The 10 Best Online Associates in Human Services Degrees

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The human services field is broadly defined as meeting human needs and improving the quality of life among diverse populations. Individuals with online associates in human services degrees are qualified to be in the field and make a positive difference! 

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With an online associate in human services degree, you can be part of the army of human services professionals changing lives in your community! You enjoy gainful employment and rewarding acts of service while gaining opportunities for career advancement with an advanced degree and work experience. 

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Do you want community programs that deliver human and social services to diverse populations? Pursue an Associate in Human Services degree for starters! We picked the country’s top programs with these factors in mind:

  • Facilitated as a 100% online or hybrid associate’s program to make classes convenient to adult students,
  • Features comprehensive coursework with the objective of improving the delivery of direct assistance to families and individuals in crisis situations, and enhancing the accountability, accessibility, and quality services,
  • Prepares students for the bachelor’s degree level and the workplace, whichever they choose to pursue after graduation, by instilling in them advanced technical and soft skills,
  • Offers an easy transition to the bachelor’s program through Transfer Pathway agreements with partner schools,
  • Facilitated through an Excellent Learning Management System or online learning platforms,
  • Online instructors who take pride in their impressive credentials and extensive experience or background in Human Services,
  • Properly accredited by academic agencies promoting the highest standards of learning,
  • Recognized by Human Services associations that advance the valuable career track.

Please visit our Methodology page for a detailed look at our ranking process.

10 Best Online Associates in Human Services Degree Programs

Online Associates in Human Services

Purdue University

Purdue University

The online Associate of Applied Science in Human Services program at Purdue University prepares students to sit for the HS-BCP certification exam. The certification boosts career opportunities. The human resources credits can also be applied toward an online bachelor’s degree in human services administration at Purdue Global.

Students must be committed to their human services education by putting in at least 15 hours of study time per week. The courses have a 10-week duration, thus, allowing students to study at their own pace. 

Full-time students can complete the human services program in two years. Part-time and full-time students complete 60 credit hours to earn an associate degree in human services. 

Courses include: 

  • Human Services Program and Profession
  • Human Behavior and the Environment
  • Survey of Social Problems
  • Applied Skills for Human Services
  • Prevention and Crisis Intervention

Aspiring students can choose from multiple start dates. 

Prospective students must at least have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. 

Financial aid can reduce tuition costs. Students can also look into transfer credits from community colleges and other institutions, too. Prior work experience and military experience can be turned into college-level credits. 

Purdue University, a public land-grant research university, is a regionally accredited school by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

New England College

New England College

The online Associate of Arts in Human Services program at NEC prepares students to become advocates for communities, families, and individuals. Their human service education combines a solid liberal arts foundation and career-specific human services skills. 

The human services program has multiple start dates so aspiring students can start on their own schedule. Every four-credit course has a seven-week time to completion. 

The instructors in the human services degree program possess excellent professional credentials. The interactive format encourages productive student-instructor interactions. 

Students complete 60 credits to earn an associate degree in human services. Major courses include: 

  • Introduction to Human Services
  • Perspectives in Mental Health & Mental Health Disorders
  • Social Psychology
  • Life-Span Development
  • Systems of Care

New England College, a private liberal arts college, is a regionally accredited school by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). 

Northcentral Technical College

Northcentral Technical College 

The online Human Services Associate Degree program at Northcentral Technical College is a popular training ground for aspiring human services professionals. Students develop their cultural awareness, commitment to serve, and communication skills. 

Students earn the human services associate’s degree by completing the 64-credit curriculum. Courses cover diverse topics including: 

  • Introduction to Human Services 
  • Introduction to Counseling 
  • Understanding Addiction 
  • Crisis Intervention and Stress Management 
  • Group Counseling Methods 

Graduates who earn the human services associate degree are adept at maximizing community resources for the benefit of clients. The degree also expands their career opportunities. 

The associate degree in human services represents the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in many four-year universities, too. Graduates can transfer credits to bachelor’s degree programs at Purdue University Global, Rasmussen College, and Marian University.

Possible bachelor’s degrees are in family services, social work, and human services. 

The approximate tuition and books in the human services program are nearly $11,000 in total. But check out the financial aid options to reduce the cost. 

