Those who desire a career in Human Services will find plenty of options for earning their degree online from various accredited colleges. Those holding a degree may choose to pursue careers in countless fields, with the most popular choices being welfare of the elderly, children, disabled or families. The majority of Human Services graduates seek careers as case workers in these fields, meeting with clients, reviewing data, formulating and implementing an action plan and then following up on it. Human Services professionals are a guiding hand for those who face life crises, abuse and neglect, linking them with needed helpful services and an action plan for a brighter future. There are various avenues in the Human Services field which may be pursued; these will be discussed next in this article. Also a list of schools, education costs, degree types, classes and salary information will be discussed.
Students seeking a Human Services degree online are faced with many choices. The widest variety of careers and specialties are afforded to those who seek a Bachelor degree or higher. Generally the higher the degree earned, the higher of a salary a graduate should be able to expect. Following are some of the most popular areas of concentration students may choose to pursue in their Human Services education:
Human Services students who pursue a concentration in Psychology will often seek a career that involves counseling. Unlike a psychiatrist who diagnoses psychiatric disorders and prescribes medications, the Human Services counselor will be responsible for counseling, not diagnosing or prescribing medication. Most Human Services students will focus mainly on geriatric or child Psychology; some will choose to focus on family, marriage, health or mental wellness counseling. Those who focus on geriatric counseling would likely pursue a career as an elder advocate for the community or as a social worker at a medical facility. With an emphasis on child Psychology, a graduate may pursue a career as a social services child advocate or counselor, working with children from abusive homes. Seeking special study in the areas of health, mental health, marriage, family or bereavement counseling will allow a graduate to pursue counseling positions or a position as a social worker in related fields.
Some people may feel more comfortable with the thought of being in an administrative career in Human Services. Those who are independent and have leadership abilities find this route to be the best choice for them. Graduates of a Human Services program online focusing on Business Management will be qualified for several different roles in various fields involving specific groups such as children, disabled or elderly individuals; some may find a career in a more collective role involving all ages in a community. Graduates concentrating on management usually hold a role demanding more responsibility and time. Roles of this level involve responsibility for case work, office management and the responsibility of directing several office assistants, counselors, case workers or other Human Services professionals. Also graduates who have specialized in management during their online Human Services education will qualify to work independently in a small office, being responsible for all aspects of providing services, completing necessary paperwork and reporting.
This is a difficult specialty area chosen by many Human Services students each year. Students in this area of concentration work specifically with drug and alcohol addicts. While any Human Services student may pursue an education in this field, usually students who have been in a recovery program and have knowledge and experience about it are preferred candidates. This is not a discriminatory factor, but students who have had a past with substance abuse are often able to connect more effectively with addicts because they understand their condition and can offer not only educated, but experienced advice. Graduates holding a Human Services degree specializing in substance abuse often work in rehabilitation facilities or counseling offices for substance abusers.
Some schools may also require a minimum ACT, SAT or equivalent test score. Programs for certain areas of specialty may have additional requirements such as background screening, drug tests or vaccinations. Students should always visit with an admissions counselor immediately after submitting an application. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Students should fill out a free FAFSA form online and then contact the school's financial aid office for further details. Following are a list of ten popular, accredited and reputable schools offering Human Services degrees online and which degrees they offer:
-AA in Human Services Mgmt.
-PhD in Human Services
-BA in Psychology/Human Services
-BA in Psychology - Human Services
-DSW in General Social Work
-BS in Human Services
-MA in Human Services - Business
Degrees Offered & Expected Salary Ranges
Students considering the field of Human Services will have plenty of degree options that are offered in an online format. As previously discussed, these degrees may all accompany certain specialty areas depending on the student's personal preferences for a future career. Each degree will take a different amount of time to complete; keep in mind that 12 credit hours or units is considered a full-time semester. Following are the different degree options offered to Human Services students online:
An Associate degree takes about two years or four semesters of full-time study. Students who plan to specialize in a certain area may need to take full-time summer classes as well. Graduates will either finish with an Associate, Associate of Arts, or Associate of Applied Science depending on the route of study sought. An Associate degree covers generalized classes; an Associate of Arts does not include a scientific specialty. Earning an Associate of Applied Science will include a science or specially focused area. Also a student may earn an Associate of Science, which is the best degree for those who feel they are likely to continue their education in the future.
Earning a Bachelor degree in Human Services online usually takes about 4 years or 8 semesters for full-time students. Some online schools offer accelerated 3-year programs for Human Services degrees. Some schools offer a Bachelor of Art, Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science option. In order to be a counselor or seek an administrative role in Human Services, a minimum of a Bachelor degree is required. Also a Bachelor degree is generally the minimum requirement for those planning to pursue a career helping substance abusers.
Students who choose to earn a Master degree will have plenty of options once they have graduated, but most pursue a career which concentrates mostly on business. Most schools that offer a Master degree in Human Services online also offer a Master of Science in Human Services or a Master of Arts in Human Services. There are also schools which offer an MBA program with an emphasis in Human Services. Earning a Master degree usually takes between 5-6 years of full-time study, or 1-2 additional years after earning a Bachelor degree. Some online programs offer an accelerated option to help a student finish in less amount of time.
Doctoral degrees are the highest degree awarded in Human Services. There are a few schools which offer this degree option online. Earning a Doctoral degree will usually require a total of 7-8 years of study, or 3-4 after a Bachelor degree is earned; an additional 1-2 years would be required beyond earning a Master degree. Most students who graduate with a Doctoral degree seek a career in counseling or administration. Some may be able to begin their own non-profit Human Services business as well. Students who plan to begin their own business should pursue this degree, as it will provide the wealth of information that will be required for that. Generally the degree earned is a PhD; while the degree name does not change with the specialty chosen, there are many different focus areas students will be able to choose from when pursuing the PhD in Human Services.
What To Expect: Classes & Projected Salary Expectations
By now readers will know that Psychology and Business classes will certainly be required to obtain a Human Services degree. Depending on the level of degree and specialty area chosen, classes will vary. There are many classes that are required in every Human Services degree. Following are the different degrees and the general courses which each program would include:
The Associate degree program includes classes in the areas of English and Composition, Communication, Math, Ethics and introductory classes focusing on Human Services, Counseling and Psychology. Programs focusing on a business aspect would include Business Law, Business Math or Accounting and Management classes. Substance Abuse counselors would receive additional training about drugs, alcohol and counseling addicts. The Associate degree program allows students flexibility in electives; these are the areas where those planning on becoming a counselor would take additional supportive classes focusing on their specialty area. Students who earn an Associate degree may expect to earn between $20,000 and $25,000 per year.
In addition to the classes included in the Associate degree program, the Bachelor program also involves Physical and Social Sciences, Human Services Delivery applications and extensive amounts of study in whichever area the student chooses to specialize in. Graduates of a Bachelor degree program may expect to earn between $30,000 and $50,000 per year.
The Master degree program includes all of the classes required in the Associate and Bachelor programs. Also required are several Philosophy classes and subjects relating to the history of Human Services. Classes in Human Development and Behavior are also required, as well as classes relating to cultural aspects and world religions classes. Graduates may expect to earn between $60,000 and $88,000 per year.
Several classes of the same subjects studied in the Master degree program are included in this degree choice. Classes at this study level are highly applied and intensive, giving students the mastery of knowledge needed to pursue any avenue desired in Human Services. Students may expect to earn at least $60,000 per year and upwards of $150,000.