Best Online Bachelor's in Human Services Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/22/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Certificate
Average Tuition: $25,092
Average Salary: $63,162

Accredited online human services degree programs are offered at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Online human services degree programs train students to serve the public in a variety of capacities including alcohol and drug counseling, rehabilitation counseling, family and marriage therapy, social work, and school counseling. Aspiring undergraduate students looking to tailor their search may want to focus on the schools on our best colleges rankings list, which highlights top schools, based on tuition rates and alumni salaries reported by PayScale.

Prospective students should consider the accreditation of their online degree programs. Depending on their career plans, accreditation may be a requirement. Counseling, social work, and other clinically focused programs require state licensure so students should consult their state board for relevant accreditation requirements.

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Online Bachelor’s in Human Services with the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees in Human Services Badge

We've analyzed salary and debt data to determine the top-ranked online bachelor’s degrees in human services based on return on investment (ROI). We calculated ROIs based on median 10-year alumni earnings after paying off student debt in order to help prospective students determine whether the expense of an online program is likely to be worth the cost. All 25 programs ranked below feature ROIs above the nationwide average of $295,600 (which includes on-campus and online degrees). For example, Jacksonville University earned the top spot with an ROI of $459,700, more than $160,000 above the U.S. average.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 $11,310 $48,432 $31,250 $459,700
# 2 #2 $17,760 $40,896 $26,262 $388,300
# 3 #3 $10,943 $38,702 $25,250 $367,200
# 4 #4 $25,650 $37,503 $25,000 $355,000
# 5 #5 $10,950 $36,312 $17,630 $351,900
# 6 #6 $14,400 $35,701 $21,797 $340,400
# 7 #7 $13,020 $36,062 $26,185 $338,500
# 8 #8 $9,600 $34,847 $17,836 $336,500
# 9 #9 $13,206 $33,993 $14,583 $331,800
# 10 #10 $21,030 $34,888 $23,250 $330,200
# 11 #11 $11,400 $35,290 $27,000 $329,700
# 12 #12 $12,090 $35,594 $30,333 $328,700
# 13 #13 $15,000 $33,586 $18,750 $322,400
# 14 #14 $16,350 $32,370 $12,500 $317,700
# 15 #15 $18,000 $33,324 $22,295 $315,700
# 16 #16 $29,032 $34,793 $35,500 $314,000
# 17 #17 $12,240 $32,869 $20,832 $312,400
# 18 #18 $15,034 $32,291 $17,081 $311,500
# 19 #19 $14,550 $34,633 $36,652 $310,900
# 20 (tie) #20 (tie) $16,950 $33,138 $24,500 $310,600
# 20 (tie) #20 (tie) $10,800 $33,077 $24,000 $310,600
# 22 #22 $14,640 $33,535 $28,240 $310,100
# 23 #23 $10,500 $32,569 $26,240 $302,600
# 24 #24 $10,950 $31,890 $20,833 $302,400
# 25 #25 $12,450 $32,213 $25,000 $300,500

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Human Services Rankings Details

#1

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville (AL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $459,700
  • Median Salary: $48,432
  • Annual Tuition: $11,310
  • Median Debt: $31,250

In the online Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences program at Jacksonville State University (JSU), students can choose between the child development or human sciences concentration. These programs include courses on child development, family life studies, and other topics related to family and consumer sciences. Students must complete a total of 120 credits, which... includes a hands-on field experience. The concentration in child development prepares graduates for careers in childcare facilities, social service agencies, child protective services, adoption agencies, and similar programs that work with children. The human sciences concentration prepares students to work in organizations that help families and communities improve their quality of life.

Students complete coursework using the Canvas learning management system. This allows them to read course materials, watch lessons, and engage with professors and other students. JSU offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships, as well as other forms of financial aid. The school also provides tuition discounts for military service members.

Students can apply online at any time, but they need to submit their applications by the due date for the fall, summer, or spring term. The school offers tech support, including comprehensive tutorials to online students, and students can also access a variety of support services.

Cost per Credit: $377
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 42%
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
Average SAT Scores: 910 - 930
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 950

#2

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $388,300
  • Median Salary: $40,896
  • Annual Tuition: $17,760
  • Median Debt: $26,262

In the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services program at Elizabethtown College, students can opt for the B.S. in human services with a specialization in behavioral and addictions counseling, or they can pursue a general human services degree with a minor in an area such as business administration, criminal justice, or health care administration. This program requires 125 credits... for the degree, and students can transfer in credits as long as they earn at least 30 of the last 60 credits at Elizabethtown. Courses cover psychology, race and ethnic relations, social welfare programs, counseling techniques, case management, and similar topics. With this B.S., students can pursue a variety of careers in the human services field, including the following: caseworker, family support worker, rehabilitation case worker, or alcohol counselor.

Students take courses through the Canvas learning management system. The school offers financial aid packages, and students can also apply for special scholarships for adult learners. In addition to transferring in credits from other schools, students can earn credits through prior learning related to military training and work experience, CLEP tests, or corporate or organizational training. They can also earn equivalency credits by writing papers to demonstrate what they know about certain subjects.

