Some of the fastest-growing careers in the U.S. are centered in the field of Human Services, and an online human services master’s can help professionals make the most of it. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports a much faster than average job growth rate (17% between 2019-2029). Careers in Human Services may offer a median salary of $67,150 per year, according to the BLS with PayScale estimating a national, base salary average of $62,301.
Best Health Degrees has reviewed 15 online master’s degrees in Human Services, that are accredited, offered online, reasonable tuition (as reported by the school), and with a robust curriculum.
Financial aid is available for graduate programs in the form of loans and is based on the submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for qualified students. Colleges and universities often require financial aid applications be on file as part of the admission process as well as for school scholarships.
Our Method: Ranking the 15 Best Online Human Services Master’s Programs
To rank the 15 Best 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. Arizona State University
One of the leaders in online education, Arizona State University offers a Master’s in Family and Human Development completed in 30 credit hours.
This online human services master’s program goes in-depth into what creates positive and healthy families and individuals. Among the courses you’ll study are Social Statistics, Leadership and Social Justice, Diversity and Society, Theoretical Issues in Child Development, Parenting, Marriage and Family Relationships, as well as Capstone Projects. You’ll take a total of 10 classes with each class requiring 7.5 weeks of study. Note: this degree doesn’t lead to licensure, but will position you to assume leadership roles in social agencies and organizations.
You’ll complete an admission application, submit a personal statement, provide official academic transcripts, two letters of recommendation, GRE/GMAT test scores, as well as a current resume. Be sure to check the school’s admission website to verify application dates, details, etc.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $543–$1,343/per credit hour
Fast Fact: ASU ranks #1 in Most Innovative Schools by U.S. News and World Report
2. University of Oklahoma
This nationally ranked university in Norman, OK, offers an online Master of Arts in Human and Health Services Administration you can complete in 12 months or so.
As an accelerated online human services master’s program, you can earn this degree in 33 credit hours which cover topics in ethics, diversity issues, women and leadership, organizational cultures, and strategic planning. The curriculum has required and core courses in Interdisciplinary Foundations, Cultural, Social, and Diversity Issues in HHSA, Research Methods, and more. You’ll also take a core class in Research for Master’s Thesis. You can choose from a variety of elective courses including Women in Leadership, Cultures of Organizations, Leadership Issues in Decision Making, etc.
For admission into the Extended Campus of the University of Oklahoma, you’ll make an application and provide additional documents. Among the requirements are an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.0 GPA, letters of recommendation, current resume, statement of purpose, academic transcripts, and other documents as requested. If you’re interested in this program and have additional questions, you’re encouraged to talk with an Admission Counselor.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $289-900/per credit hour
Fast Fact: University of Oklahoma is ranked in Forbes Top Colleges in 2019 as well Best Value Colleges 2019
3. Kansas State University
Kansas State University’s K-State Online division has a Family and Community Services Master’s Degree you can complete in 36 credit hours that is 100% online.
The curriculum examines a wide range of topics including program management and administration, needs of military families, crises, and more. Classes in Family Dynamics, Foundations and Principles of Family and Community Services, Lifespan Development, Family Resource Management, Parenting Education, Crises Across the Lifespan, and others, are part of the required study. You’ll also be able to choose from electives like The Army Family: From Challenge to Resilience, Topics in Family Studies and Human Services, Foundations of Trauma and Traumatic Stress, as well as others. You can decide if you want to complete a Capstone Project or do a Practicum experience.
To be admitted, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of study, make an application ($65 fee), academic transcripts, resume, and statement of your objectives. You’ll also be asked to provide contact information for three professional or academic references.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $590/per credit hour
Fast Fact: KSU is ranked in the top 200 National Universities by U.S. News and World Report
4. University of Nebraska – Lincoln
The education programs at UN-L are nationally recognized for excellence. UNL’s College of Education and Human Services offers an online M.S. in Human and Family Services Administration degree.
You’ll focus on program design and evaluation, administration and management, family functioning, as well as professional issues and concerns. Core courses in each of these areas of focus include titles such as Theories of Human Development and Family Relations, Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation, Public Budgeting, and Foundations in Public Services. Additional topics in Human Resource Management in the nonprofit or pubic are included. Internships in Child, Youth, and Family Studies or coursework in Administrative Ethics and Leadership, or Advanced Management and Leadership for Public and Nonprofit Professionals are required. A Capstone Project completes your studies.
