Is a Human Services Degree Right for You?
If you are interested in helping others as part of your career, human services may appeal to you as a potential degree path. Professionals in this broad profession can be found in health care, community organizations, hospitals, and homeless shelters. They work with people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, helping them combat social, developmental, or abuse issues.
While those interested in the human services need a passion for helping others, online bachelor degree programs in human services can provide them with the necessary skills to succeed in a professional human services setting. Programs focus on developing skills in assessing clients’ needs, advocacy, case management, identifying community resources, and developing intervention strategies. Human services is likely to experience significant growth due to the demands in social services from the aging population, making it a strong choice for students looking for a stable career.
Advice for Earning Your Human Services Degree Online
A bachelor’s degree in human services is typically the minimum education requirement for entry-level positions in social work, public administration, and other fields related to human services. However, many human services employers prefer workers with a master’s degree. If you hope you earn a master’s degree in the future, you must earn your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, as unaccredited degrees do not qualify for admission to most graduate programs.
The best online bachelors degree programs are regionally or nationally accredited by a federally recognized accredited agency. Specialty accreditation from the Council for Standards in Human Service Education is also a sign of a solid program. The best human services programs will also require an internship, where you can gain hands-on experience.
Online Human Services bachelor’s degree programs focus on building the student’s knowledge of administrative and clinical aspects of the field through classes in psychology, sociology, counseling, leadership, and more. Required courses might include:
- Abnormal Psychology
- Crisis Intervention
- Human Service Practice
- Emergency Response
- Counseling Theories and Techniques
Common Career Paths
Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services include:
Social and Community Service Managers
- Expected Growth: 27%
- Average Annual Salary: $65,625
Community service managers supervise social service programs and community organizations. They determine what services are needed and design programs to meet the needs of their community. An integral part of this work is also such tasks as analyzing data, managing budgets, fundraising, and managing staff. Most community service managers have bachelor’s degrees and many have master’s degrees. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 25%
- Average Annual Salary: $48,550
Social work closely aligns with the mission of human services. Social workers are differentiated between those who help people solve problems in their everyday lives, such as drug abuse, divorce, or unemployment, and those who diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues, such as anxiety or depression. Furthermore, social workers may work exclusively with particular populations and environments, such as children and families, school, and health care. With a bachelor’s degree in human services, you will need a master’s degree in social work to qualify for most social worker positions. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 28%
- Average Annual Salary: $38,745
Rehabilitation counselors work with people who have emotional and physical disabilities. They help them to lead independent lives by evaluating their skills, health and education; develop a treatment plan; and arrange for services, such as medical care or job training, and resources, like wheelchairs, that can help them achieve their goals. They typically work with older students and adults, including veterans and the elderly. Depending on the employer, rehabilitation counselors may need licensure or certification to practice, as well as a master’s degree. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Mental Health Counselors
- Expected Growth: 37%
- Average Annual Salary: $43,905
Counselors are trainer to work with individuals and families to help them overcome emotional, behavior, or relational challenges. Their work usually involves strategic dialogue designed to help people improve their lives. Counselors work in a variety of settings, including schools and colleges, hospitals, nonprofits, and human services organizations. A career as a counselor requires a master’s degree in counseling and extensive clinical training. Figures above were provided by the BLS.
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
- Expected Growth: 18%
- Average Annual Salary: $55,835
Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists assist and motivate criminal offenders to meet the terms of their probation. They meet with clients, monitor and document their progress, and often arrange treatment programs and services to help them succeed. Probation officers need extensive knowledge of the legal system as well as comfort and competency working with people from all demographics. Probation officers need at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for these positions. Figures above were provided by the BLS.