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Degrees in human services have been a requirement for the position for quite some time. The role requires the ability to balance the needs of people who are looking for help, understanding the psychology behind need, and understanding the business aspects of operating a human service organization. A human services degree helps you get your foot in the door at the organization of your choosing as well as helps you build your resume so you can find better-paying positions as you gain work experience.

Careers in human services can be fulfilling and engaging. Someone who wants to help others in their time of need will find the role of human service is one that aligns with their goals. However, in the event that a career in human services doesn’t go as planned, the education and experience learned from the position are ones that can help find employment in fields that need people who are skilled in helping others. Both the private and public sector need people who can balance the roles of helping people during times of stress, finding solutions to problems, have excellent negotiating skills, and capable of bringing difficult issues to a satisfactory resolution.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Human Services Degree Programs

For the Bachelor’s Degree Center ranking of the best human services degree programs, BDC editors began by seeking out accredited, reputable colleges and universities offering a human services bachelor’s. From there, we ranked them according to their tuition cost, reputation, and alumni salary for a well-rounded portrait of quality.

1. Western Washington University

Western Washington University’s Department of Health and Community Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Human Services (BAHS) that is available on the Everett and Bellingham campuses plus through the distance learning extension. Western Washington University’s best human services degree programs include diversity and social justice, human development, Conflict resolution, disability systems, healthcare services, and inequity in US Policies, plus a related internship and field studies experience. Degree candidates enter the workforce as youth advisors, volunteer coordinators, domestic violence victims, grant writers, and other social issues, to name a few.

Western Washington University was established as the Northwest teacher’s institute in 1893. The university’s urban campus covers more than 200 acres and serves more than 15,900 students vying for degrees offered by the university’s five colleges/schools.

What We Like: Western Washington University is recognized among the top 25 schools in the Pacific Northwest.

Degree: Human Services, BA

2. Siena Heights University

Siena Heights University offers a BA in Community and Human Services that requires the completion of 39 credit hours from the human services curriculum. These best human services degree programs from Siena Heights University include coursework in counseling techniques, family relations, social psychology, crisis intervention, and research in social sciences, to name a few. Career opportunities for those who hold human services degrees include volunteer coordinators, youth counselors, substance abuse counselor, hospice coordinator, family services manager, and elderly program director, among others.

Siena Heights University (SHU) was established as St. Joseph’s College in 1919. Siena Heights University is affiliated with the Adrian Dominican Sisters of the Roman Catholic Church. More than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students attend classes on Siena Heights University’s rural campus.

What We Like: The Adrian Dominican Sisters minister to people in nearly 30 states and around the world.

Degree: Community and Human Services, BA

3. Rowan University

Rowan University’s Global Learning and Partnerships (formerly the College of Graduate and Continuing Ed) offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program in Human Services that requires degree candidates to complete 120 semester hours to meet program requirements. Rowan University’s best human services degree programs include 60 semester hours introduction to society, social welfare, applied ethics in human services, case management in sociological practice, plus several field experiences. Rowan University offers transferring students up to 24 eligible credit transfers or an associate’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.

Rowan University was established as Glassboro teacher’s college in 1923. Rowan University is comprised of twelve schools/colleges that serve nearly 20,000 students in southern NJ and the nearby Philadelphia suburbs.

What We Like: US News recognizes Rowan University among the top 78 public nation institutions of higher education.

Degree: Human Services, BA

4. St. Joseph’s College

St. Joseph’s College offers a BS in Human Services (BSHS) that is recognized among the best human services degree programs in New York and the country. Coursework for St. Joseph’s College’s baccalaureate human services program includes group dynamics and communication, academic research, principles of counseling, case management intro, plus field experiences, and a capstone project. Students graduate from SJC’s human services program to find rewarding work in social service agencies, correctional facilities, community mental health facilities, veteran’s agencies, or child and youth services.

St. Joseph’s College was established in 1916 as a women’s college by the Sisters of Brentwood. More than 5,000 students attend classes at SJC’s campuses in Long Island and NYC. SJC’s two colleges/schools offer more than 50 majors and academic programs.

What We Like: St. Joseph’s College and CW Post on Long Island partner to offer graduate programs.

Degree: Human Services, BS

5. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University offers a BA in Human Services program that requires degree candidates to complete 120 semester units to meet the program’s requirements. The curriculum for Saint Leo University’s best human services degree programs includes social research methods, group skills, developmental psychology, society and human behavior, workplace diversity issues, plus a field placement and a culminating senior capstone project, among others. Students graduate with a solid foundational background in systems theory, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills as human service leaders and personnel.

