Anyone not able or ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work should consider obtaining an associate degree in human and social services first. Two-year associate programs are open to students holding at least a high school diploma or GED. Associate degrees allow students to prepare for entry-level human services jobs serving multicultural individuals, groups, families, and communities in need. It’s an excellent degree path for social and human service assistants with an average annual wage of $33,190. Earning an associate degree will also seamlessly transfer credits into a bachelor’s program for advancement. To help start your college search, we’ve listed the following 10 Best Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degrees.
Organizing our ranking began with finding online colleges in the United States offering associate degrees in human services primarily at a distance. Selected schools had to be accredited by regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for credit transfer. We looked for online universities with good reputations in popular rankings, such as the U.S. News, Forbes, and Washington Monthly. All associate programs must have offered a range of available electives for degree specialization. Allowing for fieldwork in students’ local hometowns was also preferred. Other important factors considered were class size, tech support, flexibility, degree length, transfer options, and job placement rate.
Over 5.5 million students at U.S. degree-granting colleges are enrolled in at least one online course. Online learning is a popular, flexible alternative to campus-based human services associate programs. Studying online will let you fit courses anytime into your busy work, family, and social schedule. Most online colleges offer accelerated class sessions to speed through your associate-level training. Engaging in a virtual classroom gives you the technical skills for communicating in the 21st century. Online degrees are also usually more affordable to maximize your degree’s worth. Graduates are poised to enter a social service sector that will add over 257,000 jobs through 2024.
Earn your credentials conveniently with these 10 Best Online Associate in Human and Social Services Degrees:
1. Pennsylvania State University
Labeled a “Public Ivy,” Pennsylvania State University is a flagship, multi-campus RU/VH research institution enrolling over 97,500 students total from Happy Valley and beyond. The U.S. News ranked PSU as America’s 47th Best National University and 14th Top Public School. Penn State’s World Campus offers an accredited Associate in Science (A.S.) in Human Development and Family Studies online. Two certificate options are available in Adult Development and Aging Services or Children, Youth, and Family Services. The 72-credit curriculum integrates fieldwork and a culminating internship in students’ local communities. Credits can transfer into PSU’s online B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies program.
2. Brescia University
Founded by the Ursuline Sisters in 1925, Brescia University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution educating around 1,000 students in Owensboro, Kentucky, and online. According to the U.S. News, Brescia is the 50th Best Regional College in the South. Through BUOnline, students can pursue the Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Human Services. This 63-credit program has flexible online courses with five start dates each year. With Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation, the degree brings together content in sociology, social work, psychology, crisis counseling, and case management. Fieldwork prepares students for entry-level human services jobs. Graduates can also transfer seamlessly into Brescia’s online Bachelor of Social Work.
3. Columbia College
Enrolling around 2,100 students, Columbia College is a selective private, non-profit Christian liberal arts institution headquartered in Columbia, Missouri. As an elite Association of American Universities member, Columbia is recognized by the U.S. News for America’s 106th Best Online Undergraduate Programs. The regionally accredited Online Campus offers an Associate in Science in Human Services. This empirical-based program develops the fundamental skills for careers in advocacy, case management, counseling, public policy, social welfare, and more. Consisting of 60 credits, the curriculum places emphasis on serving diverse, minority cultures. A 135-hour human services internship can be added. Columbia also offers the A.S. at 14 campuses nationwide, from Kansas City to Orlando.
4. Cornerstone University
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cornerstone University is a private, non-denominational Christian institution with Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and Association of Theological Schools accreditation to educate over 3,000. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Cornerstone is the Midwest’s 108th Best College and 82nd Top School for veterans. CUOnline’s web-based Learning Management System (LMS) allows online learners to complete the Associate of Science in Human Services. This 62-credit degree builds the professional skills to serve needy individuals in secular or faith-based agencies. Over 28 months, students join an accelerated, team-oriented cohort with 10 to 15 peers. Human services coursework culminates with a four-week field experience and applied project. Holding a minimum 2.0 GPA is required.
