Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Services 2021

by TBS Staff
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Human services professionals include case management aides, correctional treatment specialists, and social service assistants.

In these roles, professionals help clients access community programs and social services. The first step to one of these careers is to earn a human services bachelor's degree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a bachelor of human services online meets education requirements for several community and social service jobs, many of which offer strong job growth potential. For example, the BLS projects 13% job growth for social and human service assistants between 2018 and 2028.

Featured Online Schools

Best Online Bachelor's in Human Services Programs

Southern New Hampshire University true View School Profile Manchester, NH 54% 68% New England Commission on Higher Education

Founded in 1932, SNHU teaches about 3,000 students on campus and a stunning 135,000 students online.

SNHU offers an online bachelor of arts in human services program with three concentrations: child and family services, gerontology, and substance abuse. Courses last 8 weeks and may include case management, lifespan development, and abnormal psychology.

Students must earn 120 credits to graduate and may transfer up to 90 credits. Applicants must submit transcripts.

Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Shorter University true View School Profile Rome, GA 46% 62% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1873 as the Cherokee Baptist Female College, Shorter University earned its name just four years later thanks to a major donation from the Shorter family.

Shorter offers both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree programs for human services. Students can choose to complete this program online.

First-year applicants must submit a transcript with a GPA of at least 2.25, as well as ACT/SAT scores. Applicants with 24 or more transferrable credits must submit a transcript with a GPA of at least 2.0.

Shorter University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

University of North Dakota true View School Profile $$$ Grand Forks, ND 55% 48% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1883, UND boasts the largest campus in the state and has over 13,600 students enrolled. 

Students have the opportunity to earn a bachelor of science in rehabilitation and human services through UND's online program. Concentrations include substance abuse, mental health, and gerontology, among others.

Students must complete 120 credits and an internship at a professional rehabilitation agency to graduate.

First-year applicants must submit transcripts. UND prefers a GPA of at least 2.75.

University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Ottawa University-Online true View School Profile Ottawa, KS 51% 54% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1865 on Baptist principles, Ottawa University operates campuses in three states, as well as online.

Ottawa provides students the opportunity to earn a bachelor of arts in human and social services through a hybrid curriculum. Possible specializations include advocacy, child and family services, and mental health. Classes last 8 weeks.

Students must complete at least 43 credits of degree-specific courses to graduate. 

Applicants must submit transcripts and complete a Professional College Advisory Session.

Ottawa University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh true View School Profile $$ Oshkosh, WI 53% 43% Higher Learning Commission

Part of the University of Wisconsin system, UW-Oshkosh operates three distinct campuses and offers over 200 degree programs.

UW-Oshkosh offers an online bachelor of science degree in human services leadership. Courses occur on an asynchronous schedule and may include human behavior and strategies for intervention; interpersonal relations in the helping professions; and globalization in human services.

To graduate, students must complete 120 credits and two internships. First-year applicants must submit transcripts, an essay, and a resume through the main UW admissions system.

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College View School Profile Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 57% 70% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1841, SMWC emphasizes Catholic values in its education and traditions.

SMWC offers its bachelor of science in human services program through an online format. Sample courses include techniques of counseling, contemporary social problems, and racial and cultural minorities.

In addition to general education requirements, students must earn 55 credits in major courses to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts or their GED score.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Southeastern University View School Profile Lakeland, FL 42% 51% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1935 as Alabama Shield of Faith Institute, Southeastern University moved its campus and changed its name several times before transforming it into its current iteration.

Students can complete Southeastern's bachelor of science in human services degree program fully online. Courses include case management and intervention, group dynamics, and understanding human diversity. Courses last 8 weeks.

Students must complete 121 credits and two practicum courses to graduate. First-year and transfer applicants must submit transcripts, an essay, and a Christian character reference form.

Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

LeTourneau University View School Profile Longview, TX 59% 45% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1946 as LeTourneau Technical Institute, modern-day LETU carries a strong tradition of Christian values into its curriculum.

