Online Human Services Bachelor’s Degree
Completing a human services bachelor's degree online helps students compete for myriad jobs because of the versatile nature of the curriculum. An online human services degree also equips learners with the necessary skills to pursue clinical, counseling, or administrative positions. Before committing to a program, however, students must ensure their prospective degree path propels them toward their goals. The following guide helps students identify how they can use the degree, what skills and knowledge they will gain, which jobs they can compete for, and how much money they can expect to earn.
What is Human Services?
According to the National Organization for Human Services, this interdisciplinary area of study focuses on prevention and remediation of health issues and works to improve quality of life. Human services offers graduates a diverse skill set by pulling together studies in social work, nursing, medicine, education, and law. A relatively new discipline, online human services degree programs started appearing on postsecondary program lists in the 1960s.
An online human services degree helps students learn different areas of study and allows graduates to compete for jobs in various industries and professional settings. Some graduates may decide to pursue work in a social services agency working as a counselor, while others may want to work in the legal system as a juvenile probation officer. They may also seek a career as a social worker at a hospital, nonprofit, or government agency.
While students can advance their careers by gaining experience and receiving promotions, many learners still pursue graduate degrees for two reasons: expediting career progression and qualifying for senior-level roles. Some students may want to take on a managerial role more quickly, and an advanced degree can help them achieve that goal. Others may aspire to a role that requires a master's or doctoral diploma. Graduates can continue down the path of human services or pursue a program in a related subject area such as social work, healthcare administration, or education.
What Can I Do with an Online Human Services Bachelor's Degree?
Students who graduate with an online human services degree can choose from a variety of professional settings and decide on the type of service they want to provide the community. When reviewing the list of skills and knowledge gained from this program in the following section, think about how these fit your career goals and translate into jobs after graduation.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
As discussed earlier in this guide, completing a human services degree online provides graduates with foundational knowledge in several complementary disciplines. All of this knowledge comes together to help them gain both a holistic understanding of the field and the people they serve. Students also receive the practical, hands-on tools needed to improve their clients' lives. Coursework teaches learners about how communities interact, how individuals relate to others, and how groups behave. This helps graduates deliver education programs and teach others how to care for themselves. Students will also learn how factors like socioeconomics contribute to whether an individual can access services and how to build programs that cut through these barriers.
Programs also place great emphasis on the skills required to navigate the professional landscape. Given that many human services professionals work in governmental, nonprofit, or private companies, students learn the importance of creating and managing budgets; cultivating leadership skills; implementing, managing, and evaluating programs; and applying for grant funding to supplement their efforts.
Because human services covers such a broad field, many students elect to complete a concentration to hone their knowledge. For schools that offer a general track, you should speak with the admissions panel to see if you can use your electives to focus on a specific subdiscipline. Learners who follow this path not only deepen their studies and delve into individual topics but they also stand out to hiring committees when seeking professional roles.
Careers and Salary Potential
Students should assess their interests, skills, and professional goals when looking for online human services degree programs. In addition to reviewing the two possible careers below, degree seekers can perform independent research. Students should also remember that factors like experience, education, employer, and location can affect earning potential.
- Individual and Family Services: Professionals in this industry often work with individuals and groups, helping them address needs and seek appropriate services. They may offer counseling, make referrals, or develop their skills in administrative roles.
- Local Government: This industry serves as the main employer of human services professionals. These employees may work in community development services, mental health facilities, corrections, or long-term health services.
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities: Human services employees operate under medical professionals and may lead counseling groups, arrange care services, or perform administrative tasks. Their schedules typically fall outside the standard 9-5 workday.
- Community and Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Whether working with individuals facing mental health issues, developmental delays, or injuries caused by an accident, these professionals provide supportive services to patients during treatment.
Social and Community Service Managers
Annual Median Salary: $64,100
These professionals operate in nonprofit and governmental settings to identify community needs, develop appropriate programming, monitor programs for ways of improvement, manage budgets, and create outreach opportunities.
Administrative Services Managers
Annual Median Salary: $37,602
Administrative services managers oversee the support services of an organization by managing clerical staff, keeping records, developing new policies and procedures, introducing staff enrichment programs, and making sure the company meets all government regulations.
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