An online human services degree is the perfect option for students who want to empower others and make a difference in their communities. Human services experts directly administer care services at social and community service centers. While hands-on service is at the core of human services, students have many career options and opportunities to advance their careers through further education. Career opportunities for those with human services degrees are on the rise. Because insurance companies are increasingly providing coverage for services like mental health counseling and addiction treatment, many positions are being created to meet demand. In fact, the rate of job growth is far outpacing the national average.
- WHAT IS A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE?
A bachelor's in human services teaches students how to help others through social and community care centers. Graduates have the skills to help entire communities and individuals. Read more here..
- WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE?
Graduates with a human services degree are prepared for many careers, including substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor, social worker, home health aide, and social and community service manager. Read more here..
- IS SOCIOLOGY A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE?
Yes. Sociology is considered a human service. Read more here..
- WHAT IS CONSIDERED A HUMAN SERVICES DEGREE?
A human services degree prepares students to help individuals, communities, or both. Examples of other human services degrees includes counseling, social work, psychology, and therapy. Read more here..
- WHAT JOBS REQUIRE A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN HUMAN SERVICES?
Most substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor, social work, and social and community service manager positions require applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a related field. Read more here..
Accredited Online Bachelor's in Human Services Degrees
Colorado State University Global
|Greenwood Village, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Colorado State University Global delivers a comprehensive, career-oriented online human services degree. Students in this 120-credit program take courses in four main subject areas: human psychological and emotional development, intervention methodology, social service administration, and case management. Built around a core of 15 courses, the program gives learners advanced knowledge of legal and ethical issues; fundraising strategies; community development; and sensitivity regarding gender, race, and ethnicity.
Successful students in the online bachelor's in human services program possess compassion, empathy, social and situational perceptiveness, and active listening skills. Graduates qualify for entry-level positions in numerous social services fields, with many degree holders pursuing careers as behavioral management aides, child advocates, caseworkers, family support workers, probation officers, and substance abuse counselors.
Learners can complete all coursework in this 100% online program asynchronously, with monthly class launches offering ongoing enrollment opportunities. Colorado State University Global also offers accelerated study paths to qualified, motivated students. These options make it possible to graduate in about three years instead of the usual four.
Regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission affirms Colorado State University Global's reputation as a national online learning leader. The school also invites established, respected industry professionals to appraise program content on an annual basis to ensure its quality and continued relevance.
California State University - Fullerton
|Fullerton, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
At California State University-Fullerton, online learners can earn a human services specialization through the school's bachelor of arts in sociology program. Students take one class at a time, with classes proceeding on an eight-week schedule. Designed to meet the needs of working students, this structure enables students to complete their degrees in just three years.
The sociology program's 17 core courses cover essentials including research methods, social theory, statistical analysis, and trends in contemporary urban and American life. Students also engage with subjects specific to population demographics through courses that focus on race relations, substance abuse, social deviance, family life, aging and geriatrics, and end-of-life issues.
Human services electives cover topics like case management, counseling, advocacy, policy and programming, and mental health service delivery. Students benefit from a cohort structure, which matches online learners with peers to help them build support networks that facilitate academic and professional success.
California State University-Fullerton developed this online human services degree for students who have already completed some postsecondary coursework. Applicants need 69-70 transferable college credits with a minimum cumulative 2.6 GPA and at least a C average in approved general education classes. Prospective students can learn more and receive a preliminary assessment of their existing credentials using the ASSIST transfer credit analysis system.
University of South Carolina - Columbia
|Columbia, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 75%||
The University of South Carolina dates back to 1801 when it was founded as South Carolina College. Its online bachelor of science in human services program maintains a balanced and interdisciplinary focus, incorporating core elements from psychology and sociology into a specialized study path.
This online bachelor's degree allows learners to engage with a complete view of the social system, developing skills in areas like fundraising and organizational management in nonprofit settings. It also integrates a philosophical viewpoint that encourages students to identify, develop, and draw on their personal strengths as they move into their careers.
While students can complete most degree requirements online, the University of South Carolina mandates that learners participate in an experience-based internship to qualify for graduation. Designed to introduce students to real-world job settings, help them build experience, and advance their professional networks, internship requirements cover a minimum of 120 hours of supervised work experience. Possible internship settings include public relations offices, social and community services, substance abuse counseling, behavioral counseling, and rehabilitative roles in the criminal justice system.
Applicants need a minimum of 45 completed credits of college coursework, which are transferable toward the program's total credit requirements. Full-time students can finish the program in about two years, marking a significantly shorter-than-average degree completion timeline.
|Longview, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Founded in 1946 and based in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University weaves its strong Christian values and faith-based worldview into all of its programs. The institution holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The bachelor of human services program at LeTourneau University draws on numerous academic disciplines, applying core elements from psychology and sociology to subjects like ethics and criminal justice. The school also emphasizes advanced counseling skills, leading to careers in case management, casework, and human services program development and management.
