Human Services Majors and Undergraduate Degrees

Human services majors learn about helping people in a variety of contexts, such as through group psychology, crisis intervention, conflict management and counseling. These programs require students to have good empathetic communication skills.

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Essential Information

An associate's program in human services covers topics such as living skills and counseling. These programs provide a background in treatment and rehabilitation, and offer supervised internships. Credits from these programs can often be transferred towards a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's program teaches students about managing cases, community outreach, counseling and social work. Bachelor's students do fieldwork, and can take courses in an area of specialization such as psychological development, group psychology, child development and client evaluation.


Associate of Science in Human Services

Students applying to an associate's degree program in human services must hold at least a high school diploma. Many schools accept a GED. Schools offering human services undergraduate degree programs generally recommend that applicants have good written and interpersonal skills.

An associate's degree in human services teaches students approaches to serving individuals, families and groups through public and private agencies and organizations. Students learn to assess the needs of clients and provide care, counseling, education, rehabilitation, treatment and other services. Human services majors gain hands-on experience through internships supervised by a social worker, psychologist, caseworker or other professional. Courses in human services associate's degree programs cover basic skills and knowledge that students later augment with on-the-job training. Human services majors pursuing associate's degrees typically take the following courses:

  • Basic counseling
  • Communication skills
  • Fundamentals of mental health
  • Case management
  • Human services ethics
  • Basic psychology

Bachelor of Science in Human Services

Schools require applicants for human services bachelor's degree programs to hold at least a high school diploma. Students who hold any 2-year degree may transfer into human services bachelor's degree programs.

Bachelor's degree programs in human services combine courses in the major with general education classes in humanities, sciences and liberal arts. Students pursuing a human services major at the bachelor's level focus on psychological development, group psychology, child development and client evaluation. Students may take courses that emphasize a specific area of human services, including management. Through coursework and fieldwork, students learn to communicate with clients, understand their needs and deliver and evaluate human services. The following courses are available to students seeking a bachelor's degree in human services:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Conflict management
  • Delivery of human services
  • Issues in substance abuse
  • Principles in child abuse
  • Pharmacology

Popular Career Options

An associate's degree in human services meets the requirements of many employers. Students who hold an associate's degree in human services may be eligible for the following positions:

  • Day care worker
  • Counselor assistant
  • Youth counselor
  • Case worker
  • Living skills educator
  • Support counselor
  • Group activities coordinator

Students who hold a bachelor's degree in human services may pursue jobs in variety of public and private agencies, organizations and institutions. These include prisons, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, government agencies, elder care facilities, food banks and job training programs. Typical jobs include the following:

  • Case management worker
  • Social work aide
  • Welfare case worker
  • Day care assistant
  • Community outreach worker
  • Adoption services counselor
  • Geriatric counselor
  • Teen counselor
  • Life skills educator
  • AIDS services case manager

Continuing Education Information

Students may use an associate's degree in human services to transfer to a bachelor's degree program in the same field or related area of study. Graduates of human services undergraduate degree programs usually receive some form of employer-provided continuing education, including workshops and seminars.

Several colleges and universities offer Ph.D. and master's degree programs in human services. Graduates of human services bachelor's degree programs may also pursue graduate and undergraduate degrees in related areas, including social work and counseling.

A human services degree helps students gain an insight into the needs of clients and teaches them how best to deliver their care. At both the associate's and the bachelor's degree level, students are required to have strong interpersonal skills and to put their abilities to the test during fieldwork and internship opportunities.

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