The school lets students apply on its website at any time, and once they have been accepted, students can access resources such as career services.

Cost per Credit: $555
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 73%
Acceptance Rate: 74%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1070 - 1290
Accreditation: MSCHE

#3

SUNY Empire State College

Saratoga Springs (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $367,200
  • Median Salary: $38,702
  • Annual Tuition: $10,943
  • Median Debt: $25,250

SUNY Empire State College offers an online Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Professional Studies in Community and Human Services with six different concentrations: children and family services, criminal justice services, disability services, health and human services, and substance abuse services. Students can also create an interdisciplinary concentration that... combines different perspectives exploring a theme or topic. A total of 124 credits are required to complete the degree. Graduates can enter into community-service professions, pursue graduate study, manage social service organizations, teach, or pursue government work.

Online learning at SUNY includes traditional books and textbooks, eTextbooks, audio and video materials, online discussion forums, etc. Transfer credits are accepted, and students may earn credit for previous training or work experience.

Applicants must submit an online application and required documentation. Online student resources include career services, student services teams, a student information center, library services, and student clubs.

Cost per Credit: $353
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 24%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,170

#4

Pacific Oaks College

Pasadena (CA) (and 1 other)
  • 10-Year ROI: $355,000
  • Median Salary: $37,503
  • Annual Tuition: $25,650
  • Median Debt: $25,000

At Pacific Oaks College, the online Bachelor of Social Work program prepares students for entry-level positions in the social work field. In this program, students learn about policy change, program implementation, case management, care coordination, and discharge social work, and they gain skills to empower communities and promote their wellbeing. The program requires 39 credits... of upper-division social work major courses, and students need a total of 120 credits to complete this bachelor's degree. Approximately 87% of graduates from this school have found positions in their fields.

The social work program accepts up to 87 transfer credits, and the school offers learning assessments that allow students to earn up to 24 credits for professional and life experiences. Students use the Canvas learning management system to take online courses asynchronously, and they also get to enhance their professional skills through hands-on training. Pacific Oaks helps students obtain financial aid packages, and it offers a special discounted tuition rate to members of the military, veterans, and their spouses.

Students can apply online, and the school accepts applications all year long. Online students can choose from six different start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. The school has many admissions events and academic advising services for students.

Cost per Credit: $855
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Accreditation: WSCUC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 219

#5

Granite State College

Concord (NH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $351,900
  • Median Salary: $36,312
  • Annual Tuition: $10,950
  • Median Debt: $17,630

At Granite State College, online students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Bachelor of Science in Individualized Studies - Health and Human Services, or a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a concentration in addiction studies, adult court advocacy, child court advocacy, counseling foundations, education advocacy, or family studies. Courses in these four-year... programs cover topics related to psychology, human development, and community outreach.

Students take asynchronous courses through the Canvas online learning management system. Granite State offers credits to students who have completed certain professional or military training programs, passed equivalency tests, or demonstrated experiential learning through portfolios. Students can also offset tuition costs with scholarships and loans.

Students can apply at any time to start in the upcoming semester. Once they are accepted, distance learners gain access to support services such as academic advising, career advising, disability services, and counseling.

Cost per Credit: $365
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 19%
Financial Aid Recipients: 84%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,431

#6

Fisher College

Boston (MA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $340,400
  • Median Salary: $35,701
  • Annual Tuition: $14,400
  • Median Debt: $21,797

At Fisher College, the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers in the human services field. Students can choose a concentration in early intervention or early childhood education and early intervention. This degree provides graduates with the education they need to pursue careers as caseworkers,... substance abuse counselors, family court advocates, and social workers. The online bachelor's degree program requires 120 credits, and students typically take three years and four months to complete their degrees. This is the equivalent of 20 eight-week terms. Students take courses such as crisis intervention, abnormal psychology, research methods, and psychology of personality, and they must also complete a senior seminar.

To take the asynchronous courses, students use the Blackboard Collaborative learning management system. The Office of Financial Aid helps students apply for need-based aid and renewable merit-based scholarships.

Students can apply to Fisher College online, and they can opt to start during any of the school's eight-week terms. Once accepted, students can access a variety of academic and career services online, including student advising and Handshake for searching for jobs.

Cost per Credit: $400
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 144
Graduation Rate: 23%
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 923

#7

Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant (MI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $338,500
  • Median Salary: $36,062
  • Annual Tuition: $13,020
  • Median Debt: $26,185

Central Michigan University (CSU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Community Development with a concentration in community services. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of the public sector and learn skills in effective communication, leadership, research, fiscal management, policymaking, strategic planning, and more. The degree requires a total of 120 credits in... general education requirements, core courses, concentration classes, and electives.

Online classes are mostly asynchronous; however, some may require attendance for synchronous lectures. Students complete weekly assignments and participate in discussion boards. An "online student ally" is available to provide additional guidance to students who are new to the online learning format. Students can earn credit for prior learning, including work experience or training.

Prospective students should submit an online application and other required materials. Distance learners at CMU have access to many student services, including academic advising, career development, the university bookstore, counseling, scholarships, financial aid, student activities, a veteran’s center, and more.