This accredited online human services degree also provides an excellent academic base for graduate study. Online students at LeTourneau University enjoy access to numerous related minors and concentrations. Human services students can pursue an optional minor in psychology, Christian ministry, or biblical studies.
Structured so that learners complete each course in just five weeks, LeTourneau University's human services program features 100% online, asynchronous coursework to accommodate busy schedules. In addition to academic credentials, the school considers applicants' Christian values, so prospective students should emphasize their participation in faith communities when completing application materials.
LeTourneau University maintains a generous transfer credit policy that allows students to transfer up to 75% of the academic requirements for graduation. Transfer students need a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
|Birmingham, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
The University of Alabama at Birmingham delivers its online bachelor's degree in human services through the School of Education. Configured as a major in community health human services with a concentration in human services, the program combines academic coursework with intensive internship requirements, which students usually undertake during their final semester.
Academic coursework breaks down into 41 core credits and 62 major credits. The core curriculum develops a background in the humanities or fine arts, social sciences, natural sciences or mathematics, and written composition. Major requirements explore human services topics, such as ethics, human services policy, substance abuse education, case management, grant proposal writing and fundraising, and intervention strategy.
Internship requirements include three to nine credit hours, with placements available at partner organizations, such as the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and through various initiatives based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Students in this accredited online bachelor's degree in human services enjoy access to the program's internship coordinator, who vets potential placements and helps distance learners find local internship opportunities.
Graduates can sit for the Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner Examination, an optional professional certification that enhances career opportunities. Degree holders enter the workforce with job-ready capabilities in treatment plan development, service delivery monitoring, and case management.
Nova Southeastern University
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Nova Southeastern University features a bachelor of science in human services administration to help students pursue careers in social work, gerontology, health administration, public administration, and related fields. Delivered primarily online, Nova Southeastern's program also includes field placement requirements that allow students to apply knowledge and sharpen professional skills before proceeding into the job market.
Major requirements for the program start with foundational courses that introduce learners to the primary causes of social problems and the institutions in place to deal with them. In later semesters, learners engage with specialized courses covering such subjects as case assessment, ethics, rehabilitation theory, and program planning. Students must also complete 30 credit hours of general education requirements, which some students can waive under the school's transfer credit policy.
A strong emphasis on practical, transferable skills in subject areas like economics, applied statistics, accounting, public administration, and business management marks a key differentiator of Nova Southeast University's renowned program. Students can also choose from five specializations: substance abuse, social work, health administration, advocacy and case management, and nonprofit management and philanthropy. Incoming learners without transfer credits typically graduate in four years of full-time study.
Nova Southeast University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school is configured as a private, nonprofit institution of higher learning.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
|Waxahachie, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Based in Waxahachie, Texas, Southwestern Assemblies of God University roots contemporary approaches to education in a strong Christian tradition. The school's online bachelor's degree in human services helps students build skills that support their faith-informed life callings.
In addition to a common general education core and semesterly biblical studies requirements, students can choose from four concentrations: counseling, psychology, criminal justice, and social work. Each concentration covers 33 credits of focused study that develop detailed knowledge informed by Christian principles. The program requires 126 credits, including 42 credits of general electives that enable learners to engage in interdisciplinary learning opportunities across all four concentrations.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University announced its intention to reduce online tuition fees for the 2019-2020 academic year. Effective as of the fall 2019 semester, online learners enjoy savings of more than 15% off previous tuition rates, which translates to as much as $10,000 in fee reductions over the course of a bachelor's program.
The school also offers one of the most flexible and inclusive transfer credit policies of any accredited institution in the United States, allowing learners with previous college credits to benefit from generous levels of advanced standing. Its transfer policy makes Southwestern Assemblies of God University a particularly attractive choice for students seeking an accelerated online bachelor's degree in human services.
University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
|Oshkosh, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh's online human services bachelor's degree emphasizes key skills that foster long-term success in social services careers. Learners develop leadership and organizational administration abilities along with a strong footing in ethical and legal issues. Furthermore, students engage with a comprehensive set of situation-specific intervention strategies while learning how to develop, refine, and evaluate human services programs. An emphasis on fundraising and grant writing proficiencies rounds out the curriculum's design.
This 100% online human services leadership degree features flexible, asynchronous course delivery methods. Applicants must meet one of two criteria: they need at least 30 postsecondary credits from an accredited four-year college or technical institute with an average minimum 2.5 GPA or they must hold an associate degree in an applied sciences discipline. Applicants falling into the latter category also need a cumulative minimum 2.5 GPA.
