As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the need for more Human Services professionals. From working with children and adults undergoing a crisis or chronic situation, to working for social service agencies, community centers, and more, human services experts work tirelessly to serve others and their communities.
From analyzing social issues to identifying effective communication components, there are plenty of opportunities and areas of interest for human services professionals to pursue. In a world that can seem rather unstable at times, human services experts are the folks who provide structure, comfort, and long-lasting solutions to those who need it most.
What kind of Human Services degree should you get?
Deciding on the right kind of human services degree can be tricky. A bachelor’s degree takes only four years, but limits the potential opportunities of the holder. A master’s degree, conversely, adds another two to three years of study on top of the bachelor’s, but graduate-level education opens up many more opportunities.
Similarly, choosing between an online, traditional, or hybrid degree program can present some challenges. Those who want to work in fields like social work will often benefit from a degree program carried out face-to-face, due to the need for clinical or practicum experiences to satisfy state licensure requirements. Those looking at nonprofit administration or other more theory-driven fields, conversely, can probably choose an online program.
For students who already have a general sense of what they’re looking for and can get it online, this list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities can provide some direction.
How much money do people make with a Master’s in Human Services?
Since there’s a range of so many occupations one can hold with this degree, there is also quite a range of salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Social and Human Service Assistants can make upwards of $31,000 a year. And your salary will only increase with the more education and experience you have.
The responsibilities of human services professionals are continually expanding as more and more communities work to become self-sufficient. In fact, the BLS predicts a projected growth of 16% in these types of jobs from now till 2026.
What can you do with a Master’s in Human Services?
Earning a master’s degree in human services will open up many doors for graduates. Whether you’d like to work for a non-profit, a rehabilitation center, a school, community center, or somewhere else, there are plenty of opportunities for you! Folks with a degree in human services can specialize in clinical mental health counseling, non-profit management, gerontology, and many other areas.
From working as a case management aide, a juvenile court liaison or something entirely different, if you’re compassionate and a good listener you’ll be sure to succeed in this field!
What are the best Master’s in Human Services degrees?
While many schools offer bachelor’s degrees in Human Services, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see advanced degrees offered in this field. But, how do you choose the best program? If you’re looking to begin a successful career, these 20 master’s degrees will serve you well so that you can go on to serve others.
From Northeastern University and Bellevue University, to Southeastern University and St. Joseph’s College of New York, the opportunities at these schools are endless. You’ll learn everything from policy issues in human services, to corporate responsibility and child protection and juvenile justice – so, start your journey today
See our rankings methodology page.
College Choice Score: 100.00
Average Net Price: $29,998
Northeastern University, a private university headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with campuses all over North America, seeks to educate students through experiential learning. Northeastern prioritizes entrepreneurship and ability to innovate among its students. Northeastern University offers a Master of Science in Human Services program that can be completed entirely online.
The online Master of Science in Human Services program is offered by the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern and includes work-based applications and a capstone service-learning project. Requires curriculum courses include:
- Human Service Management and Development
- Research and Evaluation in Human Services
- Policy Issues in Human Services
Students may also choose to pursue one of three concentrations, including Global Studies, Leadership, or Organizational Communication. This program provides great flexibility as well– full-time students can complete the degree in 2 years, while part-time students typically take 3 years to complete the degree.
Students will quickly learn how to facilitate community involvement, engage diverse stakeholders in strategic partnerships, and build communities. You’ll review social policy issues, such as trends in mental health care, the impact of immigration, and the ongoing debates over education and reproductive rights. Graduates of this program will be well prepared for rewarding careers with nonprofit organizations, government, or nongovernmental organizations.
College Choice Score: 98.01
Average Net Price: $24,794
With over 125 master’s programs, Liberty University is the premier destination for online learning. In fact, Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the Top 10 of more than 2,100 online colleges and universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility. Coupled with the strong Christian teaching method and a 24/7 support staff, Liberty students are given every opportunity to set themselves up for success in their chosen career.
Liberty University’s Masters of Arts in Human Services Counseling is an entirely online program that equips future human service counseling workers to offer services in areas such as leadership, families, addictions and recovery. Featured courses include:
- Biological Aspects of Addiction & Recovery
- Corporate Responsibility
- Counseling Adolescents & Their Families
Students must complete a total of 30 hours to receive their degree. All students must also select a cognate from a list of over ten. Cognates include: Addictions & Recovery, Business, Christian Ministries, Criminal Justice, Crisis Response & Trauma, Executive Leadership, and more.