Cost per Credit: $434
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 62%
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
Average SAT Scores: 1000 - 1200
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,387

#8

Southern New Hampshire University Online

Manchester (NH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $336,500
  • Median Salary: $34,847
  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Median Debt: $17,836

At Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the online Bachelor of Science in Criminology degree with a concentration in criminal justice lets students study the science and psychology behind criminal conduct. In this program, students take courses on cultural awareness, communication skills, and discretion in criminal justice. The 120-credit program can take four years of full-time... enrollment to complete, but with transfer credits, students can earn this degree in as few as 12 months. This degree prepares students to pursue careers as police, detectives, probation officers, correctional treatment specialists, and social workers.

Students can transfer up to 90 credits into this program, and they can earn up to 12 credits for law enforcement training. Students take online classes on Brightspace, and they get to work with instructors who have frontline experience or are currently working in criminology careers. The university offers multiple scholarship opportunities, and tuition discounts are available for active duty military personnel and their spouses.

SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis. Students should start their online application and then reach out to an admissions counselor. Once accepted, students can start this online program during any of the school's six eight-week terms. To support students, the school's online education services include tutoring, a writing center, career services, academic advising, and technical support.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 52%
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Financial Aid Recipients: 75%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 76,929

#9

Wayland Baptist University

Plainview (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $331,800
  • Median Salary: $33,993
  • Annual Tuition: $13,206
  • Median Debt: $14,583

To earn an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services at Wayland Baptist University, students must complete a total of 124 credits, which includes 36 credits in the major. The school uses eight-week sessions so that students can finish courses faster. This setup typically allows students to complete 30+ hours of coursework in the school's five annual terms. This program... offers an interdisciplinary approach to interpersonal, cultural, and community relationships, and students take courses on psychology and criminal justice. They can choose to focus on child and family agencies, child protective services, social services, community-based services, or programs for youth, elderly, or disabled individuals.

Students take classes using the Brightspace learning management system to complete assignments and engage with other students and faculty in the forums for their classes. The school assists students with obtaining financial aid packages and scholarships. Students can earn transfer credits for qualified work experience and specialized training.

Wayland accepts applications at all times, and students can submit applications up to the first day of their courses. The school has a variety of resources for students, including Baptist student ministries, counseling, tutoring services, and career services.

Cost per Credit: $426
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 24%
Acceptance Rate: 99%
Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
Average SAT Scores: 890 - 1090
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 769

#10

Texas Tech University

Lubbock (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $330,200
  • Median Salary: $34,888
  • Annual Tuition: $21,030
  • Median Debt: $23,250

In the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services program at Texas Tech University, students must earn a total of 120 credits. To complete this degree, students must choose three minors requiring 18 credits each, and two must be in the College of Human Sciences. Potential options include addictive disorders and recovery, family and consumer sciences, interior design, nutrition... sciences, personal financial planning, restaurant and hotel management, or retail management. Once students complete this program, they can apply for master's degree programs or start careers in the human services field in roles such as case managers, counselors, behavioral management aids, and many others.

Students engage in both synchronous and asynchronous instruction, including interactive video conferencing, using the Blackboard learning management system. To help students pay for their education, Texas Tech offers financial aid packages, payment options for students who want to pay in installments, and emergency payment programs for students who need to defer payments. There are also scholarships based on need, merit, and specific programs.

Students can apply online at any time, and the program has various start dates. There is no deadline for applying, but students who want financial aid should apply by the priority deadline for each semester. The school's support services include academic advising and access to a writing center.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 60%
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Financial Aid Recipients: 78%
Average SAT Scores: 1070 - 1240
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,980

#11

Quincy University

Quincy (IL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $329,700
  • Median Salary: $35,290
  • Annual Tuition: $11,400
  • Median Debt: $27,000

In the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree-completion program at Quincy University (QU), students study topics such as human development, counseling theory, group dynamics, and other courses designed to prepare them for a career in the human services field. The school uses eight-week sessions. Most students take two classes in every session, and the accelerated pace... helps them finish their degrees quickly. Students who transfer in 90 credits may only need to complete 30 credits at Quincy, meaning they can finish their degree in about five sessions, which takes less than a year. With a human services degree, graduates can pursue careers as social workers, case managers, rehabilitation counselors, health educators, and more, or they can use their degree as a jumping-off point to pursue advanced degrees.

The school uses Moodle to deliver online courses. QU offers financial aid to its students, including several merit-based, renewable scholarships.

Students can apply to Quincy University online. If accepted, the admissions office will contact them to help with course enrollment and explain how to use Moodle. Academic advisers work with admitted students to ensure they get a personalized experience.

Cost per Credit: $380
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 52%
Acceptance Rate: 67%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 960 - 1140
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 16

#12

Southeastern University

Lakeland (FL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $328,700
  • Median Salary: $35,594
  • Annual Tuition: $12,090
  • Median Debt: $30,333

In the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services program at Southeastern University, students learn how to apply Christian principles to a career in human services. This program prepares graduates for diverse jobs such as child advocates, community health workers, care coordinators, and case managers. The degree requires 121 credits and takes about 48 months to complete on average.... Students study concepts such as case management, delivery systems for human services, program planning, and how to incorporate faith into the workplace. Online courses are available in eight-week sessions, and most students take one or two classes during each session.

