The human services field applies knowledge from social work, sociology, communications, and psychology to address common individual and societal problems. This interdisciplinary approach helps human services professionals understand and assist clients struggling with addiction, poverty, violence, and mental illness.
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Q. What is human services?
A diverse array of social, psychological, and economic support systems and activities, human services includes child welfare work, rehabilitation therapy, mental health counseling, and health education.
Q. What jobs can you get with a human services degree?
Online human services degrees can lead to careers in community education, social work, counseling, and nonprofit management. Health services bachelor’s degrees often meet minimum degree requirements for jobs as probation officers, correctional treatment specialists, and substance abuse counselors.
Q. What is the difference between human services and social services?
The social services field focuses on helping underserved populations. Human services includes these efforts plus additional, broader goals and activities that serve society.
Why Get a Degree in Human Services?
Online human services degrees yield many benefits, including diverse career options, promising job growth prospects, and positive social contributions. Human services graduates may occupy roles as educators, counselors, or managers of nonprofits. Many human services degree jobs such as community health educator, substance abuse counselor, and social and community service manager enjoy positive job growth projections of 13%-25%.
Working professionals often pursue online human services degrees, which typically cost less than on-campus equivalents. See below to learn more about online degree financing.
A bachelor’s degree in human services varies in price. According to a 2020 report on college pricing, in-state students at public universities pay an average of $10,560 annually, compared to the $27,020 that out-of-state students pay. The report indicates that public universities usually charge much lower tuition than private universities, which average $37,650 annually.
College tuition also differs considerably based on location. In-state tuition in South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Vermont averages over three times that of New Mexico and California. Enrolling in schools based in less expensive states can save online learners money, especially because some public institutions allow online students to pay in-state tuition.
Online human services degree enrollees can benefit from not paying commuting or residency costs. Schools also waive various on-campus fees, since distance learners do not usually use many campus facilities. Read further for more information on financing a bachelor’s degree in human services.
Calculating the Cost of a College Degree
Given college expenses today, applicants do well to compare program prices and plan their educational financing carefully. This affordability calculator can help aspiring online human services degree students estimate college costs. Users fill in financial data on income, living costs, financial aid, and estimated fees and books.
College Affordability Calculator
Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.
Human services majors enjoy many career possibilities in various sectors, including governmental organizations, education, nonprofits, and the healthcare industry. April 2021 PayScale data cites a $54,610 average annual salary for human services BA graduates.
Many human services professionals offer direct services such as addictions, rehabilitation, school, or mental health counseling. BLS data indicates that these careers pay median annual salaries ranging from $35,960-$58,120. Other human services degree jobs involve community education programming and teaching work. Health educators and community health workers earn a $48,140 median annual salary. Criminal justice positions such as probation officer or correctional treatment specialist often pay higher salaries.
Rehabilitation, school, and marriage and family counselors and therapists need at least a master’s degree, so human services majors may use their bachelor’s to qualify for graduate programs. Social workers, who often earn a median annual salary of $51,760, typically also need a master’s degree and state licensure.
Earning related graduate degrees can help human services degree graduates qualify for research, teaching, and administrative positions. Social work teachers at postsecondary institutions earn a median $71,570 per year, while social and community service managers make a median salary of $69,600 annually.
Courses in Human Services
Human services bachelor’s programs usually require 120 credits. This degree may entail general education coursework, major-related core courses, and a specialized curriculum concentration. Core human services courses explore social science research methods, human services law and ethics, and family and community systems. Specialized field offerings include child development, administration, and addictions.
Human services coursework helps develop assessment, evaluation, care planning, and advocacy skills. Many human services programs also feature internship experiences, which cultivate additional skills corresponding to the participant’s chosen concentration. Some bachelor’s programs require capstone papers or research projects developing research, analysis, and writing skills.
Family and Community Systems
Often an entire curriculum concentration, this coursework analyzes common community and family dynamics and surveys available resources. Enrollees explore various societal response systems, including community mental health, family court, the Department of Human Services, and the criminal justice system. Family and community systems courses develop skills for needs assessment and program design, implementation, and evaluation.
Human Services Law and Ethics
Another essential human services course, law and ethics surveys various protective rules and protocols for human services practice. Participants learn about ethics principles, including respecting dignity, honoring diversity, and advocating for justice. Relevant laws cover involuntary commitment, mandated reporting, and advance directives.
Substance Abuse Disorders
This course frequently appears in core coursework or specialized human services curricula. Aspiring substance abuse counselors pursue curriculum concentrations in this field. Substance abuse disorder courses discuss biological and cultural causes for addiction. Participants also learn to recognize symptoms. The course surveys prevention and treatment strategies, including 12-step programs and psychopharmacology.
Certifications and Licensure for Human Services
Bachelor’s in human services degrees satisfy education requirements for careers such as corrections treatment specialist, community health worker, and substance abuse counselor. However, some jobs seek candidates with additional professional certification or licensure. See below for a few common human services credentials.
This certification requires an associate degree from a regionally accredited school, plus 350 professional experience hours and passing results on the certification exam. Professionals with the HSB-CP designation may work in community health, social work, counseling, or administration.
