Most Affordable Online Human Services Degrees

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Human services professionals help people overcome life’s struggles. Learners can pursue human services degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Graduates with a degree in human services may work as social workers, probation officers, or life coaches.

Government organizations and nonprofits often hire human services workers. Empathetic individuals with a passion for helping others often thrive in this industry. Human services professionals need strong listening skills. They should also understand laws that impact society members.

This page highlights the most affordable online human services degrees, including costs and common courses.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Human Services

true Q. What can I do with a degree in human services?

Graduates can pursue many human services careers. They may work as social workers, case managers, or community outreach workers. Some schools offer concentrations that prepare students to work with clients in specific industries.

true Q. What degree do you need for a career in human services?

Aspiring human services professionals need a degree in a subject like criminal justice or social work. Similar careers, such as counseling, require additional licensure.

true Q. What’s the difference between human services and social services?

Social work careers fall under the human services umbrella. Social workers help clients access human services like housing or counseling.

Why Get a Degree in Human Services?

This versatile degree prepares learners for diverse roles. Some human services careers pay above-average salaries. For example, probation officers earn a median annual salary of $55,690, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Social workers earn $51,760. These figures exceed the median annual salary of $41,950 for all occupations.

How Much Does a Human Services Degree Cost?

The cost of a human services degree varies by school and degree level. Earning an associate degree typically costs less than earning a bachelor’s. As of August 2021, the average cost of in-state tuition is $9,580 for bachelor’s degree-seekers. Out-of-state students spend an average of $27,440. Full-time enrollees can complete an associate degree in two years and a bachelor’s in four years.

Schools that offer online human services degrees may charge more fees for labs and activities. On-campus students pay a campus maintenance fee.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners can save money by not living on campus or commuting for classes. Some schools charge online learners in-state tuition, regardless of where they live. Online students can attend the most affordable human services programs without relocating.

However, online enrollees should plan for extra fees. Some online human services programs require on-campus experiences. Learners who do not live locally should budget for travel and lodging expenses. In addition, schools may charge online learners a fee to access an online classroom platform. Online learners may need to pay a graduation fee.

How Much Do Human Services Majors Make?

Human services salaries vary depending on professionals’ employer, experience, and job title. Social workers earn an average annual salary of $49,260, according to November 2021 PayScale salary data. Social workers with less than one year of experience earn an average of $42,810. Those with more than 20 years of experience earn an average of $58,500.

Similarly, probation officers earn an average of $44,350 annually, according to October 2021 PayScale data. Probation officers with less than one year of experience earn an average salary of $38,790. Those with more than 20 years of experience earn an average of $60,200.

Courses in Human Services

Online human services programs help learners hone their note-taking and observation skills. Enrollees study the factors that influence people’s decision-making processes. They also learn how to connect people with community resources effectively.

Human services degree-seekers participate in classroom discussions and write essays. Some programs include a clinical rotation or internship. Enrollees can sometimes choose a concentration, such as criminal justice or counseling.

See below for common human services courses. Keep in mind that course titles and descriptions vary by school.

  • Interpersonal Communication in the Human Services Field

    Learners discover the importance of active listening. They identify verbal and nonverbal communication cues. Students also discuss common communication theories and case studies. Part of this course examines how mental health conditions impact people’s communication style.
  • Strategic Actions in Human Services

    This class explains how human services professionals can help with rehabilitation. Learners discover common community outreach organizations and case management techniques. Enrollees learn how to make ethical decisions on clients’ behalf. The course teaches students how to create a plan to enhance someone’s quality of life.
  • Psychology and Human Development

    This class examines how psychology and human development influence a person’s choices. Learners discover how to use this information to empower clients to make positive decisions. The course discusses brain development from infancy to adulthood. Learners study common psychiatric disorders.

Most Affordable Online Human Services Degrees

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  1. Florida State College at Jacksonville

    Jacksonville, FL




    If you’re hoping to get a good deal on a great Human Services education, Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) is the first place to look. FSCJ is #1 on our list for its overall affordability. Located on the northeast coast of Florida, FSCJ has five campuses throughout Jacksonville. It enrolls close to 50,000 students each year.