You’ll submit a $50, nonrefundable fee along with your admission application, provide a resume with a statement of your professional goals, and three letters of reference. GRE/GMAT scores are not required for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 start terms but you’ll be asked for academic transcripts.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $357-$652/per credit hour
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report ranks this school #62 in its Top Public Schools as well as #101 Best Value Schools
5. CUNY School of Professional Studies
Here’s an online M.S. in Disability Services in Higher Education degree that will acquaint you with conceptual, theoretical, as well as practical information and skills.
This curriculum was designed by attorneys and disability service office directors to train you in the needs and accommodations for post-secondary students with disabilities. Among the 30 credit hours you’ll take, are classes in Legal Aspects of Disability Service, Neurodiverse Students in College, Assistive Technology in Higher Education, Psychosocial, Cultural and Political Aspects of Disability, etc. You’ll also have electives in Disability and Diversity, Emerging Populations, Accommodations Outside of the Classroom, and more.
To be considered for this program you need a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better, provide a resume, submit academic transcripts, provide two letters of recommendation, and compose a personal statement. You may be asked to participate in a phone call with an admission representative. You don’t need experience providing disability services to apply, but it’s helpful.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $470/per credit hour
Fast Fact: CUNY SPS is frequently ranked as one of the country’s top online programs by U.S. News and World Report
6. University of Arizona Global Campus
The University of Arizona Global Campus has an impressive selection of online degree programs, such as their M.A. in Human Services.
This online human services master’s degree will give you a broad perspective on the lifestyles and goals of employees and community members and skills to make positive changes. You’ll take 33 credit hours which begins with core studies in Overview of Human Services, Group Theories and Human Services, Integrative Project for Human Services, and Human Services Delivery Skills & Processes. Other core requirements include studies in Organizational Development, Research, and Psychology. This degree also gives you specialization options in Standard Human Services, Mental Health Administration, and Nonprofit Management.
There are three admission options at Arizona University Global Campus: Provisional, Conditional, and Full. An application, academic transcripts for your undergraduate degree, and other documents may be required for admission consideration.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $665/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Previously known as Ashford University, UA Global Campus is ranked #97 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities
7. California State University Northridge
This is a unique M.S. degree in Assistive Technology Studies and Human Services developed to help people with disabilities to live independent and full lives.
A two-year online human services master’s program through the College of Health and Human Development, this degree requires 30 credit hours for completion through 10 courses. Among the curriculum topics are History, Law, Policy and Assistive Technology, Functional Biology and Design Innovation, Assistive Technology Across the Lifespan, Assistive Technology Assessment and Outcome Measures, Counseling in Assistive Technology Service Delivery, and others. You’ll also participate in seminars in Human Characteristics in Relation to Usability of Assistive Technologies and Current and Emerging Topics in Assistive Technology.
A completed undergraduate degree with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA, an application along with a $75 nonrefundable fee, a resume, and a statement of purpose, are among the requirements for admission.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $847/per credit hour
Fast Fact: CSUN ranks in the Top Colleges and Best Value Colleges for 2019 by Forbes
8. Bryan College
The online M.A. in Human Services degree from this Christian-based, Tennessee college, takes 30 credit hours for completion.
Requiring core courses, the program includes studies in Multicultural Awareness in Human Services, Family & Community Health, Group Dynamics, Introduction to Human Services, Christianity & Counseling, as well as a Practicum in Child & Family Studies. Specialization classes in Lifespan Development are integrated into the curriculum through classes in Child Development, Adult Development and Aging, and Adolescent Development. You’ll choose one class in Ethical Issues of Business, Management and Leadership, or Managing Human Resources.
The admission process for Bryan College asks for a completed application and submission of academic transcript from the school from which you received your undergraduate degree. Once the application and transcripts are received by the college, you’ll be contacted by a Bryan College Admission Counselors.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $475/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Named for William Jennings Bryan (of the 1925 Scopes Trial fame in Dayton, TN), U.S. News and World Report designates this school #31 in its Best Value Schools
9. Concordia St. Paul
The Human Services- Forensic Behavioral Health concentration at CSP is 100% online and focuses on the relationships of behavioral health, legal systems, and criminal justice.
