An online human services degree can prepare you to help people in several growing demographics. As the baby boomer generation ages, resources must expand to meet their needs. The increasing recognition of substance addiction as a health issue, rather than a criminal offense, also creates a higher demand for human service professionals.
Because of these growing issues, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 16% employment growth for social and human service assistants between 2016 and 2026. An online associate degree in human services prepares graduates to join this much-needed workforce.
Choosing a Program
Students who complete an associate degree in human services online gain assessment, case management, and leadership skills. These prepare graduates to work in fields such as community health education and rehabilitation.
Completing an online associate degree in human services usually requires students to earn approximately 60 credits. Students complete coursework in topics such as lifespan development, sociology, and community organization. They also examine human services history, law, and ethics. Some programs require students to complete an internship.
Full-time students typically spend two years completing an online human services associate degree.
For career information, skip down:
- What Will I Learn in an Online Associate in Human Services Program?
- Online Associate in Human Services Careers
- Educational Paths for Online Human Services Associate Programs
- Accreditation for Online Associate in Human Services Degrees
- Professional Organizations for Human Services
Online Associate in Human Services Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
What Are the Best Online Associate in Human Services Programs?
1. Madisonville Community College
Part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Madisonville Community College was recently the only two-year college in the country to simultaneously hold two Title III grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Founded in 1968, MCC quickly developed a reputation for offering comprehensive, affordable associate degrees in a variety of majors.
MCC’s 64-credit online associate degree in human services takes a hands-on approach to the discipline. In addition to 30 hours of general education coursework, students pursuing the human services degree complete a series of required technical classes that impart foundational skills and techniques. Lectures present a broad survey of major theories and common practices in counseling, psychology, and the social sciences, which learners subsequently apply during a four-credit field experience in a clinical setting.
While the school delivers all its courses in a self-paced format through Blackboard, some courses may require students to complete proctored exams at an approved location. Online learners receive full access to academic advising resources and MCC’s digital library. Kentucky residents and out-of-state students pay the same per-credit fee, and online students are eligible to apply for numerous scholarships.
Prospective students must submit official high school or college transcripts, or GED scores, along with an application. Applicants who do not meet the minimum ACT score requirements must complete the online TABE/KYOTE assessment for appropriate course placement prior to starting classes. The school evaluates transfer credits on a case-by-case basis, and students may apply up to 24 credits toward their MCC degree.
MCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. Bismarck State College
Bismarck, North Dakota
This North Dakota institution takes pride in remaining at the forefront of technological advancement. Best known for its sustainable energy programs, BSC specializes in offering innovative, workforce-relevant degrees that address emerging technologies and ideas. Along with four-year liberal arts degrees and technical certificates, the college offers two-year programs in a variety of fields, including digital audio production, phlebotomy, and human services.
Consisting of 60 credit hours, BSC’s career-focused online human services associate degree builds the skills needed to take on entry-level positions in the field. Courses build familiarity with the issues and assistance programs human services professionals encounter most frequently, including Medicaid, nutritional assistance, and substance abuse. Elective options include courses on gerontology, juvenile delinquency, and abnormal and developmental psychology. The program culminates in an internship, during which learners work alongside a local human services provider of their choosing.
Applicants must provide official high school transcripts, GED scores, or college transcripts. Like other schools in the North Dakota University System, BSC requires all prospective students to complete a placement exam. While applicants may take the Accuplacer exam offered through the college, BSC also accepts ACT or SAT scores from within the last five years. Per-credit tuition varies according to the student’s state of residence, as well as course subject and level. Approximately 75% of learners who apply for one of BSC’s many institutional scholarships receive an award.
BSC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Northwest Iowa Community College
The first community college in the state, Northwest Iowa Community College also claims status as Iowa’s smallest and most rural community college. In 1994, NCC began offering web-based dual enrollment programs to students at rural high schools throughout the region. Today, online learners can choose between more than 750 courses and several degrees, including nine pre-professional transfer programs.
Students enrolled in NCC’s human services associate degree online can transfer to a four-year institution upon graduation. The 60-credit curriculum includes 45 hours of general education coursework and 15 elective hours from any field. Five major courses introduce fundamental concepts related to family dynamics, juvenile delinquency, and substance abuse.
In addition, all human services degree candidates must complete a college experience course, regardless of their major. Online programs follow the same term-based schedule as their on-campus counterparts, and the school delivers its coursework in a synchronous format with weekly deadlines. NCC requires online students to attend on-campus classes one day per week, and learners must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better to graduate.