    Program Features

    Beyond its affordability, the Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree at FSCJ has a number of things going for it. For one, you can complete this accelerated degree in just 20 months. You’ll attend online and learn at your own pace. This 120-credit degree includes upper-level classes like:

    • Intra and Interpersonal Techniques
    • Multicultural Perspectives in Mental Health
    • Health Welfare Delivery Systems
    • Drug Awareness and Education


    The Human Services curriculum at FSCJ is designed to prepare you for the final requirement: an internship in the field of your choice. This means that when you graduate, your tuition dollars will have been well spent—you’ll already have one foot into the professional world of Human Services!

  2. University of Maine at Augusta

    Augusta, ME




    The University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) is another affordable program with a top online program in Human Services. It delivers its online degrees through the College of Professional Studies. It has been listed as a top public comprehensive university in the northeast region by U.S. News and World Report.

    Program Features

    The online Bachelor of Science in Mental Health & Human Services gives you the best of both worlds. After completing coursework in the foundations of human services, you’ll get the chance to specialize in one of three concentrations: Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation, Addiction Counseling, or Child and Family Services. Some core classes include:

    • Community Mental Health
    • Group Process
    • Assessment and Planning
    • Interviewing and Counseling


    The program at UMA is highly regarded in the Mental Health and Human Services field. Upon graduation, you’ll meet the requirements for Licensed Social Worker-Conditional credentialing, as well as the Mental Health Rehabilitation/Community credentialing.

  3. Minot State University

    Minot, ND




    Located in Minot, North Dakota, Minot State University is a small public school that began as a teacher’s college. It now offers over sixty different degrees to its undergraduates, some of which are delivered online. Although it has a student body of around 3,000 students, it is the third-largest university in the state.

    Program Features

    The Minot State University program is unique in its focus: you’ll earn a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a Major in Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. This online program features paid field experiences and a number of unique classes. These include:

    • Dual Diagnoses: ID and Mental Health Disorders
    • Assisting People with Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Developing Communicative Interactions
    • Instructional Interventions for People with DD


    If you’re interested in working with this population, you’ve found the perfect spot in Minot State University. This program is affordable ($9,987 per year) and specific in its demographic—two features that will serve you well in your working career. Just note, you’ll graduate with a non-teaching degree.

  4. Troy University

    Troy, AL




    A top public school of the South (23rd according to U.S. News and World Report), Troy University has been around since 1887. It serves students in four different campuses throughout Alabama. Troy University offers degrees in both in-person and online formats.

    Program Features

    If you’re looking for a generalist degree in Human Services, Troy University might be of interest. This major requires 36 credit hours of upper-level courses specific to the degree. However, it also integrates social work and rehabilitation courses throughout the curriculum. Some foundational classes include:

    • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
    • Professional Communication Skills
    • Human Services Seminar
    • Human Behavior in the Social Environment


    The capstone feature to this program is the Human Service Field Experience. You’ll spend a minimum of 120 hours at an agency transferring your book knowledge to hands-on experience. This is a fantastic way to get a feel for what corner of Human Services interests you the most.

  5. Washburn University

    Topeka, KS




    Based out of Topeka, Kansas, Washburn University is home to around 7,000 students. This public university is often listed on U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the top schools in the Midwest. It also features generous tuition deals, offering in-state tuition to students from Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

    Program Features

    The Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services at Washburn University covers all the important bases of the field: addictions, youth services, aging, mental health, homelessness, and more. Within this 124-credit-hour program—which can be completed online or in-person—you’ll get a taste of everything:

    • Family Issues
    • Prevention and Social Change
    • Substance Abuse & Co-occuring Disorders
    • Human Development


    One unique feature of Washburn University’s program is the option to specialize in Addiction Counseling. The Career Ladder in Addiction Counseling is a program that prepares you for the Kansas state exam to become a Licensed Addiction Counselor. An internship is included in this track.

  6. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

    Oshkosh, WI




    The third-largest university in the state, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh enrolls close to 14,000 students annually. The university prides itself on investing in sustainability throughout its campus, as well as investing in Wisconsin-based education.