Saint Leo University was established in 1889. Saint Leo University is a Catholic Church that is affiliated with the Benedictine monastery and named for Pope Leo the Great. The school’s rural campus in Florida serves more than 4,500 students on-campus and another 7,000+ students online.

What We Like: Saint Leo University holds the distinction of being the first Roman Catholic institution of higher education in the Sunshine State.

Degree: Human Services, BA

6. University of Alaska – Anchorage

The University of Alaska’s Department of Human Services offers a Bachelor of Human Services degree program that is considered among Alaska’s best human services degree programs. The University of Alaska at Anchorage’s baccalaureate degree in human services requires degree candidates to complete 120 semester units. Classes for this human services degree include group facilitation, dispute resolution, diversity issues, crisis intervention, family mediation, ethics in human services, plus a tri-level practicum experience and a capstone project.

The University of Alaska – Anchorage was established in 1954. UA Anchorage operates four campuses in south-central Alaska – Kodiak, Kenai Peninsula College, Prince William Sound, and Matanuska-Susitna College. More than 18,000 students are studying for undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

What We Like: The University of Alaska’s campus is considered a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation members.

Degree: Human Services Bachelors

7. Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University’s offers a BS in Human Services program that is considered one of the best human services degree programs in the southern United States and beyond. Old Dominion University’s undergraduate program in human resources has received accreditation from the CSHSE – the Council for Standards in Human Services Education and is an academic provider of the Virginia Certification Board for the following certifications – CSAC (Substance Abuse Counselor) and CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor).

Old Dominion University was established in 1930. Old Dominion University is a sea-grant, space-grant, public institution of higher education located in Norfolk, VA. More than 24,000 students attend classes at Old Dominion University.

What We Like: Old Dominion University was initially developed as a divisional offshoot of the nearby College of William and Mary.

Degree: Human Services, BS

8. Walden University

Walden University offers a BS in Human Services program that has received accreditation from the SCHSE. Students enrolled in Walden University’s best human services degree programscan opt for one of several concentrations – psychology, addictions, leadership, child/adolescent development, global social justice, criminal justice, and cultural justices, among others. Students graduate eligible for rewarding careers as a residential counselor, case manager, coordinator of social services, or mental health technician, to name a few. Degree candidates have the option to earn credits towards their Walden University master’s degree in human services.

Walden University was established in 1970 and operates as an online for-profit institution of higher learning. Approximately 49,500 students are enrolled in a degree or certificate program on the campus of Walden University or online.

What We Like: Laureate Education Inc. is the parent company of Walden University, among other schools located across the globe.

Degree: Human Services, BS

9. Gardner-Webb University

Gardner-Webb University’s Department of Public Service offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Human Services that can be completed 100% online. Gardner-Webb University’s best human services degree programs include coursework in the areas of human development, crisis intervention, case management, ethical standards, social awareness, and intervention models, to name a few. Human resource graduates find rewarding careers in geriatric care, drug rehabilitation, group homes, or nonprofit work, among others. Students who graduate from Gardner-Webb University’s s program are eligible to sit for a Human Services Board Certified Practitioner credential.

Gardner-Webb University was established as a high school in Boiling Springs in 1905. The school’s college-town campus in Boiling Springs is home to more than 3,700 students.

What We Like: Gardner-Webb University holds the distinction of being one of three higher education institutions that are Carnegie classified Doctoral schools that operate privately.

Degree: Human Services, BS

10. Wingate University

Wingate University offers two of the best human services degree programs in the southern United States with its Bachelor of Science or its Bachelor of Arts degree program in Human Services. Students enrolled in Wingate University’s undergraduate human resource program must complete 125-126 semester units (depending on the program chosen), which includes an internship of a minimum of 100 hours. Coursework for Wingate University’s degree program includes the integration of studies in psychology, sociology, and leadership skills. Students find rewarding careers in criminology, counseling, social work, or psychology, to name a few.

Wingate University was established in 1896. This Judeo-Christian institution of higher learning operates two campuses in North Carolina – Wingate and Hendersonville. More than 3,500 students attend Wingate University studying for one of the 40+ academic degrees and certificates.

What We Like: Wingate University offers eligible students the opportunity to travel abroad to Quebec and Costa Rica for ten days each summer.

