2024 Best Online Human Services Certificate Programs [Undergraduate]

By Leon Aristeguieta
Edited by Briana Sukert
Updated on May 27, 2024
Edited by Briana Sukert
Ready to start your journey?
Explore the best online human services certificate programs in 2023. Develop versatile skills to make a difference and pursue a rewarding career.

Human services professionals look to make a difference for others, and earning a human services certificate online can help you develop versatile skills for this rewarding field.

Best Online Human Services Certificates

If you want to better your community by helping families and individuals, then an online certificate in human services could help you get started in entry-level roles. People in human services may also work with individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health issues, or substance abuse problems.

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All in all, an undergraduate certificate in human services could open the door to a rewarding field with room for advancement.

Universities Offering Online Certificate in Human Services Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Bismarck State College

Bismarck State College offers a Human Services and Eligibility Worker Certificate that can be earned on campus and online. The program requires an internship and allows students to choose the courses best suited to their personal career goals. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for jobs in public and private sectors that involve helping others.

Bismarck State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Boston College

Boston College offers an online program for a Management and Supervision in Human Services Certificate. It is intended for experienced human services professionals who desire to move into leadership positions. Students can choose between self-paced, asynchronous courses or synchronous courses that include live meetings held on Zoom. To earn the certificate, students must complete at least 5 courses.

Boston College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Cerro Coso Community College

The Human Services Worker Certificate program at Cerro Coso Community College is designed to teach students a broad range of skills. Course possibilities include Cultural Competence in Human Services, Case Management, Computer Literacy, Curriculum and Strategies for Children with Special Needs, and more.

Cerro Coso Community College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Clark University

Clark University offers a Certificate in Nonprofit Human Services Management that can be earned 100% online. The program requires the completion of five 7-week courses. These include Nonprofit Management, Fundraising and Grant Writing, Research Methods and Strategies, Fundamentals of Business Analysis, and Ethics and Professional Life. The curriculum was developed by nonprofit leaders.

Clark University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Clarkson College

Clarkson College has a Human Services Certificate program that prospective students can apply to year-round. The certificate can potentially be earned in 3 semesters by students who already have associate degrees, and first-time students can potentially complete it in 4 semesters. To earn the certificate, students must complete 21 credit hours. The program’s requirements can be completed through part-time or full-time attendance.

Clarkson College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

College of Lake County

College of Lake County offers an online program for an Illinois CADC (Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor) Certificate. Students can usually earn the certificate in 1 to 1.5 years. The program includes asynchronous online classes and a practicum. Classes are also available on campus if you prefer.

CLC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Community College of Philadelphia

The Community College of Philadelphia offers a 33 credit program for a Human Services Academic Certificate. The program can be completed mostly online, often in just 2 semesters. It includes courses such as Introduction to Behavioral Health and Human Services, Foundations of Addiction Studies, Practicum in Behavioral Health and Human Services, and more.

Community College of Philadelphia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Florida Southwestern State College

Florida Southwestern State College offers a Human Services Generalist Certificate. This open-enrollment program is fully online. Part-time students who begin the program in the fall can potentially complete it in just 3 semesters. The certificate may be earned on its own or as part of a full degree program.

Florida SouthWestern State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Great Basin College

Great Basin College’s Certificate in Human Services program includes hands-on learning opportunities and a 180-hour supervised practicum at a human services agency. It consists of 5 courses: Substance Abuse: Fundamental Facts and Insights, Composition I, Introduction to Human Services, Introduction to Counseling, and Technical Mathematics I.

GBC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Holyoke Community College

Holyoke Community College offers a Human Services Certificate. Students that begin the program in the fall can potentially complete it in just 1 year. Students in the program must take 3 required courses: Composition I, Introduction to Human Services, and Introduction to Psychology. Afterwards, they must complete 15 to 16 credits of electives.

Holyoke Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christian school that offers a Certificate in Human Services that can be earned online. To graduate, students must complete five courses, for a total of 15 credits. Class options are Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Marriage and Family, Cultural Anthropology, Psychology of Personality, Crisis Intervention, and Theories of Personality.

Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Quinsigamond Community College

Quinsigamond Community College offers a Human Services Certificate that can be earned at its main campus or in a mostly online format. All credits earned may be applied to an associate degree in human services. The program requires the completion of 27 credits, which can potentially be done in just 2 semesters.

Quinsigamond Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.

SUNY Morrisville

The Human Services Certificate from SUNY Morrisville can be earned 100% online. The program requires 21 credits of live, online classes that are taught by the same faculty members that teach on campus. Students in the program are required to participate in field experiences and internships. All credits may be transferred into an AAS in Human Services.

SUNY Morrisville is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee offers a Professional Certificate in Human Services. The program requires students to complete 3 core courses and 2 electives, which can usually be done in 2 semesters. Courses are available in both in-person and live, online formats. The curriculum includes classes such as Global Citizenship, Motivational Interviewing, Introduction to the Justice System, and more.

