Online Bachelor’s In Human Services Programs 2021

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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.

A bachelor’s in human services degree meets minimum educational requirements for community and social service occupations such as mental health counselor, health educator, and correctional treatment specialist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these careers pay median annual wages of $47,000-$58,000. The BLS also projects a rapid employment growth of 13% for health educators and community health workers, including 25% for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors between 2019-2029.

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  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Is a human services degree worth it?

    March 2021 PayScale salary data indicates that human services BA graduates earn an above-average annual salary of about $54,610 — nearly $16,000 more per year than AA in human services graduates. These figures suggest that a bachelor’s degree often pays for itself pretty quickly.


  • 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.

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How Much Does a Human Services Degree Cost?



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.

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How Much Do Human Services Majors Make?

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.

Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner


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.

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Social Work License


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.

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Certified Health Education Specialist


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.

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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

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  • David C. Maloney Scholarship

    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.

    Amount: Varies

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  • Outstanding Human Services Student Scholarship

    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.

    Amount: Varies

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Online Bachelor’s In Human Services Programs 2021



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