A collaborative effort between CSP and the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS), the online human services master’s curriculum has among its classes, Family Violence, PTSD & Trauma, Human Services, Psychopathology in Human Services, Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders, and Risk Assessment in Human Services. Other topics of study are courses in Sexual Offending, Psychopathology in Human Services, Forensic Behavioral Health Law for the Human Service Professional, and Research and Capstone. There’s even a study abroad class option to provide you real-world experience.
Graduate admission at CSP involves submission of an application, official transcripts from the school where you completed your bachelor’s degree (minimum 3.0 GPA), as well as a personal statement.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $475/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Niche rates this university #50/308 in its Best Online Colleges in America
10. University of Redlands
The online M.A. in Education, Human Services degree at the University of Redlands is described on the website as, “… an innovative and transformational interdisciplinary program.”
Using the guidelines from the Council for Standards in Human Services Education and the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) the curriculum has offerings in Human Development, Learning Theory, Curriculum and Program Development, Introduction to Social Science Research, Foundations in Human Services, Management of Non-Profit Organizations, etc. A Capstone Project is required at the end of your studies. The coursework is designed to blend skills and leadership abilities to advance human services on the community level.
You’ll need to provide proof of your bachelor’s degree (with a 3.0 GPA), submit an application, a copy of academic transcripts, as well as two letters of recommendation, and a 500-word personal essay, as part of the admission process.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $770/per credit hour
Fast Fact: The University of Redlands ranks #5 in Regional Universities West by U.S. News and World Report
11. Minot State University
You don’t have to travel to North Dakota to enter this respected M.S. in Disability Human Services online degree program.
The course of study requires 31-34 credit hours for completion. Among the curriculum topics are Introduction to Severe Disabilities, Strategic Leadership in Learning Organizations, Research Design and Methodology, Clinical Practice, as well as a Practicum experience along with other classes. You’ll also choose from electives in Human Resource Management, Financial Management and Accounting, or Strategic Management. You can pick to write a thesis or complete a research project.
To begin the admission process, you’ll speak with an advisor about the program you’re wanting to enter. You’ll also need to complete an admission application (and submit $35 fee), provide official academic transcripts, GRE test scores, and other documents. Immunization records are standard requirements for MSU admission, but as a distance education student, you can request a waiver.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $309.40/per credit hour
Fast Fact: MSU ranks #34 in U.S. News and World Report’s Top Public Schools
12. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
The goal of this online M.S. in Human Services Leadership program might be described as “…think globally, act locally.”
You can complete this 30 credit hour curriculum in about 12 months. The 24 credit hours of required coursework includes studies in Global Issues in Local Communities, Foundations of Human Services Management, Social Marketing in Human Services, Transcultural Leadership, Planning and Implementing for Community Change, Applied Research Methods in Human Services, and others. You’ll complete elective classes and either a thesis or a capstone project to finish your degree.
The graduate school requires you provide official academic transcripts from the school you attended for your bachelor’s degree, an application, and a 500-word essay to be considered for admission.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $506-$1,034/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Founded in 1871, this university is ranked #770/1,502 in Niche’s Best Value Colleges in America
13. Nova Southeastern Florida
If you have a desire to help children and families, you’ll want to explore the Master of Health Sciences in Child Protection degree at NSU Florida.
This program is provided completely online and has a 33 credit hour curriculum available. Among the 24 core hours are classes in Foundations in Child Protective Law, Foundations in Family Diversity and Conflict Resolution, Foundations in Child Development, Foundations in Child Placement Risk and Protective Factors, Foundations in Assessment and Case Planning , and Program Evaluation. This program may qualify you for licensure, but you’re encouraged to verify that through your state’s licensing board.
Admission requires an application ($50 nonrefundable fee) and official academic transcripts from the institution from which your received your bachelor’s degree.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $810/per credit hour
Fast Fact: NSU Florida is a private institution and is considered one of the Top Private Universities in America by Niche
14. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
You might want to consider the online M.A. in Health and Human Services Administration if you want to advance your career in health services.