Students use the Moodle learning management system to engage in online coursework, and the student-faculty ratio is 23:1 To help with tuition costs, the financial aid office guides students as they apply for loans and scholarships or set up payment plans. There are also special discounts for veterans and members of the military.

Students can complete the online application and start online courses in any of the school's eight-week sessions. Online students qualify to use services such as free tutoring, library services, and career placement assistance.

Cost per Credit: $390
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 42%
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 950 - 1160
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 837

#13

University of Arizona

Tucson (AZ)
  • 10-Year ROI: $322,400
  • Median Salary: $33,586
  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Median Debt: $18,750

In the online Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services degree-completion program at the University of Arizona, students take courses on resilience and humility, as well as the foundations of human services and research methods. They must complete a required internship experience. Completion time varies based on the student’s number of transfer credits. This degree prepares... students for careers in growing fields such as social work and career counseling.

Students take courses using the D2L learning management system, but they may need to use additional programs as well. Distance learners can use financial aid packages to offset tuition costs, and there are also tuition payment plans and reduced rates for members of the military. The school offers Bridge Scholarships to students who are transferring to an online program from an Arizona community college, and students can use the Scholarship Universe program to apply for more scholarships.

The school accepts applications online, and students can choose one of six different start dates. Arizona Online has a 24/7 IT support team to help students with online classes, and students also have access to advisers, online tutoring, and other support help.

Cost per Credit: $500
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 64%
Acceptance Rate: 84%
Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
Average SAT Scores: 1070 - 1310
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,903

#14

Union Institute & University

Cincinnati (OH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $317,700
  • Median Salary: $32,370
  • Annual Tuition: $16,350
  • Median Debt: $12,500

The online Bachelor of Science in Human Services Administration degree at Union Institute and University prepares students for careers in social services administration, education outreach, and long-term care facilities, as well as in other related settings. In this program, students study leadership and management theories as they take courses such as management of financial resources,... organizational behavior and culture, and strategic management and business policy in human services administration. Students can study part-time or full-time, and they need a total of 120 credits to complete this program.

Online students use Brightspace to take classes, submit assignments, and engage with professors. Students can transfer in up to 90 credits, and they must have some credits in an allied health-related field of study. They may also earn credits from professional experience or military training, and the school offers evaluations for life learning that may also lead to credits. Online students, including military students, may be eligible for financial assistance.

Students can start their application online at any time, and the school has start dates every eight weeks. The school's student services department offers academic services, career services, and services for students with disabilities.

Cost per Credit: $545
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 11%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 538

#15

National Louis University

Chicago (IL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $315,700
  • Median Salary: $33,324
  • Annual Tuition: $18,000
  • Median Debt: $22,295

In the online Bachelor of Arts in Human Services program at National Louis University, students learn about the dynamics of families and communities as they prepare for careers in organizations that provide support services for people and communities in need. Available concentrations include aging studies, entrepreneurship, human resources management, leadership, leadership foundations,... long-term care administration, and urban and public policy studies. Students must complete 120 credits to earn this degree, and completion time varies based on course load and number of transfer credits. Students must also complete 300 hours of hands-on internship experience.

Students take courses through the Desire2Learn platform, which lets them engage with professors, take quizzes, and upload assignments. While pursuing this degree, students work with professors who have real-world experience in the human services field. In addition to offering financial aid and scholarships, the school welcomes transfer credits, and students can also earn credits by taking the Prior Learning Assessment, which awards credits based on portfolios, examinations, and credentials.

Students can apply to National Louis online. Once they are accepted, they can access a range of services, including tech support and one-on-one online tutoring.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 22%
Acceptance Rate: 86%
Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 963

#16

Stephen F. Austin State University

Nacogdoches (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $314,000
  • Median Salary: $34,793
  • Annual Tuition: $29,032
  • Median Debt: $35,500

In the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services program at Stephen F. Austin State University, students learn how to observe and interview patients, carry out treatment plans, and work with people in the midst of crisis. The program includes courses on counseling, social advocacy, grant writing, substance abuse, and community collaboration, and students must also complete a... hands-on experience. This program can take four years to complete on average, but with transfer credits, online students can finish faster. With a human services degree, students can pursue careers as assistants in the social and human services field where they will provide support for clients in areas such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work.

Students take courses using the Brightspace learning management system to read course materials, watch video lessons, engage in forums, and ask questions to faculty members. Stephen F. Austin offers financial aid packages and hundreds of scholarships. Students who take 12 credits or more in a single term can opt to pay a flat tuition rate. Alternatively, they can choose to lock in a guaranteed price for tuition that lasts throughout their degree program.

The school accepts applications until the first day of classes, and student support services include library access, tutoring, academic advising, and career services.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 48%
Acceptance Rate: 65%
Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
Average SAT Scores: 990 - 1180
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,048

#17

Western Washington University

Bellingham (WA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $312,400
  • Median Salary: $32,869
  • Annual Tuition: $12,240
  • Median Debt: $20,832

At Western Washington University (WWU), the Bachelor of Arts in Human Services is a 180-credit program that prepares students for diverse careers in the human services field. In this program, students take courses on social justice and equity, global policy, interventions, applied research methods, conflict resolution, and similar topics, and they also must complete 260 hours of... field experience and two supervised internships. Students who transfer in 105 credits from community colleges can complete this program in a year if they take 15 credits in five consecutive quarters, as well as the optional summer semester.

