Why This Matters

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 371,900 MORE OF YOU BY 2026

    Overall employment in human services is expected to increase by 14% over the next few years, which is faster than the average for all other occupations.

  • ELDERLY POPULATION IN THE U.S. TO RISE 7%

    By 2026, there will be 95 million Americans age 65 or older, resulting in a higher demand for social service workers who can provide meals, daycare and rehab for senior citizens.

  • EARN $31,480 MORE WITH A MASTER’S DEGREE

    Master’s level human services management positions earn an annual median wage of $65,320, compared to $33,750 for bachelor’s-level assistant positions.

Our Research

As individuals can join the human services field with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, our list includes Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees, as well as Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) degrees in human services.

All of the listed programs have regional accreditation, ensuring a high level of quality. The Council for Standards in Human Services Education (CSHSE) also offers a specialized accreditation for human services programs, which some of our listed programs have.

The coursework for all of the listed programs can be completed online, but they have in-person field experience components.

Once we narrowed our list of programs, we evaluated their course strength, cost, flexibility, and reputation, and calculated their Intelligent Scores on a scale from 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online degrees in human services are highly regarded, flexible and affordable.(For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 83 hours to write this article
  • 115 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 362 education programs we compared

The Top 54 Online Human Services Degrees

badges
01

What You Should Know About This Degree

Individuals working in human services help some of society’s most vulnerable people. The work can be emotionally, mentally, and even physically demanding. Human services workers must possess a variety of aptitudes, including compassion, stamina, patience, and interpersonal and communication skills. Your educating will help you hone these abilities, but it’s important to assess if you have the necessary qualities before choosing this career path.

Since the focus of working in human services is helping others, hands-on experience is a key component of human services education. Even if the program’s coursework is offered fully online, you will have to complete some field experience as part of your degree. The type of setting for this experience may vary, so it’s important to check with your program for details about how many hours you must complete, and in what setting, so you can fit this element into your schedule.

A degree in human services does not lead to professional counseling licensure, which is required by most states to practice as a counselor. If you want to become a licensed counselor, you can start your education with a bachelor’s degree in human services, but you will need a master’s degree in counseling to be eligible for licensure. Be sure you are selecting the right type of degree program for your career goals.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Human Services programs:

  • Does this program have the specialization that I want? There are a number of concentrations under the umbrella of human services, including gerontology, child and family services, and substance abuse. If you would like to focus on one of these areas, be sure to select a program that offers it as a specialization.
  • Can I pass a background check? Whether as part of your internship or hiring process for a job, you will likely have to undergo a background check at some point in your human services career. If there are any situations in your past that may prevent you from passing a background check, it’s important to discuss them with an adviser to find out what your options are.

During your research process, find out what the program’s admissions deadlines and procedures are, to make your application process go smoothly. This information is typically available on the school’s website, or by contacting their admissions department. You should also consider your financing options for school, including financial aid, scholarships, assistantships, and tuition assistance from your employer.