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Online Human Services Degree Programs Train You to Life People UpIf you are a caring and understanding person who sympathizes and wants to help people in need, an online human services degree can set you up for a fulfilling career.

Many do not realize that the human services industry includes a wide variety of careers but the main thing that links them all together is that they all focus on meeting human needs. This may include servicing specific populations like children in a social worker position or even working with people who have committed crimes as a parole officer. These two professions may seem to have little to do with each other but they both have one thing in common—they are trying to improve the lives of the people with which they interact.


So, how do you get started once you make the decision to enter the human services industry? The first thing you may want to do is narrow down what specific population you want to work with (children, older people, minorities, etc.). You may also want to consider if you want to work within a government agency and think about if you want to be in a management position. Here is some information about a few of the most common human services careers from the U.S. Department of Labor.

  1. Human Service Assistants
    Found in the fields of psychology, social work, and public health, of the common duties of these professionals is to help people find community services that may be available to them like Medicaid or food assistance.  They often work with social workers at government agencies or non-profit organizations.
    Salary: $30,830 annual median wage
    Career Outlook: 11% growth in the next ten years
  2. Social Worker
    These professionals provide much needed services to people in a variety of settings and in a variety of ways. Some social workers provide counseling to people, some help people find assistance, and others help protect children – and these are only a few examples!
    Salary: $45,900 annual median wage
    Career Outlook: 12% growth in the next ten years
  3. Probation Officer
    Some might not consider probation officers as human service professionals, but they do help people who have committed crimes stay out of trouble. Connecting probationers with community services and aiding them in job searches are just a couple of duties they perform.
    Salary: $49,360 yearly median wage
    Career Outlook: 4% growth over the next ten years
  4. Rehabilitation Counselor
    There are some people with physical, mental, developmental, and emotional disabilities who need help learning to live independently. That is where rehabilitation counselors come in—some aid those who are newly disabled adjust emotionally, while others may work with disabled people in gaining employment.
    Salary: $34,390 annual median wage
    Career Outlook: 9% growth in the next decade
  5. Social and Community Service Manager
    These managers work in administration and the implementation of community programs that serve the population. They also oversee programs to ensure their effectiveness, as well as employ staff which may include social workers and other human services professionals.
    Salary: $63,530 yearly median wage
    Career Outlook: 10% growth in the next ten years


Those who join the human services are devoted to helping people. Often they help people help themselves, either connecting them with community services or offering aid in employment and emotional development. Because of this, a desire to teach is also quite useful. Also, you must be prepared to witness difficult situations while keeping your emotions in check.


Because you work with people so closely and part of your role often includes some form of counseling or human understanding, most online human services degrees have a large psychology component. Outside of that, human services degrees commonly allow you to focus your education to better prepare you for the career you would like to pursue.

Core psychology courses will include:

  • Human Development
  • Communication for Human Services Professionals
  • Abnormal Psychology

The above courses are mostly those seen in an undergraduate program. Master’s level and above programs normally include curriculum that is more managerial in nature.

Some human services careers like social work and counseling require you to be certified or licensed in the state that you practice. Other positions—probation officers and human services assistants for example—may not need any type of certification. Each state has its own set of regulations, so it is important to visit your state’s licensing board to know for sure.


Another important thing to keep in mind is college tuition. While it is important to get the right education to pursue the career of your dreams, we all have to think of our pocketbooks. While the average online human services degree costs just over $50,000, there are plenty of affordable schools with great human services programs. An online master's in human services costs around $19,000, on average. Pay attention to in-state versus out-of-state tuition as you compare schools. Also, remember to consider the cost per credit hour and how many credit hours are required to graduate.

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List of Accredited Online Degrees

Purdue University Global

Certificate in Child & Family Services

Purdue University Global’s Certificate in Child & Family Services is designed for individuals who want to pursue a position or potential promotion in the field of human services. The degree program could help you make a difference in ...

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Kansas State University

Certificate in Conflict Resolution

Explore the complexity of people's lives, help them build a sense of community, foster mutual respect and cooperation and teach them to rely on fairness rather than power as a basis for resolving disputes. Learn about the dynamics of ...

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Indiana Wesleyan University

Undergraduate Certificate in Human Services

The online Certificate in Human Services program provides students with an overview of sociology, cultural anthropology, and the psychology of personality, with a specific emphasis in current social problems, crisis intervention, and issues in marria...

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Kennebec Valley Community College

Certificate in Mental Health Rehabilitation

The online Certificate in Mental Health Rehabilitation is designed to meet the needs of students who either already have a degree or want to focus on the 10 core classes to receive their MHRT/C.  Courses may include Community Mental Health, ...

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Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Human Services Certificate

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Medical College offers a Human Services Certificate which gives students the opportunity to further their skills in the human services career field. The Human Services Certificate provides students ...

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Mississippi State University

Undergraduate Certificate in Veterans Program

Mississippi State University offers the Undergraduate Certificate in Veterans Program. This unique certificate provides the needed knowledge, competencies and skills for individuals to work with veterans’ issues in various venues. In addition,...

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Roger Williams University

Certificate in Case Management

Roger Williams University offers the Certificate in Case Management, a program that provides students with the knowledge and skills relevant to the provision of case management services in a variety of health care settings. Graduates of this program ...

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Western Kentucky University

Undergraduate Certificate in Family Home Visiting

The online Undergraduate Certificate in  Family Home Visiting  prepares students to provide home visiting services.  Potential clients include those needing: , parenting skills , those at risk for abusing and neglecting their ...

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Wilmington University

Certificate in Child Advocacy Studies

The online Undergraduate Certificate in Child Advocacy Studies is designed for anyone working with children, like teachers, nurses, medical personnel, caseworkers, clergy, or law enforcement. Students will learn to: , Recognize symptoms and effe...

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Kentucky Community and Technical College System

Certificate in Direct Support Work

The online Certificate in Direct Support Work from Kentucky Community and Technical College System prepares students for entry level positions in agencies and institutions which provide social, community, educational, and mental health services. Cour...

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Fort Hays State University

Certificate in Victim Advocacy

A certificate in Victim Advocacy provides professionals with a solid background in law, dispute resolution, and human services. Students will develop skill sets in order to be an effective advocate in their community. ...

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Kansas State University

Community-Engaged Leadership Undergraduate Certificate

Cultivate a model of leadership consistent with the principles of partnership, reciprocity, and mutual benefit through the online Certificate in Community-Engaged Leadership. This program is ideal for anyone who desires to contribute to the overall w...

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Kansas State University

Certificate in Non-violence Studies

Kansas State University offers an Undergraduate Certificate in Nonviolence Studies. This 15-credit-hour program explores how to change local and global conditions that can lead to violence by learning about nonviolence strategies, tactics, and tools....

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