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission's North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The school uses the Desire 2 Learn online learning platform, a cloud-based educational software suite used by dozens of universities throughout the world. Through this platform, students study theoretical and practical human services topics, including human behavior and psychology, conflict resolution, intervention approaches, and major current social issues. The program supplements these subjects with practical skills development training that focuses on project management, program administration, legal issues, and ethics.
|Albany, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
At Albany, New York's Excelsior College, students can earn a bachelor of science in social sciences with a concentration in human services. The program consists of a thorough core that emphasizes interdisciplinary learning across multiple social sciences, including sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, and geography. These general requirements form a strong knowledge foundation for supplemental electives in organizational behavior, criminal justice, and microeconomics.
Students pursuing the human services concentration proceed along a specialized track that offers advanced and customizable learning opportunities. Case management, public policy, and ethics requirements cover the concentration's prerequisites, which students augment with at least one additional course in each of the following subjects: human services administration; substance abuse issues; public health policy; elder care and geriatrics; and disability issues.
Program requirements total 120 credits of coursework. Excelsior College allows students to transfer in up to 117 of those credits, making the program ideal for students seeking an accelerated bachelor's degree in human services online.
Excelsior College offers special benefits to military students and veterans, including dedicated academic advisers. Excelsior also maintains extensive partnerships with many corporate, government, academic, and military organizations, allowing qualified students to receive additional tuition discounts and other financial advantages. Tuition deferral remains another unique financing option, making Excelsior's well-regarded program even more accessible to budget-conscious learners.
Old Dominion University
|Norfolk, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Old Dominion University's online bachelor of science in human services features a rigorous curriculum that stresses a creative, people-centered approach to the delivery of social services. Students in this 100% online, 120-credit program develop insights into human development, social behavior, and how human services agencies function in society. Coursework also covers practical capabilities in program development and evaluation, grant writing, and fundraising.
Graduates emerge with thorough knowledge of the professional expectations of human services workers and possess expertise in ethical, legal, and cultural issues that commonly arise in real-world settings. The program holds an endorsement from the Virginia Certification Board as a suitable academic prerequisite for reciprocity-eligible certification as an alcohol and drug counselor or substance abuse counselor.
Old Dominion University requires students to complete at least 30 credits at the school to qualify for graduation. Therefore, candidates can transfer up to 75% of their coursework requirements from other accredited institutions.
Based in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University's distance learning offerings date back to the 1980s. Student surveys indicate very high satisfaction rates with the school's online programs, with 96% of respondents affirming a positive educational experience and 89% saying they would recommend the school to other learners. Old Dominion University holds institutional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The university also maintains a partnership with the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus program.
|Springfield, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Springfield, Missouri's Drury University delivers a highly regarded bachelor of science in human services. The 120-credit program offers a strong focus on psychology. Required foundational courses cover topics such as sexuality, family dynamics, gerontology, social psychology, and the power of positive thinking. Additional courses give students advanced statistical analysis and research skills.
Students must complete at least 45 program credits at Drury University, including the capstone senior seminar component that functions as a comprehensive test of skills and knowledge. Drury University also maintains a common set of core general education requirements that all undergraduate students in science, business, and general education programs must complete. These academic components ensure high levels of competence in technology, writing, and communication.
Although many career paths require advanced training and/or certification, students earning this degree commonly become social workers, mental health counselors, human service assistants, case workers, and public administrators.
Founded in 1873, Drury University offers a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school holds institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission's North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Western Washington University
|Bellingham, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Through its bachelor of arts in human services online program, Western Washington University prepares a new generation of social services professionals to meet daily challenges. This interdisciplinary program arms students with the insights they need to become effective prevention policy advocates.
This online bachelor's degree in human services is ideal for students who want to combine theoretical learning with practical professional development opportunities. Course requirements engage students in three academic quarters of internships and field placements, which helps candidates build strong resumes prior to joining the job market.
Key required courses in this 76-credit program cover such fundamentals as U.S. institutional policy; research methods; program planning, analysis, and evaluation; social justice and diversity issues; conflict resolution; and family dynamics and children's issues.
Since the program maintains an atypically strong interdisciplinary focus, graduates enjoy a broad range of career options. In addition to opportunities in casework, social service administration, mental health services, and rehabilitation, many graduates pursue careers in human resources, veterans affairs, corrections and law enforcement, and agency-based international aid. Western Washington University's online human services degree meets the academic guidelines specified by the Council for Standards in Human Services Education.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Southern New Hampshire University's bachelor of arts in human services program features three concentrations: child and family services; gerontology; and substance abuse. Each concentration requires students to complete 120 credits of coursework, though the school's generous transfer policies can significantly reduce that figure. The school allows baccalaureate students to receive advanced standing for up to 90 credits of previous college achievement.
