Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Human services majors learn how to make a difference in their communities. Discover the top-ranking online human services degrees.
By
portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Read Full Bio

Writer

An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D., has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a writer and consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern...
Updated on February 16, 2024
Edited by
portrait of Victoria Hudgeons
Victoria Hudgeons
Read Full Bio

Editor

Victoria Hudgeons is a professional education writer and editor. She's committed to making higher education and career exploration easier to navigate. Her work has been featured on BestColleges, the University of Houston-Victoria Newswire, and more p...
Learn more about our editorial process

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

Top
Ranked

2024

Best Online Bachelor's Programs in Human Services

Do you want to help people with your degree? Then a human services major might be a good fit. During a human services degree, you’ll learn how to administer community services programs, counsel people facing addiction or behavioral issues, and connect families with services.

If that sounds like a good fit, check out our ranking of the best online human services degrees to find the best program for your educational goals.

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Can I Do With a Human Services Degree?

While earning your online human services degree, you’ll learn how to support individuals and families as they navigate society. Your degree can lead to opportunities in social work, human services, counseling, criminal justice, and the nonprofit sector.

For example, many local and community services organizations employ human services majors to connect people with child and family services, elder assistance, and counseling services. With a degree in human services, you can also specialize in community outreach, health education, or mental health.

Where Can I Work With a Human Services Degree?

A human services degree prepares graduates for roles in the following fields:

  • Minus

    Community Health

    A background in human services leads to opportunities in community health and health education. You can work as a health education specialist or a healthcare human service assistant.
  • Minus

    Addictions and Behavioral Counseling

    Demand for substance abuse counselors is high, and a bachelor’s in human services meets the educational requirement for entry-level roles. You can also work as a behavioral disorder counselor with this degree.
  • Minus

    Government and Justice System

    Human services majors often work in public sector social and human services organizations. You can become a human service assistant, case worker, or correctional treatment specialist with a bachelor’s in human services.

How Much Can I Make With a Human Services Degree?

Human services majors report an average salary of $60,000 per year, according to Oct. 2023 data from Payscale. Your earning potential with a human services degree depends on several factors, including your career path, location, and industry.

Community and social service jobs reported a median wage of $49,380 in May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With experience or a graduate degree, these professions can lead to higher-paying roles. For example, community and social service managers earn a median annual salary of $74,240 (BLS, May 2022). Criminal justice roles such as parole officer or correctional treatment specialist report a median pay of $59,860 (BLS, May 2022).

Demand for community and social service professionals is high, with 281,600 job openings projected annually from 2022 to 2032, according to BLS projections.

What to Look for in an Online Human Services Program

You’re investing time and money in your degree. How can you find the best online human services program to reach your professional goals? Researching graduation requirements, learning formats, and specialization options can help you identify good matches.

  • Check Circle

    Program Curriculum

    In a human services program, you’ll likely take classes in case management, counseling principles, and human services administration. But the exact curriculum can vary greatly. If you’re interested in child and family services, make sure to find a program that offers courses or a concentration in that area.
  • Check Circle

    Accreditation

    Accredited colleges meet high standards for academic quality. That’s one reason it’s critical to choose an accredited school for your online degree. Accreditation also means you’ll have more options when it comes to financial aid, job opportunities, and professional licensure. All the schools on our list are accredited.
  • Check Circle

    Program Length

    Earning a bachelor’s in human services typically requires 120 credits of coursework, which full-time students complete in around four years. However, some programs offer part-time or accelerated enrollment options. If you have transfer credits, that can also affect program length.
  • Check Circle

    Internship Experiences

    Some human services programs offer optional or required internships, where you’ll get hands-on experience. If you’d like to complete an internship, check with online programs about your options and whether they assist with internship placements.
  • Check Circle

    School Graduation Rate

    Comparing graduation rates can help you identify programs where you’re more likely to succeed. A high graduation rate generally means a better choice to earn your degree. The average college graduation rate was 63% in 2022.
  • Check Circle

    Online Learning Format and Requirements

    Each college offers online programs with different formats and requirements. Learn more about how you’ll attend class, what technologies you’ll use, and what support services the school offers for distance learners. That can help you find a good fit.

Top Program Rankings Summary

Jump to a school below using the links in the "School" column.

Rank School In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition Acceptance Rate
#1 St. Joseph's University New York
Brooklyn, NY
$29,976 $29,976 80%
#2 Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown, PA
$34,000 $34,000 79%
#3 University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ
$10,990 $33,739 87%
#4 Mercer University
Macon, GA
$29,024 $29,024 75%
#5 LeTourneau University
Longview, TX
$32,690 $32,690 54%
#6 Ohio University
Athens, OH
$12,840 $22,810 89%
#7 Wingate University
Wingate, NC
$40,070 $40,070 85%
#8 Rivier University
Nashua, NH
$34,412 $34,412 84%
#9 Marian University
Fond Du Lac, WI
$28,660 $28,660 76%
#10 Lesley University
Cambridge, MA
$29,200 $29,200 87%

The Best Online Human Services Programs of 2024

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

  • Browse programs
  • Discover matches
  • Request info
#1 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

St. Joseph's University New York

  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $740

Out-of-State | $740

Credits to Graduate: 120

A private Catholic institution, St. Joseph's University offers a 100% online bachelor's in human services that ranks among the best of 2024. 

