Earn a Human Services Degree
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Help individuals and communities in need by mastering the art of advocacy and the fundamentals of effectively helping populations in need with an online Bachelor of Arts in Human Services degree from Southern New Hampshire University. Earning your online human services degree gives you more than an understanding of how compassion meets policy and process. It offers the personal rewards that come from helping to improve the lives of individuals, families or entire populations.
Through the bachelor's in human services program, you'll learn how to:
Choose the general track or enhance your degree and specialize your skill set with one of 3 concentrations: child and family services, gerontology and substance abuse.
Your online human services degree courses are taught by practicing human service professionals who bring years of experience to their teaching. You’ll develop the research and communication skills needed to identify and assess community resources for your clients, conduct community assessments and interview and assist clients who need services. Upon graduating, you'll have knowledge and skills that will help position you for success in the field of human services.
Learn to advocate for change on behalf of children and families in the online Bachelor of Arts in Human Services program with a concentration in Child and Family Services. You'll explore how social issues affect the well-being of families and their communities and the federal and state policies that impact the delivery of services.
Your online bachelor's in human services will prepare you to provide case management services, such as assessment, relationship building, collaborative development and evaluation of treatment plans, and the referral of clients to necessary community service providers.
The child and family services concentration within the BA degree in human services is designed for those with a particular interest in child welfare, schools, juvenile corrections, family court, family support agencies, domestic violence agencies and other child and family organizations. Ideal candidates will work well with at-risk clients, are comfortable working with a multi-disciplinary team, have good written and oral communication skills, are culturally sensitive and can respect a rigid code of ethics.
Child development is a key focus, as is the impact of stress and trauma, public policy and the court system on service provision. Proficiency in these areas will help you develop intervention strategies. At the end of the day, your ability to ethically and effectively link families with much-needed community resources will improve the wellbeing of families and entire communities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for social and community service managers is projected to increase by 13% through 2028.2 Whether you're interested in working in prevention, intervention or advocacy, there are plenty of roles in the field of child and family services, including:
The bachelor's in human services requires the completion of a capstone experience. The capstone will challenge you to demonstrate how your new skills can be applied in a real-world setting.
Courses may include:
If you’re ready for a career with both purpose and promise, you might consider specializing in gerontology. By earning your Bachelor of Arts in Human Services with a concentration in Gerontology, you'll gain the knowledge needed to embrace a career in human services and meet an increased need for professionals to serve the baby boomer generation and beyond.
As the population grows, so does the number of people who need aging services. Baby boomers will continue to place added demands on aging services and programs, increasing the demand for workers seeking gerontology careers. And with medical advancements, we’ll see this trend continue. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that by 2034, the number of people age 65 and older will be greater than the number of children under 18.3
Our gerontology concentration has been designed to meet the challenge of caring for the nation’s aging population over the upcoming decades. Throughout the program, you’ll have opportunities to develop strategies to enhance programs for the elderly and learn to improve care to make positive change. Graduates of the program are ready to enter human services professions and advocate for a growing group that continually needs services and assistance.
With a specialized gerontology degree, you'll develop new perspectives that will allow you to improve the quality of life for an increasingly important segment of our population. You'll take courses that offer a firsthand look into:
Best of all, you'll learn from instructors with real-world human services experience.
If you're looking to position yourself for a career with great job security, specializing your degree with the gerontology concentration is a smart choice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for social and community service managers will increase by 13% through 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.2
Through courses in the gerontology concentration, you can prepare for a number of service positions in organizations that assist and advocate for improved strategies for an ever-growing elderly population. Upon graduating, you might look for employment in places like:
Be a support for someone overcoming addiction with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services with a Substance Abuse Concentration. With substance use disorder a top-of-mind topic in the United States, treatment services – and workers – are in high demand.. This specialized online substance abuse counseling degree concentration serves as an important educational first step toward becoming a drug and alcohol counselor.
Note: The licensure process and educational requirements for drug and alcohol counselors vary from state to state. This program does not directly lead to licensure.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are projected to grow 22% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the national average for all occupations.2
With an aging population and the increased demand for substance abuse treatment and mental health and health-related services, graduates of the BA in Human Services program can expect to see great opportunities in their field.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reported a median annual salary of $65,320 for social and community service managers in 2018.² And with a projected growth rate of 13% for those positions through 2028, employment prospects look positive for those seeking new opportunities in the human services field.²
Most human service organizations are government agencies or nonprofits. While some exist to serve many populations living in an area, there are also many human service organizations that specialize in helping at-risk populations overcome specific issues. As a human services professional, you could find yourself in fields like:
Human services professionals work in community, residential care or institutional settings. You may find yourself providing direct services such as leading a group, organizing an activity, or counseling or advocating for those struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence and health conditions. You may handle administrative support tasks, too. Job titles include:
Earning an online human services degree is also excellent preparation for a graduate degree in human services or a master's in psychology, counseling, social work, sociology, public health, public administration and related degrees.