Northcentral Technical College, a public community college, has institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University

The online Associate of Science in Human Services program at IWU prepares students for entry-level positions in human services-related occupations. Students are encouraged to turn their passion for service into a well-paying profession. 

The human services program emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach. Students learn the fundamentals of social work, criminal justice, and psychology. Graduates are then well-equipped for diverse career opportunities in human services, social work, and criminal justice. 

Students complete 60 credit hours to earn an associate degree in human services. The human services online program consists of 20 courses. The time to completion is around 27 months. 

The major human services online courses include: 

  • General Psychology
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Interview Skills in Human Services
  • Addictions Theory
  • Crisis Intervention

Students learn to use crisis intervention methods, social work practices, and other human services skills to serve others. 

A high school diploma or GED certification is needed for admission. Students will be awarded the degree with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. 

This is a fairly affordable human services associate’s degree program. Per-credit hour is about $305 but financial aid can reduce the total cost. 

Indiana Wesleyan University, a private evangelical Christian university, has accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

Brescia University

Brescia University

The online Associate of Arts in Human Services program has five start dates. Students are empowered to put their passion and talent toward making a difference. There’s an emphasis on serving diverse populations as part of the human services profession. 

Students develop their case management and basic counseling skills. The credits earned in the human services associate degree can also be transferred into a bachelor’s degree. Brescia University has online programs in psychology, social work, and integrated studies. 

This is a 63-credit human services program with major courses like: 

  • Introduction to Psychology 
  • Developmental Psychology 
  • Principles of Sociology 
  • Introduction to Social Work 
  • Social Issues in Diversity 

This is an affordable human services associate’s degree, too, thanks to financial aid options. Brescia University has frozen online tuition fees since 2016. 

Finish the degree in human services faster through Brescia’s generous transfer credits policy. Up to 24 credits from a regionally accredited school can be transferred. 

Brescia University, a private Catholic university, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  

Mount Wachusett Community College

Mount Wachusett Community College

The online Associate of Science in Human Services program empowers students to build their hard and soft skills. Commitment, community service, and competence as professionals are emphasized. 

Students also develop their basic counseling skills along with their interpersonal skills. Skills development occurs through a comprehensive curriculum. Liberal arts courses are interspersed with human services-centric courses like: 

  • Introduction To Human Services
  • Introduction To Psychology
  • Introduction To Sociology
  • Cultural Awareness 
  • Counseling Methods and Interviewing Techniques

Students complete 61-62 credits to earn the human services associate degree. 

The human services program provides students with hands-on learning experiences. Students complete a human services seminar and internship experience. Mental health clinics and community programs are among the sites for the 10-hour/week internship experience.

The exposure to real-world human and social services settings makes it among the best human services associate’s degree programs. Graduates can also transfer credits from the associate degree in human services to a bachelor’s degree program. 

Mount Wachusett Community College is officially accredited by the NECHE or New England Commission of Higher Education. 

Ultimate Medical Academy

Ultimate Medical Academy

The online Associate in Health and Human Services program can be completed in 18 months of accelerated, full-time study. Students are qualified for entry-level positions in the human services, healthcare, and social work sectors. 

Students earn the human services associate degree by completing 64 credits. Major courses include: 

  • Introduction to Health and Human Services 
  • Introduction to Counseling 
  • Public and Community Health 
  • Social Welfare 
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Services 

Human services students complete a capstone course, too. The integration course allows students to demonstrate their learnings. 

Students are provided with every possible support service to ensure they earn the human services associate degree. The student support services include academic support, financial aid guidance, and technical assistance. 

Ultimate Medical Academy, a nonprofit career education school, is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). 

SUNY Herkimer College

SUNY Herkimer College

The online Associate of Applied Science in Human Services program prepares students to become agents of change. Students gain an outstanding human services education. Socialization and networking opportunities are also provided. 

Human services students may also pursue the CarePath coach certification credential. Offered by the Mental Health Association of New York State, it expands career opportunities. 

This is a 64-credit human services associate degree program. Major courses include: 

  • Introduction to Human Services
  • Introduction to Psychology and Sociology 
  • Introduction to Case Management
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Group Counseling

Students get a well-rounded human services associate degree with internship experience. 