    Program Features

    The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh realizes the importance of strong leaders in human services. The degree program, an online Bachelor’s degree in Human Services Leadership addresses that need directly. If you envision starting your own non-profit or running one in the future, this is your program! Some highlight courses include:

    • Social Issues & Solutions in Human Services
    • Program Evaluation & Grant Writing
    • Financial Sustainability in Non-Profit Organizations
    • Globalization in Human Services


    The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh has a generous transfer policy and accepts a number of technical college degrees from incoming students. Even more, the online format makes this degree even easier to complete. The platform, Desire 2 Learn (D2L), makes communication between peers and professors simple and effective.

  7. National Louis University

    Chicago, IL




    While the main campus of National Louis University is located in Chicago, Illinois, you’ll find other locations in Florida, Wisconsin, and even Poland! That’s not to mention their online platform. National Louis University specializes in three areas: business, human services, and behavioral science.

    Program Features

    You’ll choose between one of two degrees at National Louis University: a B.A. in Human Services, or a B.A. in Human Services/Psychology. While they share some core classes, the a B.A. in Human Services focuses more on hands-on internships while the other deals with more theoretical behavioral science. Regardless, you’ll take classes such as:

    • Crisis Intervention Principles and Practices
    • Legal Issues in Human Services
    • Survey of Populations with Special Needs
    • Theories of Personality


    Beyond your core degree, you’ll also be able to choose a concentration from the following options: Aging Studies, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Long Term Care, or Urban and Policy Studies. Specializing early makes you much more marketable in your field.

  8. SUNY Empire State College

    Saratoga Springs, NY




    SUNY Empire State College is one of thirteen State Universities of New York. Beyond its many locations throughout the state, it hosts a strong online program through its Center for Distance Learning. SUNY Empire State College’s affordability has made it a popular program for many, and has led to partnerships with organized labor groups, military branches, and more.

    Program Features

    SUNY Empire State College works hard to meet your specific needs. Within the general B.S. in Human Services, you can major in the following areas: Early Childhood Studies, Marketing for Non-Profits, and Studies in Mental Health. You’ll take interesting courses that cover a wide range of relevant topics in the field:

    • The Third-Sector: Not-for-Profits in the United States
    • Human Exceptionalities
    • Adolescence and Addiction
    • Family and Society


    Beyond these degrees, SUNY Empire State College encourages students to find their own path through concentrated electives. You can specialize in children and family services, criminal justice services, disability services, health and human services, and substance abuse services.

  9. Granite State College

    Concord, NH




    If you’re an adult student coming back to your education or starting for the first time, you might want to take particular interest in Granite State College. It is based in Conrad, New Hampshire, but is primarily a distance-learning program. You’ll find the epitome of affordability and flexibility at Granite State College.

    Program Features

    The B.S. in Human Services at Granite State College weaves together threads from psychology, sociology, research methodology, and hands-on learning. Upon graduation, this 120-credit-hour program will have you prepared to jump into your sector of choice. Some stand-out classes include:

    • Social Stratification and Inequality
    • Human Services and the Helping Process
    • Crisis Intervention, Occupational Stress, and Victims Rights
    • Human Development


    You should note that 84 percent of Granite State College students are transfer students. The statistic should speak for itself. With an added feature of online learning, Granite State College makes it simple and affordable to finish your degree!

  10. East Tennessee State University

    Johnson City, TN




    Founded in 1911 as a Teacher’s College, East Tennessee State University is now a thriving public university in Johnson City, Tennessee. It has been listed as a top school in the region, and made it on The Princeton Review’s list of “America’s Best Value Colleges.” Over 14,500 students enroll annually.

    Program Features

    This online B.S. in Human Services is aimed specifically at students who are interested in case management, counseling, and administration. You’ll cover all the basics in this program, as well as develop skills in more specialized tasks such as grant writing, program evaluation, and more. The curriculum features some of the following electives:

    • Hospitalized Child
    • Family Health and Human Sexuality
    • Homelessness, Hunger, Poverty, and Politics
    • Divorce: Causes and Consequences


    At the end of your online B.S. in Human Services degree, you’ll take two courses to cement your skills in the field: Human Services Practicum and Human Services Internship. You’ll take this time to switch from online to in-person and make connections with other human services professionals.

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