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Anyone who is interested in a career in the human services sector should feel encouraged that their chances for a solid career path are strong. The field of human services is a broad one in the public and private sectors. The private sector employs people with human resource degrees to help them navigate the needs of their employees and customers in order to be more successful. The public sector is equally varied in terms of employment roles for those with human services degrees with some paths leading to the field of politics or policymaking.

When looking at the most affordable human services degrees, look at schools that you might not otherwise consider. There are small universities and colleges that are respected, have a long history of excellence in education, and offer online classes that provide quality education. Sometimes these schools offer the most affordable human services degrees, and have a prestigious reputation despite their small stature. You’ll be able to save money on your degree while getting a solid education that is taken seriously by potential employers.

Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable Human Services Degrees

To rank the most affordable human services degrees, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors focused on accredited, reputable institutions so students can feel confident that their degrees will have value. For the actual ranking order, however, editors arranged programs according to their tuition cost, as reported to IPEDS.

1. Columbia College

Columbia College of Missouri offers a Human Services BS or BA either on-campus or online, recognized among the most affordable human services degrees in the nation. Degree candidates enter the workforce with skills for careers in policy development, probation, counseling, the court system, and local government levels. Each of Columbia College’s baccalaureate degree programs in human resources requires degree candidates to complete 120 semester credits to meet program requirements.

Columbia College was founded in 1851 as a Female college for Christian studies. The school operates many campuses through fourteen states and on military bases to serve military members. The college’s urban campus is home to about 1,900 undergraduate students.

What We Like: Columbia College operates as a nonsectarian institution of higher learning but has maintained a covenant with the Disciples of Christ, Christian Church.

Degree: Human Services, BS/BA

2. CUNY College of Technology

The CUNY College of Technology offers a BS in Human Services that can be completed on the school’s Brooklyn campus. City Tech’s most affordable human services degrees include coursework in counseling methods, child psychology, gerontology, resource development in human services, plus a professional internship in a human services related position. Total semester credits for degree candidates to graduate equal 120 semester credits, with 60 credits dedicated to the chosen human services major.

The City University of New York (CUNY) College of Technology was established in 1946. City Tech is a member school the City of University of New York (CUNY) system with campuses throughout the five boroughs, with a student enrollment that exceeds 16,000 students. City Tech is organized three colleges/schools – Arts & Sciences, Professional Studies, and Technology/Design.

What We Like: City Tech’s campus near DUMBO.

Degree: Human Services, BS

3. Post University

Post University offers an on-campus BS in Human Services that is considered as one of the most affordable human services degrees on the east coast of the United States. Post University’s undergraduate human resources program requires degree candidates to complete 120 credit units, of which 60 credit units must be dedicated to the human services major. These classes include social welfare, ethical issues, human behavior in society, multicultural Issues in human resources, plus two relevant practicums in human services.

Post University (Post) was established in 1890 as an institution of higher learning that educated students in shorthand. Post University operates a main campus in Waterbury, plus satellite facilities in Danbury, Wallingford, and Meridian. Post University’s urban campus covers more than 50 acres. These campuses serve more than 7,100 students.

What We Like: The famous Post Tree, with 100+ trunk circumstance, is listed in the state’s notable trees.

Degree: Human Services, BS

4. Minot State University

Minot State University offers an on-campus BS in Human Resources with a concentration in Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities that is ranked as one of the most affordable human services degrees in the nation. Coursework for MSU’s undergraduate human services degree program includes human development, assisting those with TBIs, promoting inclusive opportunities, positive behavior, plus a culminating senior seminar and a related externship.

Minot State University was founded in 1913 as a teacher training college. Minot State University’s rural campus is home to approximately 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

What We Like: Minot State University holds the distinction of being the 3rd institution of higher learning in the state of North Dakota and a member school of the North Dakota University System.

Degree: Human Services, BS

5. Monroe College

Monroe College offers a BS in Human Services that is delivered online and on-campus. Monroe College’s most affordable human services degrees include coursework like human services administration, ethical issues, principles of interviewing, cultural competency, plus several mandated field experiences, for a total of 120 semester credits. Students graduate from Monroe’s program prepared for careers as a counselor, probation officer, rehab counselor, substance abuse counselor, or case manager, among others. Degree candidates must complete two field practicum experiences to meet graduation requirements.

Monroe College was established as a business, for-profit school in 1963. Monroe College operates a number of academic satellite facilities in New York City, Westchester County, and the Bronx. Monroe College’s urban campuses serve more than 6,500 students.

What We Like: Monroe College boasts a student to faculty ratio of 15 to 1.

Degree: Human Services, BS

6. University of Alaska – Anchorage

The University of Alaska Anchorage offers Alaska’s most affordable human services degrees with its Bachelor of Human Services degree program. Students enrolled in UA Anchorage’s baccalaureate human services degree program must complete 120 semester units to meet program requirements. UA Anchorage’s undergraduate degree in human services requires the completion of three related onsite practicums. Curriculum guidelines for this degree program have been aligned with the criteria set forth by the CSHSE – the accrediting organization for human service academic programs.

The University of Alaska at Anchorage is a research institution of higher education that was established in 1954. UA of Anchorage operates found satellite campuses throughout the community. Nearly 18,000 students attend classes on the University Alaska’s Anchorage campuses.

What We Like: UA Anchorage is the largest university in the state’s university system and in the state of Alaska. The school’s campus is recognized as a Tree Campus USA.