After acceptance, all prospective students must speak with an adviser prior to enrollment to create a degree plan that meets their needs. Online learners receive full access to on-campus resources, including tutoring services, library materials, and the NCC bookstore.
NCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Gateway Community and Technical College
Part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Gateway Community and Technical College is located in Florence, Kentucky. Gateway offers more than 30 affordable professional certificates and career-focused two-year degrees. Graduates of Gateway’s associate degree in human services online program give back to the community in a variety of ways, finding employment with local children’s advocacy organizations, ministries, schools, and mental health facilities.
Presenting a broad overview of the human services profession and its related competencies, Gateway’s associate of applied science program imparts both fundamental concepts and hands-on skills. Learners explore group and family dynamics, the nature of various social services, and the psychological factors that drive individuals and communities. The curriculum’s four-credit clinical practice component requires students to complete 180 hours of supervised work-study in a local human services setting.
While most graduates pursue an AAS for professional development purposes, the curriculum also fulfills bachelor’s prerequisites for students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions. As an incentive to continue in higher education, the college awards $2,500 scholarships towards a bachelor’s program to students who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA during their time at Gateway.
Students can earn prior learning credit in a variety of ways, including CLEP, AP, and STEP exams and by developing a professional portfolio. Gateway also awards college credit for qualifying volunteer work, travel experiences, and many other activities.
Gateway is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
5. Alexandria Technical & Community College
Alexandria Technical and Community College was founded in 1961 in response to increased local demand for vocational training programs. Since its establishment, ATCC has grown in size and scope, expanding to offer comprehensive college degrees as well as technical programs. After its incorporation into the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, ATCC gained the distinction of becoming the first two-year college in the state to receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
The college’s 64-credit online human services associate degree offers a unique, professionally oriented curriculum. Like most AAS programs, the degree includes a series of general education courses; however, students can select these courses from three major-related “goal areas” of their choice. Learners may further personalize their degree by choosing an emphasis in either child or adult services. Major courses span a variety of broadly applicable topics and concepts, including intervention techniques, life psychology, and professional skills for human services workers. Students who receive faculty permission can complete a four-credit internship at an approved local facility of their choice.
ATCC allows all registered students to lease a laptop on a semester or weekly basis. Distance learners can apply for multiple institutional scholarships. The school charges in-state and out-of-state students the same per-credit tuition. Prospective students must provide official high school transcripts or GED scores with their application.
ATTC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. Genesee Community College
Batavia, New York
Genesee Community College is a public, open-admission college affiliated with the SUNY system. GCC’s is home to around 6,000 students, including representatives from more than 21 countries, most of whom transfer to a four-year SUNY institution after graduation. The college’s state-of-the-art Batavia campus features 82 technologically-enhanced “smart classrooms” and distance learning labs, which faculty use to develop and transmit 14 eLearning programs.
Students pursuing a human services associate degree online may select from AS and AAS program options. While both 62-credit programs impart the fundamental concepts and competencies required of human service professionals, they differ in approach and content. Intended for students who intend to earn a bachelor’s degree, the associate of science curriculum was designed to meet the general education requirements held by many four-year institutions. In addition to major and general coursework, AS candidates complete nine elective credits in their chosen concentration, in addition to a two-semester internship.
Emphasizing experiential learning, the AAS program is geared toward those planning to seek employment immediately after graduation. Learners can choose from five concentrations, including gerontology and substance abuse, and must complete two semesters of fieldwork in a local setting related to their field of study. While the school offers more than half of all required coursework online, students must travel to campus for some courses.
GCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
7. Niagara County Community College
Sanborn, New York
Strategically located between the city of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, this Sanborn, New York institution sits only minutes from the Canadian border. As a SUNY system affiliate, NCCC is renowned for combining affordability, academic rigor, and accessibility. The college offers five of its 48 associate degrees in web-based formats, including a 64-credit online associate degree in human services.
In addition to general education requirements, degree candidates complete at least 16 credit hours of core major coursework. Addressing topics such as grief and coping, disability, and social policy, these classes familiarize students with the issues and challenges commonly encountered in human services. Learners may further refine their studies by selecting a concentration, such as chemical dependency counseling, gerontology, or early childhood education. Prior to graduation, all candidates complete an 80-hour field experience in a setting relevant to their concentration. Students pursuing the disability studies or chemical dependency counseling tracks can choose from additional work-study options.