This 33 credit hour curriculum includes classes in Health Informatics and Application, Financial Practices in the Health and Human Services Sector, Finance for Health Services Administrators, Aging, Illness, and the Continuum of Care, Strategic Health and Human Services Leadership, and others. A Capstone Project is required. If you’re a Minnesota resident, you can also opt to do a Nursing Home Practicum. If you have a current Healthcare Administration Certificate, you may apply all those credits toward this degree.
You won’t need GRE/GMAT scores to apply, but will need to submit the typical admission forms, such as an application ($25 nonrefundable fee), official academic transcripts, a current resume, two letters of recommendation, as well as a written statement of purpose. You must have an undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $675/per credit hour
Fast Fact: Saint Mary’s ranks #18 Best Value Schools by U.S. News & World Report
15. Concordia University Chicago
In 24 months, you can complete your Master of Arts in Human Services online from this Lutheran university.
This generalist degree provides studies in Introduction to the Human Service Profession, Intervention and Direct Services, Information, Planning and Evaluation in Human Services, Intervention and Direct Services, Administration of Human Services, as well as a Human Services Internship and Capstone Project. The department offers a wide variety of electives to compliment the curriculum with classes in counseling, public policies, diversity, and theory and practice.
Admission is simple, requiring a bachelor’s degree, application, personal objective statement, an official academic transcript from your undergraduate school, as well as two letters of recommendation. You’ll want to check whether you need to submit GRE/GMAT test scores.
Estimated Tuition Cost: $9,090/per academic year
Fast Fact: Concordia University Chicago ranks #44 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Value Schools
Why Should I Get My Human Services Master’s Online?
Online degrees once were considered to be “lesser than” a traditional degree program. Distance education is nothing new and dates to the 19th century when it was a common way to learn by mail. In 1953, technology was first used in Houston’s PBS television station to broadcast history courses. Computer technology and the development of the Internet opened the opportunities for online education. Today, online degrees offer the same programs as their on-campus counterparts.
One of the great benefits of online degree programs is the convenience. With online study, you’ll be able to continue to work, meet family obligations, and have a positive work-life balance.
Online programs offer the same courses, taught by the same faculty, as traditional degree programs
Often, online degree programs provide in-state tuition to out-of-state students
Online degrees are frequently accelerated, with classes being shorter in length, but more immersive than on-campus classes
Is a Master’s in Human Services Worth It?
Healthcare is a field that values advanced education. Depending on your career goals, an advanced degree can be very important in your professional advancement.
You can enter the Human Services field with a bachelor’s degree. However, an advanced degree will help you move into administrative, leadership, or supervisory positions.
A graduate degree in Human Services will allow you to improve communication skills, learn financial and funding processes, and program development and evaluation. You can often concentrate Human Services specializations in areas like gerontology, family and child services, drug abuse and addiction, behavioral and rehabilitative health, and much more.
Employers are attracted to employees who continue their education, as an indication of dedication and interest in their work. As a result, many employers offer higher salaries to those with graduate degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, managers or supervisors, earn between $60,180-$85,550 annually, depending on where you live and work. Employment can be found in the non-profit sector in community and vocational rehabilitation centers, hospitals, government agencies, and many more.
How Do I Choose an Online Human Services Master’s?
You should first decide your goals in Human Services, how much time you’re able to devote to study, and what you want to learn. With the number of online degree programs available in Human Services, you should be able to find a program nearly tailor made for your objectives.
Accreditation is important in choosing an online degree program. Holding accreditation, assure you the teaching and curriculum meets specific educational standards. The Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE), which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) offers national accreditation. Other regional accreditation agencies, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, may also be available such as Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Northwest Accreditation Commission for primary and secondary schools and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), etc.
Curriculum is a critical factor. You want to find a curriculum that will provide you the education you need for your career and professional goals.
Cost is always a factor. You’ll want to find an online program that fits into your budget. Perhaps, you may also want to consider the program length (less time, less money).
Reputation is key. You should find a school that has a solid reputation. This can be found by checking schools’ rankings by organizations like U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, Niche, Money, and The Princeton Review.
While not an exhaustive list, hopefully, this will help you evaluate online programs.
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