Social workers must obtain licensure from the state where they work. Each state establishes its own licensure requirements, but these often include a related master’s degree, at least 3,000 hours of professional experience, and a licensure exam.
The CHES certification usually serves current or aspiring community health educators. The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing grants this certification based on the applicant’s academic record. Eligible candidates’ transcripts demonstrate satisfactory coverage of seven designated areas of responsibility.
Scholarships for Human Services
Like other college students, human services bachelor’s enrollees may qualify for scholarships. Various organizations award these scholarships to candidates demonstrating some combination of financial need, academic excellence, and underrepresented identity status. The following sampling designates several human services-focused scholarships.
Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The scholarship serves full-time, native Hawaiian-ancestry college students studying various health professions and demonstrating high academic achievement. Upon graduation, recipients must serve 2-4 years in Hawaiian communities.
Amount: Tuition, school expenses, and a monthly stipend
Who Can Apply: Current National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) members pursuing a human services degree and maintaining a minimum 3.2 GPA may qualify for this scholarship. Applicants submit resumes, recommendation letters, short essays, and official transcripts.
Who Can Apply: This NOHS scholarship supports student members demonstrating significant contributions to the field. Applicants must receive nomination from a faculty member or social service organization employee. Application materials include recommendation letters, resumes, and documentation of applicants’ contributions.
Founded in 1911, ETSU offers an online BS in human services. Degree-seekers prepare for careers in fields such as counseling and case management. Learners can study full time or part time. The curriculum includes general education and lower-division coursework.
The online human services degree requires coursework in family development and child psychology. Students receive practical training in the administration of human services organizations. Coursework also covers counseling methods. Students complete 350 hours of fieldwork at a human services agency. The human services program holds accreditation from the Council for Standards in Human Services Education.
All online students pay the same affordable tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Transfer students can apply previous credits to graduate sooner. They must have earned a minimum 2.0 GPA for credits to transfer.
Located in Florida, SEU offers a 122-credit BS in human services program. General education requirements cover subjects including math, history, and psychology. Students at the Christian college complete 22 credits on spiritual formation and Christian responsibility.
The human services program introduces students to the profession. Degree-seekers learn about case management and intervention strategies. Coursework explores various delivery models and managerial competencies. Enrollees learn how to design, implement, and evaluate human service programs. Students customize the curriculum through 30 elective credits.
Enrollees complete a practicum at a human services agency. Students earning the human services degree online pay a flat tuition rate. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. Transfer students submit undergraduate transcripts.
Based in Indiana, Grace offers a BS in human services. Students learn how to help clients deal with conflicts and challenges from a Christian worldview. The degree-completion program requires 45 credits. Learners develop workplace skills such as public speaking and teamwork. Students in the online program also gain business writing skills.
Coursework explores human growth and development and case management. Degree-seekers study various human services delivery models. The curriculum covers intervention strategies and techniques. The program culminates with a seminar.
Grace awards credit for activities such as workplace learning. Students can earn the online human services degree in 16 months. All online learners pay the same flat tuition rate. Applicants need at least 75 transferable credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Established in 1883, UND is the state's largest college. The university's online BS in rehabilitation and human services focuses on vocational services. Students learn to help clients with physical, cognitive, and learning disorders.
The curriculum requires 120 credits and explores disabilities. Other courses cover contemporary rehabilitation issues and the rehabilitation process. Students become proficient in vocational assessment and research methods. Degree-seekers can pursue a minor in gerontology, chemical dependency, or developmental disabilities. An internship provides hands-on experience at a rehabilitation organization.
Graduates often become rehabilitation case managers and independent living specialists. UND's human services program holds accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Applicants need a minimum 2.75 high school GPA. UND does not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores.
CSU-Global delivers online programs for nontraditional learners. The BS in human services program trains professionals to work with vulnerable populations. Enrollees learn how to help clients cope with challenges such as mental health issues, homelessness, and disability. Degree-seekers can study full time or part time.
The 120-credit curriculum features general education coursework and major classes. Students can transfer an associate degree or up to 90 credits. Learners gain foundational competencies in areas such as case management and human services administration. Coursework covers intervention methods used in human services.
Enrollees complete a practicum in a human services setting. Practicum participants develop a plan to address human services problems. All learners pursuing the human services degree online pay the same affordable tuition rate. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma.
Located in South Carolina, AU offers an accelerated bachelor of human services online. Students explore the human condition from a Christian perspective. The 120-credit curriculum includes general education requirements and major classes.
Coursework introduces social welfare policies and services. Students explore concepts such as human behavior, advocacy, and social justice. Learners develop case management and crisis intervention skills. Degree-seekers learn how to work with various populations, such as the elderly. Students examine legal and ethical issues that human service practitioners face.
The human services program culminates with a capstone project. All online students pay the same flat tuition rate. AU delivers courses in an accelerated seven-week format. Applicants need a high school diploma. Associate degree-holders can graduate faster.
Western delivers an online BA in human services program designed for residents of the state's underserved areas. Degree-seekers learn practical skills they can use to improve others' lives. Students earn the human services degree online and asynchronously.