WWU uses the Canvas learning management system to deliver its online courses. Students study on an asynchronous basis around their own schedule, and they also get the chance to complete community-based learning experiences and partnerships. This program employs faculty from diverse interdisciplinary fields to provide students with valuable insights. Students can apply for financial aid and special scholarships for the human services field.

Students can apply to the program at any time, and the school admits students during the fall quarter every year. Students get to work with a faculty adviser who guides their progress, and they have access to tech support for Canvas.

Cost per Credit: $272
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 180
Graduation Rate: 68%
Acceptance Rate: 85%
Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
Average SAT Scores: 1080 - 1280
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 108

#18

Central Washington University

Ellensburg (WA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $311,500
  • Median Salary: $32,291
  • Annual Tuition: $15,034
  • Median Debt: $17,081

Central Washington University’s (CWU) online Bachelor of Science in Social Services program prepares students for a career in the human services field in settings such as job placement agencies, vocational rehabilitation services, food delivery programs, abuse prevention programs, and foster care agencies. To earn this degree, students must complete 120 credits with at least 66... credits in this major. The program can take up to four years of full-time study, but students who transfer in credits and take advantage of flexible courses can finish in a shorter period of time.

Students take courses through the Canvas learning management system, but they may also need to use additional technology tools such as Ally, Skype, and Top Hat. The Flex program at CWU lets students work on courses at their own speed at their own time, and they can take competency tests in familiar subjects to earn credits faster. At CWU, students can complete as many courses as they can during each quarter, and they pay a set tuition rate. Regular interactions with faculty help to ensure students stay on track.

Students can submit an application to this program online, and the school offers admissions help for future students. Current students can take advantage of online tutoring, online library services, and other resources.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 55%
Acceptance Rate: 86%
Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
Average SAT Scores: 960 - 1160
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,722

#19

Mercer University

Macon (GA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $310,900
  • Median Salary: $34,633
  • Annual Tuition: $14,550
  • Median Debt: $36,652

At Mercer University, the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services program offers concentrations in family services, gerontology services, mental health services, social services, and substance abuse services. With the human services degree, graduates can pursue careers in case management, social work, or other human services fields. Courses cover topics such as interpersonal... relations, research methods, substance abuse, disability awareness, and conflict resolution, and students must also complete a field services practicum to earn this degree. The length of time for this program varies based on how many transfer credits the student has and whether they study full-time or part-time. Over 90% of graduates from this school are employed or in master's programs within six months of graduation.

Students take classes using Canvas to access course materials, complete homework assignments, and engage in class discussions. Before applying, students can use the transfer credit equivalency estimator to see how many credits they can transfer.

Students can apply online, and the program offers five different start dates in January, March, May, August, and October. The school has two-eight week terms in the fall and spring semesters and one eight-week term and one four-week term in the summer. After being accepted, students attend a virtual student orientation, and the school assigns them an academic adviser to guide their progress.

Cost per Credit: $485
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 65%
Acceptance Rate: 73%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 1180 - 1340
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 453

#20 (tie)

Judson University

Elgin (IL) (and 1 other)
  • 10-Year ROI: $310,600
  • Median Salary: $33,138
  • Annual Tuition: $16,950
  • Median Debt: $24,500

The online Bachelor of Arts in Human Services degree program at Judson University focuses on faith and critical thinking skills to prepare students to serve human services clients in a Christian-based way. To earn this degree, students take courses such as foundations in human services, social justice, managing nonprofits, legal and ethical issues, and faith-based issues. This program... is designed to build on the student's previous work and professional experience, and although total time varies based on those elements, the courses in the major program take about two years to complete. After earning this degree, graduates can apply for diverse jobs such as activities director, admissions coordinator, case manager, program manager, substance abuse counselor, or social worker.

Most online courses are delivered through eLearn, the school's learning management system. This application lets students access syllabi, participate in required discussions, email professors, submit assignments, and receive feedback. Judson alumni can access a number of services and network with one another through the Judson Connect portal.

Interested applicants can apply online, and the school has start dates in the fall, spring, and summer terms. While studying at Judson, students have access to services such as ebooks through the bookstore's website, career help, and counseling.

Cost per Credit: $565
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 63%
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 950 - 1180
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 78

#20 (tie)

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Oshkosh (WI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $310,600
  • Median Salary: $33,077
  • Annual Tuition: $10,800
  • Median Debt: $24,000

In the online Bachelor of Science in Human Services Leadership program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, students learn about conflict resolution, grant writing, resource allocation, human behavior, intervention strategies, professional development, project planning, and social issues. They can also complete a professional internship. This four-year degree program welcomes... transfers, and completion time varies based on the number of transfer credits. For instance, students with an associate degree can typically transfer in 60 credits and complete this program in two years. With this degree, students can pursue careers in aging and disability services, family and child services, health and wellness, and social and protective services, or they can apply to a master's program.