UWM is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Widener University

Widener University offers a Certificate in Human Services Foundations and a Certificate in Human Services Leadership. Both programs are 100% online, require 9 credits, and can usually be completed in 2 semesters. Widener’s online courses are designed to provide convenience and flexibility for working adults.

Widener University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Human Services Certificate Online Programs

Man taking Human Services Certificate online

Human services certificate programs online are designed to give you the necessary skills for entry-level roles in this field. Human services professionals can work in a variety of sectors, including healthcare, social services, and community outreach.

Human services online certificate programs might include classes on:

  • Communication
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Social work

Possible career paths for professionals with a human services certificate include:

  • Caseworkers
  • Social and human service assistants
  • Home health aides
  • Advocates
  • Prevention specialists

Many in the human services field work directly with clients, though there are also positions in administration available.

In general, graduates of human services online certificate programs work in the helping professions. They often provide both prevention services as well as solutions to issues that arise through the development of interpersonal relationships with those in need.

For example, caseworkers can work directly with individuals as advocates and provide them with information and resolutions to their problems. This might include helping clients with housing, their relationships, and other issues that arise from social adjustments.

Another role in the field of human services is that of a prevention specialist. These workers directly focus on the field of addiction-related health care, providing information and resources to communities and individuals to promote a healthy environment.

More job opportunities may be available for students who go on to earn their associate or bachelor’s degree. In fact, a number of universities offer human services degree online programs that may allow students to continue with their work and family obligations. If you need to get your degree fast, there are even accelerated human services degree online programs that may be of interest to you.

What these careers all share in common is their focus on helping others by providing the necessary support and resources.

Human Services Careers & Salaries

Human Services Careers & Salaries

An online certificate program in human services can help you qualify for employment in many fields, including healthcare, community outreach, and social services.

Usual employers for these fields include healthcare organizations, nonprofits, and government organizations at the local and state levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some entry-level careers related to human services.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Community Health Workers $46,590
Human Resources Assistants $45,630
Social and Human Service Assistants $37,610
Medical Assistants $37,190
Occupational Therapy Aides $33,560
Psychiatric Aides $30,260
Recreation Workers $29,680
Home Health and Personal Care Aides $29,430
Teacher Assistants $29,360
Childcare Workers $27,490

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster than average job growth for a number of these positions. This includes social and human services assistants (17% job growth), community health workers (21%), and home health and personal care aides (33%).

Human Services Certificate Curriculum & Courses

Students taking Human Services Certificate

Courses for human services certificate programs online vary widely due to the nature of the profession, but they include learning about case management, psychology, and counseling. Depending on your program, you may take some of the courses listed below:

  • Introduction to Human Services: This course is designed to introduce you to the human services profession by providing a historical overview, theories on human services, and the methods by which human services are delivered.
  • Case Management: This course introduces you to the concept of case management, including problem-solving and decision-making in case management.
  • General Psychology: This course helps you gain an understanding of the basic psychological principles and their application in human services settings.
  • Counseling: This course provides you with an overview of counseling strategies, theories, and applications.
  • Child Growth and Development: This course is designed to give you background as to the development of children until adolescence.
  • Psychology of Substance Abuse: This course is meant for you to gain insight into the nature of substance abuse as well as the causes of substance abuse.
  • Behavior Modification: This course introduces you to the concepts, theories, and applications of behavior modification to increase desirable behavior and diminish undesirable behavior.
  • Lifespan Development: This course helps you understand the psychological development of people throughout their lives.
  • Abnormal Psychology: This course is meant to introduce you to uncommon and unorthodox psychological behaviors and the theories surrounding these behaviors.
  • Introduction to Social Work: This course is designed as an overview of the social work profession, the history behind its development, and the latest theories regarding the profession.

Apart from the coursework for certificate in human services programs, you may also be required to complete an internship or similar requirement.

Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing requirements for Human Services Certificate

Though the admissions requirements for human services online certificate programs differ from one school to the next, there are certain similarities between each school.

  • High school diploma or GED. Undergraduate certificate programs typically require the completion of high school or a GED program.
  • Application form. Most application forms can be completed online.
  • Standardized test scores. Though many schools no longer require SAT or ACT scores, some programs still require these scores as part of their application.

In addition, human services certificate programs may require you to attend an orientation and complete placement tests.

Accreditation

University offering Human Services Certificate

Many schools choose to seek accreditation from regional associations. Regional accreditation ensures that schools meet a specific set of requirements and high-quality standards.

When choosing which online human services certificate program to attend, it’s strategic to consider the school’s accreditation status. If you would want to pursue a bachelors degree later on, a lack of accreditation could affect your ability to transfer over credits from your certificate program.

Prospective employers may also hold higher regard for educational training that comes from a regionally accredited institution. For more information on accreditation, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for Human Services Certificate

While online undergraduate certificate programs come at a cost, you may be eligible for financial aid, which could help pay for the price of attendance.