Though NCCC offers self-paced coursework, all online classes feature weekly assignment deadlines and require active participation. Online learners must log in to discussion forums at least three times per week.
NCCC maintains an open enrollment admissions policy, and accepts applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. The school considers individuals who have completed at least one college-level course at another institution transfer students.
NCCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
8. Thomas Edison State University
Trenton, New Jersey
Established in 1972, this New Jersey institution was founded with the goal of making higher education accessible to working adults. With an average student age of 35, TESU stands out for its unique student body as well as its flexible degree options. The university boasts generous transfer protocols, numerous distance learning programs, and a policy of awarding credit for professional and life experience.
TESU offers a career-focused associate program for professionals currently employed in the human services field. Emphasizing theoretical knowledge, intervention strategies, and client population issues, the 60-credit curriculum deepens and builds upon prior professional knowledge. Students develop a practical toolkit for addressing the needs and challenges of specific populations, as well as an enhanced understanding of intervention methodologies. Prior to graduation, learners synthesize their acquired knowledge and skills in a hands-on capstone experience.
During the university’s streamlined admissions process, each applicant’s academic, employment, and military records are analyzed for any potential transfer or prior learning credit opportunities. TESU offers college credit for professional certification, military training, and continuing education coursework, as well as artistic pursuits, organizational membership, and many other accomplishments. Applicants who wish to earn an associate degree in human services online must provide a current resume demonstrating at least six months or 800 hours of recent work experience. All prospective students must be at least 21 years of age and hold a high school diploma or GED.
TESU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
9. Hagerstown Community College
Founded in 1946 with a student body of only 25, Hagerstown Community College holds the distinction of being Maryland’s oldest public two-year institution. Today, HCC serves more than 7,000 individuals every year through a variety of learning initiatives, including the ESSENCE early college program, adult basic skills courses, and 24 fully online degrees and certificate programs.
HCC offers two 60-credit pathways for students interested in earning an associate degree in human services online. Graduates of the AS program are fully prepared to seek a four-year human services degree, while the AAS technician curriculum introduces the foundational skills required to take on entry-level and paraprofessional positions. While both programs include around 20 credits of general education coursework and a series of core courses, each takes a different approach to the human services major. AAS candidates complete 31 credits of required major courses that emphasize practical and professional skills, including a first aid class and a four-credit internship. Students pursuing the AS must fulfill 15 credits of major core coursework, along with an additional 15 elective credits.
After submitting official high school transcripts or GED scores, prospective students must undergo Accuplacer placement testing before meeting with an adviser. Online learners must contact HCC’s Academic Testing Center to arrange a remote site testing session at an approved location. Applicants with sufficient SAT or ACT scores are exempt from the placement testing requirements.
HCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSCHE).
10. Northcentral Technical College
With six campus locations throughout Wisconsin and a robust eLearning initiative, Northcentral Technical College offers 150 customizable academic and technical programs. NTC’s Virtual College is unique among distance learning divisions for offering entirely self-paced courses that feature rolling start dates and flexible deadlines. “Late start” courses allow students to enroll in a class up to 10 weeks into the semester, allowing learners to earn up to three credits in three weeks.
Consisting of 67 credit hours, NTC’s online human services associate degree offers both a broad survey of sociological and psychological theories and insight into specialized topics and populations. Learners gain the skills needed to effectively assess crisis situations and provide appropriate counseling and intervention. While core courses introduce fundamental topics in developmental psychology, substance abuse, and counseling strategies, elective coursework provides an in-depth look at the needs of particular client bases. The program culminates in a field experience, during which students complete either a two-part internship at a local facility, or an approved service-learning program.
Online students may shorten their degree completion time further by testing out of required courses, providing adequate standardized exam scores, or holding industry-related credentials. Tuition rates vary according to residency status, semester, and individual course. Students earning at least six credits per semester can apply for NTC Foundation Scholarships.
NTC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Iowa Central Community College
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Located in Fort Dodge, Iowa Central Community College’s mission is to make college accessible, resulting in some of the most flexible online learning programs in the country. The college’s unique course format allows online students to enroll in two eight-week courses at a time, with some classes beginning every four weeks. Major options include business, criminal justice, and a fully online human services associate degree.