Degree: Human Services, BS/BA

11. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary of the Woods College offers a BS in Human Services that is recognized as a best-value school by Affordablecolleges.com. Saint Mary of the Woods College’s the best human services degree programs require the completion of 55 credit hours in the major, including experiential practicum experiences. Classes include counseling techniques, legal issues in helping professions, abnormal psychology, the family, cultural minorities, and research methods in social science, to name a few. Students enter the workforce as victim’s advocates, group home facilitators, youth leaders, outreach facility managers, and volunteer organizers, to name a few.

Saint Mary of the Woods College was established in 1840. The college’s rural campus covers more than 60 acres and serves more than 1,700 students. The school is renowned for its Equine studies program.

What We Like: Saint Mary of the Woods College holds the distinction of being the oldest of Catholic institutions of higher education in the state of Indiana.

Degree: Human Services, BS

12. Shorter University

Shorter University offers a BS in Human Services that requires degree candidates to complete 120 semester credits to meet the program’s requirements. Shorter University’s best human services degree programs include coursework like addictive behaviors, case management professional ethics, cultural diversity, lifespan development, plus two practicums and a human services project, to name a few. Students may opt for a required minor in general business, criminal justice, or sports management.

The Georgia Baptists Convention established Shorter University as a private institution of higher learning in 1873 for women. The school’s suburban campus is about an hour to the north and west of downtown Atlanta and is home to more than 1,800 undergraduate and graduate programs.

What We Like: Shorter University holds the distinction of being the first school in the nation to build an indoor swimming pool and center.

Degree: Human Services, BS

13. Quincy University

Quincy University offers a BS in Human Services program that is recognized among the best human services degree programs in the midwestern portion of the United States. Coursework for Quincy University’s baccalaureate human services degree program includes counseling techniques, lifestyle & career development, psychological testing, crisis intervention, case management, legal issues in human services, victimology, and dynamic family counseling, to name a few. Students must also complete two human services practicums with a minimum of onsite hours of 150. Quincy students have interned at public schools, hospitals, rehabs, and family service organizations.

Quincy University (QU) was established in 1860 as a seminary by the Franciscan Friars, who had migrated from Germany. Quincy University’s small-city campus is home to more than 1,000 students. Quincy University is organized into two schools – business and education.

What We Like: Students attending Quincy University are required to complete comprehensive community service requirements.

Degree: Human Services, BS

14. University of South Carolina – Beaufort

The University of South Carolina – Beaufort offers a BS in Human Services program that is recognized as one of the best human services degree programs in the southern United States. USC Beaufort’s undergraduate human services program is the only academic degree program to receive accreditation from the National Council on Standards for Human Services Education in South Carolina. Students enrolled in the University of South Carolina’s degree program are required to complete a series of internships in related positions to allow them to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world applications.

The University of South Carolina – Beaufort was established in 1795 as a prep school. The University of South Carolina Beaufort is a member school of the University of South Carolina System. The University of South Carolina’s rural campus in Beaufort is home to more than 1,700 students.

What We Like: The Beaufort College building was converted to a hospital during the civil war.

Degree: Human Services, BS

15. University of the Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands offers two of the best human services degree programs in Kentucky with its Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees in Human Services. Students opting for a BS in human services can opt for a concentration in addiction counseling, mental health counseling, or human services. Coursework for these degree programs includes group dynamics, human behavior in a social environment, child development, case management, counseling skills, plus an internship, and senior seminar.

The University of the Cumberlands was established as the Williamsburg Institute in 1888. The University of the Cumberlands was founded as an act of the Kentucky legislature. The University of the Cumberlands’ rural campus serves more than 13,000 students vying for more than 40 academic degrees.

What We Like: The school operates a radio station, newspaper, and cable television channel.

Degree: Human Services, BS/BA

16. Granite State College

Granite State College offers a BS in Human Services that is considered among the best human services degree programs in the New England area of the US. Granite State College’s baccalaureate degree program in human resources offers students a number of concentrations from which to select – Wellness and Prevention, Addiction Studies, Psychology, Adult Court Advocacy, Family Studies, Child Court Advocacy, Education Advocacy, and Counseling Foundations. Coursework includes case management, interpersonal communication, healthcare law and ethics, and a field-based practicum experience. Students can opt for an integrative project or an integrative internship to meet program requirements.

Granite State College (GSC) was established in 1972. Granite State College is a member campus within the University System of New Hampshire. GSC operates seven campuses throughout the state, plus a distance learning extension.

What We Like: Granite State College has been recognized by Washington Monthly as the top learning experience in New England.