Both the federal government and state governments offer various forms of financial assistance to students in the form of grants, loans, and work-study programs. For more information, you can visit your state’s financial aid website as well as the Federal Student Aid website.

In addition to government-provided financial aid, private businesses and organizations may provide scholarships to students who are looking to study human services. Your school may offer scholarship opportunities to qualifying students as well.

Some employers also provide professional development programs or financial assistance for their employees who want to return to school and study.

What Is a Human Services Certificate?

Community Health Workers attending to people

A human services certificate is an undergraduate program designed to give students the knowledge and tools needed for a wide range of jobs in the human services field.

These certificate programs emphasize the core competencies of human services professionals. These can include interviewing, writing incident reports, managing cases, working in teams, and providing services and referrals to clients.

Human service professionals can work with children and families as well as individuals with wide-ranging issues. Some might work with people who have substance abuse problems, behavior and developmental issues, and mental health disorders.

What Can You Do with a Human Services Certificate?

Childcare workers and kids in a classroom

Earning a human services certificate in child and family services could help you prepare for a wide variety of careers in this versatile field.

Human services professionals often work in healthcare and health services as well as social services and community outreach. Certificate holders may be employed by local and state governments as well as private healthcare organizations and nonprofits.

Some entry-level roles in human services include social service assistant, caseworker, HR assistant, home health aide, personal care aide, and psychiatric aide. Due to the growing demand for workers in the human services field, there are likely to be substantial opportunities for employment for graduates of human services certificate programs.

Plus, some certificate holders decide to enroll in a degree program, such as an on-campus or online humanitarian degree program that a growing number of universities offer.

How Long Is a Human Services Certificate Program Online?

Man pursuing Online Human Services Certificate

The length of an online human services certificate program depends on which university you choose to attend.

When done on a full-time basis, human services certificate programs may last anywhere from 9 months to 1.5 years of study. Some online programs also offer accelerated terms. Typically, these programs require anywhere from 20 to 40 credits.

Depending on your circumstances, you may choose to enroll part-time, in which case the certificate program will likely take longer to complete.

What’s the Difference Between a Certification vs. Certificate in Human Services?

There is a difference between obtaining an academic certificate from a university, like a human services certificate, and a professional certification in a related field. The table below outlines some of the differences.

Academic Certificate Professional Certification
  • Earned from an academic institution
  • For newcomers and those unfamiliar with the field
  • Requires coursework in various disciplines
  • Standards set by academic institutions and accrediting agencies
  • Could be used as a gateway to a bachelors degree
  • Earned as a result of an evaluation process
  • Requires prior experience
  • Earned by testing, which demonstrates required mastery
  • Standards set by industry and professional field
  • Does not affect higher degree attainment

Human services certificates are granted through colleges or universities while professional certifications are given by the industry.

What’s the Difference Between a Human Services Certificate vs. Bachelors Degree?

There are many differences between a human services certificate and a bachelors degree in human services.

Undergraduate Certificate Program Bachelors Degree Program
  • Non-degree academic program
  • Typically completed in 3 semesters or less
  • Focuses on core competencies of the human services field
  • May count toward a bachelors degree
  • Leads to degree in your chosen field
  • Typically completed in 4 years
  • Includes general education and more in-depth study of human services
  • May prepare you for graduate studies

A human services certificate is a non-degree earning program. After completing a bachelor’s in human services, you typically earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in the field.

What’s the Difference Between Human Services vs. Social Work?

Though human services and social work are related fields with a lot of overlap, there are key differences between the two.

  • Human services: Human services professionals are usually the first called to a crisis situation. They make recommendations and referrals to other services based on their assessment of the problem.
  • Social work: Social workers provide a wide range of services, which change depending on their clients. They can write assessments, implement treatment plans, and keep track of the results.

Both careers are helping professions. Although they might seem similar on the surface, the differences in their daily duties distinguish them as two separate jobs.

Is an Online Human Services Certificate Worth It?

Medical Assistant and an elderly patient

Yes, a certificate in human services online is worth it for many students. Employment for social and human service assistants is predicted to grow 17% over the next ten years, which is much faster than average (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The growing elderly population means the demand for these positions is likely to increase in the foreseeable future. In addition, an online human services certificate program may help you develop versatile skills that you can apply to other helping fields.

Getting Your Human Services Certificate Online

Woman completing her Online Human Services Certificates

Earning a human services certificate online could help you launch your educational and professional journey. You could develop essential skill sets for entry-level roles, and your certificate program could also act as a bridge to an associate or bachelor degree in the field.

Because of the wide accessibility of online education—not to mention the growing job outlook for the human services field—now might be the time for you to consider obtaining an undergraduate certificate.

You can start exploring accredited colleges and universities to learn more about the online human services certificate programs that are available to you.

Ready to start your journey?