The Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Services Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated August 12, 2022

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Human Services Degree

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

  1. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    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).

  2. Shorter University
    Location

    Rome, GA

    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).

  3. University of North Dakota
    Location

    Grand Forks, ND

    Tuition

    $15374

    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).

  4. Ottawa University-Online
    Location

    Ottawa, KS

    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).

  5. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
    Location

    Oshkosh, WI

    Tuition

    $12819

    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).

  6. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    Location

    Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

    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).

  7. Southeastern University
    Location

    Lakeland, FL

    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).

  8. LeTourneau University
    Location

    Longview, TX

    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).

  9. Troy University
    Location

    Troy, AL

    Tuition

    $12114

    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).

  10. Anderson University
    Location

    Anderson, SC

    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).

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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