Earning an associate degree in the human and social services is a gratifying choice for students interested in helping professions. Associate programs require only two years of post-secondary education to unlock access to entry-level human service jobs. Students gain the skills and cultural sensitivity to coordinate community programs for poor, sick, abused, discriminated, and other vulnerable populations. Associate degree holders can find work as human service assistants, social work assistants, casework aides, addictions counselors, and more. The job outlook is favorable with human services growing faster-than-average by 11 percent through 2024. Follow your altruistic passions with any of these 10 Best Human and Social Services Associate Degrees.
To begin, we sourced campus-based associate programs that were accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). This ensures students will qualify for the National Organization for Human Servies Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) credential. All colleges had to be regionally accredited for credit transfer and financial aid. We looked for associate degrees offering specialization for various human and social services careers. All two-year programs had to incorporate real-world agency experience. Preference was given to colleges ranked by the U.S. News, Forbes, Washington Monthly, and other publications. We also weighed class size, exam pass rates, tuition price, location, course flexibility, and faculty credentials.
Rather than immediately jumping into a bachelor’s program, consider completing a two-year associate degree first. Not only are associate programs quicker, but they’re also generally less expensive. Once you’ve completed associate-level training, you can begin applying for entry-level human and social services jobs. According to the BLS, graduates can expect an average yearly salary of $33,190 for good ROI. Credits earned can later transfer into bachelor’s degrees for accelerated promotion paths too.
Start nurturing your love for helping communities grow with one these 10 Best Human and Social Services Associate Degrees:
1. Pennsylvania College of Technology
Founded in 1914, Pennsylvania College of Technology is an accredited public, state-funded technical institution serving over 5,500 undergraduates from Williamsport. The U.S. News ranked Penn Tech as the North’s 13th Top Public School and 28th Best College for Veterans. In the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, there’s an A.A.S. in Human Services offered. The four-semester program requires 67 credits, including a culturally sensitive human service practicum. With Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHS) Board approval, the curriculum ranges from psychology and counseling to crisis intervention.
Tuition: $15,810 (in-state) or $22,470 (out-of-state)
2. University of Alaska – Anchorage
As the state’s largest public, research institution, the University of Alaska – Anchorage educates around 20,500 students next to Alaska Pacific University. According to the U.S. News, UAA is the West’s 77th Best College and 29th Top Public School. At the Anchorage, Mat-Su, and Kenai campuses, the College of Health awards an A.A.S. in Human Services. The two-year, 60-credit program places emphasis on serving Alaskan natives. Specializations are available in Substance Abuse, Family and Youth, Disabilities, or Diversity Issues for two field practica.
Tuition: $5,545 (in-state) or $17,177 (out-of-state)
3. Clarion University
Within the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Clarion University is a public, state-funded teaching institution enlightening over 6,800 students just 77 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washington Monthly named Clarion the Northeast’s 79th Best Bang For the Buck. The School of Health Sciences has CSHSE and CORE accreditation for the A.S. in Rehabilitative and Human Services program. Courses at the Venango campus in Oil City are supplemented with a 300-hour internship. Available concentrations are Developmental Disabilities, Addictions, Courts and Community Services, or Gerontology.
Tuition: $10,190 (in-state) or $14,660 (out-of-state)
4. New York City College of Technology
Located in Brooklyn’s city Triangle, the CUNY New York City College of Technology enrolls over 17,000 students as an accredited, publicly funded technical institution. Forbes ranked City Tech as the Northeast’s 78th Best College. The School of Professional Studies holds CSHSE approval for an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Human Services. The 60-credit degree can be completed with daytime, evening, or weekend courses. Students also accomplish 250 clock hours of field work at community-based agencies.
Tuition: $6,669 (in-state) or $13,779 (out-of-state)
5. Allegany College of Maryland
Enrolling over 18,700 students, Allegany College of Maryland is a public, two-year junior college founded in 1961 with campuses in Cumberland, Somerset, and Everett. Allegany College of Marylandwas chosen among Victory Media’s 2016 “Military Friendly” schools. For 35+ years, the Allied Health Department has granted the Human Service Associate program. Using a hands-on holistic approach, the 70-credit curriculum contains pre-human service and clinical courses. With 480 total practicum hours, specializations are granted in Addictions Counseling, Leadership, and Integrative Health.
Tuition: $6,660 (in-state) or $7,950 (out-of-state)
6. James A. Rhodes State College
Established in 1971, James A. Rhodes State College is a public, career-oriented technical training institution located in Lima, Ohio, to educate over 4,300 students. Rhodes State offers more than 70 associate programs and certificates, including an A.A.S. in Human Service Technology. The 64-credit curriculum follows CSHSE guidelines to prepare Human Services-Board Certified Professionals (HS-BCP). Two second-year field practica are included for experiential learning. Certificates are available in Activity Directing, Child Development, Developmental Disabilities, and Team Leadership.
Tuition: $4,045 (in-state) or $8,090 (out-of-state)
7. Great Basin College
Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Great Basin College is a public, state-assisted technical institution serving over 3,400 students from Elko, Nevada. With our list’s lowest in-state tuition, GBC offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Human Services. The entry-level, two-year program was created using the Rural Health Outreach Grant. Students can complete campus-based or online coursework for the additional Certificate in Substance Abuse Counselor Training. The CSHSE-accredited program includes performing client-centered social services in two semester-long practica.
Tuition: $2,805 (in-state) or $9,450 (out-of-state)
8. Madison Area Technical College
Serving 12 counties in south-central Wisconsin, Madison Area Technical College is a public, technical training institution enrolling over 16,139 students. Among MATC’s 175 associate programs is an A.A.S. in Human Services. The School of Human and Protective Services has CSHSE accreditation to deliver the 69-credit degree in downtown Madison. Campus-based courses like psychology, human relations, sociology, and diversity studies are complemented with two human service agency experiences. Graduates qualify for becoming certified substance abuse counselors in Wisconsin.
Tuition: $4,217 (in-state) or $6,143 (out-of-state)
9. Trident Technical College
Formed in 1973, Trident Technical College is among South Carolina’s 13 two-year, public technical institutions training over 12,000 students from North Charleston. The Community, Family & Child Studies Department has a fast-growing A.A.S. in Human Services Generalist program. Featuring 62 credits, the CSHSE-approved program has diverse electives from gerontology to marital therapy and juvenile delinquency. Students can add a 26-credit Certificate in Addictions/Substance Abuse. Human Services majors complete two supervised field placements in the fourth and fifth semesters.
Tuition: $4,481 (in-state) or $7,645 (out-of-state)
10. College of DuPage
Nestled in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, College of DuPage is a two-year, public community college enrolling over 29,000 students. At the Berg Instructional Center, DuPage the A.A.S in Human Services program. Boasting a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) exam pass rate of 88 percent, the 67-credit degree contains 300 hours of in-depth fieldwork. Specialty certificates are in Addictions Counseling, Applied Gerontology, Domestic/Family Violence, Fund Development, Psychiatric Rehabilitation, and Veterans Counseling. There’s also a 3+1 B.A. program with National Louis University.
Tuition: $5,275 (in-state) or $10,885 (out-of-state)