Bachelors Degree in Human Services Online
Online bachelors degree in human services programs focus on teaching how to make a positive impact in your community on issues ranging from poverty to crisis management. Courses may focus on the meeting point of several disciplines (like the elderly, transportation issues, and food scarcity concerns), or past and current issues faced by members of your clientele (such as at-risk youth and the threat of addiction or substance abuse).
Classes may assess how issues like poverty or crisis come about in the first place, and how human services might help disrupt those processes to build a better outcome for society.
Other classes might discuss legal issues, community development strategies, or even client advocacy. Many programs offer a suite of concentration options.
What Is A Human Services Degree?
Human services degrees aim to help you make an impact on real lives and communities. They do this by looking at how to connect people with the assistance they need. This generally involves discussing the ins and outs of the human services and public health organizations in your area. They also focus on what a healthy and successful community looks like. To that end, programs might study how different kinds of communities function. They might also examine how human services interacts with and supports those communities.
Focusing on those topics, programs might help students better understand their resources to help potential clients in the field.
Online Bachelors Degree in Human Services: Multidisciplinary Content
Online bachelors in human services are multidisciplinary. In essence, that means that programs touch on a variety of subjects across the board and that those subjects are somewhat intertwined. For example, some courses may look at the intersection of psychology and healthcare. Meanwhile, others could be as wide-ranging as law and policy, communication, and even management.
Why so broad? Because human services is about helping people overcome challenges holistically. That means ensuring that the services people need are present, accessible to the people who need them, and functional, from start to finish. Of course, the specifics tend to depend on the individual program. In particular, your program may opt to spend more time on what is relevant to your selected concentration or area of focus.
Client Advocacy in Online Bachelors Degree in Human Services Programs
Online human services degrees also talk about client advocacy. That involves how to make sure your clients are able to access and use those resources. It also means making sure their needs continue to be met. What that entails may depend on the type of human services you provide. For example, somebody who helps clients get healthcare might need to know different things from somebody in child and family services.
Focusing on client advocacy means becoming familiar with the programs your clients might need. Courses may discuss how those systems work, and the kinds of issues they aim to address. They may also look at the obstacles people might face in accessing those services, and different ways to get around those obstacles. Client advocacy programs may also examine variety of socioeconomic, legal and policy issues. Specifically, they could discuss how those issues impact the types of services offered and who could access them.
Online Bachelors Degree in Human Services: Community Development
Another aspect of human services bachelors degree programs is community development. That involves more than helping individuals access the resources they need. It's about the health of the community those individuals live in, as a whole. In other words, it means helping your local community take positive strides to benefit all its members. Courses may talk about the needs of different populations, and how each of those social groups interact. Programs may also practice developing strategies to encourage social and economic change.
Types of Online Human Services Degrees
Online schools may offer a few different types of online bachelors degree in human services programs. Often, the specific differences between degrees may come down to how that school chose to do it. But sometimes, the type of degree might tell you a little bit about how the program covers the material. Here are the two most common bachelors degree types, along with some ways they might be different.
- Bachelor of Arts in Human Services: The term “Bachelor of Arts” can sometimes tell you that a program takes a liberal arts approach. In that case, the curriculum may aim to help students become familiar with a wide variety of subjects, especially the humanities. This may complement the multi-disciplinary nature of human services as a field.
- Bachelor of Science in Human Services: This might mean one of two things. It could mean that the program in question places an emphasis on topics like math and science. Or it could mean that the program focuses more stringently on topics related to the program major. That could appeal to students looking for a program more directly focused on their goal or concentration.
The above descriptions may work as a rule of thumb. But keep in mind that individual schools may vary from the descriptions above. Things like the school, program concentrations, and individual preference could all impact these differences. For more information, get in touch with your selected schools.
Online Bachelors Degree in Human Services Concentrations
Human services focuses on a few specific goals. They aim to encourage positive social change within communities. They focus on helping communities provide essential services to residents in need. And they help individuals navigate those services to overcome their challenges. Each of those goals are complex in their own right, and the study of human services is no different. Online bachelors degree in human services schools could approach these topics in many different ways. Influences include the population served, the targeted community, and the types of services the program discusses.
Because human services as a subject is so broad, most programs allow students to focus their study on specific topics. In fact, some programs even require students to choose a concentration or program track when they declare their major. These concentrations tend to align with specific career goals, or populations students want to work with.
Here are some example concentrations you might choose to pursue. Remember, the specific concentration options available—if any—might vary by school. Some programs might offer additional options not mentioned here, or may take a different approach from the one described here. For more information, get in touch with your selected programs.
