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What Are the Different Types of Human Services Degree Programs?

By Jennifer Leigh
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are associate's, bachelor's, and graduate human services degree programs available for students interested in pursuing a career in this field. Classes are offered in an online or on-campus format, to fit the personal preferences, budgets, and schedules of students pursuing the degree. Specializations are offered in certain areas, including psychology, social work, management, and substance abuse. Some human services degree programs can be taken in conjunction with another program, such as business or law. The courses in human services degree programs generally begin with liberal studies, followed by more advanced subjects in human growth and development, social issues, and psychology.

One variety of the available human services degree programs can be completed in two years: the associate's degree. This type of degree program is done at a community college and provides students with the knowledge they need to begin an entry-level job in the field of social or human services. A person with an associate's degree can work with clients who suffer from emotional, physical, or environmental issues to help make their situations better.

For a person to advance in the field and make a higher salary, additional education is necessary. Bachelor's human services degree programs provide additional information on the psychological, emotional and legal aspects of working in human services. With a bachelor's degree, a person works in a similar capacity to someone with an associate's degree; he or she is able to work with certain populations, but not able to provide services such as counseling or supervisory work.

The human services degree programs that provide the additional credentials necessary to do more serious work with clients or patients include master's and doctoral programs. When a student pursues a graduate education, he or she is able to work more closely with populations who are at risk, such as families, the mentally ill, and people suffering from substance abuse. Specializing in a particular area of human services during this time is important, and there are many choices available for students.

Another route for students is to complete human services degree programs at the same time that they are completing another degree, such as a professional degree in business or law. This provides the needed knowledge to work as a director at a human services facility, after experience in the field is obtained. Many colleges and universities offer joint degree programs that can be completed in the area of human services.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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