In addition to advanced case assessment skills and client care planning capabilities, students build skills as policy advocates and learn how to evaluate case outcomes. The program's career-oriented approach is a major differentiator as few other accredited online human services degrees emphasize career planning proficiencies to the same extent.
The program delivers all coursework in a 100% online, asynchronous format. The program's flexibility lets students proceed at their own pace through eight-week terms that run on six cycles throughout the calendar year. Motivated, capable online learners can finish the program well ahead of the usual four-year timeline, with transfer credit opportunities offering further acceleration possibilities. A private, nonprofit institution, Southern New Hampshire University holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission on Higher Education.
East Central University
|Ada, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
Based in Ada, Oklahoma, East Central University features an online human services degree with a mission to help graduates make an impact through government, nonprofit, private, and civic organizations. The school's bachelor of arts in human services counseling features four specialization options:
Students enjoy further degree customization options through available minors in criminal justice, social work, and interpreting. Learners can also minor in any of the concentration paths beyond their chosen specialization.
East Central University maintains three scholarship programs reserved for students in human services programs. Candidates with demonstrable financial need and strong records of community service and academic achievement enjoy excellent chances of earning scholarship funding.
City University of Seattle
|Seattle, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
City University of Seattle delivers an intensive bachelor of arts in human services program that covers 180 credit hours of coursework. This comprehensive study path places equal emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and essential principles of social work. Graduates emerge with a well-rounded education built on strong academics with a competitive profile for further studies at the master's level.
Drawn from the ranks of experienced and active working professionals, faculty members ensure students receive an up-to-date education pertinent to current human services and social issues. Coursework integrates aspects of interrelated fields, including sociology, psychology, social work, counseling, criminal justice, and business administration.
The program's design divides courses into four main categories:
Students also build practical skills and gain work experience through internship requirements. Before qualifying for graduation, learners must engage in a field placement at an agency that operates in their chosen specialization.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
|Amherst, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 77%||
The bachelor of arts in human services program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is tailored to adult learners seeking to finish their college education. Thanks to a policy that recognizes the value of experience, adult learners can earn advanced standing beyond the transfer of postsecondary credits.
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst awards experiential credit for nonacademic undertakings, including military training, professional coursework and certification, credit examinations and evaluations, and other valuable aspects of the applicant's portfolio and CV. Candidates can transfer up to 105 of the 120 credits necessary for graduation.
To qualify for entry into this accredited online human services degree, candidates need at least 12 existing college credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA and they cannot hold a bachelor's degree from another U.S. postsecondary institution.
The human services curriculum delivers multidisciplinary perspectives that emphasize the psychological, sociological, and policy-based components of human services issues. Graduates pursue careers in social services administration, social work, child and youth services, elder care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and protective services for children and people with disabilities.
Ottawa University - Online
|Ottawa, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
The bachelor of arts in human and social services at Ottawa University-Online takes a community-focused approach, emphasizing interactional skills with the people and institutions that use human services systems. This program builds student capabilities in key performance areas, including:
The program also broadens student perspectives on major social issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, marriage and family dynamics that lead to contact with the human services system, mental illness and abnormal psychology, and how social policy affects human behavior.
Ottawa University-Online features affordable tuition fees set at a flat rate of $499 per credit hour for the 2019-2020 academic year. All students pay the same rates regardless of residency.
Based in Ottawa, Kansas, Ottawa University-Online delivers 100% online, asynchronous learning opportunities that allow students to complete all coursework on a self-directed schedule. The historic school, founded in 1865 to educate historically underserved populations, holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
University of Arizona
|Tucson, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
The University of Arizona delivers an online bachelor of applied science with an emphasis in human services that prepares students for careers in the public and private sectors. The program is designed for students with college credits seeking to complete their degrees. Applicants typically need at least 60 transfer credits to qualify for admission.
Coursework focuses on the points where theory meets application and emphasizes a health-based approach to human services delivery models. Graduates possess skills in program planning, development, and evaluation.
The program leads to career opportunities in settings beyond the usual scope of social services agencies. Graduates can work as healthcare and medical support aides, guidance counselors, community outreach officers, and corrections and law enforcement. Matriculants also possess the academic background needed to pursue licensure and certification for regulated professions, such as social work.
