25 Best Human Services Associates Degrees Online (AA) – 2019 Edition

An associate’s in human services can be the first step to a lifelong career that’s spent helping others. You can use this degree to help you find an entry-level position in the field or to prepare you for further education.

Human Services Associates Degree Online

Earning an associate’s in human services can help you get started in a career that’s aimed at making a difference for other people. During your studies, you’ll learn about psychology, human behavior, diversity, sociology, ethics and other topics that will help you understand what it takes to run programs and systems aimed at bettering people’s lives.

Degree Overview

The path to earning an associate’s degree is considered a two-year college program. It is designed to cover the basics of the field in order to equip you with the knowledge that you will need for getting hired in an entry-level position.

You can earn your human services degree as an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science. These are typically fairly similar programs, and the differences between them shouldn’t affect your future employability or your career path. In addition, either degree can usually serve as credit toward a bachelor’s degree.

Associate of Arts (AA) in Human Services

Some universities classify their human services programs as an AA. Usually, these schools build on the foundational human services courses with an assortment of classes related to human thought and behavior. The subjects you study might include psychology, sociology and other social sciences.

Associate of Science (AS) in Human Services

On the other hand, some colleges offer human services AS programs instead. You’ll still take classes that introduce you to the basics of the human services field. In addition, you might take scientific or technical courses, such as ones related to administration or healthcare.

Curriculum

Typical Classes

Each school’s approach to an associate’s degree in human services is a bit different, but your class lineup may include courses on:

  • Human development
  • Human behavior
  • Introduction to psychology
  • Introduction to sociology
  • Ethical and legal practices
  • Diversity and social issues
  • Client assessment

Required Credit Hours

Often, earning a human services associate’s degree will require that you take about 60 to 65 credit hours. However, that number varies from school to school. Some universities require students to take as many as 90 credit hours before earning their associate’s degree in this field.

Internships

Most associate’s programs do not require that students serve a practicum before graduation, but you may have some opportunities to engage in hands-on work during your studies. Some universities do require students to do a capstone project for their associate’s degree, but that won’t necessarily involve an internship experience. As a general rule, you’ll get fieldwork experience once you’re out in the workforce.

Concentrations

Associate’s students don’t usually need to select a specialization. Rather, this is a generalist degree that’s designed to provide a broad introduction to the field. When you advance to a human services bachelor’s or master’s program, you may then have the opportunity to pursue a concentration of your choosing.

Admissions and Academic Requirements

Before beginning your college career, you must have graduated high school or passed your GED test. Admissions requirements beyond that vary among schools.

Some junior or community colleges allow nearly all high school graduates to enter their associate’s programs. However, they often require students to take placement tests so that they can be placed in the appropriate courses. SAT or ACT test scores can sometimes be used as a substitute for placement testing. If your testing shows low scores in certain areas, you may have to pass foundational classes before moving on to the courses that will count toward your degree program.

On the other hand, some universities that award associate’s degrees are more selective about their admissions processes. You may need to submit test scores and have a strong high school GPA in order to get into their programs. Positive references or letters of recommendation may help as well.

Human Services Career Paths & Salaries

Job Options in Human Services

Although some human services workers interact directly with clients, many serve as administrators. They may create, implement, run or evaluate programs and services that help other people meet their basic needs.

Human services professionals work in a variety of environments.

These may include:

  • Medical clinics
  • Mental health clinics
  • Community outreach programs
  • Special needs homes
  • Schools
  • Private practices
  • Nursing homes
  • Child welfare agencies
  • Nonprofit organizations

Those with an associate’s degree usually begin in entry-level positions. They may serve in assistant roles. Advancing to positions of more responsibility may require getting more education.

Career Outlook

As a whole, social and community service jobs are currently growing at a rate of about 14 percent.

Most people with an associate’s in human services usually take assistant roles. They are responsible for helping their managers provide community services or client care. According to the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, social and human services assistants make about $33,750 per year, and the field is growing at a rate of about 16 percent.

Further Education

Credits earned in AA or AS program can usually be transferred toward a bachelor’s program. In fact, once you’ve earned an associate’s, you may be able to begin a four-year degree program as a junior. Earning a bachelor’s will allow you access to positions of greater leadership or responsibility.

It’s worth noting that an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree may not transfer as easily as an AS or AA. An AAS is usually designed to prepare you specifically for the workforce rather than to serve as a stepping stone to more education. Therefore, if you want to earn a bachelor’s or beyond, go for an AA or AS in human services.

After earning your bachelor’s, you might choose to go on to a master’s or doctorate program. You could become a top-level leader in your organization or teach others in a higher-education setting.

Accreditation

It’s essential that you enroll in a college that is accredited. This recognition can help you qualify for financial aid, transfer your credits to another school and land a job. The accreditation should come from an organization that is approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The Higher Learning Commission is one example of an approved accreditor.

The Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE) certifies some departments in this field. This includes not only associate’s programs but also bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. Keep in mind that this accreditation is valuable but not as essential as university-wide accreditation.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Most schools charge by the credit hour. If your program requires that you take 64 credit hours, then you’ll pay the school’s credit hour rate multiplied by 64. This figure can vary widely among schools. Fees and book costs are in addition to the basic tuition rate.

If you need financial assistance, you may qualify for grants or loans from your state or the federal government. To get started, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Scholarships and college payment plans can help as well. After completing your degree, your job may qualify you for federal loan forgiveness.

Human Services Professional Organizations

  • National Organization for Human Services
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Public Health Services Association
  • National Council on Family Relations

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Human Services?

The field of human services includes many compassionate people who want to make a difference in their communities. Although these people work in a variety of settings, they share a common goal of striving to improve other people’s lives. They often work among people with financial, physical or emotional struggles. Through programs, policies, initiatives and one-on-one interactions, human service workers to their best to assist these people.