Child & Family Services
These programs look at the goals and functioning of public and nonprofit organizations that serve children and families. Programs might look at the impact socioeconomic status has on family structure. They may also cover emotional health, and children’s psychological and behavioral development. Other topics could include family structure in different cultural communities, issues related to diversity, family violence, and more.
Overall, programs aim to prepare students to help families in need. In particular, that may include helping families access relevant services. Some examples of those services may include resources related to special education. That could include medical and behavioral therapy, both individual and family-based. Programs may also prepare students to identify abuse and family violence, and to facilitate intervention when necessary.
This subject looks at the needs of the elderly, both living independently and in care facility settings. These are a little different from gerontology in the medical sense. Human services gerontology programs tend to focus on the legal, healthcare, and social services available to elders and their families. They also discuss how to ensure people in need are able to access those services.
Topics covered could include the psychology of aging and how culture impacts them. Courses may also talk about things like physical and cognitive decline, and how that impacts independent living. Some programs may also discuss end of life care, death, and how those topics affect surviving family members.
This concentration focuses on how to help people overcome addiction. That includes both psychological and chemical dependency. Topics could include intervention services and strategies and relapse prevention. Courses may also aim to develop counseling and therapy skills. Programs may also discuss the science and psychology behind addiction. Courses could even touch on the impact addiction has on loved ones, friends and family, and how to help them cope with that impact.
Substance abuse concentration programs may aim to prepare students to provide counseling services in a monitored group setting. However, keep in mind that you may need more education to hold other responsibilities. Some examples could include things like one-on-one therapy or counseling. It could also include providing group counseling without needing supervision. Specifics on that may vary by state.
Concentrations in psychology or mental health tend to focus how to connect people with the services they need. That means developing fluency with therapy options that may be available. Courses may look at public and nonprofit avenues for receiving therapy. Programs could also touch on and patient advocacy. But that's not all. . . .
Programs may bolster that knowledge by discussing psychological, emotional, and behavioral health concepts. This could include the social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors that may impact mental health. Some programs may even spend time on more specific issues, such as how mental health impacts families, or coping with trauma.
Leadership & Management
Human services leadership programs look at the organizational effort of providing support in your community. They could focus on leadership in the public sector or on nonprofit management.
Leadership programs might also look at community development strategies and other larger-scale topics. Some programs may touch on business concepts. Examples include personnel management, project management, and even budgeting.
Did You Know?
Social and Community Service Managers use business-related skills to coordinate important community programs.i
Online Bachelors Degree in Human Services: What to Do Next
Students earning an online bachelors degree in human services may have a number of options when it comes to continuing their education. The nature of these options may depend on their experience, goals, and area of focus. Some students may choose to pursue a masters degree in human services. That may especially be the case if they’re interested in continuing on the path to leadership in that industry.
However, some other options may also be available in related fields, with the right type of experience. For example, people working or interested in addiction counseling, mental health, or child and family services might choose to seek out masters in marriage and family therapy, addiction counseling, or even educational psychology.
Others might chose to study public health, social work, or another field interconnected with human services. Each of these programs might have unique prerequisites. For more information on what you might need to do, follow up with your current program.
Human Services Degree Jobs
If you're interested in working in human services, you might have a variety of unique opportunities to consider. Each one might help your community in a different way. The specific avenues in front of you may depend on a few things. Examples include your human services bachelors degree concentration, professional experience, and other factors. Here are a few example positions you might aspire to, along with the average median salary from 2015.
- Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counseling: $39,980ii
- Social and Human Services Management: $63,530iii
- Child, Family, and School Social Workers: $47,510iv
Typical entry level education for each of these positions is a bachelor’s degree in human services or a related field. However, individual employers may prefer a masters or higher. On top of that, some positions may require additional credentials like professional certifications.
Also, having earned a bachelors degree versus a masters or higher may impact the kinds of responsibilities you can hold in that position. For example, as a substance abuse counselor, those holding a master’s degree might be able to provide more direct and one-on-one services with less required oversight.
Find Your Potential Online Bachelors Degree in Human Services
Ready to get started and earn your human services degree online? If so, start your search with eLearners. Listed here are a variety of sponsored online bachelors degree in human services listings for you to consider.
Once you find one you might want to attend, click on “Request Info” for more information and to get in touch. Then ask questions, find out more, and even start your application!
[i] bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm#tab-2 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm [iv] bls.gov/oes/current/oes211021.htm