5. New England College
Nestled in the White Mountains in Henniker, New Hampshire, New England College is a private, non-profit liberal arts institution educating over 2,000 on-site and online students. Regionally accredited by the North East Assocation of Schools and Colleges, New England College has the 114th Best Online Undergraduate Programs Nationally according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Associate of Science in Human Services is delivered 100 percent online to prepare students for various helping professions. Within the 60-credit curriculum, students build on the liberal arts to study sociology, psychology, substance abuse, counseling, and client assessment. Online students benefit from small class sizes and 24/7 support from University Alliance. New England College also awards a B.S. in Human Services online.
6. Franklin Pierce University
First opened in 1962, Franklin Pierce University is an accredited private, non-profit liberal arts institution located in Rindge, New Hampshire, near Mount Monadnock to serve over 2,200. In Forbes magazine, Franklin Pierce was ranked the 186th Best College in the Northeast. The College of Professional Studies offers an online Associate of Arts in Human Services 100 percent online. Asynchronous online courses are completed in six, eight-week terms. Students build an e-Portfolio to record their learning experiences. The 60-credit curriculum has diverse electives ranging from addiction and poverty to child abuse and public relations. For resume-building, human services majors may complete an optional senior internship.
7. Western New Mexico University
Offering over 70 areas of study, Western New Mexico University is a public, state-assisted higher learning institution educating approximately 3,500 students from Silver City. Known for winning Quality New Mexico’s highest Zia Award, WNMU is named the West’s 179th Best Bang For The Buck in Washington Monthly. Online learners can pursue the Associate of Arts in Human Services program with synchronous web-conferencing. The 64-credit degree promotes the improved accessibility and coordination of human services systems. A.A. students must complete 250 clock hours of supervised field internship. Graduates can segue into WNMU’s B.A. in Rehabilitation Services or Bachelor of Social Work online.
Tuition: $5,704 (in-state) or $13,364 (out-of-state)
8. Grace Bible College
Affiliated with the Grace Gospel Fellowship, Grace Bible College is a private, evangelical Christian institution that’s regionally accredited to enlighten 1,100 students from Grand Rapids. The Washington Monthly named GBC The Nation’s 82nd Best Baccalaureate College for “contribution to the public good.” Altruistic students can pursue the Associate of Arts in Human Services program fully online via Blackboard. This 60-credit program takes 24 months to produce biblically-informed professionals for serving diverse communities. Cohorts contain 10 to 16 students to maximize instructor interaction. In the final semester, students complete a case study project. Some continue into GBC’s online Bachelor of Science in Human Services.
9. Thomas Edison State University
With enrollment over 18,500, Thomas Edison State University is one of New Jersey’s 11 publicly funded higher education options located in the capital of Trenton. In 2013, The New York Times described TESU as the “College That Paved Way for Flexibility.” Online, self-directed learning is available for the Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Human Services. This 60-credit program fosters the practical professional skills and techniques to serve diverse client populations. Courses will delve into ethics, sociology, psychology, communication, counseling, and crisis intervention. TESU requires having at least six months (800 hours) of human services experience before the capstone.
Tuition: $6,135 (in-state) or $9,036 (out-of-state)
10. Rasmussen College
Headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 24 campuses, Rasmussen College is a private, for-profit mid-sized distance institution enrolling around 13,600 students yearly. According to CollegeChoice, Rasmussen is the nation’s 19th Best Value for Online Education. With a student-faculty ratio of 22:1, there’s an online Human Services Associate’s Degree offered. This 90-unit program can be completed in just 18 months. Students can follow the Internship Track I or Human Services Capstone Track II. Coursework will explore cultural diversity, abnormal psychology, crisis intervention, counseling, juvenile justice, drug addiction, and more. Graduates earn an average starting salary of $29,225 in non-licensed human services jobs.