Human Services Management Degree, Training and Certificate Program Info

Oct 10, 2019

Essential Information

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in human services with a management focus exist along with graduate-level certificate programs. Human services bachelor's degree programs may prepare students to manage organizations; they may gain hands-on experience through internships.

Master's-level programs consist of specialty areas that allow students to further develop their leadership skills, following the acquisition of a bachelor's degree. Completion of a capstone component or thesis research project could be necessary. Students who enroll in a post-master's certificate program might simultaneously pursue a master's degree. The programs emphasize planning, development and leadership. Specific educational prerequisites must be fulfilled by students who hope to enter these programs. Graduate degrees typically require internships or other hands-on experience.

Bachelor's Degree in Human Services Management

Earning a bachelor's degree in human services management, such as the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Human Services Management or B.S. in Human Services Management and Leadership, typically takes four years of studies. Students learn social service or non-profit management, as well as organization competencies.

Some programs offer hands-on training, through an externship or internship experience in human services, as well as preparation for graduate studies and transfer credit for prerequisites. Students may also consider B.S. programs that offer a five-year combination bachelor's and master's degree program.

Applicants are typically required to hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent; however, a background check may also be required for internship or fieldwork. Full-time attendance is required at some schools. Students with an associate's degree may have their previous college coursework reviewed for transfer credit.

Minimum credit requirements in human services are typical, along with specialized and certificate program coursework. General education and college requirements vary by school, but usually include science, math, English, language and humanities. Curriculum includes classes in:

  • Non-profit program management
  • Human resource management
  • Social policy
  • Leadership ethics
  • Human service program management and evaluation

Master's Degree in Human Services Management

Master's degree-seeking human services students have options in specialties like organizational management and leadership. Full-time students can complete the program in less than two years, with some schools also offering weekend schedules.

Students may be required to complete original research on a human services topic for a thesis or capstone project. Graduates are awarded a Master of Sciences (M.S.) degree and prepared for middle or upper-level management positions in the field, as well as a career in academics depending on their concentration area.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree in human services or a related field, such as business or management. Some programs will accept students from an academic background outside of human services who have related work experience; however, they may be required to complete prerequisite coursework prior to full admittance into the master's degree program. An interview and letters of reference may also be required.

These programs also have more research-based studies, as well as hands-on experience with local service-based, organizations. Some schools award assistantships in the second year for students meeting school-specific requirements. Seminar-based classes and professional workshops are common. Some courses include:

  • Behavior analysis and management
  • Methodology of research
  • Human services legal issues
  • Fiscal management and budgeting
  • Human services economics

Post-Master's Certificate in Human Services Management

Although some certificates are earned while completing a bachelor's degree in human services, most are offered post-master's degree or in conjunction with a master's degree program. The programs teach skills in human services areas, including program budgeting, development, planning and leadership. These programs typically award certificates in human services management or community human service management upon completion.

Most programs require a master's degree or current enrollment in a master's degree program. Some also require a specific major, minimum GPA and work experience.

Coursework includes either one comprehensive course or broken down into separate classes or blocks, depending on the school. Some of the topics include:

  • Social welfare
  • Community organization
  • Non-profit law
  • Fund raising
  • Community event planning

Popular Careers

Social service, government and non-profit organizations hire graduates for an array of positions in the industry. Some common career choices include:

  • Public administrator
  • Human services agency manager
  • Case manager
  • Outreach coordinator

Graduates of master's degree programs in human services have more advanced career options. Some popular careers include:

  • Public sector manager
  • Government agency supervisor
  • Grant development manager
  • Organizational human services consultant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average annual salary for medical and health services managers was $113,730 in May of 2018 ( The BLS also stated in 2018 that advancement usually required a bachelor's degree and experience in the field.

Continuing Education Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs, including the Ph.D. in Labor and Human Resources, Ph.D. in Organization and Human Resources or Ph.D. in Human Resource Management, are available for students wishing to continue their advance studies in human services. Other related Ph.D. options include non-profit management or social work.

Studies in the field of human services management can be pursued at the bachelor's and master's level, with graduate certificates also available. Graduates from these programs typically seek managing positions in government agencies, grant development or human services.

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