Prospective students need a cumulative minimum 2.5 GPA on all transferable coursework and they must submit a CV and personal statement. University of Arizona admissions officials recommend that interested parties contact the department in advance of preparing their applications to discuss their professional and academic backgrounds.
|Troy, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Troy University's bachelor of science in human services prepares students for in-demand social services roles. Troy University offers a study path that allows students to focus on specific populations, including the elderly, children, military veterans, the homeless, and recent immigrants in need of settlement assistance.
The program emphasizes collaboration, offering students meaningful learning experiences that extend beyond the virtual classroom. Learning outcomes supported by this online human services degree include skills meant to help clients find jobs, overcome food insecurity and homelessness, access disaster relief aid, and benefit from the protections provided by public safety and social services systems.
Based in Troy, Alabama, Troy University was founded in 1887 as a teacher training institution. The school's online learning platform uses a standard suite of advanced digital education technologies, enabling students to complete all degree requirements online, in asynchronous formats that support independent and collaborative learning. Online students also benefit from five program start dates per year.
A military-friendly college, Troy University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southern Wesleyan University
|Central, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Southern Wesleyan University's bachelor of science in human services adopts a faith-based perspective, filtering course content through a Christ-centered worldview that prepares students to make positive impacts on faith and lay communities.
This online human services bachelor's degree offers students three standard concentrations: social service administration, marriage and family services, or Christian counseling. Students can also specialize in a custom concentration with adviser approval. Elective requirements allow students to minor in early childhood and family studies.
Southern Wesleyan University encourages practical, hands-on learning through intensive field placement requirements. Learners must undertake 120-480 hours of work in field settings as part of their capstone requirements. Distance learners unable to find a suitable internship opportunity may substitute a research project of their own design, pending faculty approval.
Noted for its generous student financial assistance programs, Southern Wesleyan University offers an ongoing scholarship program that provides a 10% tuition reduction to student members of the South Carolina Head Start Association who study online. The institution holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and maintains optional memberships in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.
Touro University Worldwide
|Los Alamitos, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Touro University Worldwide delivers meaningful social services education through its online bachelor of arts in psychology, which offers a human services concentration. This 100% online bachelor's degree in human services caters to busy adult learners seeking flexibility. Full-time students can graduate in as little as two years by transferring up to 60 credit hours of previous college coursework.
Beyond its strong orientation toward psychology and human development, Touro University Worldwide's program incorporates elements of social work and counseling into the human services concentration. Graduates enjoy employment opportunities in a wide range of settings, including public agencies, healthcare institutions, churches and faith communities, and private organizations. The program also provides a strong academic foundation for graduate study.
Online students do not incur any additional costs for required texts and enjoy full access to the school's many scholarship programs. A nonprofit institution, Touro University Worldwide was founded by philanthropists who wanted to bring affordable education to a global student base. Open to students of all cultural and religious backgrounds, its charter embraces traditional Judaic principles. The school holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
National Louis University
|Chicago, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Chicago's National Louis University features flexible learning opportunities that support fully online learning in addition to a hybrid structure that combines virtual and traditional classes. The school's bachelor of arts in human services program emphasizes skills development with group dynamics while offering the opportunity to earn an entrepreneurship concentration. The program makes an excellent choice for students seeking to launch their own public or private social services enterprise.
Other noteworthy aspects of this online bachelor's degree in human services include a focus on psychology, counseling, and social work that helps students build advanced group management and leadership skills. Learners can also undertake a practicum component that delivers real-world field experience during the late stages of the program.
Community improvement is a key aspect of National Louis University's chartered purpose. The school's history extends back more than 130 years and has grown beyond its Chicago roots to include seven campuses in Illinois and Florida. It currently features a diverse and growing student body of more than 8,000 learners.
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission's North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, National Louis University participates in the Academic Quality Improvement Program. This initiative provides guidelines that member institutions can implement to ensure they adhere to high academic standards.
East Tennessee State University
|Johnson City, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
East Tennessee State University's bachelor of science in human services provides a comprehensive educational base for students planning careers in community service. Delivering a rigorous, academic foundation in behavioral and human sciences, East Tennessee State University's online human services degree features a 120-credit structure with learning components that focus on:
East Tennessee State University allows learners to receive advanced standing for previous college coursework. Students without previous college coursework can transfer into the program after earning 30 credit hours in a generalist undergraduate study path.
East Tennessee State University's tuition program offers rebates of up to 50% to out-of-state students enrolled in 100% online courses. The school's in-state policies extend to residents of North Carolina and Virginia who live in counties that border Tennessee.