Every student support service in the human services associate’s degree program is accessible online. Registration, tutoring, and academic advisement are examples. 

Herkimer College is a regionally accredited institution by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Washburn University

Washburn University

The online Associate of Arts in Family and Human Services program at Washburn University provides students with the training to be successful professionals. Students learn about substance abuse, homelessness, and other human services issues. 

Students can complete the human services associate degree program in two years. The 15-credit major courses include: 

  • Family and Human Services
  • Working with Trauma
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Addictions Treatment
  • Special Topics in Human Services

Human services students complete an internship in family and human service agencies. The internship lasts for 150-200 hours.  

Washburn University, a Topeka, Kansas-based public university, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an institutional accreditation agency. 

SUNY Niagara County Community College

Niagara County Community College

The online Associate of Arts in Human Services program has a 64-credit curriculum. Credits can be transferred to four-year universities in the SUNY System. 

Online human services students complete the same curriculum and earn the same degree as their on-campus counterparts. Live classes mean online students learn from on-campus instructors, too. Students can also access online tutoring services, too. 

The human services associate degree program emphasizes learning by doing. Students not only learn via online courses but also through field experiences. These include clinical placements, internship experiences, and service learning. 

Niagara County Community College, a public community college, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), an institutional accreditation agency. 

Overview of Online Associate in Human Services Programs   

Prospective students interested in online associate in human services programs should research their options. The best online program fits their current circumstances, from flexible schedules to affordable tuition. 

Admission Requirements 

Most associate degrees in human services programs require prospective students to possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent, minimum. Cumulative GPA requirements are common, usually at the 2.0 threshold. 

Standardized test scores, placement exams, and letters of recommendation may or may not be required. Entrance exams are uncommon. 

Average Time-to-completion 

Full-time human services students can complete a typical program in two years. Many online human services programs, however, allow part-time matriculation with a longer time to completion. 

Transferring credits from college-level courses means cutting the number of credits that should be earned within the program. These include Advanced Placement and dual credits, life and work experience, and military training and service. Transferring credits also reduces the total tuition costs. 

Credits, Curriculum, and Courses  

The curriculum in human services programs consists of general education, elective, and specialized courses. These courses prepare students for the diversity of people, settings, and situations that human services professionals face during a working day. 

Most programs have a 60-credit hour curriculum but it can be higher due to the elective courses. The general education courses are intended to establish a solid liberal arts background. The elective courses enable students to tailor their degrees to their interests. 

The major courses establish the foundational knowledge that aspiring human services professionals must develop to succeed. 

Introduction to Human Services

Students learn the basic principles or practices of the field. Critical topics covered include social structures, delivery of care, and ethics. 

Systems of Care

Students learn about the current systems of care, from their history to their present status and future trends. The course covers the transformative effects of these systems of care on individuals, families, and communities. 

Perspectives on Mental Health 

Students prepare for situations where mental health is an issue for individuals and families. The course is an introduction to mental health disorders including their symptoms, causes, and treatments. 

Introduction to Criminal Justice

Students learn about the criminal justice system in the context of human services. Many graduates of human services programs work in the criminal justice system, too. 

Introduction to Psychology 

Students explore the major aspects of psychology as these are related to the delivery of human services and their systems. 

Crisis Intervention

Students develop practical skills rooted in theory that will serve them well in crisis intervention. 

Online Learning Technology 

All associate in human services online degree programs use multiple digital technologies to provide the best possible online education. Students must take on the responsibility of learning these digital technologies and using them to advance their academic success. 

Learning Management System

The learning management system (LMS) has features and functions that allow all aspects of online learning to occur smoothly. The online process consists of several aspects including: 

  • The administration of course materials like lectures, reading materials, and assignments; 
  • The documentation of student participation in class and grades 

Blackboard, Canvas, and Moodle are common LMSs used in the higher education setting. 

Assessments and Evaluations 

Online human services students are evaluated – and graded – based on their academic performance, too. Assignments, quizzes, and exams are the typical basis for their grades. 

Internship and Practicum Requirements 

Internships and practicum requirements prepare students for the real-world challenges of the human services field. Note that even a fully online program can still have these hands-on learning experiences. Students can fulfill the requirements in their local facilities, thus, skipping the on-campus visits. 