Students can earn LETU's bachelor of human services degree through 100% online courses that last 5 weeks each. Possible courses include addiction, grant writing, and criminology. 

To graduate, students must complete 120 credits and earn a "C" grade or higher in all major courses. Applicants must submit transcripts and other forms as requested.

LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Troy University View School Profile $$ Troy, AL 43% 63% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1929 as a teaching college, Troy currently operates multiple campuses in Alabama, on military bases around the U.S., and around the world in partnership with other universities. 

Students may take courses for Troy's bachelor of science in human services program through the online learning portal. Courses include diversity, ethics, and professional communication.

In addition to general education requirements, students must complete 36 credits in major courses, including a field experience course.

Applicants must submit transcripts and test scores. 

Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Anderson University View School Profile Anderson, SC 59% 58% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

As a Christian liberal arts institution, AU emphasizes academics, faith, hospitality, and purpose.

Students can complete AU's bachelor of human services degree in a "flex online" format. Courses last 7 weeks and include social welfare policies and services, case management, and crisis intervention.

Students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts or a GED score.

Anderson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Colorado State University-Global Campus View School Profile Aurora, CO 70% 49% Higher Learning Commission

Part of the CSU system, CSU-Global focuses entirely on online degree programs to ensure remote learning remains high-quality and accessible.

CSU-Global designed its 100% online bachelor of science in human services program to provide a competent foundation in human development, intervention methods, and case management. 

Students can optionally specialize in topics like organizational leadership, healthcare management, and more. Classes operate asynchronously and start on a monthly basis. 

Students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts and a resume.

Colorado State University Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

California Baptist University View School Profile Riverside, CA 55% 70% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Founded in 1950 on Christian values, this private university employs 100% Christian faculty and staff. 

CBU Online offers an online bachelor of arts degree in human services, which many students complete in 16 months. Courses include diversity and social justice, crisis intervention, and marriage and the family.

In addition to general education requirements, students must complete 42 credits in major courses to graduate.

Applicants must submit transcripts with a minimum GPA of 2.0. CBU prefers applicants with at least 24 transferrable credits.

California Baptist University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

Western Washington University View School Profile $$$ Bellingham, WA 68% 42% Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Located on the shores of Bellingham Bay, Western emphasizes sustainability on its campus and in its ideals.

Students can earn Western's bachelor of arts in human services degree in an online format. This major's five-credit courses include social welfare policy, applied research methods, and narrative in human services.

Students must complete 180 credits to graduate, with 75 credits in major courses. An internship and a seminar course make up 10 of the major credits. Students must earn a grade of "C-" or better on major courses.

Program applicants must have already fulfilled their general education requirements or completed a direct transfer degree from a Washington state community college. They must also show a minimum GPA of 2.75 on their transcripts, submit essays, and complete a criminal history background check.

Western Washington University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Judson University View School Profile Elgin, IL 64% 68% Higher Learning Commission

An evangelical Christian college, Judson maintains a small student body of about 1,250. 

Judson offers its bachelor of arts in human services degree completion program in an online format. Courses include advocacy and social justice, research design and analysis, and social welfare policy. 

In addition to general education requirements, students must complete 46 credits in major courses to graduate.

Applicants must have 40 transferrable credits and submit transcripts that show a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Judson also expects applicants to have at least two years of work experience.

Judson University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global View School Profile Marion, IN 71% 59% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1920 as Marion College, IWU maintains a strong focus on delivering education through the lens of Christianity. 

IWU approaches its online bachelor of science in human services degree completion curriculum from a biblical perspective. Courses include addiction counseling skills, crisis intervention, and systems of social change.

To graduate, students must complete 120 credits, including 45 earned from major courses, and at least 30 credits earned from IWU. Students must also earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. Applicants must submit transcripts and possess at least 60 transferrable credits. 

Indiana Wesleyan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

East Tennessee State University View School Profile $$ Johnson City, TN 45% 46% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1911, ETSU currently teaches over 14,500 students across ten colleges.

