Helping others comes naturally to some people. If you are one of those people, pursuing a human services associate degree online may be the right choice for you.
Human services is a broad, interdisciplinary field that includes areas like social work, psychology, casework, human resources, mental health, and biology. Human services professionals are empathetic people who want to help others in a variety of ways by facilitating access to human services.
An Associate Degree in Human Services prepares students for entry-level positions in the human services field. Luckily, there are many online degree programs to choose from, making the degree more accessible and flexible.
Below is a guide to online human services associate degree programs. We’ll also include a rundown on the human services field, different types of degree programs, top online schools for associate degrees in human services, and career paths in the field.
What Can I Do With an Associate Degree in Human Services?
Human services is a broad field that encompasses a few different subfields. As a human services professional, you may work in case management in a variety of different settings, including but not limited to mental health clinics, schools, human resources offices, correctional facilities, and more. Entry-level human services professionals may be human services assistants, social and human resources assistants, assistant counselors, or assistant social workers.
If you want to set yourself up for continued success and growth in the human services field, an associate degree may be the stepping stone to further study. With an associate degree, you can apply to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services or a related, specialized field, like counseling, criminal justice, or social work.
Below are some careers you can pursue after obtaining tour Associate Degree in Human Services.
With an Applied Associate of Science (AAS) in Human Services, graduates can pursue entry-level roles in the field of social work. Social workers perform a really important function in society by helping others access the resources they need for their well-being. They work in family services, conflict mediation, and many other areas of mediation.
According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the job market for social workers is growing. It is predicted to increase 11 percent, much faster than average, by 2028. The average annual salary for a licensed social worker is just over $50,000.
Social and Human Services Assistants
As a health and human services assistant, you can work in medical settings and health and rehabilitation centers to help patients access key services. Human services assistants work within the health sector, providing services to patients as needed.
For example, you could work at senior assisted living centers, youth centers, or rehabilitation centers. An AAS in Human Services is the basic educational requirement students need to pursue entry-level roles as a health and human services assistant.
Criminal Justice Professionals
Human services professionals also work in the court system and the prison system. They may work as counselors, probation officers, or caseworkers. They provide needed services for people in the criminal justice system, including prisoners, victims of crime, witnesses of crime, and juvenile detainees. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, a probation officer makes an average annual salary of $54,000.
What Does an Online Associate Degree in Human Services Program Look Like?
A career in human services can start with the completion of an online Associate Degree in Human Services. An associate degree is the shortest and most basic college degree you can get. It is often a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree, but on its own, can help graduates access certain entry-level positions in their field. But how long does an online Associate Degree in Human Services take to complete? And how much does an online Associate Degree in Human Services cost?
What Can I Expect from an Online Associate Degree in Human Services Program?
You can expect a diverse set of engaging courses in human services and applicable skills. You will take courses in psychology, sociology, economics, law, and ethics. You may also take classes in areas that human services professionals may encounter, like substance abuse and addiction. Finally, you might also take courses in common languages like Spanish, Portuguese, Hatian Creole, or any other language that is widely spoken in your state.
Most associate degree programs won’t offer concentration or specialization options. This is usually because of time restrictions. A 60-credit program is just enough to cover the basics of human services and the general education requirements included in an associate degree program. If, after completing an associate degree you want to delve further into a concentration and you have time and flexibility to continue your studies, consider a bachelor’s degree program.
Remember, online human services associate degree programs are more accessible than traditional classroom programs. Online programs provide people who work full-time, have household obligations, or who cannot move to attend a school in another city or state, the ability to pursue a degree.
How Long Does an Online Associate Degree Program in Human Services Take?
Most online associate degrees require 60-credit hours. Full-time, you could complete your associate degree in four semesters. Part-time, depending on the number of courses you take per semester, the program may take three to four years.
Some accelerated program options may also help you get your degree even faster, in just three semesters.
What Requirements do I Need to Meet for an Online Associate Degree in Human Services Program?
Each college or university has its own application system and process. It’s important to fully familiarize yourself with what is required before starting any application process.
Applicants who want to be considered for any associate degree program must hold a high school diploma. Some associate degree programs may require the submission of SAT or ACT results, while others do not. Be sure to check every individual school’s admission requirements.