Liberty University has been ranked as having one of the Best Master’s in Counseling, as well as ranking among the top online colleges. With a combination of wins like that, it’s hard not to see why Liberty is a great choice. Prospective students should note that this program does not lead directly to state licensure as a professional counselor.
College Choice Score: 92.61
Average Net Price: $19,044
This private university based in Waterbury, Connecticut was founded in 1890 and now has a total enrollment of over 3,900 students. Post University is known for their flexible programs and thriving online community. In fact, for most degrees, students can take courses entirely online or through a hybrid on-campus and online format. The university’s Master of Science in Human Services degree is offered entirely online for your convenience!
Looking to develop knowledge in the areas of prevention, remediation, psycho-education, diagnosis, assessment, and intervention? Post University has the program for you! Courses may include:
- Biology of Addiction
- Family Systems Theory
- Theories of Criminal Behavior and Psychopathology
- Financial Management of Non-Profit Organizations
Students can also choose from one of the four concentrations, including: Alcohol & Drug Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Forensic Mental Health Counseling, and Non-Profit Management.
Each course at Post is taught by a professional faculty member, who brings years of expertise and leadership in this field to the virtual classroom. All students in this program will not only gain real field experience, but each will be expected to complete a capstone experience as well. This capstone will demonstrate your conceptual mastery of the field of professional practice.
College Choice Score: 87.84
Average Net Price: $6,349
Located in Bellevue, Nebraska, this university opened in 1966 and now offers a virtual college that remains one of the strongest in the country. Students can learn with an online curriculum taught by highly-trained faculty who have real-world experience in the Human Services field. Looking to earn a flexible Master of Arts in Human Services Degree? Bellevue may just be the university for you!
The MA in Human Services degree through Bellevue is designed for those already employed in the field or for those who are planning to jumpstart a career in the human services profession. Students can choose to pursue this degree either completely online or on-campus. Either way, students will integrate hands-on and applied learning with theory. Courses may include:
- Ethics for Human Services
- Community Engagement
- Sustainable Funding
- Social and Cultural Diversity
- Leadership Theories and Research
All students must complete 36 credit hours and a capstone course to earn their degree.
While Bellevue’s Human Services degree program has earned recognition for its affordability, the program does not lead directly to licensure. While those who already hold a job in the field or want to move into administrative roles will still benefit from the program, students hoping to enter the counseling field should look elsewhere.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
College Choice Score: 87.65
Average Net Price: $21,280
Founded in 1912, Saint Mary’s is a private university based in the city of Winona, Minnesota. U.S News & World Report named Saint’ Mary’s one of the “Best Regional Universities, Midwest” and “Best Value” schools in 2017. Now, students looking for a quality degree that offers flexibility can obtain a Master’s in Health and Human Services through this university– completely online!
The online Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration degree from Saint Mary’s is a 40-credit program, which can be completed in as little as 26 months. Your courses may include:
- Health Informatics and Application
- Finance for Health Services Administrators
- Aging, Illness, and the Continuum of Care
- Strategic Health and Human Services Leadership
All students are expected to complete a capstone course, as well as a practical experience course. There’s even a fully online practical experience course called, “Health Sector Leadership Initiative and Analysis – Self Study with Faculty Support.”
Looking for licensure? You’re in luck! The M.A. in Health and Human Services Administration program is accredited by the Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators as meeting education requirements to prepare students to take the Minnesota Nursing Home Administrators licensing exam in the state of Minnesota. From a different state? You can find out more on the school’s website.
University of Illinois at Springfield
College Choice Score: 86.12
Average Net Price: $11,444
With over 30 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s degrees, 1 doctoral program, and over 1600 online majors, the University of Illinois at Springfield is a hub of academic pursuit. In fact, US News & World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges ranked this university as one of the best Regional Universities in the Midwest. Now, students can obtain an M.A. degree in Human Services entirely online.
Looking to dive into the world of human services? If you’re a newbie, this may not be the program for you. That’s because this master’s degree caters to those who have an undergraduate education in human services. Students may choose from the following concentrations:
- Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
- Child and Family Studies
- Social Services Administration
However, if you’re looking to earn this degree 100% online, only the Social Service Administration concentration is offered completely online. The other concentrations are offered in a blended online/on-campus format, so be sure to keep that in mind! Students can also look into obtaining a Joint Degree Option – Human Services/Public Health (HMS/MPH).