Students use the Canvas learning management system to participate in online discussions, engage with course materials and lectures, and submit assignments asynchronously. The school provides financial aid, including scholarships expressly for online students.

Typically, the deadline to apply online for the fall semester is in August, but students should check with an admissions counselor for application deadlines related to their program. The school provides students with dedicated academic advisers and access to campus resources such as libraries and career services.

Cost per Credit: $360
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 53%
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Financial Aid Recipients: 82%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 873

#22

Upper Iowa University

Fayette (IA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $310,100
  • Median Salary: $33,535
  • Annual Tuition: $14,640
  • Median Debt: $28,240

At Upper Iowa University (UIU), the Bachelor of Science in Human Services program includes courses on methods in human services, mental health, social work, and healthcare economics. Students must also complete a capstone project that can involve an internship. This degree program takes varying amounts of time, depending on the student's transfer credits and number of courses taken.... UIU offers a two-at-a-time schedule, where students take two courses every eight-week session and complete an accelerated six-week summer session. Online students can also take part in the biannual study abroad in Ireland program. More than 95% of graduates are employed within a year of graduation.

Students take classes using the Desire2Learn Brightspace learning management system. The school also offers several self-study courses that students can take completely at their own pace over a period of six months. Students can transfer in up to 90 college credits, and UIU also offers credits for experiential learning. About 88% of students enrolled in the program receive some form of financial aid.

UIU accepts applications at any time, and online programs start every eight weeks. Self-paced courses start every month. Once accepted, students work with dedicated advisers who help with academic plans and advise on financial aid. For support services, the school offers a field tutoring center, peer writing consultants, a library, and disability services.

Cost per Credit: $488
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 44%
Acceptance Rate: 56%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 935 - 1170
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,538

#23

Colorado State University Global

Greenwood Village (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $302,600
  • Median Salary: $32,569
  • Annual Tuition: $10,500
  • Median Debt: $26,240

The online Bachelor of Science in Human Services program at Colorado State University (CSU) Global helps students gain the knowledge they need for a career in human services. As they work toward this 120-credit degree, students learn about human development, intervention methods, case management, and human services administration. They can also opt to specialize in organizational... leadership, project management, human resources and organizational development, marketing, emergency management, healthcare management, or multiple other fields. This program can take up to four years to complete, but with transfer credits and accelerated learning options, most students finish in a shorter amount of time.

Online students at CSU use the Canvas learning management system to access their coursework and participate in classes. Graduates of the program earn an estimated annual salary of over $46,000. Students can transfer in 64 credits from community colleges and up to 90 credits total, and they can earn credits through exams, self-study assessments, and prior learning. In addition to financial aid packages, CSU Global offers a 10% discount to the employees of 3,000 partner companies, and it offers a tuition guarantee that keeps rates the same from registration to graduation.

Students can apply online, and the program offers start dates every month. The school offers free online 24/7 tutoring services and career advising services.

Cost per Credit: $350
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 64%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,054

#24

Bluefield College

Bluefield (VA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $302,400
  • Median Salary: $31,890
  • Annual Tuition: $10,950
  • Median Debt: $20,833

At Bluefield College, the online Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Human Services program is rooted in the Christian faith and heart-centered principles. This degree requires 120 credits, including 49 general education credits, 32 minor or elective hours, and 48 core hours in courses such as human development across the lifespan, theories of personality, family dynamics, human... sexuality, case management, and group dynamics. Students must complete a senior seminar, and also have the opportunity to complete an internship. This four-year program can be completed in a shorter period of time with transfer credits and accelerated learning. This degree prepares students for the Master of Arts in Counselor Education, or they can start diverse careers as psychiatric technicians, case managers, occupational therapists, or behavioral researchers, among others.

Faculty use the Moodle learning management system to facilitate course delivery. Students can study on their own schedule, but they need to sign into their courses several times per week to participate in online forums and ensure they meet assignment deadlines. The school offers scholarships based on academics, faith, and select degree programs.

Bluefield accepts applications at any time, and the school has several start dates throughout the year for online students. There are career services and support for academic success, such as tutoring, math and writing labs, disability services, and academic coaching.

Cost per Credit: $365
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 29%
Acceptance Rate: 91%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 898 - 1063
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 412

#25

Geneva College

Beaver Falls (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $300,500
  • Median Salary: $32,213
  • Annual Tuition: $12,450
  • Median Debt: $25,000

At Geneva College, students can earn an online Bachelor of Professional Studies in Aging Services or an online Bachelor of Professional Studies in Child and Family Services in a Christ-centered academic environment. These programs focus on the physical and social aspects of aging and the challenges of working with children and families in human services settings. Courses include... topics such as the politics of aging, child and adolescent development, professional ethics, program management and evaluation, and human diversity. Students must complete 36 credit hours in the major, but before starting these courses, they must complete or transfer in 60 general credit hours. These degrees prepare students for careers such as home health team managers, assisted living managers, adult day center directors, early childhood interventionists, family resource coordinators, or children's librarians, as well as many others.

Online students take courses through Moodle, which lets them read course materials, engage in forums, take quizzes, and submit questions to their instructors. Students can apply for financial aid, and the school distributes $13.5 million in scholarships every year.