Cost and Financial Aid for an Online Associate Degree in Human Services Program
Associate degrees are among the most affordable degree programs in higher education. This is because they are typically only 60 to 65 credits, which is about half of most bachelor’s degree programs.
Still, if you’re considering pursuing your associate degree online, it’s important to consider cost during your research. Each school and online program may have different prices and regulations. It’s always a good idea to check if any public state universities in your state offer reduced in-state tuition to in-state, online students. Some state universities honor this convention for online programs while others do not.
It’s also a good idea to apply for financial aid, wherever you are, and to find out if your top programs offer additional scholarships or grants. Making sure you can finance your entire associate degree program is important. You wouldn’t want to start and have to stop before graduation.
Online Associate Degree in Human Services Program Accreditation
Accreditation is a really important factor to consider when you’re researching different institutions and programs. Accreditation is like a certificate of quality. Accrediting bodies and agencies award accreditation to universities like a stamp of approval, vouching for the quality of their faculty, their academic offerings, and their student learning outcomes.
When researching your options for online associate degree programs in human services, make sure your chosen program is accredited. There are both regional and national accreditations, with regional being the more prestigious of the two.
University accreditation is overseen by the US Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Some individual programs also have their own program accreditation, which for human services programs, would come from the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE).
Online Associate Degree in Human Services Program Coursework
Online associate degree programs in human services are designed as introductory programs in the field. One of the first courses offered in any program is Introduction to the History of Social and Human Services. This class provides students with very important context about the field as a whole. This context is essential to understanding the field and helping students in their other classes.
Here is a sample of some other typical program course requirements for an online associate degree program in human services:
- Development Psychology
- Introduction to Social Work
- Introduction to Criminal Justice
- Social Issues in Diversity
- Human Behavior
- Working with Clients and Patients
- Crisis Response and Strategies
- Case Management
Best Online Human Services Associate Degree Programs
Several community colleges and four-year colleges and universities offer human services associate degrees online. Programs offer a foundation in the field and a stepping stone to pursue a bachelor’s degree upon graduation.
If students choose to continue their studies, they may pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services or a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
Check out a shortlist below of just some of the best programs available for you to pursue a human services associate degree online.
Columbia College is a private liberal arts college in Columbia, Missouri. Its 60-credit online associate degree program in human services focuses on working with minority communities and cultural organizations. Some students may be required to visit the Columbia, Missouri campus once during their degree, so it may be best for students who live in the area. Because it is a private institution, all online students pay the same tuition, regardless of whether or not they live in the state of Missouri.
Great Basin College, a small college in Nevada, bills itself as “a pioneer in distance education.” It offers many different associate and bachelor’s programs online for both in-state and out-of-state students. Their Applied Associate of Science program in Human Services is entirely online and designed for students who need added flexibility.
Cornerstone University is a Christin university in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its online Associate of Science in Human Services helps students gain a strong foundation in the field. Students take courses in psychology, counseling, youth services, social work, and education. The program requires the completion of 62-credits. Though students can go on to work in secular positions, the university also prepares students for religiously-affiliated jobs in the human services field.
This completely online Associate of Science in Human Services program focuses on three major areas: Client Assessment and Planning, Substance Abuse, and Delivery of Human Services. Students also take general education courses like business, math, and writing composition to strengthen their other applicable skill sets.
The University of Maine at Augusta offers an entirely online and hybrid Associate Degree in Mental Health and Human Services, offering coursework in rehabilitation, substance abuse disorders, and family services. Students can customize the program to their specific interests and their career goals.
Human services is a broad and expanding field. If you want to help others but you don’t have the stomach for medicine or healthcare work, human services is the perfect alternative. You may still work in a healthcare setting or in other human services settings like rehabilitation centers, courts, and mental health centers.
With an online Associate Degree in Human Services, you will have what it takes for entry-level positions in the human services field. Most commonly, graduates from associate degree programs will start as social and human services assistants. Then, they may work their way up, gain entry-level experience in other settings, or decide to continue with their studies at the bachelor’s level.
Before you commit to the field, reread this guide on human services degrees online and careers you can pursue upon graduation from an Associate Degree in Human Services online program.