Degree: Human Services, BS

17. University of Bridgeport

The University of Bridgeport offers an accelerated BS in Human Services that requires students to complete 120 semester units to meet program criteria. The curriculum for the University of Bridgeport’s best human services degree programs includes gerontology, counseling, crisis management, group dynamics, child psychology, social policy administration, plus a pair of internships in a related position and a culminating senior capstone project. Students must complete 51 semester credits to meet the major requirements.

The University of Bridgeport was established in 1927. The university’s campus covers more than 80 urban acres along the Long Island Sound in southern Connecticut and serves more than 3,000 students.

What We Like: Many of the buildings on the University of Bridgeport were once owned by the family of renowned circus owner and showman PT Barnum.

Degree: Human Services, BS

18. Southeastern University

Southeastern University offers a BS in Human Services that is recognized as one of the best human services degree programs in the Sunshine State and beyond. Students enrolled in Southeastern University’s baccalaureate degree program includes 124 semester credits in classes like human services and faith integration, human diversity, conflict resolution, and research methods, case management, intervention techniques, program evaluation and planning, and group dynamics, to name a few.

Southeastern University was established in 1935 in the state of Alabama as a bible college. More than 6,900 students attend classes in central Florida or online. Southeastern University is comprised of six colleges/schools in the area of business, education, social sciences, religion, education, and health sciences.

What We Like: Southeastern University transitioned to a liberal arts institution of higher education and is now the largest Assemblies of God school in the country.

Degree: Human Services, BS

19. Anderson University

Anderson University offers a BS in Human Services that is among South Carolina’s best human services degree programs that can be completed entirely online or on-campus. The curriculum for Anderson University’s undergraduate human services degree program includes human development social welfare policies, principles of management, business communications, plus deviance and crime in society and a senior seminar in human services, to name a few.

Anderson University was established in 1911 as the successor to the now-defunct Johnson Female Seminary. The South Carolina Baptist Convention manages this private institution of higher learning. More than 2,700 students attend classes on Anderson University’s 300+ acre campus.

What We Like: Many of the buildings and lawns on the campus of Anderson University are found in the National Register of Historic Places.

Degree: Human Services, BS

20. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers a Christian-based BS in Human Services that is one of the best human services degree programs in the Lone Star State. Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers transferring students a generous transfer credit policy. Many students use this SAGU degree as a springboard to graduate studies in a related discipline. Southwestern Assemblies of God University graduates average 20% less debt than graduates from similar programs.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University was established in 1927. More than 2,000 students attend classes on the university’s suburban campus of 70 acres vying for associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees.

What We Like: Southwestern Assemblies of God University is the only Assemblies of God USA institution of higher education in the Lone Star state.

Degree: Human Services, BS

21. Keiser University

Keiser University offers a BA in Health Services Administration (HSA) that is recognized among Florida’s best human services degree programs. Students enrolled in Keiser University’s baccalaureate degree program in human services are required to complete classes in long-term managed care, risk management, healthcare finance, ethics in health care, labor relations, health organization leadership, and management laws, to name a few. Keiser University’s human resource program requires degree candidates to complete 120 semester credits to meet program requirements, including the general education lower-division classes. There are no pre-requisites for applying to Keiser University’s human services bachelor’s degree program.

Keiser University was established in 1977. This private institution of higher education operates several campuses throughout Florida, with a residential campus in West Palm Beach. Nearly 20,000 students attend classes on-campus and online.

What We Like: Money Magazine recognizes Keiser University among the top ten colleges for value in Florida.

Degree: Health Services Administration, BA

22. Ohio Christian University

Ohio Christian University offers a BA in Human Services that is recognized among Ohio’s best human services degree programs. Students delve into critical thinking and problem-solving principles from a Christian perspective and further refine communication and interpersonal skills. Coursework for Ohio Christian University’s undergraduate human services degree program includes coursework like ethics in human services, counseling and spirituality, lifespan psychology, diversity issues, case management, group dynamics, and personal awareness, plus a psych practicum, to name a few.

Ohio Christian University (OCU) was established in 1947 as a bible college. Ohio Christian University is managed by the Churches of Christ. The university’s rural campus in Ohio serves more than 3,200 students vying for academic degrees at the associate, bachelor, and master’s degree levels.

What We Like: The Evangelical Church, The Primitive Methodist Church, and the Evangelical Methodist Church recognizes Ohio Christian for ministerial education.

Degree: Human Services, BA

23. Fisher College

Fisher College offers a BS in Human Services that is ranked among Boston’s best human services degree programs. Students enrolled in Fisher College’s bachelor’s degree in human services enter the workforce in the fields of social welfare, childcare, criminal justice, nursing, assisted living, or education, among others. The curriculum for Fisher College’s degree includes crisis intervention, ethical issues in human services, the psychology of personality, social justice, and race relations, plus an internship, among others. The program requires degree candidates to complete 121 semester units.