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, Southern New Hampshire University has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate your industry. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
See why 96% of students would recommend SNHU.*
Part of SNHU's mission statement is to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get an acceptance decision within days of submitting all of your required materials.
Decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
Through authentic learning experiences, you'll practice and apply what you learn so you have the confidence and proficiencies to become a human services professional. Coursework covers assessment, evaluating client outcomes, advocating for policy change, developing a care plan and finding a career in human services.
The bachelor's in human services requires the completion of a capstone experience. The capstone challenges each student to demonstrate how his or her new skills can be applied in a real-world setting. Throughout their studies, students in the BA in Human Services program are encouraged (but not required) to pursue relevant experiential learning and internship opportunities.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
Total Credits: 120
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most human services jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree with a focus on community services, social work, public administration, public health or similar fields.² Some advanced human services jobs require a master’s degree.
The human services bachelor’s degree program at SNHU provides a broad understanding of how human services organizations are structured and how they operate in their communities. In this program, you'll gain the critical thinking and decision-making skills you need to evaluate social trends and public policy to advocate for people in need and guide social change.
At Southern New Hampshire University, you can take your knowledge further with a concentration in child and family services, gerontology or substance abuse.
It depends. A human services bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits, including general education and degree-specific courses. Most students complete a bachelor’s degree in about 4 years.
That said, SNHU has a generous transfer policy, allowing up to 90 transfer credits to be applied to your degree program. If you’ve completed some college courses already, you may be able to apply these to your human services degree and complete the program faster.
If you’re working full time or balancing family obligations, you may need to earn your degree at a slower pace. Your academic advisor can help you map out a personalized plan for completing your degree. With 24/7 access to courses and 6 term starts per year, SNHU's online human services degree is designed to be as flexible as possible so that you can earn your degree at a pace that works for you.
While the most common human services employers are government and nonprofit organizations, there are also opportunities with private for-profit outfits. Human service jobs impact every member of a community, from children attending after-school programs to elderly residents in need of in-home health services.
As the population ages and demand increases for substance abuse, mental health and other health related services, the demand for social and community service managers is projected to increase as well, by 13% through 2028, according to BLS data.2
Human services jobs2 include:
Earning a human services degree can lay a strong foundation for a social work career, but most social work jobs will require additional training and credentials.
“'Social work' is often used interchangeably to describe a number of roles and responsibilities across the human service field,” said Seth Matthews, associate dean of social sciences at SNHU. “However, positions titled 'social worker' depend on licensure requirements that may vary from state to state.”
Clinical social workers typically need a master’s degree in social work, 2 years of experience in a supervised clinical setting and a social work license from their state, according to BLS.2
If you’re interested in a social work career, it’s important to review the licensing and educational requirements to practice in your state and to identify master’s degree programs in your area or online that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
The education you need to become a counselor depends on the type of work you want to do. In any case, earning a bachelor's degree in human services is a great start.
If you want to become a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, SNHU's BA in Human Services with a concentration in Substance Abuse could be a key step in your education. The program provides a significant portion of the substance abuse coursework most often required for licensure.
If you're looking to start a career as a mental health counselor, your bachelor's in human services is a great foundation, but you'll need to pursue a master's degree as well. At Southern New Hampshire University, we offer an online master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling aimed to prepare you to meet the educational requirements for licensure in most states.
SNHU's human services degree with a concentration in child and family services will prepare you to impact the lives of young people and their families by building relationships, evaluating and developing treatment plans and connecting families to much-needed community resources.
A child and family services degree can help you find work as a:
A gerontology degree explores the physical, mental and social implications of aging and prepares you to improve the quality of life of the aging population. SNHU’s gerontology degree program includes courses on wellness and disease, long-term care, public policy and the physical and cognitive aspects of aging.
Because of longer life expectancies, demand for workers with gerontology training is expected to grow in the coming decades. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 people 65 years and older will make up about 21% of the U.S. population and will outnumber individuals under the age of 18.3
A gerontology degree can help you start an in-demand career working with the growing elderly population as a adult day care worker, social service manager or public health worker.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
*According to a survey of over 12,000 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2018.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the Internet, at:
3U.S. Census Bureau, The Graying of America, on the Internet, at: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2018/03/graying-america.html (viewed Feb. 5, 2020)