An online Associate degree in Human Services provides a way to turn your passion for helping people into a gratifying career.
The associate’s degree prepares you for rewarding entry-level jobs such as human service assistant, social service specialist, residential care facility staff member, clinical social work aide, family service assistant, and community service specialist. Typically, human services assistants work closely with social workers.
Human services assistants work in government agencies, for-profit social services agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Human services assistants help clients find important benefits and community services. They coordinate services, help clients with daily activities, and provide emotional support.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a strong 22 percent employment growth for social and human services assistants from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average (about 10 percent) for all occupations.
Associate’s in Human Services degree program ranking guidelines
We selected the degrees based on academic excellence, range of available classes, faculty strength, rankings, and reputation.
Learn more about Human Services and Social Work degree options at Social Work Degrees and 25 Notable Online Programs
The Best Online Associate in Human Services Degree Programs
(University Park, PA)
Penn State World Campus, the online division of Pennsylvania State University, provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as certificate programs.
The online Associate in Human Development and Family Studies degree provides students with entry-level competencies in the human services field through academic and practical experiences. The program provides a foundation in lifespan and family development, as well as useful professional skills for program planning and service delivery. The program requires 60 credits.
Students in the Human Services Associate degree online can also obtain an undergraduate certificate in Adult Development and Aging Services and an undergraduate certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services. Students can apply the credits from these certificates to the Associate’s in Human Development and Family Studies degree.
The Adult Development and Aging Services option prepares students for an array of service roles in mental health facilities, as well as in nursing homes and other settings for the elderly.
The Children, Youth, and Family Services option prepares students to work with people in various age groups in institutions, agencies, and centers.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools provides accreditation.
2. Brescia University
Brescia University, a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university established in the Ursuline tradition of personal and social transformation through education, offers an array of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, as well as a few master’s degree programs. The university also offers a variety of online degree programs.
The online Associate’s degree in Human Services reviews the study and provision of human and social services to communities and individuals. The program provides skills useful in working with communities, groups, and individuals, as well as people with diverse ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. The program prepares students for entry-level jobs in an array of human services agencies.
The Associate in Human Services online degree program focuses on theory, information systems, crisis counseling and intervention, and case management, as well as other human services areas.
The Associate degree in Human Services online has major subject requirements in the fields of:
- Social work
Students need 63 credit hours to obtain the degree.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides Brescia University with accreditation.
3. Saint Joseph’s College Online
Saint Joseph’s College has a Catholic liberal arts tradition. Located two hours’ drive north of Boston on Maine’s beautiful Sebago Lake, the college should not be confused with similarly named schools in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine welcomes people of all faiths and ages.
Saint Joseph’s Online Division provides graduate and undergraduate degrees, certificate programs, and continuing education courses.
The Online Associate of Science in Human Services Degree helps students develop the knowledge and skills to work with people in an array of settings and situations.
The online Human Services Associate degree program includes core courses such as:
- Introduction to Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Social Problems
- Principles of Sociology
- Race and Ethnic Relations
The New England Association of Schools & Colleges provides Saint Joseph’s College with accreditation.
4. Western New Mexico University
Silver City, NM)
Western New Mexico University, a public university, provides a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees.
The online Associate of Arts in Human Services degree covers the nature and scope of human services work and more. The program prepares students for jobs in settings such as elder care facilities, substance treatment centers, healthcare facilities, family, child and youth agencies, community health centers, government agencies and more.
The online Associate in Human Services degree includes the following core classes:
- Introduction to Human Services
- Introduction to Group Dynamics
- Ethics in Social Work and Human Services
- Interviewing Techniques
- Principles of Diversity
- Individual and Family Development
- Human Services Delivery Systems
- Resource and Information Literacy for Human Services
- Case Management, Planning and Evaluation
The online Associate degree in Human Services includes 60 credits.
The Higher Learning Commission provides Western New Mexico University with accreditation.
Columbia College, a private liberals arts and sciences college, is a nonsectarian college with a covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The college welcomes students of all religious denominations.
The Associate in Science in Human Services degree program helps students develop empirically based knowledge and practical skills for work in the human service field. The program includes 60 semester hours.
The Human Services Associate degree online includes courses such as:
- Working with Families
- Working with Groups
- Working with Individuals
- Minority Cultures and Relations
- American Social Policy
The Higher Learning Commission provides Columbia College with accreditation.
6. Excelsior College
Excelsior College, a private, non-profit, virtual university, provides an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The Online Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts with concentration in Human Services prepares students for jobs in health services, family services, and elder care. The degree includes 60 credits.