Students complete 36 credits of major requirements; core classes include topics such as exploration of human services, principles of counseling, introduction to case management, and a degree-culminating capstone in human services.

Prospective students can apply online and must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA for admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,976
Out-of-state
$29,976
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$20,250
Out-of-state
$20,250
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
4,687
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#2 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Elizabethtown College

  • Elizabethtown, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $525

Out-of-State | $525

Credits to Graduate: 125

Founded in 1899, Elizabethtown College is a small Pennsylvania-based Christian institution home to one of the top online bachelor's in human services. Throughout this 125-credit online program, students take classes including ethical issues in human services, research methods in human services, and social welfare programs and policy.

Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, the school recommends that students have the time to dedicate as much as 20 hours per week for each accelerated course.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,000
Out-of-state
$34,000
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$34,000
Out-of-state
$34,000
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
1,933
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#3 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

University of Arizona

  • Tucson, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council for Standards in Human Service Education

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $500

Out-of-State | $500

Credits to Graduate: 120

Based in Tucson and established in 1885, the University of Arizona is a public research institution that serves over 49,000 students. Among the school's long list of online options is an online bachelor's in human services.

As students work through Arizona's standout online curriculum, they tackle core classes such as transitional resiliency, introduction to human services, and research methods in social sciences. 

In addition to online coursework, human services students must complete an in-person internship before graduation. Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED for admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,990
Out-of-state
$33,739
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,106
Out-of-state
$32,290
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
48,274
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#4 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Mercer University

  • Macon, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $525

Out-of-State | $525

Credits to Graduate: 120

Based in Macon, Georgia, Mercer University is a private research institution with a history dating back to 1833. Mercer is home to an interdisciplinary online bachelor's in human services that is flexible enough to meet the needs of working students.

Foundational courses for this 120-credit undergraduate degree include introduction to human services, case management, multicultural issues, and grant proposal development. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and a minimum 2.25 GPA for admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,024
Out-of-state
$29,024
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,244
Out-of-state
$15,244
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
9,009
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

LeTourneau University

  • Longview, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $380-$410

Out-of-State | $380-$410

Credits to Graduate: 120

LeTourneau University is a private Christian institution based in Longview, Texas. At LeTourneau, students have access to an online bachelor's in human services that combines general education and major classes with faith-based academic content. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED.

Throughout this flexible online program, students complete classes such as introduction to criminal justice, grant writing, case management, and personal and professional ethics. Online learners can expect accelerated virtual coursework, allowing them to complete requirements at their own pace.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,690
Out-of-state
$32,690
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,875
Out-of-state
$16,875
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
54%
Students Enrolled
3,209
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#6 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Ohio University

  • Athens, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $307

Out-of-State | $312

Credits to Graduate: 120

One of the oldest public institutions in the country, Ohio University offers an online bachelor's in human services

Throughout this flexible and affordable human services program, students complete major classes such as case management in human services, foundations in group dynamics, and ethical issues in human services. Before graduation, students also complete a human services internship at an approved site. 

Prospective students apply online and have the option to submit supplemental admissions documents such as letters of recommendation, personal essays, and documentation of extracurricular activities.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,840
Out-of-state
$22,810
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,444
Out-of-state
$17,436
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
24,797
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Wingate University

  • Wingate, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $1,575

Out-of-State | $1,575

Credits to Graduate: 120

Wingate University is a North Carolina-based private liberal arts school that's home to an interdisciplinary online bachelor's in human services, which blends fields like counseling, psychology, and sociology. 

Throughout the curriculum, students tackle diverse topics, including intro to critical thinking, social stratification, developmental psychology, and introduction to human services.

Freshman applicants can apply directly through the university or via the Common App. Prospective students must include a self-reported high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$40,070
Out-of-state
$40,070
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,700
Out-of-state
$11,700
Retention Rate
64%
Acceptance Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
3,439
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Rivier University

  • Nashua, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $385

Out-of-State | $385

Credits to Graduate: 120

Founded in 1933, Rivier University is a small New Hampshire-based Catholic institution educating just over 2,000 students. Among the school's more than two dozen online programs is an online bachelor's in human services.

Students dedicate 45 credits to major requirements, including courses in human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policy, and counseling theory and practice. Students also complete a semester-long internship before graduation. 

Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED and should have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,412
Out-of-state
$34,412
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,880
Out-of-state
$11,880
Retention Rate
80%
Acceptance Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
2,424
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#9 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Marian University

  • Fond Du Lac, WI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $425

Out-of-State | $425

Credits to Graduate: 134

Based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Marian University is a private Catholic institution that's home to one of the best online bachelor's in human services programs. This 100% online degree boasts the flexibility required by working and non-traditional students, allowing them the freedom to complete coursework asynchronously.

Throughout this program, students tackle essential classes such as intro to epidemiology, introduction to human services, principles of management, and global health issues and interventions. Before graduation, online learners complete a semester-long health and human services capstone.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$28,660
Out-of-state
$28,660
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,286
Out-of-state
$11,286
Retention Rate
65%
Acceptance Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
1,445
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Best Online Human Services Degree Programs of 2024

Lesley University

  • Cambridge, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: N/A

Cost per Credit:

In-State | $495

Out-of-State | $495

Credits to Graduate: 120

Lesley University is a Massachusetts-based private institution that offers one of this year's top online bachelor's in human services programs. Throughout this program, students gain vital theoretical knowledge through online coursework while also completing two internships.

Online learners complete 51 credits of major coursework, including classes such as micro/macro assessment, practical ethics in human services, social policy, and sociological lens on systemic inequities. Prospective students can apply online. Transfer students can transfer up to 90 credits from prior schools.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$29,200
Out-of-state
$29,200
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$18,900
Out-of-state
$18,900
Retention Rate
75%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
4,010
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

Ranking Methodology Summary

Chevron Down

To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

What Can I Expect From an Online Human Services Program

During your online human services degree, you’ll take general education courses, human services classes, and electives. Plan to spend four years earning your degree if you’re a full-time student with no prior college credits.

As a human services major, you can choose a concentration or minor to focus your course of study. A concentration or minor in counseling, child and family services, or criminal justice can prepare you for a specific career path after graduation.

Your program may incorporate an internship or capstone course. An internship is a great way to gain real-world experience while in school. And a capstone can help you bring together the knowledge and skills you’ll build during your degree.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Human Services Degree?

Ready to apply to online human services programs? First, make sure you have the admission materials you’ll need to apply. Generally, that includes official transcripts, standardized test scores, and any other required materials. While each program sets its own requirements, you’ll typically see the following:

Admission Materials

Plan to submit an online application and official transcripts from high school and college, if you’ve taken any college courses. Some programs also ask for letters of recommendation and essays.

Education

You’ll need a high school diploma or the equivalent to apply to undergraduate programs. Colleges verify this by reviewing your official transcripts, GED record, or homeschooling records.

GPA

Most colleges set a minimum GPA for admissions, which is typically between a 2.0 and 3.0 GPA. If you don’t meet the minimum, you may still qualify for provisional admissions.

Entrance Exam

In the past, nearly every college required SAT or ACT scores. Today, many schools use test optional admissions. But make sure to carefully review the entrance exam requirements when deciding where to apply.

How Much Does a Human Services Degree Cost?

The total cost of a human services degree varies widely. You can expect to pay around $9,600 per year in tuition if you choose an in-state public school, or around $34,000 per year at a private college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. On top of that, you’ll need to factor in textbooks, fees, and other expenses.

Earning your human services degree online can save you money. The most affordable programs cost around $300 per credit. Distance learners can also save on transportation and living costs.

By choosing an accredited institution, you’ll also qualify for federal student aid and many scholarships and grants. For example, distance learners can use the Pell Grant to pay for their degree.

Average Annual Tuition Cost of a Bachelor's Degree, 2021-2022

Public Institution
$9,596

Private Institution
$34,041

NCES

Everything Else You Need to Know About Human Services Programs

Is human services the same as HR?

Chevron Down

No, human services and HR are two different fields. Human services focuses on social and community services that support individuals and families, including mental health resources, addiction counseling, rehabilitation services, and housing support. HR stands for human resources, and this field manages the administrative tasks for organizations, including hiring, benefits, and compensation.

What is the difference between social work and human services?

Chevron Down

Social work and human services overlap because both focus on helping people address problems in their lives. Human services encompasses a broader range of services, including community outreach and social services. Social work is a subfield of human services that emphasizes case management, social justice, and clinical practice.

What are some careers for a human services major?

Chevron Down

Human services majors work in a variety of careers, including public sector jobs in social, community, and human services organizations. They can also work in community health and outreach, counseling, and criminal justice settings.

Is a bachelor's in human services worth it?

Chevron Down

Yes, a bachelor's in human services can pay off. You'll strengthen communication, analytical, and interpersonal skills while exploring topics like case management and human services administration. With a human services degree, you can work in community service organizations, entry-level social work roles, and addiction counseling.

Is BA or BS better in human services?

Chevron Down

Both a BA and a BS in human services prepare you for careers in a high-demand field. While your major coursework will likely be the same whether you earn a BA or a BS, your other graduation requirements may differ. BA requirements typically include a foreign language and more humanities and social science coursework. A BS may require more social science and STEM coursework to graduate.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.