East Tennessee State University also offers a BS-to-master's program in human services. This accelerated online bachelor's degree in human services marks a valuable opportunity for learners to earn advanced educational credentials in relatively brief timeframes. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges endorses East Tennessee State University with regional accreditation.
|Anderson, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
Anderson University's bachelor of human services delivers a concentration in behavioral science, allowing students to choose a BHS or BS degree designation. Combining foundational aspects of sociology and psychology with practical skills and applied knowledge of social and human services, this 100% online human services degree features two possible completion paths: one for students with at least an associate degree in any field and one for learners who have not yet completed a college degree.
Both of these learning structures deliver a common set of core components, including:
Students also engage with compulsory courses in computer information systems, which ensure they emerge with job-ready technology skills.
The military-friendly school maintains a formal partnership with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The school dates back to 1911 when it was founded as one of the region's first higher education institutions for women. Today, Anderson University welcomes all students into its faith-oriented Christian community and guarantees the quality of its academic programs through accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
California Baptist University
|Riverside, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
California Baptist University infuses its rigorous academic programs with faith-based learning. This Riverside-based school produces technologically literate graduates with critical-thinking skills. The private Christian institution also offers accelerated learning paths that enable students to complete their online bachelor's degree in human services in as little as 16 months.
One definitive aspect of the bachelor of arts in human services is its biopsychosocial orientation. This approach integrates theory with practice, combining elements of biology, psychology, and sociology to equip students with analytical skills rooted in multidisciplinary perspectives. The program also emphasizes the importance of ethical conduct and includes required courses on ethical issues that impact the delivery of social and human services.
California Baptist University configured its human services bachelor's to support graduate studies in business management, counseling, human services, and public administration. Graduates are qualified to work with young people, seniors, and individuals in the foster care system, among other populations.
California Baptist University holds regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and Senior College and University Commission.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Human Services Degree Program?
Although specific details and requirements of an online human services degree will vary depending on which school or program a student selects, the information below is intended to offer an overview of what students might expect from their curriculum, concentrations, and accreditation.
CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN HUMAN SERVICES
|Concentration||Description||Careers This Concentration Prepares For|
|Child and Family Services||A specialization in child and family services is designed for students with a particular interest in schools, child welfare, or family organizations. The specialization courses, focusing on subjects such as child development and public policy, will prepare graduates for successful human services careers.||Caseworker, crisis intervention worker, juvenile court liaison|
|Gerontology||Students who are enrolled in a gerontology specialization will learn and develop skills and strategies to work with the elderly population. The specialization prepares graduates for careers at assisted living facilities, home healthcare systems, and other institutions that provide positive aging services and programs.||Group home manager, community outreach manager, life skills instructor|
|Substance Abuse||An online human services degree with a specialization in substance abuse provides students with the tools and training they will need to successfully perform in compassionate social careers that support victims of substance abuse and addiction, helping them improve their lives and interpersonal relationships.||Drug and alcohol counselor, addictions counselor|
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN HUMAN SERVICES
Online human services degree programs all have similarities, and listed below is a sample curriculum. This information is based on actual curricula, but it's important to remember that subject content will vary between programs.
- Child Growth and Cognitive Development: An important course to take while earning a human services degree online is one that focuses on child development, providing students with knowledge about the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional components of normal development. Professionals will then be able to detect situations in which normal development is not occurring.
- Family and Community Systems: Students enrolled in a family and community systems course learn to operate frequently-used tools and develop skills to help families negotiate the complicated system of support organizations within their communities. Organizations include medical and mental health provider and nonprofits, Family Court, and the Department of Human Services.
- Introduction to Human Services: Essential to earning a human services bachelor's degree online is an overview course that introduces students to the settings, roles, and functions within the human services field. Students are given a contextual understanding of behavioral and social theories, common social problems, ethical behavior, and personal values.
- Public Policy and Advocacy: In public policy and advocacy courses, students are introduced to human services policies as well as the processes involved in policy development, both in the government and the private sector. Further exploration is conducted into how advocacy influences social welfare and how students can effectively help develop policy and plan advocacy campaigns.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN HUMAN SERVICES?
Online colleges for human services subscribe to different methods of distance learning, which can affect how long it might take for a student to complete their degree requirements. The majority of online degrees are designed to be taken at an individual pace, allowing flexibility to meet every student's schedule. As an alternative, cohort learning was developed to mimic the social atmosphere of traditional, on-campus courses, requiring students to move through the program at a set pace with their group. Although this may provide for a more pleasant learning atmosphere, it may not be as flexible as independent learning.