Students can apply anytime from a month to a year before their intended start date. Once they are accepted, they can access services such as the student success center, health and counseling resources, and the career and calling center.

Cost per Credit: $415
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 64%
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1000 - 1240
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 112

Online Human Services Degree Overview & Career Information

Undergraduate certificate and associate degrees in human services can prepare graduates for administrative roles and assistant clinical work in areas like social work or alcohol and substance abuse counseling. While coursework varies by degree, common classes in these programs include counseling theory and techniques, interviewing, legal and ethical issues, psychopathology, and multicultural issues.

Online bachelor’s degree programs in areas such as social work, counseling, and family and marriage therapy prepare students to work on cases for clients or patients, usually under the direction of a professional with graduate-level credentials or a state license. Other degrees in public administration areas such as emergency management and homeland security cover topics like management, finance, and human resources, as they apply to public service organizations.

An online master’s degree in human services can prepare students to conduct clinical work with patients to help them overcome life challenges or find the public services they need. Students learn about topics like human behavior, case management, and the structure of the welfare system. Master’s programs in public administration usually cover topics like human services management, non-profit management, or public policy and administration.

Students can earn online doctoral degrees in human services specifically or in closely related fields like psychology, public health, marriage and family therapy or social work. These programs can prepare graduates to diagnose and treat individuals with mental illnesses, conduct research or teach at the college level, or work in executive roles at public service institutions.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Human Services

The bachelor’s degree in human services prepares graduates to work in direct contact with clients or in administrative positions in service-oriented organizations. These programs contain a core of humanities and science courses, as well as the human services theory and skills-based classes.

Program Requirements

Applicants to an online bachelor's degree program will need a high school diploma or GED. They will need to submit transcripts from high school and from any previous college-level coursework. Some schools will also require SAT or ACT scores. Online bachelor's degrees in human services take about four years to complete. Students can expect to take roughly 120 semester credit hours of coursework.

Curriculum

The online human services bachelor’s curriculum provides a well-rounded introduction to the skills of the helping professions. Students learn the skills for effecting change at the individual, group, and community level. Core classes explore interpersonal communication, human services methods, and assisting in diverse communities. Other courses focus on the skills of counseling, client interviewing, and intervention. Many programs also train students in the administrative aspects of human services organizations, such as fundraising and program development.

Many human services bachelor’s programs include the opportunity to specialize in a particular aspect of the helping professions, such as child and family services, substance abuse, emergency management, or health and human services management. Most programs require an internship or practicum in a local human services agency.

Individuals with an online human service bachelor’s degree can go on to become social workers, case managers, substance abuse counselors, career counselors, and human services specialists in non-profits, public agencies, and the private sector. Besides direct-contact positions, the bachelor’s degree can also lead to work as a general administrator, program director, or supervisor in a human services agency after some years of professional experience.

Accreditation for Online Human Services Degrees

Accreditation is an evaluation process that schools and individual degree programs may choose to participate in to demonstrate to the public that they meet established standards of excellence. Programmatic accreditation is granted by trade-specific accrediting bodies, and institutional accreditation is granted by regional or national accrediting bodies. Students who choose to enroll in an accredited degree program can feel confident that they are receiving a high-quality education that will be worth their time and monetary investment. Attending an accredited program will benefit students who plan to apply for federal financial aid or transfer credits to another school, as accreditation is a requirement for both of these things.

Certification and licensing requirements for many careers in the human services field often include a degree from an accredited program. The Council on Social Work Education is an important accrediting body for social work programs, and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredits counseling-related degree programs. In areas such as public administration, programmatic accreditation may not be required, but it can be useful for pinpointing quality programs. Specialized accreditation for programs is awarded by agencies such as the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

While the US Department of Education does not perform any accreditation services of its own, it does formally recognize several independent accrediting agencies. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is another reliable authority that offers a list of recognized agencies and accredited schools and programs. For more information about accreditation, please visit OnlineU's accreditation hub.

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Certifications for Human Services Professionals

Because human service professionals contribute to the well-being and safety of clients who are often in a vulnerable state, some positions require certification or licensure. It's always best to verify any legal requirements necessary for your profession in your particular state, but clinical social work and counseling are two human service careers that do typically require certification or a license.

While nonclinical or direct-contact social workers aren't usually required to have a license, all US states require that clinical social workers obtain registration or licensure of some sort. Clinical social workers typically need a two-year Master of Social Work degree from an accredited institution and at least two years of supervised work experience before they can be eligible to take the licensing exam. Once they have a license, social workers must complete continuing education hours to keep their skills and their certification current. Please visit our Complete Guide to an Online Social Work Degree for further details about certification and licensure for social workers.

Another common career path for human services graduates is professional counseling. All US states require counselors who provide direct patient care to obtain some sort of certification or license to practice. Licensed counselors must usually complete a two-year master's degree program, two years of supervised clinical experience, and an exam. They must also complete continuing education hours to maintain their license. Optional professional certification provides counselors with additional credentials in general counseling or in a counseling specialization such as school counseling, mental health counseling, addictions counseling, or rehabilitation counseling. Please visit our Complete Guide to Online Counseling Degrees for more information about certification and licensing requirements for counselors.