Within some concentrations, students will be able to obtain proper certification and will be prepared to practice with the competency and confidence needed to succeed in this field. Full-time students typically complete all requirements within two years, while part-time students can usually complete the program within 3-4 years.
Nova Southeastern University
College Choice Score: 85.37
Average Net Price: $25,344
Founded in 1964, this private research university is located in Broward County, Florida and has a total enrollment of over 25,000 students! NSU has more than 150 associate’s, bachelor’s,
master’s, specialist, and doctoral degree programs for students to choose from. Now, through their Department of Justice and Human Services, students can earn a Master of Human Services in Child Protection– entirely online!
Students in this program will complete the 33 credit hours, including core courses, a specialty track, and variety of electives. The core curriculum is comprised of six courses and the rest of your courses will be determined by your concentration. Students can choose from one of the following ten concentrations:
- Psychological Foundations in Child Advocacy
- Child Protection and Juvenile Justice
- Conflict and Crisis Management for the Child Protective Caseworker
- Legal Perspectives of Child Protective Services
- Advocating for the Child as a Behavior Analyst
- Advocating for the Special Needs Child’s Education
- Family Systems and Support
- Administration for Child Protective Services
- Public Health and Child Protection
- Emergency Preparedness for Vulnerable Populations
Online students will use the web to access course materials, announcements, email, distance library services, subscription library databases, and other information, as well as for interaction with faculty and fellow students.
US News & World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges ranked Nova Southeastern University as one of the best National Colleges in the United States. The school’s most popular majors include Health Professions, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Psychology.
Concordia University St. Paul
College Choice Score: 85.20
Average Net Price: $19,499
Founded in the late 1890s, Concordia University is a liberal arts university located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. With over 75 majors and nearly 50 minors offered, this university prepares students for success across a number of industries. In fact, Concordia now offers an online Master of Arts in Human Services with an Emphasis in Forensic Behavioral Health. Learn more about their unique program below!
The 36-credit hour program is offered entirely online and focuses on the direct relationship between behavioral health, criminal justice, and legal systems. Required courses include:
- Family Violence, PTSD & Trauma
- Psychopathology in Human Services
- Cultural Awareness and Understanding for the Human Service Professional
- Forensic Behavioral Health Law for the Human Service Professional
All students are required to complete a 40-60 page integrative paper as part of their research and capstone as well. Don’t worry about the daunting page count– after everything you’ve learned, you’ll have plenty to write about!
Each course in this program is 7 weeks and most students can complete their degree requirements in less than 2 years. Once finished, graduates will have enhanced communication skills, problem-solving strategies, and credible courtroom testimony skills to bring to the workforce. Plus, 95% of CSP grads receive job offers within one year of graduation!
College Choice Score: 84.89
Average Net Price: $22,093
Located in Lakeland, Florida, Southeastern University is a private Christian liberal arts university with over 4,500 students. In fact, student enrollment has increased by more than 50% in the past few years due to the university’s extensive offerings. Now, you can earn a Master of Arts in Human Services degree entirely online through Southeastern University!
This non-clinical program prepares students to serve others in a variety of human services settings. Students must complete a total of 36 credit hours. In addition to core requirements, students can choose from a variety of specializations, including:
- Children and Family
- Emergency Management
Classes are offered in 8-week sessions and a degree may be completed in as little as 12 months time.
Southeastern University offers the flexibility and tools that students need to succeed. With both a theoretical and experience-based understanding of the human services profession, graduates of this program can expect a long and rewarding career.
Western Carolina University
College Choice Score: 84.39
Average Net Price: $13,646
Founded in 1889, Western Carolina University is a public university located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. With over 110 areas of study for undergraduates and more than 60 graduate programs, Western Carolina is a hub for research and growth. WCU’s online Master of Science in Human Resources is one of many esteemed programs within the College of Education and Allied Professions.
The MS in HR curriculum consists of 7 required courses and 5 elective courses. You can choose from a variety of popular electives including, but not limited to, the following:
- Organization Development
- Employee and Labor Relations
- Talent Management
- Compensation & Benefits
- Legal Issues in Human Resources
- Leadership in Human Resources
HR degree candidates are not required to write a thesis or complete a capstone as part of this program.
