The human services field has generated a lot of interest in the past few years, owing to the increasing number of employment opportunities with reasonable salaries in this field. The best way to take advantage of these opportunities is by earning a degree in a related field.
If you’re interested in diving into the exciting career field of human services, then you’ll need to pursue various educational and career opportunities to boost your resume. This article explores some of the best associate degrees, schools, and qualifications available to aspiring human services professionals.
What Is Human Services?
A human service professional assists individuals, families, and communities perform at an optimum level while eradicating problems. Human services professions include work at nonprofit organizations, aiding people with a developmental disability, or becoming part of a community organization.
Human services refer to multiple approaches and techniques used to meet human needs. Such processes involve using knowledge from various fields, focusing on prevention and solving related problems, and an overall commitment to improving the quality of life.
What Is a Human Services Associate Degree?
A human services associate degree is a two-year program offered by select colleges to prepare students for entry-level roles as human services professionals. This education program equips students with social work skills to act within large communities and organizations.
In addition, a human services associate degree offers a great stepping stone for those who wish later to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the university. If you hold an associate degree in this field, you may qualify for credit transfer contributing to your bachelor’s degree.
Human Services Associate Degree Requirements
You should have a high school diploma or a GED to pursue this degree, as many community colleges are open enrollment but require completion of high school education. Colleges impose different entry requirements regarding an associate degree. Be sure to confirm your enrollment qualifications are appropriate with your college of interest.
How Much Does a Human Services Associate Degree Cost?
The National Center for Educational Statistics states that an associate degree in human services typically costs about $4,262 per year. However, this figure only takes into account the average tuition fees across all two-year institutions in America. It will cost about $16,445 per year for those living on campus.
Human Services Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Human Services Degree
There are several tuition financial aid opportunities to consider if you are interested in pursuing a human services associate degree, including federal grants, private loans, scholarships, and public loans from select institutions or government agencies. You should consult with your college of interest beforehand as financing options vary from college to college.
Best Human Services Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Alexandria Technical and Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Behavioral Health and Human Services||Higher Learning Commission|
|Bismarck State College||Associate of Applied Science in Human Services||Higher Learning Commission|
|Bryant and Stratton College||Associate of Applied Sciences in Human and Social Services||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Gateway Technical College||Associate Degree in Human Services||Higher Learning Commission|
|Lackawanna College||Associate Degree in Human Services||Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Metropolitan College of New York||Associate of Arts in Human Services||Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Monroe College||Associate of Science in Human Services||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Northcentral Technical College||Associate Degree in Human Services||Higher Learning Commission|
|Rasmussen University||Associate of Science in Human Services||Higher Learning Commission|
|University of Alaska Anchorage||Associate of Applied Science in Human Services||Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities|
Best Colleges for Human Services: Top Human Services Associate Degree Programs
Consider the following top human services associate degree programs ideal for students looking for an on-campus learning experience.
Associate of Applied Science in Behavioral Health and Human Services | Alexandria Technical and Community College
This Minnesota-based college is ideal for students interested in advocating for individuals of different ages living with disabilities. As a student, you’ll learn to support vulnerable or underserved individuals through health, sociology, crisis intervention, psychology, and social services programs.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services | Bismarck State College
This associate degree program offered at Bismarck State College provides essential training in service delivery, cultural awareness, and administration. These in-demand skills are necessary for entry-level jobs in human services agencies. You’ll need to complete 60 credits before earning this certificate and have the option to transfer credits to an eligible four-year college.
Associate of Applied Sciences in Human and Social Services | Bryant and Stratton College
Bryant and Stratton College offers this program on campuses across Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. This associate degree program will equip you with the skills necessary to perform in diverse administrative, human, and social services sectors. This program also emphasizes ethics and legal procedures to ensure you understand industry procedures and regulations.
Associate Degree in Human Services | Gateway Technical College
Located in Wisconsin, Gateway Technical College provides students with hands-on experience in social work, with about 300 hours of work in youth shelters and resource centers. You’ll need 61 credits to complete this program, after which you can apply for a job as a caseworker, social services coordinator, family support worker, or community outreach worker.
