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2021 Human Services Degree Guide

There are many people in society that need special help at some point in their lives: the elderly, homeless families, pregnant teens, and people with addiction problems. A degree in human services will allow you to provide essential services to vulnerable populations. Human Services involves the general study of human behavior as well as hands-on field experience in order to learn how to improve the lives of people. Generalists will be able to work in public and private human services agencies and organizations.

Instruction in Human Services will take a multi-disciplinary approach. Classes will include: human behavior, psychology, social sciences, principles of social service, human services policy, planning and evaluation, social services law and administration. You will also receive training in practical applications to particular issues, services, localities, and populations.

Human Services Degrees Shrinking in Popularity

#74 Most Popular Major
13.8k Degrees Awarded
-8.7% Increase in Graduates

Human Services was the 74th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 13,768 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 8.7% reduction in human services degrees awarded over the prior year's total of -14,962.

There are 343 schools offering degrees in human services in the United States. This year's Best Colleges for Human Services ranking compares 44 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom human services rankings further below.

Human Services Degree Requirements

This major is idea for compassionate and caring individuals who have a passion for helping other people overcome their challenges. Most of the clients you will be working with are in stressful or desperate situations, so it is important to remain empathetic and understanding.

Human Services involves working with people from diverse backgrounds. You must be able to build a trusting relationship with your client making communication and interpersonal skills crucial for success. You will often collaborate with a team of human services workers and think creatively to help your clients overcome their challenges.

Prior Education for a Human Services Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most human services degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Once you obtain your degree, additional human services certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Human Services Degree Types

There are various different levels of human services degrees. Human Services programs offered by schools range from a associate's to a research/scholarship based doctorate, which is the highest human services degree you can get. How long it takes to complete some common human services degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to human services, with approximately 38.7% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to human services tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 36.8%
Master’s Degree 20.6%
High School Diploma 15.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 10.7%
Post-Master’s Certificate 10.5%

About 70.3% of workers in careers related to human services obtain at least bachelor's degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in human services have received.


The education level required is different depending on the human services career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Human Services Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$30.3k Average Starting Salary
16% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

There are two main types of human services: those that deal directly with clients and those that provide administrative support for a service agency. For those who want to work directly with people can find jobs as the following: case workers, counselors, mental health aides, and social workers. On the administrative side, you can find work as a grant writer, program director, or development director.

High Growth Projected for Human Services Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your human services degree? Human Services careers are expected to grow 16.2% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to human services.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Social and Human Service Assistants 453,600 16.4%
Social and Community Service Managers 173,800 18.0%
Community and Social Service Specialists 113,500 13.2%

How Much Money Do Human Services Grads Make?

Recently graduated human services students earned an average of $30,302 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $18,200 to as high as $64,600. As you might expect, salaries for human services graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Human Services Majors

Salaries for human services graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers human services grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Social and Community Service Managers $71,670
Community and Social Service Specialists $46,050
Social and Human Service Assistants $35,830

Getting Your Human Services Degree

With over 735 different human services degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased human services school rankings to help you with this.

One of 5 majors within the Public Administration & Social Service area of study, Human Services has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Social Work 57,499
Public Administration 17,444
Public Policy 6,021
Community Organization & Advocacy 2,832
Other Public Administration 971

View All Human Services Related Majors >


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