Lenoir-Rhyne University confers an excellent online Master's in Human Services. This is an advanced degree that was designed specifically for working adults in mind; the entire program is 100 percent online and courses are taught in the asynchronous format. Students can also enroll at the beginning of any term, allowing them to choose when they start work on their degree. There are two tracks in this MAHS degree: Addictions Counseling, Career Development, and Human Services Management. Each track requires a practicum that takes place in a student's community. Students will also be given the opportunity to engage in applied research, enabling them to build a portfolio of work prior to leaving school. This program also enables students the chance to earn HS-BCP certification following graduation. Graduation requirements include 33 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Theoretical Foundations and History of Human Services, Human Systems, and Human Services Delivery Systems.
10 Most Affordable Master’s in Human Services Online in 2021
Professionals who are interested in earning an online Master’s in Human Services are ready to become change agents for the United States’ most vulnerable populations. With a graduate degree in human services, students will enter the workforce ready and able to work in a variety of public and private sector jobs. This allows them to pursue change where they feel it is needed the most.
But working professionals who want to become change agents don’t have the time to attend a traditional school. With so many working full-time jobs, an online option is the only way forward for them. These programs often provide the best of both worlds: a high-quality education with the flexibility and affordability these professionals need.
This ranking counts down the top ten most affordable graduate degrees in human services. It was created by using the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator database. After combing through tuition rates, gainful employment disclosures, and online program satisfaction, an initial pool of 30 schools was built. From there, the final ten, which you see below, were chosen based on in-state graduate tuition rates.
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Most Affordable Online Human Services Master’s in 2021
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Master’s in Human Services Degree?
A master’s degree in human services can open up a lot of career pathways for students, but many of these pathways require additional post-graduate work, certification, or licensure. It is important to keep that in mind because many options cannot be obtained with a graduate degree alone.
Many jobs in the field come from health and human social services providers, such as nonprofit organizations and the American government. While the workload can be challenging, students will find the work to be rewarding; government benefit packages are also available, making these careers seem a little more in reach.
Nonprofit jobs can be quite lucrative but are often competitive and require a solid understanding of a subfield in human services. Languages, too, can also be a requirement for professionals if the organization works internationally or in diverse populations in the country. These jobs are incredibly rewarding, which is why so many students focus their eye on the sector.
Professionals who specialize have a variety of options; they can be specialists in their fields, directors of departments that focus on that particular issue, or even become a politician with a platform focused on their specialization.
There are a lot of career options, but here are just a few that may be interesting to students:
- Social Worker
- Forensic Behavioral Health Analyst
- Human Services Manager
- Mental Health Counselor
- Director of a Non Profit Organization
- Social Services Manager
- Case Manager
- Public Health Administrator
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How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The median salary range for a professional in the human services field is $37,000 to $72,000, which is about a 40 percent boost in salary across all careers from those who only hold an undergraduate degree.
The salary range denotes every career option available to students with this degree and includes private and public sector jobs. At the low end are human service manager positions while on the higher end are supervisors and senior-level administrative positions. Salaries fluctuate depending on a student’s previous work and educational experience as well as the region in America that they are located in.
What are the Various Disciplines of Human Services?
Human services is a multidisciplinary field. It is rooted in history, social services, human services, psychology, anthropology, healthcare, law, business, and economics. Professionals in this field work within all of these disciplines and more in order to complete their duties and responsibilities.
Many professionals in this field are also specialists, meaning that they have different disciplines at play in their work. For instance, someone who works in human services with a law enforcement background may focus on psychology and criminology while a mental health counselor may focus on counseling and healthcare.
Can an Online Degree in Human Services be a Pathway to Licensure?
An online degree in human services alone rarely offers a pathway to licensure. In human services, the most common forms of licensure are as a counselor or a social worker. These are specialized fields that require a great deal of advanced training, something which a degree in human services is not designed to offer.
Many students think that an online Master’s in Human Services that provides a concentration in mental health or substance abuse counseling will lead them to licensure. Unfortunately, very few programs, traditional or online, can offer this. The best path for these students is to enter into a master’s in counseling program for licensure. The same can be said for those seeking social worker licensure.
There is another reason that a degree in human services does not provide any type of licensure: it is a general field made up of specialties. Students who choose to go into forensic behavioral health would not require the same licensure as someone who is interested in becoming a counselor and vice versa. It is impossible for every degree in human services to provide each student with the licensure they require to meet their goals.
It is possible to find some programs that can help students with licensure, including some on this ranking. While graduation may not lead directly to licensure, credit hours could be used in conjunction with a stand-alone certificate to open the door to sitting for the appropriate exam. Students are advised to speak with the graduate admissions office about what they would need to do to take on a graduate degree in this field and earn credit hours to put towards licensure.
Why is Work Experience Required for an Online Graduate Degree in Human Services?
Human services professionals who earn a graduate degree often question the need for extra work experience, particularly if they are already actively working in the field. They may also question why, for the most part, they can’t waive the requirement if they can prove they have experience.
This is for a very good reason: work experiences are critical for online students. Because they do not study in traditional classrooms, it’s important for them to get some practical experience in the field with the advanced concepts that they are learning in the curriculum. And because practical experience is supervised, the program can get an accurate picture of how the student is doing.
Practical experience also provides something else that an online program can’t do through its virtual portal: actual experience in the field in an advanced position. Working on concepts in a classroom is one thing, but putting those concepts into practice in a real-world scenario and understanding the consequences is something else entirely. And the truth is that practical experience can’t be replicated online; it must be lived.
One final reason that work experience is required prior to graduation is that many students need the chance to network before going out into the field. This is especially true for pre-service professionals; they may not have any contacts in human services once they graduate from their program. Work experience opens these students up to the world of human services and provides them a few networking opportunities that may end with a job offer.
Human services is an incredible field that desperately needs more passionate graduates. With a wide range of career options and a chance to make a real difference in the lives of other Americans, it’s a choice that will ultimately benefit every professional’s life. All interested students should check out these online Master’s in Human Services degrees and begin the path towards earning their graduate degrees.
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master’s in Human Services Online.
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