Alternatively, you could use Gateway’s transfer agreements to pursue a bachelor’s degree by transferring your credits to select universities.
Associate Degree in Human Social Services | Lackawanna College
Lackawanna College offers this associate degree program at its Scranton, Hazleton, Hawley, Tunkhannock, Sunbury, and Towanda campuses. This human services program covers sociology, physiology, psychology, race and ethnic relations, and behavior to build job-ready skills and prepare students for careers in the social services field.
Associate of Arts in Human Services | Metropolitan College of New York
The Metropolitan College of New York offers this 16-month program designed as a stepping stone to earning a bachelor’s degree in professional studies in human services. You’ll perform fieldwork to gain experience in human services. Upon completion, you can find work in nonprofit organizations, human resources, social services, healthcare, and legal services.
Associate of Science in Human Services | Monroe College
Monroe College combines classroom coursework with fieldwork to ensure students gain critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This college has field placements that offer students a chance to gauge their skills, which also allows employers to determine if they are ideal for specific jobs.
Associate Degree in Human Services | Northcentral Technical College
Northcentral Technical College offers in-person classes for students based in Wausau, Antigo, Medford, Spencer, Wittenberg, and Philips. This program will equip you with the knowledge to cultivate professional relationships, apply human services interventions and practice, utilize community resources and uphold ethical standards as a human service professional.
After completing this degree program, you can work as a mental health support worker, social service specialist, social service assistant, or youth behavior specialist.
Associate Degree in Human Services | Rasmussen University
This program is offered on Rasmussen’s campuses in Florida, North Dakota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Minnesota. You can take as short as 18 months to complete this program. You’ll take different classes covering behavioral science, evolving populations in human services, and working with clients during this time. You need to complete 23 courses before graduating.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services | University of Alaska Anchorage
Coursework in this program covers a wide variety of topics relating to the human services field, including standards for ethical behavior in professional work, human relations, counseling, and systems of human services. You’ll need to complete 60 credits before earning this associate degree.
Best Online Human Services Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Brescia University||Associate of Arts in Human Services||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Central Maine Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Human Services||New England Commission of Higher Education|
|Cornerstone University||Associate of Science in Human Services||Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
|Elizabethtown College||Associate of Science in Human Services||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Herkimer State University of New York||Associate of Applied Science in Human Services||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Montgomery County Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Human Services||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Niagara County Community College||Associate of Arts in Human Services||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Purdue University||Associate of Applied Science in Human Services||Higher Learning Commission|
|Thomas Edison State University||Associate in Arts in Human Services||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Wake Technical Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Human Services Technology||Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools|
Best Colleges for Human Services: Top Online Human Services Associate Degree Programs
Online degree programs are designed for students looking for flexible learning schedules to continue learning without interrupting other aspects of their lives. Here are some of the best online human services associate degree programs that you should consider.
Associate of Arts in Human Services | Brescia University
You can complete this degree program in about two years, thanks to Brescia’s flexible courses. As a student, you’ll learn more about psychology, social work, and social issues in diversity. Additionally, you can transfer up to 42 credits to a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services | Central Maine Community College
Central Maine Community College has an online human services course available for incoming students. This program provides the technical knowledge and skills necessary to establish collaborative relationships with individuals and families. This course is ideal for students aspiring to work as addiction counselors, crisis counselors, volunteer coordinators, and mental health associates.
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Associate of Science in Human Services | Cornerstone University
It takes about 28 months to complete this online program at Cornerstone University. You’ll learn more about human services during this time, including terminologies, practices, communication, and cultural competence. It’s worth noting that this program applies the biblical or Christian worldview in human services.
Associate of Sciences in Human Services | Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown College offers this program exclusively online. As a student, you’ll understand issues affecting society, gain counseling skills, and learn how to apply practical skills to human services to individuals and communities.