Students can earn a bachelor of science in human services degree from ETSU via 100% online courses. Sample courses include administration of human services organizations, research methods, and counseling theory and practice.

Students must complete 120 credit hours and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better to graduate. Required major courses include a practicum and internship.

Applicants must submit transcripts with a GPA of 2.3 or better, or an ACT composite score of 19 or better.

East Tennessee State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Elizabethtown College School of Continuing and Professional Studies View School Profile Elizabethtown, PA

Founded in 1899 by the Church of the Brethren, Elizabethtown values peace and social justice.

Elizabethtown offers its bachelor in human services degree program in fully online and hybrid formats. Students may choose to also specialize in behavioral and addiction counseling. Sample courses include criminology, community-based treatments, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Students typically take one 5-week course at a time.

Students must complete 125 credits to graduate, and 30 must come from Elizabethtown. Applicants must submit transcripts, a resume, and an essay.

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

Florida State College at Jacksonville View School Profile Jacksonville, FL 38% 21% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded over 50 years ago, FSCJ teaches over 45,000 students annually.

FSCJ offers an online bachelor of science in human services degree. Courses include current issues in mental health, ethics in human services, and health welfare delivery systems. Students must choose a specialization in either human services for education. 

Students must complete 120 hours and an internship (which requires a criminal background check) to graduate. Students must also maintain a minimum C grade in all major courses. Applicants must submit transcripts and test scores.

Florida State College at Jacksonville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Granite State College View School Profile $$ Concord, NH 23% 57% New England Commission on Higher Education

Part of the University System of New Hampshire, GSC teaches 100% online classes to more than 77% of its students.

Students enrolled in GSC's bachelor of science in human services degree program can choose from eight concentrations, including addiction studies, court advocacy, and family studies.

To graduate, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and complete 120 credits, 30 of which must come from Granite State. Applicants must submit transcripts or a GED score.

Granite State College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Upper Iowa University View School Profile Fayette, IA 43% 52% Higher Learning Commission

UIU operates 23 locations in addition to a 100% online learning platform.

Students enrolled in UIU's online bachelor of human services program can take 8-week courses or set their own self-paced schedule. Sample courses include methods in human services and healthcare economics.

Applicants must submit transcripts or a GED score.

Upper Iowa University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Spring Arbor University View School Profile Spring Arbor, MI 57% 69% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1873, SAU educates students with a faith-based approach.

Students can complete SAU's bachelor of science in human services degree through 100% online courses. Sample course topics include racial and ethnic relations, abnormal psychology, and research design. 

Applicants must submit transcripts or a GED score, plus a writing sample. Transfer students must show a 2.0 GPA to apply up to 84 credits from another institution.

Spring Arbor University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

University of the Cumberlands View School Profile Williamsburg, KY 33% 40% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1888 as the Williamsburg Institute, Cumberlands earned its current name in 2005.

Cumberlands offers an online bachelor's degree program in human services. Students study current social issues, behavioral theory, and counseling skills.

Students must complete 120 credits and an internship to graduate.

Applicants must submit transcripts or a GED score. Transfer students must show a cumulative GPA of 2.0 on previous college work.

University of the Cumberlands is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

National Louis University View School Profile Chicago, IL 22% 44% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1886, NLU remains a private, non-denominational institution with over 9,000 students.

NLU offers its bachelor of arts in human services degree program in a fully online or hybrid format. Students complete over 300 hours of internship experience. Courses include legal issues in human services, research methods for behavioral science, and family intervention principles.

Students must complete 180 quarter hours and maintain a grade of "C" or higher in all required courses to graduate.

All applicants must submit transcripts that show a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better.

National Louis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Lees-McRae College View School Profile Banner Elk, NC 37% 76% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in the early 1900s, Lees-McRae offered its first online degree programs in the early 2000s.

Lees-McRae provides students the opportunity to earn a bachelor of applied arts and sciences in human services through its online degree completion program. Sample courses include navigating relationships, leadership and advocacy, and human services for special populations.