Workplace-Ready Skills and Traits 

Aspiring human services professionals should strive to develop these skills and traits: 

  • The passion and commitment to serve humanity, particularly those in need and in crisis situations 
  • The deep respect for the dignity of their fellowmen 
  • The understanding of the value of human life, preferably free from prejudices 
  • The ability to maintain credibility, honesty, and integrity despite challenging circumstances 
  • The passionate commitment to social justice 

Tuition and Financial Aid 

Getting a quality college education doesn’t have to result in overwhelming student debt! While an associate degree in human services in community colleges and public institutions can be affordable, look for financial aid options.

Online Associates in Human Services - fact

Overview of the Human Services Field 

The term “human services professionals” refers to the professionals and paraprofessionals who work in human and social services settings. These include but aren’t limited to: 

  • Correctional facilities 
  • Halfway houses and group homes 
  • Mental health centers 
  • Substance abuse referral and treatment facilities 
  • Nursing homes and similar facilities for the elderly 
  • Family, child, and youth services organizations 

Regardless of the workplace, human services professionals should be committed to empowering communities, families, and individuals to achieve the best quality of life. 

Examples of Occupational Titles of Human Services Professionals 

Due to the wide range of workplaces for human services graduates, there’s also a wide variety of job titles. Note that an associate in human services degree qualifies its holder for entry-level positions. Career advancement to supervisory and managerial positions usually requires a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience.  

When considering your career path, you can look into these job titles of human services professionals. 

  • Caseworker 
  • Behavioral management aide 
  • Social services liaison 
  • Mental health aide 
  • Client advocate 

Students in online associates in human services degree programs are well-advised to discuss their career options as early as possible. With so many choices, it may be in your best interest to narrow them down. 

General Competencies of Human Services Professional

Being in the human services field can take its physical and mental toll because of its people-centric approach. When pursuing your human services degree, you should develop these general competencies. 

  • Understand human systems including their nature and direction. These include human development, social interactions, and social issues. 
  • Identify and select appropriate interventions toward goal attainment including the promotion of individual and group growth. These include referrals, assistance, direct counseling, and advocacy. 
  • Plan, implement and evaluate the appropriate interventions selected. The competency includes skills in problem and decision analysis.  

The working conditions of human services professionals vary widely. Most work during regular office hours, or 40 hours per week, but may also spend evenings and weekends at work. The unpredictability of the working hours and places should be considered by aspiring students intent on pursuing a human services degree. 

Careers and Salaries of Graduates of Associate in Human Services Programs 

Careers and Salaries of Graduates of Associate in Human Services Programs 

Human services graduates qualify for these entry-level positions. 

Social and Human Services Assistants ($37,610 per year

These professionals provide a wide range of client services that support other professionals, such as social workers. Their workplaces may be in community programs where community services are delivered to people in need. 

Correctional Officers ($48,320 per year) 

Correctional officers work in jails and prisons where they supervise inmate activities, monitor inmate conduct, and assist in inmate transportation. 

Home Health and Personal Care Aides ($29,430 per year

These professionals work in assisted living facilities and nursing homes where people with chronic illnesses and disabilities receive assistance with daily living activities. 

Community Outreach Coordinators ($46,155 per year

Community outreach coordinators oversee the planning, execution, and evaluation of outreach programs in the community. These can include medical missions, art events, and fundraisers. 

Substance Abuse Counseling Aide ($46,000 per year)  

As assistants to substance abuse counselors, these professionals assist in the day-to-day activities of a facility. These can include setting appointments, interviewing clients and their families, and providing orientation. 

Careers and Salaries of Graduates of Associate in Human Services Programs 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it tough to earn an online Associate in Human Services? 

Pursuing a college education has its challenges and it isn’t different when pursuing an online associate in human services degree. You must put in the hours to read the reference materials, study for exams, and comply with other academic requirements. 

What are the continuing education possibilities? 

Earn an advanced degree like a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree for career advancement. 

What are the professional certifications for Human Services professionals? 

The Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) credential is highly recommended. 

Points to Ponder

  • The human services field is as diverse as the populations that its professionals and paraprofessionals want to serve.
  • Therein lies the beauty of earning an online associate in human services degree – you have nearly limitless career opportunities to pursue!

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Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor