Earn a Human Services Degree
- $320/credit (120 credits)
- Transfer up to 90 credits
- Receive credit for prior learning
- Experiential learning opportunities
- Make a difference in your community
- No application fee or SAT/ACT scores required
Online Human Services Degree Program Overview
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:
- Evaluate social, political and historical milestones and trends as they relate to human services' role in advocating for individuals, families and communities in need
- Use culturally responsive strategies across diverse populations
- Apply legal and ethical standards to provide comprehensive, well-informed care
- Demonstrate professional, interpersonal dynamics in formal and informal networks
- Evaluate policy development, communication strategies and coalition-building opportunities – the building blocks of social change
- Develop knowledge and skills in inquiry, critical and creative thinking, and decision-making
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.
Human Services (BA) - Child and Family 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 2028.1 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:
- Case manager
- Child focused advocate
- Child protective service worker
- Community health worker
- Family reunification worker
- Family services specialist
- Group home coordinator
- Home visitor
- Juvenile court liaison
- Visitation supervisor
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:
- Child Growth and Cognitive Development
- Family and Community Systems
- Role and Impact of Trauma on Children and Families
- Ethics and Laws in Child Welfare
Human Services (BA) - Gerontology
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 18.2
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:
- Wellness and disease
- Issues and policies affecting the elderly
- Long-term care
- Biological, psychosocial and cognitive aspects of aging
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.1
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:
- Assisted living facilities and nursing homes
- Community-based organizations
- Healthcare and public health programs
- Home healthcare systems
- Senior centers
Courses may include:
- Perspectives in Aging
- Aging and Wellness
- The Epidemiology of Aging
- Aging, Politics, and Policy
Human Services (BA) - Substance Abuse
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.1
Courses may include:
- Foundations of Addictions
- Substance Use: From Screening to Consultation
- Substance Use: From Prevention to Treatment
- Substance Use: Counseling Theory and Practice
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 $67,150 for social and community service managers in 2019.1 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.1
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:
- Abuse & domestic violence prevention
- Food and nutrition
- Foster care and adoption
- Housing and shelter
- Youth development
- Legal and victim assistance
- Public safety and disaster relief
- Senior care and housing
- Juvenile justice or prisoner rehabilitation
- Substance abuse
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:
- Adult care worker
- Community outreach worker
- Group home worker
- Home health aide
- Juvenile court liaison
- Life skills instructor
- Mental health aide
- Probation officer
- Residential counselor
- Social service liaison
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.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Human Services Degree
Why SNHU for Your Human Services Degree
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:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
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.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.3 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
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.
How to Apply
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:
- Completing a free undergraduate application
- Providing previous institutions attended – so we can retrieve transcripts for you at no cost
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
Courses & Curriculum
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
- General education courses: All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes, if not obtained in prior coursework. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
- Technology resources: We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
- Earn math credits for what you already know: Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Show your knowledge of the materials in your program's math courses, and you could earn up to 12 math credits – at less than $50 for each course assessment (statistics or precalculus).
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|BA in Human Services|
|Courses May Include|
|BA in Human Services Online|
|HSE 101||Introduction to Human Services||This course provides an overview of the historical development of human services and an introduction to the many settings, roles, and functions of the human services professional. Students will gain an understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to help support others toward living a more fulfilling life with particular attention given to behavioral and social theories, common social problems, service delivery systems, ethical behavior, and personal values.|
|HSE 220||Communication Skills for Human Service Professionals||This course provides students with the knowledge and skills to effectively, efficiently, and compassionately communicate both orally and in writing. Emphasis will be given to the tools of communication as well as how to clearly articulate the issues, deal with conflict, and establish rapport. Human services professionals function in many settings requiring the ability to communicate the needs and issues of their clients, programs, and organizations to a broad variety of people.|
|HSE 320||Human Services Organizational Systems||This course prepares students to function effectively within organizations, as most human services work involves interactions with multiple private and public organizations. Students develop an understanding of organizational structure and functions through an overview of common organizational structures and management systems and the principles of organizational behavior that influence the work environment. An introduction to the strategic planning and budgeting cycle is provided including the process of grant funding. Basic concepts of personnel management and common techniques and procedures for outcome measurement and program evaluation will also be presented.|
|HSE 330||Public Policy and Advocacy||Students in this course will become acquainted with human services policies and the legislative and private sector processes of policy development. Students will further discover the role of advocacy in influencing social welfare programs for a variety of populations. Students learn the skills needed to act effectively in developing policies and for planning an advocacy campaign.|
|HSE 340||Law and Ethics in Human Services||Students in this course will learn about the laws and regulations that govern human services practice. Specific topics will include confidentiality, parity, involuntary commitment, mandated reporting, duty to warn, minor and parental rights, guardianship, and advanced directives. The course will also discuss the ethical principles that guide human services practice as well as the conflicts that arise between the ethical principles and the law.|
|HSE 410||Case Management||Students will learn fundamental theories, concepts, and practices related to the delivery of human services. Topics covered in this course will include client engagement, interviewing, models of service delivery, ethics and professional responsibility, group dynamics and facilitation, boundaries, and formal/informal client-centered support systems. Students will apply course work to real life situations by assessing the needs of clients and designing goal-based care plans. Additionally, students will plan and design interventions, utilize community resources, and assess client outcomes.|
|HSE 480||Human Services Capstone||This capstone course is the culminating experience for the B.A. in Human Services program. The aim of the capstone is to assess students' ability to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and skills they have developed throughout their coursework, rather than introducing new concepts. This course is structured to support student success in fulfilling program requirements.|
|PSY 211||Lifespan Development||In this course, students will explore the biological, sociological, and psychological influences that shape development between conception and death. Students will analyze traditional and emerging theories of development that increase their knowledge of human development as it relates to the field of psychology.|
|PSY 215||Abnormal Psychology||In this course, students explore the major diagnoses from a biopsychosocial perspective. Students critically reflect on the basis of diagnoses, to appraise the benefits and costs of various assessment methods and understand the contributions of diverse treatment approaches. Ultimately, this course helps students understand the importance of reducing the stigma of disorders and diagnoses in a variety of contexts.|
|SOC 213||Sociology of Social Problems||Students in this course analyze contemporary social problems in America and other societies. Issues include economic limitations, class and poverty, race and ethnic relations, sexism, ageism, and environmental and population concerns.|
|SCS 224||Social Science Research Methods||This course offers a broad introduction to research methods in the social sciences, including surveys, case studies, experiments, and quasi-experiments. Students learn to spot design flaws in research intended to generate scientifically sound conclusions about social phenomena, and to evaluate critically the interpretations of social science research results by third-party observers, such as reporters. Students also learn how to draft a research proposal that would satisfy the requirements of peer review within the community of professional social scientists.|
|Total Credits: 120|
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation—and haven't raised our costs in a decade.
We also 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.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
(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.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What degree do you need for human services?
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.1 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.
How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in human services?
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.
What jobs are in the human services field?
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.1
Human services jobs include:
- Community health educator: Develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities, connecting community members with healthcare professionals and services.
- Rehabilitation counselor: Work with medical and mental health professionals to help people with physical, mental, developmental or emotional disabilities adjust to their disability, develop their strengths and live independently. (Note: This position generally requires a master's degree.)
- Social and human services assistant: Research the services, such as food stamps and Medicaid, that are available to clients and work with social workers and other professionals to coordinate services.
- Substance abuse counselor: Assist people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders and other mental health issues, developing and reviewing treatment goals and progress with patients and their families. (Note: Substance abuse counselors are generally licensed by states, and requirements can vary.)
- Probation officer: Assist in the rehabilitation of law offenders on probation or parole, connecting them with job training and other community services and monitoring their progress.
Can you be a social worker with a human services degree?
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.1
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).
Can you be a counselor with a human services degree?
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.
What kind of jobs can you get with a child and family services degree?
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:
- Group home worker
- Juvenile court advocate
- Home health aide
- Life skills instructor
- Residential counselor
- Social service liaison
- Domestic violence advocate
What is a gerontology degree?
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 18.2
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.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3)
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the Internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm (viewed June 5, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/health-educators.htm (viewed June 5, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/rehabilitation-counselors.htm (viewed June 5, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-behavioral-disorder-and-mental-health-counselors.htm (viewed June 5, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm (viewed June 5, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/probation-officers-and-correctional-treatment-specialists.htm (viewed June 5, 2020)
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm (viewed June 5, 2020)
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
2U.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)
3According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.