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Online Public Administration Degrees

Online degree programs in public administration equip students with the skills and expertise that allow them to effectively tackle issues associated with economic development, social justice, and sustainability. If you have a keen interest in the diverse issues that inform the public agenda and are committed to upholding social justice, working in public administration will give you many opportunities to make a difference. Numerous career opportunities are available for public administration graduates in government, non-profit organizations, and in the private sector. Graduates can take up leadership and management roles at various levels in advocacy, consultancy, project implementation, research, or policy making.

Bachelor’s programs focus on administrative management, community dynamics, disaster recovery, fiscal budgeting, government structure, politics, and public policy. The coursework gives students sharp insights into social issues and teaches them how to effect change through government systems. Most bachelor’s programs require students to complete a capstone course.

Master’s programs can enhance students' leadership potential and provide them with a unique set of analytical and management tools that can be applied across a broad range of sectors. Core areas in master’s programs include governmental fiscal decision making, human resources in public and non-profit sectors, management information systems, organizational behavior, public organization and management, and research methods. Programs also offer students the opportunity to specialize in areas such as criminal justice, emergency management, government administration, healthcare management and policy, and policy analysis. A capstone project is a typical requirement of master’s programs.

Doctoral programs are ideal for those looking to engage in sophisticated research. These programs allow students to develop their understanding of the foundations of public administration and other key areas in the field, such as methodology, organizational theory, program and policy evaluation, public sector financial analysis, and strategic management. Programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in a specific area and complete a dissertation project. Graduates can find leadership positions in consultancy firms or think tanks, or take up teaching positions in universities.

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Online Public Safety Management Degrees

Public safety management degree programs help students develop the skill set necessary for a broad range of careers, such as law enforcement, community organizing, homeland security, disaster preparedness, and crime prevention social work. Graduates will have an understanding of what it takes to keep the public safe, the improvements that can be made, and the measures that are taken every day to maintain public safety. Those who are seeking careers in public safety management must have a strong interest in helping people and an understanding of how communities (and even nations) are organized. An interest in politics is also beneficial for students of public safety management.

The degree level a person chooses in public safety management will have a significant impact on what career choices they have after graduating. An associate degree is best for those careers that don't technically require a college education, but where a college education may prove valuable. For example, a police officer with an associate degree in public safety management may qualify for promotions to sheriff or squad leader. Some may become instructors or trainers within the police force. Other careers for these graduates include head of security and corrections officer.

A bachelor's degree provides similar opportunities, but those who earn bachelor's degrees in public safety management may also qualify for careers with the government. As undergraduates, students will study police science, fire science, homeland security, terrorism, criminal justice, and criminology. Programs may have specialization options or certain emphases.

Public safety management graduates with a master's or doctoral degree hold top jobs with large-scale police forces -- particularly those in major cities -- or with government agencies like the National Guard or National Security Council. Those who want to lead police departments, work for the CIA, or become top military professionals are most likely to benefit from graduate degree programs. Public safety management graduate students often complete theses or dissertations based on their own experiences in the field and their own research. After earning a doctorate in public safety management, some graduates may choose to become professors rather than agency directors.

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Career Paths for Human Service Graduates

Employment opportunities for individuals in the human services industry are varied. There are many determining factors, such as education, level of experience, and scope of practice. However, all positions have one aspect in common: they each focus on enhancing life conditions for others. Your career may involve working with children and families, elderly people, former prison inmates, homeless people, immigrants, individuals suffering from mental illnesses or other disabilities, persons with addictions, or veterans.

Some of the career specializations available for human services professionals include addictions counselor, case work aide, clinical social work aide, family services assistant, human services worker, or social work assistant. Below, we've highlighted three common professional roles in the human services field:

Life Skills Counselor

Also known as life skills coaches, these individuals advise children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly on how to improve their lifestyle. They mostly work with underprivileged groups in a wide array of circumstances and settings. They provide a host of educational classes, help build self-esteem, support anger management, and assist clients in developing goals for their future. They also closely monitor the growth of their clients and make assessments that help determine their personal needs. Life skills counselors are likely to find employment in community centers and schools, or some of them have their own private practices. Most employers require professionals in this arena to have a master’s degree in human services or another career-related field. Certification is not necessary, but it confirms an individual’s competency level.

Group Home Manager

Workers in this sector oversee the daily operations of group homes, facilities that provide 24-hour care to juvenile delinquents, disabled citizens or ex-convicts. They are involved in planning budget expenses, initiating programs and services, and coordinating schedules. They also are responsible for hiring, training, and terminating group home staff. Group home managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in human services or another career-related field.

Gerontology Aide

Entry-level positions in this field are open to high school graduates, as most employers are willing to offer on-the-job training. Individuals care for elderly citizens who are not able to be self-reliant. They bathe, feed, and administer medication to their clients. They also provide physical therapy and oversee social activities. Nursing homes, adult day cares and hospitals are the most common sites for gerontology aides. They may be required to have a driver’s license and undergo a background check. Certification and degree programs are essential to career advancement.

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