The Associate degree in Human Services online program provides classes such as:
- Introduction to Human Services
- Introduction to Interdisciplinary Social Science
- Managing Human Resources
- Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
- Organizational Behavior
- Ethics and Social Policy
- Ethics of Health Care
Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Kaplan University, a for-profit university, offers a variety of on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
The Associate of Applied Science in Human Services degree combines theory with practice. Students learn how to evaluate public and private policies powering the daily operations of human services agencies.
The program emphasizes identifying, planning, and using resources to help clients, as well as using information and systems to effectively manage and support human services delivery.
The online Human Services Associate degree also emphasizes the importance of culture, diversity, and gender, as well as global perspectives.
Kaplan University received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
8. Cornerstone University
(Grand Rapids, MI)
Cornerstone University, an independent, non-denominational Christian University, offers a couple of associate’s degrees and numerous bachelor’s degrees.
The Associate in Human Services online degree program includes a variety of core subjects and courses specific to human services. The program provides the basic helping skills required in human services.
The program covers applying leadership principles and practices and making ethical decisions from a Christian worldview.
The Associate in Human Services program includes coursework in individual and group projects. Students need 60 credits to graduate.
The online Associate degree in Human Services includes courses such as:
- Introduction to Sociology
- General Psychology
- Foundations of Wellness
- Intercultural Relations
- Current Social Issues
- Contemporary issues in Science and Technology
The program also includes field experience with an appropriate agency related to the student’s area of interest.
9. Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College, the largest public, post-secondary institution in Indiana, has numerous campuses throughout the state. The community college also operates an online division.
The Associate in Human Services online degree covers ethical and theoretical principles, as well as practical skills.
Through specialty training, students explore working with populations such as youth and the elderly, as well as helping people with addictions and intellectual disabilities. The program includes 60 credits.
The Associate degree in Human Services online includes courses such as:
- Helping Relationship Techniques
- Interviewing and Assessment
- Group Process and Skills
- Understanding Diversity
- Issues and Ethics in Human Services
10. Iowa Central Community College Online
(Fort Dodge, IA)
Iowa Central Community College, a comprehensive community college, provides a wide variety of degree programs.
The Associate in Human Services degree covers various aspects of society. The program includes a core foundation.
Many of the instructors work directly in the human services field. Students can complete the program in less than two years.
The online Human Services Associate degree requirements include the following classes:
- Introduction to Human Services
- Ethics for Human Services Professionals
- Introduction to Counseling
- Human Behavior in the Social Environment
- Introduction to Sociology
- Minority Group Relations
- Field Experience
Iowa Central Community College received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Studying for an Associate’s of Human Services Degree
Associate’s degrees in Human Services help those with a passion to help others.
Two popular reasons for obtaining an associate’s in Human Services include getting professional training for job placement or advancement, and laying the groundwork for a bachelor’s degree. Of course, for many people these two reasons overlap.
But for others, a four-year degree is not an immediate goal—they simply want to grasp the fundamentals of their chosen career as quickly as possible. The Associate’s in Human Services degree can satisfy both goals!
Whether you find yourself among those with future plans for obtaining a bachelor’s degree, or those seeking credentials for job placement or advancement, you need to understand the different kinds of associate’s degrees.
For professional qualifications, an A.A.S. (Associate in Applied Science) degree will require the least amount of general education classes, meaning you get to study more what directly pertains to your career desires. If you later decide that a bachelor’s degree interests you, then you can apply your A.A.S. credits towards a bachelor’s degree, but you will have more general education courses (“Gen Eds”) to complete in route to your bachelor’s. An A.A.S. tends to be regarded as a professional, or “terminal” degree, meaning it is not designed to lead to, or be followed by, a bachelor’s degree.
The other kind of associate’s degree can be found in two forms: the A.A. (Associate of Arts) or the A.S. (Associate of Science). Either degree will help you get your foot in the door of a job, and as importantly, either will prepare you for a bachelor’s degree. As pointed out earlier, however, with an A.A. or A.S. you will take more Gen Eds and fewer career-specific courses. Don’t look at that as a deterrent, however, because you might likely find yourself wanting a bachelor’s degree further down the road. In that case, this will have been the way to go.
One popular direction that Human Services associate degree recipients take is to subsequently earn their Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) degree. The BSW is highly regarded and opens up many doors, plus (though this is considerably farther down the road) the BSW will put you in advanced standing for a Master of Social Work (MSW), and there, the job opportunities are plentiful.
So, whether you want minimal academic training to become qualified for a job, or your life demands that you break your academic training into more “bite-sized” pieces, an online Associate degree in Human Services can help get you where you want to go. As always, however, it is important to obtain your degree from a reputable school, as your school’s reputation reflects upon you.
Therefore, if you are planning on working for your Associate’s in Human Services degree online, you still need to make an informed choice among the many programs available out there. And that is why we have prepared for you the above ranking of The 10 Best Online Associate in Human Services Degree Programs.