Earning a Master's in Human Services Online

Should I Pursue a Master's in Human Services Online?

Students earning a master's degree in human services online want to help individuals overcome challenging circumstances. These degree candidates should have excellent interpersonal skills while also knowing how to solve problems in difficult situations. Human services professionals exercise these skills to assess clients' needs, connect them to necessary resources, and track their outcomes over time.

Pursuing an online human services master's degree provides the flexibility to balance professional, personal, and academic demands. Students enrolled in online programs can continue to work throughout their studies, and apply textbook lessons to real-world situations. Nonprofit and government entities frequently employ graduates of the country's top master's in human services online degree programs. These employers include schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and public health facilities. Degree holders enjoy careers as social workers, rehabilitation counselors, probation officers, and community health workers.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Human Services Graduates

Master's in Human Services Salary

The following tables provide information about the average yearly income you can expect after completing a human services master's degree online. The first table highlights the six highest-paying states for social and community service managers. It also references the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reports the number of people in this occupation in each state. The second table offers PayScale information, which specifies annual income in the field by years of experience. It highlights the annual average salaries, ranging from entry-level employees with zero to five years' experience to late-career employees, who hold at least 20 years' experience.

Top Paying States for Social and Community Service Managers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 920 $107,010
Rhode Island 450 $90,280
Virginia 2,410 $88,200
New York 12,560 $86,670
New Jersey 3,180 $85,830
United States 141,830 $70,530

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Social or Community Service Managers

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $41,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $51,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $59,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $60,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Human Services Careers

Earning a master's degree in human services online creates opportunities for graduates to apply their knowledge and understanding of the field. See below for some examples of career opportunities for human services master's graduates. Each career choice requires candidates to think critically, organize information, and communicate with multiple audiences. They must also possess the emotional intelligence to remain calm under pressure, and help others do the same.

Social and Community Service Manager

Annual Median Salary: $64,100
Projected Growth Rate: 18%

This expert organizes and oversees social services programs and community groups to provide assistance to the public. They work closely with community stakeholders to assess needs and develop programming to address them. Furthermore, they often write proposals to secure funding for various activities. A graduate degree strengthens your analytical and communication skills for this career.

Correctional Treatment Specialist

Annual Median Salary: $51,410
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

These professionals help those who have violated the law and are either in custody or on parole. Responsibilities include interviewing parolees and probationers to determine how to best serve them, devising rehabilitation plans, and documenting case files. Completing your online human services master's degree builds the decision-making abilities and emotional maturity this job needs.

Social Worker

Annual Median Salary: $47,980
Projected Growth Rate: 16%

These professionals identify the needs of individuals and communities to help them overcome difficult circumstances. They may work with people coping with divorce, illness, and unemployment, or safeguard children from physical and mental health abuse. A graduate degree builds your emotional and organizational skills, which this role requires.

Substance Abuse or Behavioral Disorder Counselor

Annual Median Salary: $43,300
Projected Growth Rate: 23%

This expert supports people struggling with drug and alcohol addictions, eating disorders, mental illnesses, and behavioral issues. They evaluate individuals' specific troubles, and recommend protocols to address them. They also work closely with families to help with patients' recovery, which requires speaking skills built in graduate studies.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Human Services Program?

Coursework for master's degrees in human services online varies by program and school, but most require students to enroll in classes covering similar content. The following highlights which topics students can expect in their graduate studies for this degree.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Human Services

  1. Interviewing and Case Management: Students develop critical communication skills, which allow them to interact with people with respect, empathy, and authenticity. They also learn how to gather client information, which helps them devise solutions to meet their needs. These skills prove imperative for social workers.
  2. Treatment of Forensic Populations: This class provides a basic understanding of how to assess and treat various forensic groups. These may include sex offenders, crime victims, substance abusers, and assistants to law enforcement professionals. Students rely on traditional intervention approaches and emerging interventions, like restorative justice. Parole officers may find these studies valuable to their work.
  3. Cross-Cultural Ethics: Students explore the intersection of race, religion, and culture as they examine ethics and social justice. They consider the political, social, and ethical complexities human services professionals face in supporting diverse populations. This class can especially help social and case workers.
  4. Introduction to Human Services: Learners build on their knowledge of social work, counseling, criminal justice, and family studies as they examine the pros and cons of human services delivery strategies. They also explore the history of the profession and its evolution over time to meet social needs.
  5. Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster Response: This class educates future crisis management leaders on how traumatic events impact people's lives. Students review response models and theories related to individual and family crises, sexual trauma, and community catastrophes. They study counselor competencies along with the legal, cultural, and ethical aspects of trauma, crisis, and disaster events.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Human Services Prepares For

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: You must possess an LCSW if you wish to practice as an independent social worker. Exam eligibility requires completing a bachelor's or master's in the field, or even a doctorate in social work. In addition to passing the state exam, credential candidates must demonstrate a required number of professional hours and submit an application.
  • Certified Community Service Worker: This certification recognizes professionals who possess the training, effectiveness, and skills of a community service worker. Applicants must meet exam criteria, which include the equivalent of at least one year (2,000 hours) of full-time work and supervised services to individuals. These hours may include field replacement, volunteer, and part-time hours.