Degree: Bachelor of Human Services

7. University of Maine Augusta

The University of Maine Augusta offers a BS in Mental Health & Human Services that is available online and on-campus, which is ranked among the most affordable human services degrees. Degree candidates enrolled in the University of Maine Augusta’s undergraduate human services program must complete 121 semester credits to meet program requirements. Sixty-nine credits must be completed from the human services curriculum with coursework that includes counseling, community mental health, substance abuse disorder, case management, supervision in human services, plus a mandated practicum.

The University of Maine Augusta was established in 1965 as a public institution of higher learning and a member school of the University System of Maine. The school’s urban campus in central Maine, plus the satellite campuses are home to more than 6,0000 students.

What We Like: The University of Maine Augusta is best known for its online library science degree program.

Degree: Mental Health & Human Services, BS

8. Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers a Human Services Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) that is considered one of the most affordable human services degrees in the state of Kansas. Fort Hays State University’s students enrolled in the undergraduate human services degree program must complete 120 semester credits to meet FHSU’s program requirements. Coursework for Fort Hays State University’s baccalaureate program in human services includes 54 semester hours of classes in the human services major.

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) was established in 1902 as a western located teacher’s training school in Kansas. The university’s rural campus covers more than 175 acres and serves nearly 16,000 students, with the Big Creek stream meandering through campus.

What We Like: Fort Hays State University is one of the six member schools governed by the Kansas Regents Board.

Degree: Human Services, BGS

9. SUNY Empire State College

SUNY’s Empire State College offers a BS in Community and Human Services that is considered one of the most affordable human services degrees on the east coast of the United States. Empire State College’s affordable program is available on-campus only. Students enrolled in Empire State College’s human service baccalaureate degree program must complete 124 semester credits to meet graduation requirements.

The Empire State College was established in 1971 and is a member school of the State University of New York with several facilities through the NY empire region. The school’s 34 locations primarily serving adult learners. More than 10,000 students are studying for degrees offered by Empire State College.

What We Like: Empire State College partners with Anadolu University in the country of Turkey to provide an MBA program.

Degree: Community and Human Service, BS

10. Washburn University

Washburn University’s Department of Family and Human Services offers a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree program in Family & Human Services that is recognized as one of the most affordable human services degrees in Kansas. Washburn University’s undergraduate affordable human services baccalaureate degree includes coursework like human development, social change, group counseling, service coordination, theories of intervention, youth, and violence, plus two internships in a related position. Total semester credits required to meet Washburn University’s program requirements equal to 120.

Washburn University was founded initially as Lincoln College in 1865. This public institution of higher education’s campus in Topeka covers 150+ urban acres and serves more than 6,100 students.

What We Like: Washburn University’s School of Law, is the first institution of higher education to develop a legal clinic where students can practice law.

Degree: Family & Human Services, BS

How Do I Save Money on a Human Services Degree?

The desire and need to save money on a human services degree is understandable. The field of human services is one that requires college education for entry, but you don’t have to get a master’s degree to find employment. You can get a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree and still find employment in the human services field. Certificates and associate’s degrees are among the most affordable human services degrees and you can take accelerated courses for an associate’s degree that help you get employed while spending less time in school.

Will a Certification Help My Career?

The short answer is: It depends. Human services certifications are the most affordable option for a degree in human services. They teach the basics of human services and require up to 24 credit hours for completion. In the event you earn a certification in human services without any other type of college education, you are more likely to start employment in the role of an assistant or paraprofessional in human services. That’s not to say getting a human services certification is a bad idea for someone who’s looking to explore the field as the skills learned are valuable in other fields. Someone who is already employed in a similar field and wants to enhance their resume and skill sets can benefit from taking one of the many human services certification programs available through various schools.

Human services certification programs give a student an overview of the type of skills and knowledge necessary for the sector. Advanced classes are not taught at the certification level and it may be more difficult to learn necessary skills and knowledge on the job. A certification in human services will give a student a framework of knowledge to draw from that is useful in an entry level human service position. However, it won’t be sufficient enough to help a student advance in the field without additional education or a lot of time spent learning on the job.

Someone who has already gone to school and wants to enhance their career with the type of knowledge provided by human services certification programs can benefit from earning a certificate. Human services roles require an individual to understand human psychology, be willing and able to help people with finding resolutions to their needs, and have basic business skills. A human services certificate program teaches these topics at a basic level and can provide an introduction to someone who’s new to the concepts. It can also enhance a student’s existing knowledge and have proof of that knowledge in the form of a certificate.

How Much Can I Make with a Bachelor’s in Human Services?

According to the BLS, the median pay for social workers is $50,470 per year. The BLS has many individual categories that fall under the umbrella of the human services sector, and social worker is the most generalized category. It should be noted that the average human services degree salary varies in accordance with education and experience. Someone who is fresh out of school may find that their salary is lower or close to the average human services degree salary. An individual who has work experience in another related field and is entering the human services sector with a certificate may find that they earn more than the average with a degree in human services salary.

The potential for salary growth in a human services degree salary is very strong. The BLS predicts that the job growth outlook for human services is 11% through 2028. That percentage is higher than the average job growth across all industries according to the BLS. There is no guarantee that the demand for people with human resource degrees will stay strong, but the BLS does not make its predictions lightly.

There’s almost no limit to the type of employment that’s open to someone with a degree in human services. If you’re interested in making a difference in people’s lives, the human resources sector offers exciting career options and the potential for increased earnings over time.

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