Iowa Central’s 67-credit associate of professional studies program integrates traditional liberal arts coursework with basic theoretical, technical, and ethical principles related to human service professions. Students explore social problems in light of American history, government, and cultural relations, examining the interplay between institutions, public policy, and social services. After completing introductory psychology and sociology coursework, learners build familiarity with basic practices in gerontology, counseling, and ethical conflict. Degree candidates also complete a two-semester field experience, which combines observation with supervised practice in multiple agency settings.
Following acceptance, students participate in an online orientation session before classes begin. Online learners do not need to purchase textbooks, but can rent eBooks at a significantly reduced rate. Each course syllabus includes a download link to the required eBooks, providing students with immediate access to all necessary course materials.
Iowa Central is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
12. Middlesex Community College
Middlesex Community College’s long history of community engagement makes it an ideal place to earn a human services associate degree online. Although MCC maintains campuses in Lowell and Bedford, the college’s educational, medical, and public outreach services impact lives throughout Massachusetts. MCC-sponsored initiatives vary in scope, from discounted dental care to career assistance and free entrepreneurship training for budding small business owners.
Learners pursuing an associate of science degree at MCC complete 61 or 62 credits of general, major, and elective coursework. Focusing on essential interpersonal and counseling skills, the curriculum encourages students to apply a series of service standards in both the classroom and workplace. Coursework also emphasizes experiential learning, with classes such as community psychology and group dynamics incorporating hands-on activities into their lesson plans. Along with a four-credit supervised field experience, learners must fulfill a general education service requirement. During this 22-hour experience, students connect social problems addressed in core coursework with challenges faced by members of the local community.
MCC maintains an open admissions policy, and applicants need only submit a copy of their high school diploma or the equivalent. Human services majors, however, must additionally undergo criminal and sex offender background checks before participating in fieldwork or community service. All prospective students must undergo placement testing. MCC arranges and provides all necessary exams.
Middlesex Community College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
13. Franklin Pierce University
Rindge, New Hampshire
Established in 1962, Franklin Pierce University set out to foster intellectual curiosity and academic excellence by offering small classes and personalized education. Nearly 60 years later, this private, nonprofit institution still maintains a 12:1 student-faculty ratio at its five New Hampshire and Arizona locations. Much like the university’s traditional academic programs, Franklin Pierce’s eLearning division provides one-on-one student support, engaging curricula designed for working professionals, and generous credit transfer policies.
Incorporating aspects of sociology, psychology, criminology, and business, the school’s online associate degree in human services develops a professionally relevant skill set. Through a series of unique, career-focused major requirements, online learners gain foundational knowledge in various disciplines while strengthening skills in scholarly research and writing. By choosing specialized courses, such as police work, the psychology of aging, and race relations, students can pursue a path of study that aligns with their professional goals. While the program culminates in a capstone seminar, candidates may fulfill one of seven elective course requirements with an optional internship.
Franklin Pierce’s rolling admission policy allows prospective students to apply at any point in the academic year. The school charges tuition on a per-credit basis, and online learners can apply for several institutional scholarships. Franklin Pierce awards college credit for work, military, and life experience through prior learning assessments and the Department of Defense’s LearningCounts partnership program.
Franklin Pierce is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools (NEASC).
14. Brescia University
Established in 1925 as the Mount Saint Joseph Junior College for Women, this Owensboro, Kentucky university has since become a comprehensive, co-ed Catholic institution. Brescia University upholds its Ursuline tradition by focusing on both education and community service, while striving to make college affordable for all. To help achieve this goal, Brescia has frozen online undergraduate tuition rates until 2022 for students pursuing one of the university’s 14 web-based degrees.
Students pursuing the 63-credit associate of arts in human services program gain a thorough understanding of the underlying theories and principles needed for careers in human services. By exploring core concepts in sociology, developmental psychology, and human diversity, students learn to assess and interact with a variety of client bases and demographics. Coursework stresses intervention and crisis counseling skills as well as intercultural understanding, ensuring that graduates are able to serve individuals from many different backgrounds with compassion and accuracy.
Brescia accepts up to 42 transfer credits earned at other regionally accredited institutions, and many transfer students complete their degree in less than two years. First-time college applicants must submit official high school transcripts or GED scores. The school reviews applications on a rolling basis.
Brescia University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The distance education programs are fully accredited by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).
15. Hopkinsville Community College
Hopkinsville Community College is a regional leader in education, industry training, and community outreach. In keeping with its mission to maintain local economic and military partnerships, the college’s two Kentucky locations include a campus on the Fort Campbell Army Base. HCC’s distance and online learning offerings provide military personnel, veterans, and civilian students alike with the opportunity to pursue a variety of career-oriented credentials, including an online associate degree in human services.