Another characteristic affecting the length of an online degree is the number of credits required to graduate. The average online bachelor's degree requires 180 credits, including major-specific classes and general education. Depending on how much of a student's previous education–such as the completion of an associate degree, or other college classes–is transferrable, the number of credits required to graduate will vary. Students can expect the completion of their human services degree online to take up to four years.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Human Services Programs
One of the most important steps in deciding which school to apply to for your human services bachelor's degree online is in researching the institution's accreditation. The accreditation of a college or university is an official recognition that assures the institution meets certain educational requirements and standards. These requirements can be overseen by either a regional or national organization, both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks when compared to one another. Schools with regional accreditation often have a more simple admissions process and a higher rate of affordability, while nationally accredited schools make it easier for students to transfer credits from other institutions around the country. National accreditation is the most popular form of accreditation, which is mainly overseen by two entities: the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
As online colleges have become a more popular education option, there has been an increasing number of illegitimate or scam accreditation programs working to deceive students into applying for a program that will not result in a degree equivalent to those earned from properly-accredited online schools for human services. The Department of Education (DOE), which is a part of the federal government, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a non-governmental organization, establish operating procedures and investigate the adherence to procedures by institutions. The easiest way to ensure proper accreditation is by checking the websites of the DOE or the CHEA, each of which maintains a database to make all of their institutional information available to the public.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Human Services Degree?
Graduates with an online human services degree have nearly endless options when it comes to choosing a career. Sitting at the intersection of healthcare and social services, human services graduates can be found filling a wide variety of roles across many industries. Human services professionals have the opportunity to work with many different groups of people based on their passions, from adolescent substance abusers to elderly clients who need extra support and care. The most successful and happy human services professionals are those who have a genuine passion for bettering the lives of their clients.
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor: Professionals in these roles provide counsel and support to patients dealing with addictions to alcohol and drugs, overcoming eating disorders, and working through other behavioral problems. They teach clients about recovery techniques and strategies while also working with them through the psychological aspects of their disorder.
Social Worker: Social workers can be found in a variety of health care settings including hospitals, schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and even large corporations. Clinical social workers diagnose and treat a range of behavioral, emotional, and mental issues, while those in non-clinical positions focus on helping clients overcome and solve everyday issues.
Social and Community Service Manager: Human services managers work to develop new programs, measure efficacy of current offerings, oversee staff providing services, manage budgets, and secure operating funds through grant proposals. They work in social services agencies or community-based nonprofits and are in charge of delegating administrative tasks to support staff within their organization.
Social and Human Service Assistant: Found in psychology, rehabilitation, and social work settings, assistants support other professionals in supervisory positions by providing aid and support to clients, assisting with the development of treatment plans, keeping track of government support programs and who they serve, and even providing transportation to clients.
Home Health Aides: These professionals visit clients in their homes and help them accomplish daily tasks. They help bathe and dress clients, and may do light housekeeping, arrange transportation, buy groceries and prepare meals, or arrange social outings. They are also tasked with basic health services, including monitoring vitals and administering medications.
|Position||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor||$39,980||22%|
|Social and Community Service Manager||$63,530||10%|
|Social and Human Service Assistant||$30,830||11%|
|Home Health Aide||$21,920||38%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Master's Degrees and Concentrations
Online human services degrees prepare graduates for a variety of entry-level roles, while executive and clinical roles often require a master's degree. Common graduate-level degree paths include social work, psychology, and counseling. Regardless of the level of study, graduates with human services online degrees can pursue many different career paths in the healthcare industry. A master's degree is a common choice for human services professionals seeking to advance their career.
- Child and Family Services
A common concentration within human services degrees, students who choose this path have a focused interest in supporting children, their families, and their communities. Coursework introduces concepts related to child welfare laws, juvenile corrections, family court, and support services for at-risk youth.
- Leadership and Administration
Students with a human services master's degree specializing in leadership and administration are prepared to pursue management-level positions in the industry. Topics covered in these programs include leadership, company culture, and group dynamics.
- Social Work
Master's degrees in social work go beyond generalist topics to provide students with advanced practical skills and competencies. These programs also prepare graduates for direct clinical services roles, and students can specialize their study in areas like substance abuse, youth and family, or veterans.
Similar in many ways to a social work program, a master's in counseling introduces students to clinical practice, research, ethics, and deepened practice skills to prepare them for state licensure. The main difference between these programs is that social work master's degrees tend to focus on providing a wider array of services, while counseling programs focus on treating a specific set of problems or disorders.
- Nonprofit Management
Given that many social and community services are provided by charities, master's degrees in nonprofit management have risen in popularity for those interested in administrative and advocacy-based roles. Common topics in these programs include working with the public sector, financial management and fundraising, board governance, and program evaluation.
What Will I Learn in My Bachelor's in Human Services Program?
- Adult Development: Describes the developmental phases related to the lifespan of adulthood while also discussing how treatments can be used effectively during different phases of life.
- Cultural Diversity: Introduces learners to competencies surrounding different cultures and helps them recognize their biases toward different beliefs and attitudes. Students also learn to interact with a wide variety of different populations and cultures.