Fisher College was established in 1903 as a business school. Fisher College operates several satellite academic facilities in New Bedford, North Attleboro, and Brockton, Massachusetts. The college’s urban campus in Boston and surrounding areas serves more than 1,500 students.

What We Like: Fisher College’s campus is currently being studied by the landmark commission in Boston.

Degree: Human Services, BS

24. Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown College offers a Bachelor’s in Human Services (BHS) that offers degree candidates two academic tracks – a generalized human services track or a behavioral and addictions counseling track. Elizabethtown College’s best human services degree programs are available online or as a blended delivery with campus visits and online coursework. Students graduate with the skills to enter the workforce as a youth worker, crisis intervention counselor, family support specialist, or caseworker, among others. Core human service classes include ethical issues in human services, counseling theory, health psychology, social welfare, mental health issues, and race and ethnic relations, to name a few.

Elizabethtown College was established in 1899. The Church of the Brethren continues to remain affiliated with Elizabethtown College. The college’s campus covers more than 200 acres and Lake Placida and serves more than 1,500 students.

What We Like: The Hershey Company sponsors the college’s honor’s program.

Degree: Human Services Bachelors

25. Springfield College

Springfield College offers a BS in Human Services that is available completely online or as a hybrid delivered course that requires several on-campus visits. Springfield College’s best human services degree programs include classes like social transformation, education and oppression, human services portfolio development, crisis intervention, law, and legal advocacy, and coping with disease and death, to name a few. US News has ranked Springfield College among the best regional universities and a best-value institution of higher education. Available concentrations include early childhood education, criminal justice, substance use disorder counseling, and community youth development and leadership.

Springfield College was established in 1885 as a YMCA program for Christian workers. Springfield College’s urban campuses serve more than 5,000 students.

What We Like: Springfield College’s claim to fame is that it is the game of basketball’s birthplace and Hall of Fame location.

Degree: Human Services, BS

Why Should I Get a Bachelor’s in Human Services?

If you’re not sure you want to get a bachelor’s degree in human services, you always have the option of earning an associate’s degree in human services.

Chances are that you’ll hear a lot about needing a master’s degree in human services in order to have a chance at employment in prestigious organizations. While this is something that can work in your advantage, you do have to stay in school for six years before getting out into the working world. If you’re not sure about working in the human services field, but would like to explore its potential as a career, you can earn an associate’s degree which takes two years to complete. You can find employment in the sector with an associate’s and use the experience to decide if you want to go back and earn a bachelor’s degree in human services.

Ultimately, you need one one of the different types of human services degrees to work in the sector. The human services field wants employees who have a solid educational footing in order to be able to anticipate and respond to the needs of society at large.

What is Human Services?

The question of “what is human services?” is a good one to ask. The field of human services brings together several disciplines, areas of study, and the desire to help people improve their quality of life. Many people are familiar with the department of human services, or the department of health and human services in their town or region, but may not be aware of its purpose. So, just what is the department of health and human services, and what does it do?

When taking a look at what is the department of human services all about, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s a department that provides resources of all kinds to people in needs. Most departments of health and human services aren’t a one-size-fits-all department so much as it’s an umbrella term that covers multiple areas of focus. That is, human resources helps people find help for various needs when they are in need. Many people come to human services departments to find help for children, obtaining housing, help with disabilities, homelessness and addiction issues.

For many people, human services is where they go when they exhaust all other options and need help from an organization or a government entity. Someone who’s working in the sector has to be tactful, mindful of the situation their clients happen to be in, and be capable of finding the type of help that most closely fits the needs of the client.

Is Human Services a Good Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of human services is projected to grow by 11 percent through 2028. Based on that information alone, the question of “is human services a good career” is readily answered with a yes. Someone who starts their schooling now for humans services careers are looking at a strong job market once they complete their degree or certificate.

As previously noted, getting an education and earning a degree is key to finding employment in this sector. You almost can’t start a humans services career without it. The starting pay for careers in human services is good and does justify the investment made in higher education. Once you’re employed in the human services field, you start gaining invaluable experience and knowledge that can help earn you promotions and push you up the human services career ladder. It’s not unheard of for someone in human services to find their way to government jobs and appointments to roles that create legislation, find funding for organizations through lobbying politicians, and work in areas of human services that work to improve quality of life for a specific population.

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