Applicants must possess an associate degree and submit transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and an essay. To graduate, students must take 60 credits in major courses at Lees-McRae. 

Lees-McRae College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Grace College and Theological Seminary View School Profile Winona Lake, IN 57% 56% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1937, Grace offers a higher education with the support of evangelical Christian values.

Students completing their bachelor of science in human services degree from Grace take courses in a 100% online format. Courses last 5 weeks. Sample topics include systems of social welfare, human growth and development, and diversity and teamwork in the workplace.

To graduate, sudents must complete 45 credits in major courses and 30 credits in other courses.

Applicants must have 60 transferrable credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Grace may consider life and career experiences in lieu of up to 24 credits.

Grace College and Seminary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Online Bachelor's in Human Services Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the online human services degree programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school's reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

What Is a Bachelor's in Human Services Degree?

A Human Services Bachelor's degree online is a degree that teaches individuals to meet the needs of the clients and communities they serve. An online human services degree provides a strong foundation of knowledge in areas such as case management, advocacy, human services administration, minority issues, substance abuse, and family issues. The programs typically blend traditional coursework with internship and/or practicum experiences to give students a balance of theoretical and practical knowledge and skills. Some of the programs include specializations.

What Is the Difference Between Human Services Degree and a Social Work Degree?

The difference between human services and social work is that human services professionals work at large-scale settings, while social workers work at small-scale settings. While related (and often working together), human services and social work differ in key ways. Each field helps people, but with different methods and goals. Social workers tend to help on an individual basis, at the “ground level,” meeting clients and addressing their needs. Social workers work directly with clients to implement social programs. They work directly with clients to help them gain access to services that address their specific problems. Also, some social workers serve as counselors.

The difference between human services and social work is that human services professionals work at large-scale settings, while social workers work at small-scale settings.

Human services professionals tend to work on a larger scale, in community-based settings, they often coordinate services and help create programs to serve the needs of a specific population. They often have an administrative role which involves research, planning and supervision. Many human services professionals work in an administrative role to help individuals and communities gain access to basic needs.

Human services professionals working in institutional settings, community or residential care may provide direct services such as organizing an activity or leading a group.

Some human service professionals serve as advocates for people they serve, in public and political realms, influencing policy and funding to make vital resources more available.

Human Services Careers

With a Bachelor's degree in Human Services, individuals can pursue careers in a variety of specialty fields and professional settings in the human services field. Human services professionals work in the public or the private sector in places such as:

  • Addiction Care
  • Family Services
  • Food and Nutrition Agencies
  • Health Services
  • Immigrant Services
  • Legal and Victims Assistance Organizations
  • Mental Health Facilities
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Private Agencies
  • Public Safety and Disaster Relief Organizations
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Residential Care
  • Senior Citizen Centers
  • Social Advocacy
  • State and Federal Justice Systems
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Women's Shelters
  • Youth Development Organizations
  • Youth Services

The human services sector basically has two types of jobs: Employees who work directly with clients and employees who provide administrative support for an organization providing human services.

Many human services workers with a bachelor's degree spend a lot of time managing client cases. Some of them also provide clinical support. Additional professional certifications can aid in pursuing specific career paths.

Potential jobs include:

  • Adult Day Care Worker
  • Agency Volunteer Coordinator
  • Case Worker
  • Case Manager
  • Child Advocate
  • Client Advocate
  • Community Action Worker
  • Community Organizer
  • Community Outreach Worker
  • Counselor
  • Executive Director
  • Family Support Worker
  • Foster Care Case Manager
  • Gerontology Specialist
  • Group Home Attendant
  • Juvenile Court Liaison
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Parole or Probation Officer
  • Rehabilitation Case Manager
  • Substance Abuse Worker
  • Wellness Specialist
  • Youth Treatment Specialist

Human Services Job Outlook

The job outlook for human services professionals remains high, with a steady need across many fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, community and social service occupations enjoy a job growth outlook of 11% from 2018-2028, much faster than most occupations.

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