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Provides basic frameworks and theories for understanding the context of drug and alcohol abuse, including symptomatology of abuse, characteristics of high-risk groups, and causes of abuse.
- Communications for Human Service Professionals: Teaches students how to effectively and compassionately communicate, both orally and in writing. Areas of focus include assessing and diffusing conflict, establishing open lines, and articulating issues clearly.
- Prevention and Crisis Intervention: Examines how to prevent or intervene in crisis situations as a human services professional and also teaches students about risk factors, supporting victims, and maintaining proper ethical and legal boundaries.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Human Services Graduates
Bachelor's in Human Services SALARY
There are several factors that can determine a human services professional's salary: whether or not they have an advanced degree, where they live, their level of professional experience, and the type of role they currently have. The following table uses data from PayScale to provide a snapshot of the median salaries of several human services careers across a professional's career.
Human Services Careers by Experience
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselor||$37,847||$34,000||$38,000||$44,000|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$47,993||$41,000||$51,000||$60,000|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||$30,634||$29,000||$29,000||$34,000|
|Home Health Aides||$23,431||$21,000||$22,000||$25,000|
Human Services Licensure and Certification
Most human services graduates can find work with a mix of education, experience, and on-the-job training. However, some clinical roles where professionals provide direct services require an advanced degree, licensure, or certification. Earning a specialized license or certification can also help candidates stand out during the hiring process and achieve management-level positions. Certificates are an efficient way to gain professional development that are available in a variety of professions.
Human Services Board-Certified Practitioner: The National Organization for Human Services provides this voluntary certification for professionals looking to deepen their knowledge of the 11 core human services content areas.
Children, Youth, and Family Services: Penn State offers this fully online certificate for human services professionals seeking a more nuanced understanding of topics related to proper care and support for young populations.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies: This 14-course program from the University of California at Berkeley may be the perfect fit for students who want to learn more about the biomedical, psychological, and cultural influences of chemical dependency and intervention.
Professional human services organizations offer members a full spectrum of benefits, ranging from networking opportunities to professional development programs designed to deepen knowledge and provide continuing education credit. Many of these organizations also publish studies to keep members aware of changes to ethical, legal, or medical laws and regulations in the industry.
- National Organization for Human Services: NOHA supports human services professionals by providing a national conference, local chapters, student scholarships, and a range of publications to all members.
- American Public Human Services Association: With a mission to represent and empower state and local agencies providing human services, APHSA focuses on advocacy and legislative issues within the field.
- Association for Addiction Professionals: Drug and substance abuse counselors will find membership with this organization very attractive. Membership benefits include certificates, continuing education, conferences, and a job board.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Human Services Program
Students looking to walk away from college without significant debt can lighten their burden by starting early and researching extensively. Their first step should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Aid. Because funds for grants and work-study programs are disbursed on a rolling basis, the application should be sent as close to January 1 as possible. Human services professionals are concerned with helping others and making communities stronger, and there are lots of foundations and nonprofits offering scholarships to help these Good Samaritans complete their educations.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Best Online Bachelor's in Human Services Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA 2 Colorado State University Greenwood Village, CO 3 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA 4 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL 5 Excelsior College Albany, NY 6 Northeastern University Boston, MA 7 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL 8 LeTourneau University Longview, TX 9 California Baptist University Riverside, CA 10 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 11 University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI 12 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX 13 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC 14 Saint Joseph's College - New York Brooklyn, NY 15 Ottawa University - Online Ottawa, KS 16 Southeastern University Lakeland, FL 17 University of Massachusetts - Amherst Amherst, MA 18 Elizabethtown College Elizabethtown, PA 19 Anderson University Anderson, SC 20 Antioch University Online Yellow Springs, OH 21 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 22 City University of Seattle Seattle, WA 23 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA 24 Western Washington University Bellingham, WA 25 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 26 Southern Wesleyan University Central, SC 27 Drury University Springfield, MO 28 National Louis University Chicago, IL 29 Troy University Troy, AL 30 East Central University Ada, OK
- Best Online Bachelor's in Human Services Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Pennsylvania State Universitty University Park, PA 2 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 3 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 4 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO 5 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 6 Brigham Young University - Idaho Rexburg, ID 7 North Dakota State University Fargo, ND 8 Washington State University Pullman, WA 9 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ 10 University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI 11 Utah State University Logan, UT 12 California State University - East Bay Hayward, CA 13 Hope International University Fullerton, CA 14 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN 15 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, TX 16 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 17 Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX 18 Amridge University Montgomery, AL 19 San Diego Christian College Santee, CA 20 Warner Pacific College Portland, OR