Online associate's programs in human services management are rare, but students can pursue related online associate's degrees in human development and family studies. These programs often include a combination of online didactic coursework and in-person clinical experiences or practicums. Common topics include marriage and family studies, ethics in human services, child development and family sociology. Programs are typically available at two-year community colleges or private vocational schools.
Associate of Science (AS) in Human Development and Family Studies
This curriculum is designed for those interested in mental and physical disabilities counseling, family counseling, substance abuse counseling and human services management. Students completing an online associate's degree program may choose one of two areas of focus: adult development or child, youth and family services. Adult development scholars prepare for various roles in mental health facilities and nursing homes. The family services option is designed for students who wish to work with various age groups through the appropriate agencies and institutions.
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Human Services
This online option introduces human behavior within organizations. Programs focus on decision-making, interpersonal, analytical and leadership skills. Graduates are qualified to work with diverse populations as social work assistants, case managers, family advocates and residential counselors. Many choose to pursue advanced degrees and licensure as social workers and human service managers.
Students access online classroom environments to study, complete assignments and communicate with instructors or classmates. Virtual discussion boards, course chat rooms and email help students interact and work together on group assignments if necessary. Instructors may provide a variety of tools to help students learn the material, such as videos, lecture notes, printable handouts and various assignments or projects. Typically, online students can log in to the virtual classroom and complete studies on their own time any time of the day. That said, instructors still usually have a course schedule with due dates that they require students to follow.
In many cases, students who complete their coursework online still need to complete a local field experience in an approved human services setting. These internships or practicums typically last a semester and allow students to gain real-world experience under supervision. Students should be advised that this on-site fieldwork will likely require undergoing a criminal background check.
Although online associate's degree programs specifically in human services management are not common, students who are interested in careers related to community outreach and health may get the training they need from online AS in Human Development and Family Studies or AAS in Human Services programs.