Comprising 62–65 credit hours, HCC’s associate of applied science in human services technology features a versatile, interdisciplinary curriculum suitable for both prospective paraprofessionals and students planning to transfer to a four-year program. Along with 33 hours of general education coursework, learners survey common theories and techniques used to facilitate counseling and intervention sessions. Placing strong emphasis on applied and technical skills, the program culminates in a 180-hour clinical internship, which students can arrange at a local facility or human services agency. Some course exams may require students to schedule proctored testing at an approved site.
The school typically requires applicants to arrange a placement testing session after submitting official high school transcripts or GED scores, but HCC also accepts ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the placement test. Online learners can access the Kentucky Virtual Library, academic advising, financial aid assistance, and around-the-clock technical help.
HCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
16. Coastline Community College
Fountain Valley, California
Based in Fountain Valley, California, Coastline Community College offers academically rigorous, economical alternatives to traditional programs. Featuring multiple campuses and an innovative eLearning division, Coastline makes accessibility a strong priority. The college’s unique Coastline Military Programs provide enlisted men and women with advanced distance learning opportunities, while the STAR initiative presents accelerated options for working professionals.
Coastline’s flexible degree plans offer personalized, career-oriented curricula for students who intend to enter the workforce after graduation or apply to a bachelor’s program. Distance learners enrolled in the 60-credit human services associate degree online select one of three general education plans which are tailored to the individual’s post-graduation goals and common four-year college prerequisites. Students complete 15 hours of major core courses, most of which focus on intervention strategies and crisis counseling, in addition to a practicum. Elective courses cover topics such as gerontology, family counseling, and child development, allowing students to specialize in a chosen area.
Coastline’s extensive resources for online learners include the college’s fully online library, which provides access to academic help and research assistance, as well as hundreds of books, documents, and periodicals. The Career Center’s video appointment system offers virtual job counseling sessions and resume critique services.
Coastline accepts applications twice a year, and encourages students to apply early. While tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students differ, the school offers flexible payment plans.
Coastline is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC).
17. Massachusetts Bay Community College
Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts
One of 15 community colleges in the Massachusetts Public Higher Education System, MassBay serves 27 counties and countless individuals nationwide through a variety of online programs. In addition to professional certificate programs and individual courses, MassBay offers six web-based associate degrees, including an online associate degree in human services.
Building upon a solid liberal arts foundation, this AA program cultivates intellectual and technical versatility through a well-rounded, interdisciplinary curriculum. Students gain the professional skills and specialized knowledge needed to take on entry-level social services positions or transition to a bachelor’s program. Major core courses address topics such as group dynamics, social welfare policy, and basic psychology, while upper-division elective courses explore the challenges of aging, addiction, and disability. Prior to graduation, students complete an in-depth practicum and seminar experience, which entails 150 hours of supervised work-study, as well as a weekly seminar and scheduled conferences. To fulfill the program elective requirements, students may enroll in additional sociology courses or pursue foreign language studies.
Prospective students must provide a copy of their high school diploma or GED certificate and schedule a placement exam at the college’s Wellesley Hills or Framingham locations. Applicants can attend free test preparation workshops. Human services majors must also undergo criminal and sexual offender background checks prior to beginning work-study. After supplying the necessary materials and exam results, students must complete an online orientation program.
MassBay is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
18. Monroe Community College
Rochester, New York
Located in Rochester, New York, Monroe Community College has served nearly half a million students since its 1961 inception. A champion of both innovation and educational accessibility, MCC meets social and technological changes head-on to provide relevant, top-quality education to individuals from every walk of life. From the development of student childcare services to the founding of its Homeland Security Management Institute, MCC continues to evolve to meet its students' needs.
MCC offers a 64-credit AS transfer program for learners wishing to earn an associate degree in human services online before entering a bachelor’s program. This unique curriculum encourages engagement with the professional world from the first semester. Students complete fieldwork and an introductory human services course simultaneously, gaining valuable opportunities to apply newly acquired knowledge in a clinical setting, and continue their field study over the next two terms. Students fulfill most general education requirements through electives, and can choose any remaining elective requirements from the social science and human services departments.
The school delivers all of its web-based courses in an asynchronous, self-paced format through Blackboard Learn, although certain classes may include mandatory proctored exams. The Virtual Campus Center provides technical assistance around the clock, and online learners may take advantage of MCC’s academic advising, counseling, and career services.
MCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
19. Great Basin College
Though Great Basin College is located in Elko, Nevada, more than 3,800 of its students are enrolled in the school’s WebCampus eLearning programs. An early pioneer in distance education, GBC delivers its innovative online courses in multiple formats, including synchronous LiveNet streaming classes, interactive video classes that are broadcasted from the main campus to several remote locations, and one-on-one Skype sessions.
Students enrolled in GBC’s 61-credit online human services associate degree take courses in a variety of delivery methods, including traditional online, interactive video, and independent study formats. The career-oriented AAS curriculum emphasizes professional skill-building, and students can fulfill many general education requirements through social service and humanities coursework. Major courses explore topics in human development and psychology, group dynamics, and counseling. All degree candidates must complete a two-part practicum, in which students spend one semester shadowing a human services professional and apply their acquired knowledge through work-study during the second term. Due to the nature of major coursework, many learners choose to earn a substance abuse counselor training certificate while working on their associate degree.
With no prerequisites or professional requirements, prospective students may enroll at GBC and register for classes at any time. However, the school encourages applicants to contact a faculty adviser for assistance with long-term academic planning. GBC accepts transfer credits earned from other regionally accredited institutions, and maintains transfer agreements with several Nevada colleges and universities.
Great Basin College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
20. Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
Like other members of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is a public, open-admissions institution dedicated to fostering a love of learning both in-state and beyond. ECTC offers a variety of continuing education programs, short-term business training opportunities, vocational certifications, and degrees. Many of the college’s two-year degrees are available in web-based or hybrid formats, including an online human services associate degree.
Most full-time students are able to complete the 64-credit human services AAS program in two years or less, making it ideal for individuals who want to enter the workforce after graduation. In addition to general education coursework, learners complete a series of introductory courses in psychology, sociology, and qualitative reasoning. More advanced classes impart techniques for assessing and managing client challenges, including group counseling and intervention methodologies. Elective technical courses cover a variety of engaging topics, such as drugs and society, gerontology, and the history of social welfare policy. During their fourth term, students complete a four-credit practicum at a relevant agency or organization.
ECTC is proud to offer the lowest tuition rates in the state, and Kentucky residents and out-of-state students pay the same flat, per-credit rate. The college sponsors an array of scholarships, which it awards on the basis of need, academic merit, and field of study. In-state students who demonstrate sufficient financial need may also apply for a Kentucky CAP grant.
ECTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
21. Owensboro Community and Technical College
This Kentucky institution strives to provide quality vocational training and academic programs at an affordable price. The result of a merger between Owensboro Community College and the former Owensboro Vocational School, OCTC offers a diverse array of programs and services. In addition to technical training and workforce development opportunities, the college is home to a variety of two-year transfer and professional degree options.
OCTC’s online associate degree in human services is ideal for current professionals and students planning to enter the workforce after graduation. Along with building foundational knowledge of sociological theory, the 64-credit curriculum cultivates the hands-on skills needed to excel in paraprofessional positions. Advanced coursework explores strategies for working with particular client bases, such as disabled individuals, families, and hospital patients. The program culminates in a four-credit clinical experience, during which students synthesize and apply their acquired knowledge in a nearby human services setting. While the program fully prepares graduates to seek entry-level positions in the field, many transfer to a four-year bachelor’s program.
Prospective students must submit official high school transcripts or GED scores, as well as ACT or SAT scores. Applicants who have not taken either standardized exam must schedule a placement test at OCTC’s main campus. All distance learners pay a flat, per-credit tuition rate, regardless of their residency status, and can enroll in the college’s payment plan.
OCTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
22. Wake Technical Community College
Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake Technical Community College was originally founded to provide Raleigh, North Carolina residents with cutting-edge vocational education. Fifty years and many changes later, Wake Tech now serves over 66,000 students annually through five campus locations and an innovative eLearning division. While the college continues to offer quality technical and industrial training, students today have their choice of diverse academic programs, including an online human services associate degree.
Consisting of 67 credit hours, the AAS in human services technology curriculum employs a multidisciplinary approach to the field. Encompassing integral concepts in psychology and sociology as well as administrative and organizational practices, coursework develops competencies that are broadly applicable to many human services occupations. In addition to issues such as substance abuse, family dynamics, and gerontology, students explore techniques used in case management and service planning.
This unique curriculum leaves graduates prepared for employment or four-year undergraduate programs. All candidates complete a semester-long work-based learning experience and related seminar. Online coursework is self-paced, and full-time students often earn their degree in less than two years.
Prospective students must take the Accuplacer placement exam after submitting official transcripts. The school may waive this requirement for North Carolina applicants who demonstrate an adequate GPA and fulfill certain prerequisites, or for residents of any state with adequate SAT or ACT scores. While Wake Tech bases tuition rates on students' residency status, the school offers a flexible, interest-free payment plan and multiple merit-based institutional scholarships.
Wake Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
23. Tompkins Cortland Community College
Dryden, New York
Tompkins Cortland Community College was established in 1968, with only around 200 individuals attending classes at the Dryden, New York campus. Today, the college’s student enrollment of 5,300 includes representatives of over a dozen states and nearly 70 countries. Known for offering highly specialized training and certificate programs in fields as diverse as sports management, digital cinema, and sustainable farming, the school also offers an array of comprehensive two-year degrees.
Thanks to a hybrid program format, Tompkins Cortland students can complete half of the 61-credit associate degree in human services online. From their very first semester, the curriculum exposes learners to foundational psychological and sociological theories, professional practices, and research methodologies. Coursework stresses experiential learning and applied skills development. During the required introduction to human services seminar, students explore administrative and organizational aspects of the profession by visiting local agencies and observing professionals at work. In addition to an applied methods course, students must complete both an internship and a three-credit social work practice course.
After providing official high school transcripts or GED scores, prospective students undergo an academic assessment, which may include placement testing. Applicants who do not demonstrate sufficient basic skills competencies must enroll in skill-building courses before beginning coursework. The school evaluates credentials on a rolling basis. Once admitted, new students work with an adviser to select general and elective courses.
Tompkins Cortland is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
24. Hazard Community and Technical College
Based in Eastern Kentucky, Hazard Community and Technical College seeks to honor Appalachian traditions and culture while enhancing the regional economy through education, diversity, and technological innovation. While the college maintains five campus locations throughout the state, nearly 1,500 of HCTC’s 3,305 students are enrolled in one of the school’s online programs that feature small class sizes and career-focused curricula, including an online human services associate degree.
Over the course of 64 credit hours, degree candidates explore the role of human service professionals in communities, special populations, and society at large. Technical core courses introduce major theories and techniques in the field, as well as common clinical practices. Much of the required general coursework covers major-related topics, including overviews of psychology, sociology, and qualitative reasoning. Elective class offerings address a variety of specialized topics, such as crisis intervention, juvenile delinquency, and the psychology of aging. Although the program requires a clinical practice experience, distance learners may, with permission, substitute other applied courses for fieldwork.
Applicants must provide official high school transcripts or GED scores and arrange to sit for a mandatory placement test. Prospective students may submit SAT or ACT scores in lieu of taking a placement exam. All online students pay the same tuition, regardless of their state of residence.
Hazard Community and Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
25. Herkimer County Community College
Herkimer, New York
Located in central New York, Herkimer College is another member of the SUNY system. This medium-sized college is known for its affordable tuition rates, top-ranked athletic teams, and rigorous academic programs. Herkimer delivers half of its 40 associate and certificate programs through the school’s Internet Academy division, including an online associate degree in human services.
Comprising 64 general, major, and elective credits, the associate of applied science curriculum imparts fundamental skills related to social work, case management, and psychology. Students learn to identify the challenges faced by certain client populations, develop appropriate aid strategies and service plans, and provide accurate documentation of their work. While the program features a built-in criminal justice concentration, the school encourages distance learners interested in specific careers or academic paths to develop customized concentrations with the aid of an adviser. Prior to graduation, candidates arrange and complete a 60-hour practicum at a local human services agency with adviser approval.
Prospective students must provide official high school transcripts or GED scores along with a completed application. While tuition rates differ for in-state and out-of-state students, online students qualify for numerous scholarship opportunities.
Herkimer County Community College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
What Will I Learn in an Online Associate in Human Services Program?
Although specific requirements vary by school, most human services programs address topics such as data collection and client confidentiality. These courses familiarize students with the field’s major issues and best practices.
Students who complete an online associate degree in human services may take courses similar to those listed below.
- Case Management: In this course, students discuss intake procedures, intervention strategies, and client care documentation. This knowledge prepares students to assess client needs and promote their wellbeing. Case management coursework readies students to assist social workers and community health professionals.