You’ll need to complete 64 credits to earn this degree, after which you can look for employment opportunities as a social services coordinator, enrollment coordinator, community manager, community support specialist, and Medicaid specialist.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services | Herkimer State University of New York
You can complete this program entirely online in two years through this school’s internet academy. You’ll learn essential human services topics, including sociology, social problems, counseling, criminal justice, and juvenile delinquency. Additionally, you can pursue a bachelor’s degree by taking advantage of the school’s transfer agreements with four-year colleges.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services | Montgomery County Community College
Montgomery County Community College offers an online human services course designed to equip students with the skills necessary to help people living with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and addiction. This degree takes about two years, or 64 credit hours, to complete.
Associate of Arts in Human Services | Niagara County Community College
This program offers online students the opportunity to study social work, education, chemical dependency, disabilities, childhood education, and gerontology. Upon completion, you can pursue employment opportunities as a case management aide, early childhood teacher, social work assistant, substance abuse counselor, and community outreach worker.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services | Purdue University
Purdue University’s human services associate degree equips students with a solid foundation in human services, preparing them for social services, mental health, rehabilitation education, and community work. You’ll need 90 credits to complete this program, after which you can pursue positions including adult service and family support workers.
Associate in Arts in Human Services | Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University offers a 60 credit associate degree program designed to train online students on the fundamentals of human services. This program is the ideal stepping stone for those looking to advance their education to a bachelor’s degree. As a student, you’ll learn ethics, cultural diversity, sociology, physiology, and communication, just to mention a few.
Associate of Applied Science in Human Services Technology | Wake Technical Community College
This 70 credit associate degree program prepares students for social work involving drug and alcohol counseling, rehabilitation, managing community-based programs, and prevention-oriented educational programs. It also prepares students for related degrees at four-year institutions.
What’s the Average Human Services Associate Degree Salary?
According to Salary.com, the average salary for human service workers with associate degrees is $33,000. However, as you gain more experience in the industry, you increase your earning potential.
Top Human Services Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Human Services Associate Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Social and Community Service Manager||$69,600|
|Community and Social Service Specialist||$51,128|
|Substance Abuse Counselor||$47,660|
|Community Outreach Coordinator||$43,371|
|Court Support Worker||$39,737|
|Social and Human Services Assistant||$35,960|
|Behavioral Health Technician||$35,329|
|Home Health and Personal Care Aide||$27,080|
Best Human Services Associate Degree Jobs Explained
Social and Community Service Manager
- Average Salary: $69,600
- Job Outlook: 15%
- Number of Jobs: 26,400
- Highest-Paying States: New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey
Social and community service managers perform a host of roles, including supervising and coordinating welfare programs. They also analyze data to assess the effectiveness of these programs. These human services workers have excellent communication and analytical skills that complement their technical skills.
- Average Salary: $51,760
- Job Outlook: 12%
- Number of Jobs: 715,600
- Highest-Paying States: New Jersey, California, Connecticut
Social workers help individuals, communities, and families solve their problems by providing advice, resources, and protection to those in need of assistance. They may work in youth services Different social workers, such as clinical social workers, help solve mental, emotional, and behavioral issues.
Community and Social Service Specialist
- Average Salary: $51,128
- Job Outlook: 12%*
- Number of Jobs: 715,600*
- Highest-Paying States: New Jersey, California, Connecticut*
Community and social service specialists help community members, including families, to find access to government or public assistance programs. They offer essential services to the elderly, military veterans, immigrants, and formerly incarcerated individuals, among others in the community.
*Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Social Workers
Substance Abuse Counselor
- Average Salary: $47,660
- Job Outlook: 23%
- Number of Jobs: 327,500
- Highest-Paying States: Nevada, Utah, Alaska
Substance abuse counselors offer support to people suffering from chemical addictions involving drug and alcohol problems. They meet up with these individuals regularly to evaluate their health and overall progress. They also teach effective coping mechanisms to aid in relapse prevention.
