|Central, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
SWU's bachelor's in human services program provides students with a Christ-centered education and self-paced online learning. The degree offers five concentrations, including administration, criminal justice, and marriage and family services. Students can also work with an academic advisor to create a custom concentration.
Almost 90% of recent SWU graduates report a positive professional outcome. Current students can prepare for life after graduation by accessing internship opportunities and job search strategies through SWU's career center.
Prospective students must have at least 15 transferable credits and a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. SWU charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all learners. Additionally, students who work for a corporate partner receive an automatic 10% tuition discount.
|Elgin, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Judson's online bachelor's program in human services teaches the subject from a Christian perspective. The 46-credit major requires coursework in statistical theories, group practices and interventions, and faith and life issues. In their final year, students take a capstone course and create an academic portfolio.
Offered through Judson's Professional Studies Division, this program targets adult learners who want to build on their work experience and/or prior education as they pursue a bachelor's degree. Students can access a job board and a guide on how to obtain a purpose-driven career.
Judson accepts applications on a rolling basis. First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The university uses a 2.5 undergraduate GPA cutoff for transfer credit.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Human Services Program?
Successful human services professionals possess strong interpersonal, problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills, all of which human services bachelor's programs aim to cultivate. Many positions involve working with the public, clients, and organizational or government leaders to create positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
Successful human services professionals possess strong interpersonal, problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills, all of which human services bachelor's programs aim to cultivate.
Bachelor's programs traditionally require students to complete 120 credits, which takes full-time learners about four years. The curriculum typically includes several core courses in math, English, science, the humanities, and history, in addition to major coursework.
Earning a bachelor's in this field qualifies students for entry-level positions, but career advancement may require a graduate degree. Prospective students should establish their career goals before selecting a program to determine if their ultimate goal requires a master's. Some schools offer transfer agreements or provide dual-degree options that allow students to potentially save time and money by earning both degrees at once.
Many programs offer concentrations that allow students to tailor their online bachelor's in human services degree to their specific career goals. Common options include child and adolescent development, criminal justice, psychology, addictions, and leadership.
Some programs include a practicum or capstone requirement. A practicum requires students to work with a human services organization, which gives them the opportunity to see how course concepts work in real-world situations. A capstone typically involves a research project challenging students to use their knowledge to address a human services-related problem.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Human Services Program?
Each online bachelor's in human service program features a unique set of courses and graduation requirements. However, since bachelor's programs provide an introduction to key human services concepts, they usually offer similar core courses, including some of the following options.
- Public Policy and Advocacy
Students taking this course explore core human services policies. Learners examine the processes behind policy development in federal and state governments, nonprofits, and the private sector. Coursework emphasizes advocacy and the role it plays in shaping social welfare programs and developing new policies or processes.
- Case Management
This course provides an overview of principles, issues, and best practices in human services case management. Students also learn about critical prevention and intervention strategies. Learners develop essential listening, organizational, and project management skills. Additional topics may include how to set up and maintain professional boundaries and how to assess community or client needs.
- Introduction to Human Services
This course provides a comprehensive overview of several key human services concepts. Students typically explore the history of human services and its development over time. Additionally, students learn about the various roles, settings, and functions of professionals in this field. Additional topics include behavioral and social theories, ethics, service delivery systems, and common social issues.
- Human Development
This course typically provides a breakdown of popular theories and current research relating to physical, cognitive, language, social, emotional, and personality development. Most courses emphasize the relationship between human development, human services, and public policy to teach students how to create effective programs.
- Research and Data Analysis
This course helps learners develop effective research skills, with a focus on qualitative and quantitative methods. Students learn how to extract data from academic journals, books, and databases to analyze and amend human services policies. Degree-seekers also explore research design, analysis techniques, statistics, assessment scoring, and dissemination methods.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Human Services Degree?
According to the BLS, human services professionals earn a median annual salary of $46,090. Because of an aging population, social dilemmas such as the opioid crisis, and increasing number of employers offering mental health benefits, the BLS projects 12% employment growth in this field between 2019 and 2029.
Careers span several industries and specialty areas. The following section highlights five career paths you can pursue after earning an online bachelor's in human services.
Human services professionals in the healthcare sector can work as health educators or community health workers. These roles involve teaching healthy habits and promoting community well-being. Primary tasks include collecting data, developing programs, and advocating for a community's health needs. Professionals work in settings like hospitals, government, colleges, nonprofit organizations, and clinics.
Graduates with a human services degree may pursue work as a school or career counselor. School counselors play a vital role helping students achieve academic success and prepare for their future education or professional goals. Primary tasks include evaluating student abilities through assessments, providing counseling, and educating on key issues like bullying and substance abuse. Counselors work closely with teachers, administrators, and parents to ensure students succeed.
- Social Work
Careers in this sector focus on providing services like counseling and rehabilitation. Social workers help clients by coordinating access to counseling, childcare, food stamps, and healthcare. Additional tasks may include responding to crisis situations, maintaining public records, and monitoring programs for effectiveness.
With an online bachelor's in human services, you can pursue a career as a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, mental health, or marriage and family counselor. Counselors work directly with patients to develop strategies for dealing with substance abuse issues, emotions, relationship roadblocks, and life changes. Working in this field requires strong interpersonal skills and an ability to maintain confidential medical records.
- Law Enforcement
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists are common careers you may consider with a bachelor's in human services. Professionals in this sector typically perform home, employment, and property checks. Common tasks include interviewing probationers and parolees, determining the best course for rehabilitation, testing for drugs and alcohol, providing job training, and maintaining records.
Human Services Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Human Services Programs
- Is a bachelor's in human services worth it?
Yes. Many careers in human services require at least a bachelor's degree to qualify for entry-level positions. This requirement makes earning a degree vital to launching a successful career. Nevertheless, you should establish your career goals before selecting an online bachelor's in human services program to ensure the curriculum and training meet your needs.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in human services?
Earning a bachelor's in human services opens the door to several opportunities across a variety of industries. Some common positions to consider include social worker, health educator, counselor, probation officer, and emergency management specialist. Overall, careers in this field offer a unique opportunity to make a difference helping others.
- Are human services majors in demand?
The BLS projects jobs in the human services field will grow 12% between 2019 and 2029, but overall demand varies by career. For example, during the same period, the BLS projects 25% job growth for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in human services?
According to the BLS, human services professionals earn a median annual wage of $46,090. Salaries vary depending on experience, education, and location. Also, career advancement may require a graduate degree.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in human services?
Earning potential for human services careers varies widely by position and education level. The top paying industry for human services professionals is the federal executive branch.