WCU was ranked #16 out of 50 for the Best Online Master’s in Human Resources Degrees. Students can typically complete the online Master of Science in Human Resources in three years or less.
St. Joseph's College of New York
College Choice Score: 83.24
Average Net Price: $16,831
St. Joseph’s College is a liberal arts college in New York, with campuses located in both Brooklyn and Long Island. Founded in 1916, the college now enrolls over 5,800 students. While St. Joseph’s offers lovely campuses, their online community is continuing to grow. In fact, students can now earn a B.S. or M.S. in Human Services entirely online.
The SJC Online degree in Human Services prepares students for working with special populations such as the homeless, victims of domestic violence, the aging, etc. To complete the online M.S. degree in Human Services Leadership, you’ll have to complete 30-credits including:
- Leadership Ethics and the Law in Human Services
- Strategic Leadership in an Information Age
- Financing the Mission of Human Services Work
- Integrative Analyses in Human Services Leadership
Students can also pursue a Dual Degree, B.S. in Human Services and M.S. in Human Services Leadership. This is a great option for those just starting out in the field and looking to rapidly develop the necessary workplace skills.
US News & World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges ranked St. Joseph’s College as one of the best Regional Colleges in the Northern United States. St. Joseph’s has also been ranked as a Best Value school, as well as among the best colleges for veterans.
College Choice Score: 82.83
Average Net Price: $17,837
Regent University, a private Christian research university in Virginia Beach, Virginia, enrolls more than 10,000 students. It offers degrees at every level, from undergraduate programs to professional certificates, both on campus and online. Its online Master of Arts in Human Services program comes through its School of Psychology & Counseling.
What makes the Human Services program at Regent so unique is their vast selection of concentrations. All courses and concentrations are presented from a Christian counseling worldview. The concentrations in this degree program include:
- Addictions Counseling
- Biblical Counseling
- Christian Counseling
- Conflict & Mediation Ministry
- Grief Counseling
- Human Services Counseling
- And More!
Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours. Online courses are taught with a combination of real-time interaction with professors, small-group projects, podcast lectures and asynchronous chat room discussions.
While this list focuses on master’s programs, Regent University has also earned recognition for online learning through its bachelor’s programs. U.S. News & World Report ranked both its online bachelor’s degrees and its online graduate degrees the best in Virginia in 2018. Five of the school’s faculty members have been named as Fulbright Scholars, demonstrating the school’s commitment to high-quality education.
College Choice Score: 81.95
Average Net Price: $16,538
Capella University is an online institution headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school is unique in that they offer two paths for their degree programs: FlexPath, which is self-paced, and GuidedPath, which is a more interactive setting. Now, through Capella’s School of Counseling and Human Services, students can earn an online Master of Science in Human Services Program.
Students in this program can choose from one of three specializations: Leadership and Organizational Management, Social and Community Services, or Program Evaluation and Data Analytics. Depending on your track, courses may include:
- Developing Innovative Human Services Organizations
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Field of Human Services
- Foundations in Human Services Analytics
- Reporting Solutions in Human Services Analytics
- Leading in For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Government Organizations
- The Effective Use of Analytics in Human Services
All students, no matter the specialization, must complete an Integrative Project to earn their degree. Prospective students should also note that this program is not designed to meet licensure requirements for social work and counseling professions.
With 24/7 online access to your virtual classroom, Capella makes it easy to earn a quality degree at your own pace. Perhaps you’re looking for a more specific degree option in the field? Capella also offers a Master of Social Work, Master of Public Administration, and a Master of Public Health.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 81.28
Average Net Price: $12,876
Founded in 1885 and home to mascot Sparky the Sun Devil, Arizona State boasts an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. With more and more online degree offerings, ASU is changing the way folks learn. In fact, ASU Online Graduate programs are ranked among the best in the United States. The online Master of Science in Family and Human Development is an excellent choice if you’re interested in Human Services.
Offered through the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, this program requires students to complete 30 credit hours. There are a total of 10 classes and each class lasts about 7.5 weeks. Required core courses include:
- Theoretical Issues in Child Development
- Research Methods
- Social Statistics
Students must also complete a series of three capstone courses in order to receive their degree. You should note that this Master’s in Family and Human Development does not license or qualify students to become counselors, therapists, or psychologists.
