If you’re wanting a career in a helping profession, an undergraduate degree in Human Services is an excellent starting point. Graduates with an online human services degree can find satisfying careers in a number of service areas.
With a bachelor’s degree, you’re able to work in interventional services, maintaining and improving community agencies and services, helping individuals improve their quality of life and prospects, and more. With this degree, you’ll also be able to further your education with a master’s degree and concentrate on a field of interest to you in areas such as alcohol abuse and addictions, psychology counseling, social work, long term care facilities, and rehabilitation centers, as well many others.
This ranking from Best Health Degrees lists regionally accredited schools. Accreditation is approved by the U.S. Department of Education agencies such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) as well as several others.
Even though the degrees offered are online, you may still qualify for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) In fact, some schools require the FAFSA as part of their admission process as well using the form for determining scholarship recipients.
Our Method: Ranking the 15 Best Human Services Bachelor’s Online Programs for 2021
To rank the 15 Best Human Services Bachelor’s Online Programs for 2021, 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. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona has robust online human services degree options, one of which is a Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services.
You’ll take general education classes in English and math, along with others. Core courses in Identity, Positionality and Cultural Humility, Introduction to Human Services, Leadership, Ethics, and Professional Practices, and Research Methods in Social Sciences. The program also requires an internship and a senior capstone project. Your internship will be conducted in a service agency in your home community.
As with most schools, admission requires an application and official academic transcripts. Because of the internship component, you’ll want to verify that the state in which you live qualifies for you to enroll in the program.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $500/per credit hour
Fast Fact: UA is ranked in Forbes Top Colleges in 2019
2. Colorado State University Global
You’ll earn a B.S. in Human Services in 120 credit hours from Colorado State University Global. This program is offered 100% online.
Studies in this online human services degree program include Introduction to Human Services, Community Development, Intervention Methods in Human Services, Crisis Intervention, Evaluation of Research and Theory in Human Services, Human Development, Case Management in Human Services, Human Services Administration, etc. You’ll be able to choose between an internship or a seminar in Human Services Strategy and Execution and complete a capstone project in Human Services Strategy and Execution. You have the option of adding a specialization by completing 15 credit hours in upper-division coursework. The school offers a substantial list of possible specialization options.
The school website doesn’t offer much information on admission requirements and asks you to submit a request for admission information.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $8,400/per academic year
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report rates this school at #10 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
3. Indiana Wesleyan University
This online B.S. in Human Services from Indiana Wesleyan University uses a biblical understanding of service, social change, management, and advocacy.
The online human services degree program requires 45 credit hours of study in your major and has prerequisite courses in interviewing skills and psychology. You’ll study Theory and Practice of Group Counseling, Advocacy in Human Services, Addictions Counseling Skills, Intergroup Relations, Psychology of Abnormal Behavior, General Statistics, Crisis Intervention, Administration in Human Services, as well as other classes. You’ll also be asked to complete a Capstone Project in Human Services. This is a degree completion program.
The requirements for admission include academic transcripts, a fee-free application, and other documents as requested.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $9,783/per academic year
Fast Fact: IWU sits at #63 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Value Schools
4. Minot State University
The B.S. in Human Services at North Dakota’s Minot State University with a focus on Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities.
You’ll be required to complete two courses in Introduction to Intellectual & Developmental Disability Services and Introduction to Positive Behavior Supports. The curriculum includes courses in Developing Communicative Interactions, Health Care in Developmental Disabilities, Aging and IDD, Promoting Inclusive Opportunities, as well as a field experience. The studies are developed in concordance with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) standards.
Minot State University has a simplified admission process. You’ll submit an admission application along with a $35 application fee, ACT/SAT test scores, and official academic transcripts.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $7,592/per academic year
Fast Fact: Niche rates Minot State University #479/1,619 in its Best Colleges in America ranking
5. Ohio University
Here’s an online Bachelor of Applied Human and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Human Services.
Curriculum requirements for this online human services degree are Human Relations, Stress Management, Career and Life Planning Seminar, Families as Consumers in Global Communities, Foundations in Group Dynamics, Ethical Issues in Human Services, Introduction to Diversity Studies, as well as an Internship in Human Services. Six courses are required from two areas of emphasis, Leadership and Organization and Diversity and Communication, as well as elective courses. You’ll also be expected to complete Ohio University’s general education coursework to meet the 120 credit hours required for the diploma.
As with all schools, you’ll complete an application for admission with a $50 fee, supply official academic, transcripts from all schools attended. Due to Covid, Ohio University is SAT/ACT optional.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $12,612-$22,406/per academic year
Fast Fact: Ohio University is ranked #87 in U.S. News and World Report’s Top Public Schools
6. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
If you’re looking for a leadership program in Human Service, you’ll want to look at this undergraduate program at UWO.
This program will prepare you to sit for the Human Services Board-Certified Practitioner (HSB-CP) exam. You’ll study Introduction to Human Services, Human Behavior and Strategies for Intervention, Interpersonal Relations in the Helping Professions, Globalization in Human Services, Social Issues and Solutions in Human Services, Program Evaluation and Grant Writing, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Human Services, Leadership and Decision Making in Non-Profit Organizations, and an internship. Other than the internship, this program is 100% online.
