One of the fastest-growing careers in the country, you’ll find that a master’s degree in Human Services will greatly expand your options in the human services field. Best Health Degrees has researched accredited schools offering online graduate degrees in Human Services for the best accelerated human services master’s.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports the field of Human Services has a much faster than average job growth rate (17% between 2019-2029). Depending on where you live and work, careers in this area offer a median salary of $67,150 per year, according to the BLS (PayScale estimates a national average of $62,301).
All the schools listed hold regional accreditation by the U.S. Department of Education agencies such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) or Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and more. Some programs may be accredited by the Council for Standards of Human Service Education (CSHSE). Tuition estimates come from information reported by the school for current tuition charges.
If you require financial assistance to pursue your advanced degree, you’ll want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you qualify, you could be eligible for loans or school assistantships or scholarships. Schools routinely ask students to submit a FAFSA application as part of their admission process.
Our Method: Ranking the 10 Fastest Online Human Services Master’s Programs
To rank the 10 Fastest Online Human Services Master’s Programs, Best Degrees editors researched accredited, trusted programs of all kinds. From our initial pool, we ranked programs according to price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential, using data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications.
1. Purdue Global University
Purdue Global is part of the renowned Purdue University system and recognized as a leader in distance education. You can earn an online Master of Science in Human Services degree. This program will also allow you to sit for the Human Services—Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP™) exam.
You can choose from two specialty areas, Family and Community Services or Organizational and Social Services. You’ll begin with core coursework in Foundations of Human Services, Skills and Practice in Human Services, History, Multiculturalism, and Diversity in Human Services, as well as a Master’s Thesis or Capstone Project. A concentration in Organizational and Social Services requires three classes in Organizational Nonprofit Management, Program Development and Administration, and Research, Grant Writing, and Funding. The Family and Community Services courses include Family Resilience Across the Life Span, Advocacy for Children and Families, and Developing and Delivering Family Services.
To begin the admission steps, you’ll complete an application which will prompt contact from an Admissions Advisor who will walk you through the rest of the process. You do need a bachelor’s degree to apply for this graduate program.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $420/per credit hours
Fast Fact: #114 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities
2. Oklahoma State University Tulsa
This Master’s in Applied Human Services from Oklahoma State University can be completed in just 18 months.
This accelerated human services master’s program offers four specialties: Gerontology, Non-profit Management, Issues in Family Science and Lifespan Development, Infant Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, or you can, working with your advisor, create your own specialty. The degree requires 33 credit hours. Among the topics you’ll study are Aging and Families, Community and Family, Parent Education, Research Methods and Statistics, and a Master’s Capstone. Depending on your specialization, you’ll take additional courses.
You’ll complete an application (and $50 application fee), submit letters of recommendation, resume/CV, a professional goals statement, and official academic transcripts.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $230/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche ranks this university #48/#131 in its Best Big Colleges in America category
3. Regent University
A private, Virginia school, based in Christian teachings, Regent University has an online M.A. in Human Services you can finish in 30 credit hours.
Required, core courses include classes in Helping Skills & Techniques, Foundations of Human Services, Professional Ethics in the Human Service Fields, Multicultural Awareness & Individual Diversity, as well as a Capstone Project and Field Experience. This degree offers 11 concentration areas in subjects of a variety of counseling disciplines such as Marriage and Family, Grief, Trauma and Crisis, Biblical, Christian, and others. The curriculum calls for 12 credit hours in your chosen concentration.
As with others, this degree requires you to hold a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA in your undergraduate courses, a graduate school admission application ($50 fee), academic transcripts, and provide a copy of a government-issued ID. You may be asked to participate in a Skype interview with the Admissions Committee.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $595/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche ranks Regent University #49/308 in its Best Online Colleges in America
4. Saint Leo University
The online M.S. in Human Services in Administration from Saint Leo University will prepare you to develop or lead a new human services organization.
Some of the foundational courses you’ll take in this 36 credit hour program are Management & Leadership in Human Service Organizations, Working in Human Services Administration, Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services, Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services, Funding Sources for Human Services Organizations, and Graduate Project in Human Services Administration. You’ll also have a substantial catalog of electives from which to round out your program. Some of the topics included are aging issues, child welfare, human resources, grants, etc.
Saint Leo University has a simple admission process that begins with an application. You’ll need to provide academic transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, submit a recent resume, three letters of recommendation, and a written essay describing your professional goals. You need to submit your application at least 60 days prior to your start date.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $570/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Saint Leo University is ranked #4 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Value Schools
5. Houston Baptist University
Here’s another M.A. in Human Services online degree that provides skills to work in the human services field. The program can be completed in 24 months.
Although not a licensure program, you’ll be able to choose from three concentrations: Human Sexuality, Professional Life Counseling, or Marriage and Family. There are core courses you’ll take, regardless of your specialty choice. Classes in the core curriculum are Theories and Techniques in Counseling, Introduction to Human Services Counseling, Human Growth and Development, Christian Integration Seminar, Crisis Response and Trauma Care, and Multicultural Counseling. The entire online program requires 30 credit hours for completion.
You’ll submit academic transcripts from the school that awarded your bachelor’s degree, GRE test scores, resume, and three letters of recommendation, for admission consideration.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $585/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche ranks HBU #726/1,572 in its Best Value Colleges in America
6. Warner Pacific University
This is a 39 credit hour M.A. in Human Services offered online that takes a holistic approach to the subject.
The coursework in this accelerated human services master’s program focuses on preparing you to sit for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) exam. This program concentrates human systems, research methods, statistics, examine human services theories and practice in “social change and advocacy.” You’ll also study the ways individuals interact with community and society and best ways to develop educational and prevention programs. Classes are also offered that look at at-risk populations, human sexuality, human lifespan, and more. You’re given the option between writing a thesis or completing a field practicum.
