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Human Services Administration Degree and Certificate Program Overviews

Oct 15, 2019

Most programs emphasizing human services administration skills are found at the graduate level, but a select number of baccalaureate programs are also available. These programs prepare students for leadership roles in the human services field.

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Essential Information

A human services administrator is responsible for program development, allocation of funds and staff supervision at a human services agency. Many programs in human services administration require the completion of an internship.

Students seeking enrollment in a master's degree program need to have a bachelor's degree and competitive Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores; preference may be given to those in the social sciences or liberal arts, or to those with a background in social work or nonprofit administration. For a graduate certificate, current student standing in a master's degree program in human services or social work is needed, and some may require professional experience.


Bachelor of Science in Human Services Administration

A bachelor's degree program in human services administration helps students develop the management skills necessary to serve in a leadership role within a social service system. Students study social problems, human behavior and the social systems in place. Students take courses emphasizing both business skills and human services skills. Core topics include:

  • Accounting
  • Principles of management
  • Human resources
  • Organizational behavior
  • Marketing
  • Research methodology and statistics

Master of Science in Human Services Administration

A master's degree program in human services administration usually includes didactic coursework. Specific skills taught include grant writing, fund raising, personnel management and negotiations. The curriculum is commonly structured to meet the needs of working professionals. Class topics include:

  • Social services administration
  • Nonprofit management
  • Fund raising
  • Legal issues and Ethics
  • Social policy
  • Staff supervision and development

Graduate Certificate in Human Services Administration

Current human services professionals seeking to move into a supervisory role may pursue a certificate in order to acquire the management and leadership skills necessary for the transition. Such programs are most commonly available through schools of social work. Students study ethical leadership in order to balance client demands with organizational needs. The human services administration curricula may vary in length and scope, depending upon program. However, common topics of study include:

  • Financial management
  • Personnel management
  • Supervision
  • Program development
  • Funding development
  • Social services administration

Popular Career Options

Graduates of baccalaureate programs in human services administration are prepared to support senior administrators in the following roles:

  • Human services manager
  • Case manager
  • Grant writer

Graduates of master's degree programs in human services administration generally pursue careers in the nonprofit sector at human service agencies. Specific roles may include:

  • Program director
  • Development director
  • Executive director
  • Grant writer

A certificate in human services management prepares social workers and human service workers to move into leadership positions within a social services organization. Common roles may include:

  • Nonprofit manager
  • Human services administrator
  • Case manager supervisor

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social and community service managers could expect job growth of 13%, much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2018-2028. As of May 2018, the median annual salary for social and community service managers was $65,320, the BLS reported.

Continuing Education

Doctoral degrees in human services management are not available; however, human services administrators generally oversee many of the business aspects of an organization. As a result, some professionals may choose to pursue an additional master's degree, in the form of a Master of Business Administration, to further develop their business skills.

Training for social and community services managers offered at the bachelor's degree level prepares students for entry-level employment in the field. Those seeking greater leadership roles and promotions may seek a Master of Science in Human Services Administration or a Graduate Certificate in Human Services Administration.

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