Online Schools for Human Services: How to Choose

When searching for an online program in human services, it is important to consider which specialization you wish to obtain. While certificate, associate's, bachelor's and doctoral programs are available, some schools offer limited specializations, such as public health and criminal justice.

How to Select an Online School for Human Services

Students considering online human services schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Degree programs in human services are offered at several online colleges and universities. Programs prepare graduates to work in human resources at various levels in a range of businesses and non-profit organizations. Students must determine what level of program they wish to pursue as well as decide on a concentration.

Program Level

Both undergraduate and graduate degrees are available from online schools. A student can pursue a B.A. in Human Services, an Associate of Arts with a concentration in human services management or a general human services Ph.D. specialization.


Schools differ with respect to the concentrations they offer. A typical Ph.D. in Human Services can concentrate in fire service administration, forensics, homeland security, public administration or public health. An Associate of Arts in Human Services may concentrate in business, criminal justice, education and health. A Bachelor of Arts may offer specializations in advocacy, child and family services, corrections, gerontology and mental health programs.

List of Online Human Services Programs

Online Associate of Arts with a Concentration in Human Services Management

Many schools provide online resources to students, such as a library and writing center. Technical support teams are available for online students who download learning software. Courses cover the various aspects of human services management, such as:

  • Ethics and society
  • Financial planning
  • Crisis intervention
  • Public policy

Online Bachelor's Degree in Human Services

This major is designed under the auspices of the National Organization for Human Services Education. Courses may include:

  • Statistics
  • Psychology
  • Ethics and the law
  • Ethnic relations

Online Ph.D. in General Human Services

Some Ph.D. programs require students to attend a weekend on-campus colloquia; otherwise, the course of study is completely online. The syllabus may include courses in:

  • Diversity in the workplace
  • Social science research fundamentals
  • Advanced research methods
  • Healthcare planning

Schools with Online Programs in Human Services

Capella University grants PhD degrees to students who complete its online multidisciplinary human services program. Applicants must have earned at least a 3.0 on their master's degree program. Program requirements include a residency, which must be completed in-person and affords on-the-job experience to students.

Kaplan University offers several online certificates, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees through the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Areas of concentration include administration, psychology in addictions, and human services. Some programs may have added curricular requirements in certain states or not be available in specific states. For example, residents of Florida and Minnesota may not enroll in the Bachelor's in Human Services in Youth/Family Services and Administration program.

It can be easy to find online certificates, bachelor's, and master's programs in human services, depending on a student's area of focus within the broad field. Some doctoral and associate's degree programs are also available, although they may be slightly less common.

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