Community Outreach Worker
- Average Salary: $44,757
- Job Outlook: 15%*
- Number of Jobs: 26,400*
- Highest-Paying States: New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey*
Community outreach workers act as links between community organizations and members of the community. They have excellent communication and interpersonal skills that make it easy to build relationships within the population and address needs within the community.
*Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Social and Community Service Managers
Court Support Worker
- Average Salary: $40,617
- Job Outlook: 12%*
- Number of Jobs: 715,600*
- Highest-Paying States: New Jersey, California, Connecticut*
Court support workers help individuals and families with the court process while providing support services such as safety planning. They also help with accompanying the victim to court proceedings where victims have to see or interact with an abuser.
*Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Social Workers
Social and Human Services Assistant
- Average Salary: $35,960
- Job Outlook: 17%
- Number of Jobs: 417,600
- Highest-Paying States: Alaska, North Dakota, California
Social and human services assistants connect members of the community and families to available community resources. They also work with other professionals such as social workers and psychologists to support people needing psychological, rehabilitation, and other community services.
Behavioral Health Technician
- Average Salary: $39,344
- Job Outlook: 23%*
- Number of Jobs: 327,500*
- Highest-Paying States: Nevada, Utah, Alaska*
Behavioral health technicians play a vital role in the community, especially in the educational system. They help individuals realize behavioral disorders while understanding the root cause of certain behaviors. In addition, these professionals have excellent observational, communication, and analytical skills.
*Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Home Health and Personal Care Aide
- Average Salary: $27,080
- Job Outlook: 33%
- Number of Jobs: 3,470,700
- Highest-Paying States: Alaska, Massachusetts, North Dakota
Home health and personal care aides help clients, especially elderly clients, vulnerable clients, or people with disabilities, in their day-to-day tasks. These tasks might include rehabilitation exercises, dressing, and bathing, among others. Personal care aides generally have excellent interpersonal skills.
- Average Salary: $25,460
- Job Outlook: 8%
- Number of Jobs: 992,400
- Highest-Paying States: California, Vermont, Washington
Childcare workers offer a wide variety of support services to young children to foster early development. Such services include preparing meal times, reading stories, and helping with homework.
Benefits of a Human Services Associate Degree
- Preparation for entry-level positions. Many careers in this field require high school certificates, technical diplomas, or postsecondary education. This makes it ideal to pursue an associate degree as it significantly increases your chances of finding work in this field.
- Options to pursue a degree at a four-year institution. Most colleges offering associate degrees in this field have transfer options with universities to allow students to use credits earned here to contribute to completing a bachelor’s degree.
- Fieldwork experience. As part of the curriculum, colleges offering this program have included fieldwork to allow students to build essential job experience.
- Low barriers to entry. Most human services programs have very little in the way of requirements. However, most institutions do require students to have a high school diploma.
- Increased employability. An associate degree in this field increases your employment chances as most hiring managers prefer employing candidates who have attended a two-year program.
Should You Get an Associate Degree in Human Services?
Yes, there are many reasons why you should pursue an associate degree in human services. For instance, these programs are significantly cheaper than traditional four-year programs. Additionally, most human services careers require a high school diploma or an associate degree to start.
Although some employment opportunities in this field might require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, you can transfer your credits and pursue a four-year degree later. Besides, experience is the name of the game in this field, and you should strive to gain it to increase your chances of finding a high-paying job.
Human Services Associate Degree FAQ
A human services associate degree will prepare you for entry-level positions as a social worker, social and community service manager, social worker, substance abuse counselor, community outreach worker, and court support worker. This degree also prepares you for a four-year degree as transferable credits earned here to contribute to bachelor’s degrees in related fields.
The names might vary with institutions. However, you should be looking out for titles such as Associate of Arts Associate of Applied Science degrees.
Absolutely. Most career positions in human services require candidates to have a two or four-year degree in a related field. A degree increases your employability, especially in top human service agencies and organizations.
In most states, a human services degree does not automatically qualify you as a teacher. There are specific teaching certifications that you need to be eligible for a teaching job and demonstrate your teaching skills.
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