The degree-completion program requires 75 upper-division credits. The human services program explores foundational topics such as social welfare policy and social justice and equity. Degree-seekers gain skills in intervention strategies and program planning and evaluation. Electives cover topics such as addiction and trauma.
During a 120-hour internship, learners complete supervised work at a human service organization. All students earning the human services degree online pay the same affordable tuition rate. Applicants must have transferable credits.
IWU is a Christian liberal arts college in Marion. The school features a BS in human services. Students prepare to become advocates and service providers for disadvantaged individuals. The online human services degree-completion program requires 51 credits. Major coursework explores foundational topics including developmental psychology and personality theories.
Participants develop advanced skills in crisis intervention and program planning. The curriculum introduces students to addiction counseling practices. Students learn how to manage resources such as human capital within social service organizations. The program culminates with a capstone course.
IWU offers several start dates. Students can earn the human services degree online in 27 months. All online learners pay the same affordable tuition rate. Applicants need at least 60 transferable credits.
Troy serves about 17,000 students online and on several campuses. Students earning the BS in human services prepare to work in various social services settings. The online program blends classroom instruction with hands-on experiences.
General education courses provide a liberal arts foundation. Major coursework explores concepts such as human behavior in the social environment. Students develop empathic interviewing skills and learn about ethics. They also prepare to serve a diverse clientele. Learners practice skills during required field experiences. Students customize the online human services degree by earning at least one 18-credit minor.
Troy delivers courses in nine-week terms. The school accepts transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions. All online students pay the same affordable tuition rate. First-year applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
UW-Oshkosh delivers programs online and on three campuses. Distance learners can pursue the bachelor's in human services leadership online or at regional sites. The degree prepares enrollees to sit for the human services board certified practitioner exam. Learners complete 40 major credits.
The 120-credit curriculum introduces basic professional skills, such as interviewing and assessing clients. Students explore factors that influence behavior. Coursework covers program funding and legal and ethical issues. Degree-seekers also study leadership and decision-making within nonprofits.
Students complete 280 hours of internships. The human services program does not require SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students can apply up to 60 previous credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Located in Kentucky, Cumberlands offers an online bachelor's in human services. The online human services degree blends theoretical principles and practical skills development. The 120-credit curriculum includes general education coursework in areas such as English and the social sciences. Students also take classes in Christian faith and values.
The major explores the need for human services in the U.S. and abroad. Students learn basic counseling and case management skills. Degree-seekers prepare to assess clients and provide interventions for individuals and families. Coursework explores administrative functions such as managing budgets and overseeing expenditures. While completing up to 250 internship hours, learners work with individuals, groups, and communities.
Enrollees pay an affordable flat tuition rate. Applicants to the human services program need a high school or GED diploma. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
SMWC is a Catholic college located in Indiana. The school offers a BS in human services. The online degree-completion program comprises 55 major credits. Students can fulfill the remaining 65 credits through transfer credits or by completing other courses from SMWC.
The human services program explores general and abnormal psychology. Coursework covers topics such as legal and ethical issues in the helping professions. Learners receive an executive-level perspective of not-for-profit operations. Students learn counseling skills and research methods for the social sciences. Degree-seekers gain practical skills during a 250-hour supervised field experience in a social service agency.
Online human services degree-seekers pay a flat tuition rate. Military students receive a nearly 50% tuition discount. SMWC does not require first-year applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants provide undergraduate transcripts.
CBU's BA in human services program equips learners to help others. The online curriculum requires 42 units, which students can complete in 16 months. All students complete composition and sociology courses before beginning major coursework.
Lower-division courses provide foundational knowledge in human services. Students learn how to read and evaluate behavioral science research. Advanced coursework explores topics including diversity and social justice. Students learn about marriage and family. They also study the sociology of health and illness. Participants develop practical crisis-intervention skills. Degree-seekers present cases and complete projects during a case management and assessment course.
All online human services degree-seekers pay the same affordable tuition rate. Applicants need at least 24 transferable units and a minimum 2.0 GPA.
UIU delivers programs online, at its main campus in Fayette, and at regional centers. The online bachelor's in human services requires 120 semester credits.
Major coursework explores social problems and marriage and family. Another course covers methods in human services. Students learn about social welfare programs and policies. The program culminates with an internship or project. Most enrollees take two classes per term. According to UIU, 96.3% of human services graduates get a job within one year of graduation.
Students can apply up to 90 transfer credits toward the online human services degree. UIU delivers online classes in eight-week sessions. Online students pay a flat tuition rate. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. Students can transfer credits earned with at least a "C-" grade.
A Christian liberal arts college, SAU provides an online BS in human services program. The Michigan university delivers practical training for first-year and transfer students. The curriculum integrates biblical principles into foundational classes on the human experience.
Students learn about psychology and lifespan development. They also learn about human behavior in social environments. Coursework covers counseling theories and methodology. Degree-seekers learn about grief and loss. They also explore the impact of substance abuse in contemporary society. A financial management course examines business concepts.
Enrollees can transfer up to 84 credits toward the online human services degree. SAU offers multiple start dates. Transfer applicants need a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.