Considerations used in admission decisions include cumulative GPA, letters of recommendation, an application, and academic transcripts. Additional information may be requested.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $7,656-$14,229/per academic year
Fast Fact: UWO is one of Niche’s Best College Values in America rankings
7. Old Dominion University
This well-known Virginia university awards a B.S. in Human Services offered online or on campus.
Accredited by The Council for Standards in Human Services Education, this degree’s curriculum includes general education studies (humanities, English, math, etc.) and Human Services-specific classes. Diversity Issues in Human Services, Substance Abuse Treatment and Research, Human Services Methods, Interpersonal Relations, Program Development, Implementation, and Funding, and Family Guidance. An internship and field observation are also part of the course of study.
You’ll apply for admission through the ODU application (and $50 fee), submission of academic transcripts, information on your post-secondary school activities, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $10,680-$30,840/per academic year
Fast Fact: ODU is ranked #258 in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities listing
8. Troy University
An Alabama school, Troy University has an online B.S. in Human Services degree you complete in 120 credit hours.
The department offers major courses in subjects like Ethics, Survey of Human Services, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Professional Communication Skill, Diversity, Pre-Practicum Seminar, and Field Experiences. You’ll take courses in five general education areas described in the Troy degree map and includes classes in English, history, arts, science, etc.
Troy admission requirements include an application (you’ll complete a form to access the application), you’ll also need to submit academic transcripts, SAT/ACT test scores (students over age 21 do not have to submit test scores), and additional information if needed.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $8,908-$15,708/per academic year
Fast Fact: Troy University ranks in several U.S. News and World Report categories in Best Value Schools, Top Public Schools, Most Innovative Schools, and others.
9. The Catholic University of America
Physically located in Washington D.C., The Catholic University of America awards an online B.A. in Human Services with a specialization in administration.
Among the courses you’ll take for this degree study in Sociology, Introduction to Counseling, Social Problems, General as well as Abnormal Psychology, Human Services Administration, Working with Couples and Families, Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services, and more. You’ll also choose between developing a Portfolio or participating in an internship experience. You’ll need to have courses in English, humanities, math, natural sciences, etc. The Metropolitan School of Professional Studies at the university also provides a degree completion program that accepts up to 84 credit hours in transfer credits. CLEP and DSST exams are also considered.
You won’t need to submit ACT/SAT scores, but will be asked to provide academic transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a resume. An application with a non-refundable fee, a 250-500 word essay, and possibly a pre-admission interview with an admission counselor, will be needed.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $47,746/per academic year
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report ranks this university #68 in its Best Value Schools ratings
10. Nova Southeastern University Florida
You’ll want to explore this B.S. in Human Services Administration offered online by this private university. You can choose from concentrations in Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy, and Grantsmanship, Health Administration, Advocacy/Case Management, Substance Abuse Studies, and Social Work.
This degree requires 120 credit hours for completion and you’ll complete 30 hours in general education classes. You’ll take core courses in HSA such as Introduction to Human Services, Interpersonal Assessment Skills in Human Relations, Social Issues & Human Services Delivery Systems, Principles of Management, Counseling and Assessment in Human Services, Introduction to Public Administration, Ethical and Professional Issues in Human Services, as well as several others. A Supervised Experience in Human Services is required and you’ll be asked to suggest two, non-profit, community-based agencies in which to conduct your practicum experience.
Admission to the program asks for the application (the school accepts the Shark Select Application, or the Common App), official academic transcript(s), SAT/ACT scores are optional, and a letter of recommendation from a teacher is required but up to three letters can be submitted.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $32,110/per academic year
Fast Fact: Forbes recognizes Nova Southeastern University as one of its 2019 Top Colleges
11. Elizabethtown College
This small, urban college (nicknamed ETOWN) in Pennsylvania awards a Bachelor’s in Human Services through hybrid/online studies.
Calling for 125 credit hours for completion, you can choose a general Human Services course of study or a concentration in Behavioral and Addictions Counseling. Required generalist courses include Social Welfare Programs and Policy, Ethical Issues in Human Services, Human Services Delivery, Race and Ethnic Relations, Counseling Techniques and Skills, Research Methods in Human Services, Mental Health and Crisis Intervention, among others. The generalist program also provides a wide range of electives from which you’ll choose three. The Behavioral and Addictions Counseling concentration coursework is intensive and provides a solid foundation in the field.
Your admission requirements includes an application, official academic transcripts, letter of recommendation, and a writing sample. Standardized test scores are optional.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $555/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche recognizes ETOWN as #125/209 in its Best Liberal Arts Colleges in 2021
12. Saint Leo University
You can earn an interdisciplinary B.A. in Human Services from St. Leo University online.
Based on systems theory, this program presents requirements in general education (called University Explorations) along with Human Services classes. Your major curriculum involves studies in Methods of Social Research (Quantitative and Qualitative), Interpersonal Helping Skills, Social Policy for the Human Services, Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, and more. There are also three field experiences required. At the end of the program, you’ll sit for the Human Services Board Certified Professional (HS-BCP) exam.