Ranked the #1 University in the Nation for Innovation, it’s no wonder so many students choose ASU. The prestigious faculty doesn’t hurt either– try one Pulitzer Prize Winner, one MacArthur Fellow, and three Nobel Laureates! Learn from the best and you’ll find a great career working with children, youth, and adults in human, social and government agencies.
Lubbock Christian University
College Choice Score: 80.51
Average Net Price: $21,071
Located in Lubbock, Texas, this private Christian university was founded in 1957 and is now home to just over 2,000 students. This welcoming community is committed to students and serving the population at large. Now, if you’re looking to pursue a career in Human Services, you can pursue an online Master of Science in Human Services through Lubbock.
Both affordable and flexible, Lubbock’s online MS in Human Services is intimate, supportive, and hands-on. In addition to the core curriculum, students can choose from one of two specializations:
- Non-Profit Leadership
- Family Life Educator
The online human services degree from Lubbock Christian University is a 36-credit-hour program that can be completed in about two years. Grounded in Christian and Biblical principles, this degree program gives students the skills necessary to lead, start, or transform a nonprofit organization, lift up those in need, and promote healthy families and communities, worldwide.
Lubbock Christian University was ranked in the 2017 Top Online Colleges for Human Services Degrees. It was also awarded as having one of the Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Human Services.
Argosy University - San Diego
College Choice Score: 79.04
Average Net Price: $20,749
Located in sunny San Diego, Argosy University is known for its flexible learning formats, with evening, weekend and online courses. Argosy offers 9 Master’s, 5 Bachelor’s, and 3 Doctoral degrees. One of which is the online Master of Science (MS) in Human Services which requires students to complete 36 credit hours.
The MS in Human Services program at Argosy prepares students to work in public and private human services agencies and organizations. Core course requirements may include:
- Multiculturalism and Diversity in Practice
- Personal Values and Professional Ethics
- Research and Writing in Human Services
- Communication in Human Services
- The Dynamics of Groups as Systems
- Policy Advocacy and Social Change
All students must also complete a Human Services Capstone in order to receive their degree.
Argosy University – San Diego has been ranked among the Best Colleges Nationwide, Best Colleges for Your Money, Best Colleges in California and the region, and as having the Best Majors.
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
College Choice Score: 78.85
Average Net Price: $16,462
Founded in February of 1869, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is home to mascots Lil’ Red and Herbie Husker. UNL is home to students who thrive on discovering and researching new things. In fact, the university’s research expenditures totaled more than $280 million in 2015. Now, students can continue researching through the school’s Master of Science Degree in Child, Youth and Family Studies.
Unlike other Human Services degrees, the online MS at UNL comes with a specialization in Human and Family Services Administration. You can expect to take the following courses:
- Program Design, Evaluation, & Implementation
- Special Topics in Family/Cultural Diversity
- Foundations in Public Service
- Fundraising in Public and Nonprofit Organizations
- Advanced Management & Leadership for Public & Non-Profit Professionals
- Administrative Ethics and Leadership
- Management and Administration of Nonprofit Organizations
All students must complete a total of 36 credits. Everyone pursuing this MS degree is also expected to complete a capstone project.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been ranked near the top third of all national universities, both public and private. In recent years, Nebraska has been ranked highly for value, graduation rate and access. Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students.
College Choice Score: 78.06
Average Net Price: $14,471
Founded in 1968 and located in Delaware, Wilmington University offers a total of 90 degrees online. With a highly acclaimed online learning platform and flat tuition rate for all of its online students, Wilmington continues to attract the best and brightest. Wilmington University’s Master of Science in Administration of Human Services is just one of the many excellent degree programs this university has to offer.
This online program is offered through Wilmington’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. The MS in Human Services is best for those who are seeking an advanced degree and those who may possess an undergraduate degree in a related area of study. Core courses include:
- Contemporary Issues in Administration of Human Services
- Research, Design and Evaluation of Programs in Human Services
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Human Service Administration
Students may then choose from a variety of elective courses. All graduates must also complete either a 120-hour Guided Practicum in Administration of Human Services or a Capstone Project in Human Services Administration to receive their degree. Students who take courses in this program year-round can expect to earn their degree in a year. However, many choose a more flexible schedule and earn their degree within 18-24 months.
Graduates of this program will be able to apply decision-making and problem-solving skills as well as critical thinking to the administration of the human services organization. You’ll also be able to analyze, interpret, and evaluate the legal and ethical issues that impact and influence human services.