Online Human Services Degree Programs

Human services are very important to serving the public in a variety of fields. Online human services degree programs prepare students to address many different social issues and challenges that take place in their communities. Human services programs provide students with a theoretical foundation and helps students develop an understanding of the causes and effects of individual and social problems. Students develop and build upon problem solving and critical thinking skills to lead a successful career. Read more about online human services degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, social and human service assistants held 339,000 jobs with over 60% being employed in the healthcare and social assistance industries. Social workers held 595,000 jobs with about 5 out of 10 being employed in the healthcare and social assistance industries (2). According to Payscale.com, employees of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earned average annual salaries from about $23,000 to $48,000 depending on position and field (3).

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook for human services jobs varies greatly on degree, field and position. Employment of social and human services assistants is projected to grow much faster than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing 34% and adding 114,000 new jobs. Social workers are also expected to experience much faster than average job growth, increasing 22% and adding 132,000 new jobs (3). Social workers with less than 1 year experience earned average annual salaries between $26,332 and $34,873 (4).

Specialties

Human services includes many different fields and students can choose from a variety of specialties including social work, social justice, religion, education, counseling, health and wellness, nonprofit organizations, human services management, criminal justice, public policy, community services, social services, family studies, child welfare, leadership, marriage and family, human services administration, human development, gerontology, general studies, and sociology. Students who are interested in a particular specialty should choose schools that offer a strong program in the particular area of interest.

What to Expect

Human services degree programs provide students with a strong educational foundation on a variety of topics and combines specific human services concepts with broad humanities education. Undergraduate programs require general education courses in English, mathematics, composition, science, history, and electives. The core coursework varies by program, but most programs require courses in sociology, psychology, ethics, human growth and development, case management, counseling methods, fitness, and interviewing techniques. Master degree programs focus on more in-depth topics and prepare students for advanced careers such as management and director positions. Students gain a deeper understanding of human services. Doctorate degree programs emphasize research and advanced theory and prepare students for leadership and research positions.

The End Result

Human services degrees provide many different career options in a variety of areas. Graduates often pursue positions in mental health facilities, public health facilities, substance abuse treatment centers, and social services agencies. Career opportunities for human services degree graduates include:

Social Worker
Social and Human Services Assistant
Social Services Case Manager
Administrative Assistant
Adult Services Worker
Child Welfare Worker
Corrections Officer
Elderly Services Provider
Substance Abuse Coordinator
Director of Domestic Violence Services
Psychologist
Counselor
Family Support Specialist

A human services career will be rewarding for individuals who are passionate about helping others. Human services professionals assess cases of clients and help provide appropriate services. They use their planning, organizational, management, and communication skills to provide the best service possible.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition
(4) SOURCE: Payscale.com, Salary Survey for Employer: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
(5) SOURCE: Payscale.com, Salary Survey Report

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