Admission requires you have a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or better, complete a Pacific Warner application, provide academic transcripts from colleges and universities attended, and two letters of recommendation (professional or academic). You may be asked to participate in an interview phone call.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $745/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Pacific Warner University in Portland, Oregon, is ranked #6 Best Value Schools by U.S. News and World Report
7. Walden University
You can choose from nine specialty areas with this online M.S. in Human Services from Walden University.
Walden is based on the quarter system for this 48 credit hour program. You’ll take foundation and core courses such as Foundation of Graduate Study in Human Services, Assessment and Motivational Interviewing, The Advanced Human Services Professional Practitioner in a Changing World, Cultural Humility and Diversity, and Applied Research and Evaluation Methods. Specialty areas include: Community and Social Services, Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention, Criminal Justice, General Program, Gerontology, Family Studies and Interventions, Human Services Nonprofit Organizations, Military and Culture, and Mental Health.
Admission requirements will request you have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA, complete an application, and official academic transcripts.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $214/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche ranks Walden University #627/1,572 in its Best Value Colleges in America
8. Liberty University
While this 30 credit hour M.A. in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University won’t qualify for licensure, it will provide you a solid knowledge of human behavior.
A review of the graduate catalog shows you’ll take classes in Introduction to Human Services Counseling, Integration of Spirituality and Counseling, Multicultural Issues in Human Services, Seminar in Human Services Counseling, and more. Courses are 100% online and the degree can be completed in 12 months. The website encourages you to contact the school for additional information on the program.
Liberty University has a simple admission process. It begins with an application and proceeds to request academic transcripts and apply for financial assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).
Estimated Tuition Cost: $565/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Liberty University is ranked #6/308 in Niche’s Best Online Colleges in America
9. Springfield College
Located in Springfield, MA, this M.S. in Human Services hybrid program can be completed in 16-24 months.
You’ll be able to choose from one of three concentrations in Organizational Management and Leadership, Community Counseling Psychology, or Mental Health Counseling. The Community Counseling Psychology Concentration covers subjects in alcohol and drug abuse counseling, general counseling skills, case management, child and family services, social change and economics, and more. Choosing the Mental Health Counseling focus will cover topics in counseling theories, counseling skills for marriage, family, and couples, psychopathology. To complete this degree, you’ll also have an internship experience.
To begin the admission process, you’ll be asked to provide an application, academic transcripts showing completion of your bachelor’s degree, a personal statement and current resume, as well as an interview with a staff or faculty member.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $18,360/per academic year
Fast Fact: Springfield College is rated #18 in Best Value Schools by U.S. News and World Report
10. Capella University
Capella University has an online accelerated human services master’s that gives you two specialization options.
Both the Social and Community Services and Leadership and Organizational Management options require five core courses, five courses in your selected speciality, one elective course and a capstone project. Depending on your specialty, coursework offered includes Diversity and Inclusion in Human Services, Leading in For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Government Organizations, Leading Adaptive Organizational Systems in Human Services, Social Change and Public Policy in Human Services.
Admission requirements include submission of an application and $50 fee, proof of your bachelor’s degree, official academic transcripts, and a valid government-issued ID. GRE/GMAT scores are not required for admission.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $550/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Capella University is a for-profit institution founded in 1993
What are the Advantages of an Accelerated Human Services Master’s?
We live in a fast-paced world. If you’re currently working in Human Services and are looking for ways to advance your career, a master’s degree is essential. That’s where online degree programs can be beneficial.
If you work full-time, you may not be able to take a leave of absence to attend a graduate program; but, an online degree program will help you continue to work, meet family obligations, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
There’s little to no difference in program accreditation, faculty, or studies between traditional and distance education degree programs. Online classes are typically shorter in length than tradition on-campus courses but offer a more intensive experience, in general. If the program requires an internship, schools will work with their online students to find convenient locations for that experience.
The faster you complete your degree online, the less you’ll pay in tuition. A majority of online programs offer out-of-state students the same tuition as in-state students, which can be a substantial savings. Additionally, accredited, online programs qualify for federal student aid. In the case of graduate students, this will take the form of low-interest loans. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for employees advancing their education in their field.
The less time you spend getting your graduate degree, the faster you’ll be able to experience the benefits in terms of career advancement, increased salary and benefits opportunities, and job satisfaction.
Will a Master’s in Human Services Help My Career?
In general, yes. An accelerated human services master’s will help you advance your career.
Human Services is a high-demand profession and an M.S. or M.A. in the field will help you stand apart from bachelor’s prepared applicants or employees. While you can enter the field with an undergraduate degree, a master’s will put you on track to advance in your field.
Advanced education will help you move into policy development, management or supervision, program initiation and evaluation, education, grant writing and fiscal responsibilities, organizational development, and many other roles. You can also see your career move into the areas of counseling in higher education, drug and alcohol abuse, social work, marriage and family therapy, community or social service manager, to name but a few opportunities.
As mentioned above, moving into these areas of greater responsibilities will allow you to command a higher salary.
How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Human Services?
There’s several factors to consider when discussing how much you can make with a master’s degree in human services. That said, in general, master’s prepared individuals will earn more in salary than their bachelor’s prepared counterparts.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, suggests Human Services is a career with a much faster than average job growth rate (17% between 2019-2029), offering a median salary of $67,150 per year (PayScale estimates a national average of $62,301) depending on where you live and work.
When considering salary, you shouldn’t forget to add other benefits that are part of your overall compensation. Some employers will offer benefits packages that may include retirement benefits, paid sick and personal leave, employee tuition assistance, and other compensation.
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