Online admission will require you to complete the application, submit academic transcripts from all schools attended, College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP), Excelsior College Exams (ECE), Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support (DANTES), USAFI, Regents Examinations, and others. You should also submit information on any professional training which might qualify for academic credit.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $23,750/per academic year
Fast Fact: The university is recognized as #55/#308 in Niche’s Best Online Colleges in America
13. East Tennessee State University
ETSU awards a B.S. in Human Services degree that the school provides 100% online.
This program provides a foundation in human and behavioral science through its Department of Counseling and Human Services. There are 120 credit hours needed for this degree with a combination of general education, major core classes, and electives. You’ll study Child/Family/Community Relations, Child Psychology, Family Development, Counseling Theory and Practice, Introduction to Human Services, Research Methods in Human Services, and others. An internship and practicum experience is part of the overall curriculum.
An online admission application will begin your admission process. SAT/ACT test scores are not required for admission in 2021 but are still required for scholarship consideration.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $9,259-$27,406/per academic year
Fast Fact: ETSU is one of The Princeton Review’s Best Southeastern Universities
14. Columbia College
Through its Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Human Services, Columbia College in Missouri has an online B.A. in Human Services. Columbia College is an accredited, private, not-for-profit institution.
Calling for 120 credit hours for completion, the curriculum for this degree includes course options in Social Gerontology, Mental Health, Child Welfare, Disabilities, Addiction, Child Welfare, Introduction to Human Services, as well as Working With Groups, Families, and Communities and Organizations. Additionally, you’ll take an ethics course and a capstone project. General Education coursework is also part of the overall degree.
The College takes a holistic approach to admissions by considering more than just grades and academic standing. You’ll be asked to file a free application, and instead of providing high school transcripts, you’ll complete an Attestation Form for proof of high school graduation. Columbia College is a test-optional school, not requiring the SAT/ACT test scores for admission.
Estimated Tuition: $23,498/per academic year
Fast Fact: Columbia College is ranked #129-#156 in U.S. News and World Report’s Regional Universities Midwest
15. Shorter University
Located in Rome, Georgia, Shorter University dates to 1873, where you can earn your B.S. in Human Services online.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this B.S. degree requires 120 credit hours with a Christian foundation in its core courses. The Human Services studies include Psychopathology, Human Services Theory, Professional Ethics, Addictive Behaviors, Lifespan Development, Counseling Skills, Introduction to Human Services, Applied Human Services Project, as well as practicum experiences. You’ll also be required to choose a minor course of study from Sport Management Minor, General Business Minor, or Criminal Justice Minor. You may choose a different minor, but will need to have it approved by your advisor.
To be admitted, you’ll submit an application and academic transcripts with at least a high school 2.5 GPA or 2.0 for transfer students. SAT/ACT test scores are requested. Once admitted, you’ll pay $100 in an enrollment deposit and $125 registration fee.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $22,370/per academic year
Fast Fact: A small university, Shorter University has been rated as one of the Best Southeastern schools by The Princeton Review
Why Should I Get My Human Services Degree Online?
There are several reasons an online degree may be right for you:
Time – Online degrees offer flexible options in creating the work-life balance that we all want. You can continue to work and meet job, family, and personal obligations with online studies. You can also find accelerated online degrees which can significantly reduce the amount of time required to earn your degree.
Cost – Many schools offer in-state tuition for online students, regardless of where they live.
Choices – Online degrees give you more options in terms of programs, colleges, and universities from which to choose.
Location – Because you aren’t hindered by location, you can apply for admission from a broader selection of schools across the country.
What Can I Do with an Online Human Services Degree?
Human Services is described by The National Organization for Human Services as “…meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems, and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations.” That opens up a wide field of opportunities.
An undergraduate degree in Human Services provides you a robust course of study which will prepare you to help people navigate existing social systems and organizations in communities. Your degree will give you a foundation in aging and gerontology, behavioral health, addiction and substance abuse, psychology, sociology, child and family services, etc., which will prepare you for entry-level management and administration roles in the Human Services field.
Job opportunities in this field include, but are not limited to, Child and Geriatric Advocacy, Crisis Intervention Counselor, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, Case Worker, Home Health Aide, Community Outreach, Public Administration, Child Abuse Worker, and others. At some point, during your career, you may want to consider earning a master’s degree in a more specific area of Human Services. You can earn a master’s online, too!
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a terrific article on Human Services that will give you a good overview of the field.
Do I Need a Degree to Get a Job in the Department of Health and Human Services?
The short answer is “probably.” While there are some jobs in any Department of Health and Human Services that may not require a college degree, you’ll find that most do ask for at least an associate degree, with a bachelor and/or master’s degree preferred. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that a bachelor’s degree is the preferred education for entry-level positions in Human Services.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services job page offers several positions requiring college degrees. State and local departments will also prefer degree-prepared applicants for a majority of their jobs.
An undergraduate degree in Human Services will allow you to explore the many career opportunities available in the field and help you decide on what career path you wish to follow. B.A. and B.S. programs typically provide not only studies but practicum experiences and internships, allowing you the chance to experience real-world situations.