Skills and traits that can help you succeed in this field include:

  • Compassion
  • Caring
  • Interest in other people
  • Organization
  • Administration
  • Openness to diversity
  • Clear communication
  • Resilience

Keep in mind: Although it is important for you to have concern and caring for others, you must also be able to set boundaries and separate yourself somewhat from situations. Human service workers often deal with people who are in tough circumstances. Establishing careful boundaries for yourself can help you avoid burnout.

What type of skills will I gain?

You’ll grow in your interpersonal skills and gain practical know-how while studying for your associate’s degree. Your coursework will teach you about relating to clients, serving among diverse populations, dealing with trauma and crisis situations and connecting people to community resources. You will increase your knowledge about how people think and behave. In addition, you’ll gain new knowledge about using communications tools, recording important data and handling a caseload of clients.

What Can I Do with a Human Services Degree?

An associate’s in human services is an entry-level degree that’s designed to give you a basic introduction to working in this field. Therefore, people with an associate’s degree in human services often serve as assistants to program managers or social workers. They may input data, meet with clients or provide transportation.

You could work in:

  • Housing programs
  • Correctional facilities
  • Foster care agencies
  • Early childhood programs
  • Group homes

Gaining professional experience and further education can help you move into leadership roles. After getting a bachelor’s degree you might be able to serve as a:

  • Case manager
  • Program director
  • Patient-care coordinator
  • Probation officer

Human services professionals and social workers often collaborate with one another. However, human services is distinct from social work. Human services personnel are often responsible for programs on a community-wide level, and social workers are more likely to carry out regular interactions with individuals.

After gaining your associate’s degree, you might serve as an assistant who helps with human services or social work. However, as you continue your education, you might find that your career path becomes more specialized, and you take on a more administrative role.

What are the Best Online Associate’s in Human Services Programs?

The best online programs for your associate’s in human services will vary based on your personal needs and interests. Both an AA or AS program can be a great choice. The most important thing to consider is whether you are selecting a college that is accredited.

Can I transfer my credits into a Bachelor’s degree program?

Yes. When you earn your credits from an accredited university, they are eligible for transfer into an accredited bachelor’s degree program in a related field.

Can I become a Social Worker with an Associate of Arts degree in Human Services?

No, a bachelor’s degree in social work (or closely related field) is required for entry-level social work positions. That being said, an online Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Human Services is an excellent stepping stone to pursuing your bachelor’s in social work online. If you wish to pursue a graduate degree in Human Services, you can also earn your Master’s in Human Services or PhD in Human Services online.

What jobs can you get with a human services degree?

Human services encompasses a wide-range of career paths ranging from social workers and counselors to nurses and youth workers. The field itself is interdisciplinary. To gain additional focus, you can get your bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in a highly specialized field such as social work, psychology, nursing, or counseling.

  • Counselors
  • Child Advocates
  • Psychologists
  • Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Case Managers
  • Emergency Management Specialists
  • Community Outreach Workers
  • Disaster Relief
  • Human Services Assistants
  • Probation Officers
  • Crisis Intervention Counselors
  • Community Services Administrators
  • Sociologist
  • Youth Workers

These jobs are meant to give you a feel for the human services field, but most of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree in human services or higher.

List of Associate of Arts – AA Degree in Human Services Programs

Rank University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description
1

Alexandria Technical & Community College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
ATCC is accredited at the Associate degree level by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services Practitioner
2

Bismarck State College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNorth Dakota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
BSC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The college was first accredited in 1966.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
3

Brescia University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONKentucky
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Brescia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
4

Bryant & Stratton College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew York
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Bryant & Stratton is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online Associate’s in Human & Social Services
5

Central Maine Community College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMaine
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
CMCC is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
6

Coastline College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
Coastline College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
7

Columbia College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMissouri
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Columbia College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1918.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
8

Elizabethtown College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Accredited by the Middle States Association for Colleges and Secondary Schools, the associate degree in Human Services from Elizabethtown College requires 64 credit hours of academic work.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
9

Franklin Pierce University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew Hampshire
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
FPU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
10

Genesee Community College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew York
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
GCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online Master’s in Human Services
11

Grace Christian University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMichigan
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Grace is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association for Biblical Higher Education to award associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degrees.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
12

Great Basin College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNevada
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
The College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
13

Jefferson Community and Technical College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONKentucky
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
JCTC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
14

Monroe College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew York
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Monroe College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
15

Montana State University Billings

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMontana
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
MSU Billings is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
16

Montgomery County Community College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
MCCC is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
17

New England College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew Hampshire
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
NEC is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • Online Associate’s in in Human Services
18

Niagara County Community College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew York
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
NCCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
19

Northcentral Technical College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONWisconsin
ACCREDITATIONHLC
NTC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
20

Ocean County College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew Jersey
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
OCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
21

Rasmussen College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
22

Shorter University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONGeorgia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Shorter is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
23

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONTexas
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
SAGU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
24

Stanly Community College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNorth Carolina
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
SCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services Technology
25

Thomas Edison State University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew Jersey
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
TESU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
26

University of the Cumberlands

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONKentucky
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
UCumberlands is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, education specialist and doctorate degrees. Initial accreditation date was 1964.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services
27

Wake Technical Community College

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNorth Carolina
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Wake Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services Technology – Substance Abuse
28

Western New Mexico University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONNew Mexico
ACCREDITATIONHLC
WNMU is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Online Associate’s in Human Services

Ready to get started?

You have the desire to help people and to do work that makes a difference. Earning your associate’s in human services can be the first step toward turning that passion into a fulfilling career. After graduating with your associate’s degree, you’ll have opportunities for career growth and further education.

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