- Community Advocacy: This course prepares students to empower communities through political change. Topics include advocacy principles, policy adaptation, agency support, and illness prevention. This course prepares students for employment in legal assistance and community health agencies.
- Sociology: In this course, students examine social structure and theory. They explore topics such as gender identity, cultural norms, and social issues for aging populations. This coursework prepares students to assist diverse populations.
Online Associate in Human Services Careers
Students who earn a human services associate degree online gain theoretical knowledge and develop problem-solving, organizational, and communicative skills. These expertise prepare graduates for employment in areas such as community health, corrections, and parenting support.
Students who complete an online associate degree in human services may pursue one of the careers listed below.
- Social and Human Service Assistant: Roughly a quarter of social and human service assistants work in agencies that help individuals and families with issues such as finding shelter, obtaining government aid, and securing transportation. An online associate degree in human services equips students to assist social workers and clients with tasks such as treatment planning and benefit research.
- Median Annual Salary: $33,120
- Projected Growth Rate: 16 %
- Community Health Worker: These professionals perform outreach in settings such as hospitals, outpatient facilities, and family service centers. They work with health educators, informing the public about healthy choices and healthcare options. The data collection and analysis skills that students learn while pursuing a human services associate degree online prepare them for community health work.
- Median Annual Salary: $38,370
- Projected Growth Rate: 18%
- Probation Officer or Correctional Treatment Specialist: These professionals help parolees reintegrate into society. They connect clients to career resources, substance recovery groups, and counseling programs. The sociology knowledge and communication skills that students gain through an online associate degree in human services are essential for working with diverse parolee populations.
- Median Annual Salary: $51,410
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Educational Paths for Online Human Services Associate Programs
After completing a human services associate degree online, graduates may seek a bachelor’s degree in a social science field. A bachelor’s prepares students to pursue advanced education or secure a higher-paying position.
According to BLS figures, social and human service assistants earn a median annual salary of $33,120. However, similar careers that require a bachelor’s degree offer much greater compensation. For example, social and community service managers take home $64,100 annually.
Students who complete a human services associate degree online may earn a bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields.
- Human Services: This degree builds on the knowledge and skills students gain while completing an online associate degree in human services. Students typically take courses on abnormal psychology, research methods, and crisis intervention strategies.
- Psychology: This bachelor’s expounds on the theoretical knowledge students obtain by earning an associate degree in human services online. In addition to studying cognitive and social psychology concepts, students take statistics courses and learn research skills.
- Sociology: This degree requires students to critically examine social issues. Coursework familiarizes students with topics such as family systems, social deviance, and multiculturalism. Sociology graduates often pursue an advanced degree in social work.
Accreditation for Online Associate in Human Services Degrees
Students considering an online human services associate degree should research their chosen program’s accreditation status.
Accreditation ensures that higher education institutions maintain their academic caliber. U.S. colleges and universities typically hold either regional or national accreditation. Since it requires schools to meet a higher standard, regional accreditation holds greater prestige than national accreditation.
Regionally accredited schools typically offer academically oriented liberal arts education, whereas most nationally accredited schools provide practical, skills-based vocational training. Nationally accredited schools may appeal to some students because they are often cheaper to attend. However, regionally accredited colleges equip students with more widely transferable credits, as most regionally accredited institutions only accept credits from other regionally accredited schools.
Programs within accredited institutions often procure additional, field-specific accreditation. The Council for Standards in Human Service Education evaluates human service programs' commitment to evidence-based training and ethical standards. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission monitors the quality of online undergraduate and graduate programs.
Human Services Professional Organizations
Students who complete an online associate degree in human services may benefit from joining a field-specific professional organization. Human services professional organizations support human service workers through networking events, career assistance, research resources, continuing education, and advocacy initiatives.
Students who complete an associate degree in human services online may join one of the organizations listed below.
- American Public Health Association: APHA promotes American public health improvement. Members engage in political advocacy and public outreach to address healthcare equity and accessibility issues. They also participate in field-specific member sections.
- American Public Health Services Association: APHSA advocates for child, family, and community health. Its collaborative innovation centers confront issues including childcare quality, economic wellbeing, and health and human services integration.
- National Organization for Human Services: NOHS supports human service professionals and their communities by advocating for social justice and interdisciplinary collaboration. Members attend regional and web-based conferences that address topics such as mobile social support and suicide prevention.