With one of the best master’s degrees in human services, you can rise to the top – and top-paying – roles of the most meaningful career paths: the helping professions.
The goal of human services is to meet human needs, ranging from affordable housing to behavioral health services. Human services workers are constantly advocating for and developing programs to improve life for those in need.
Many human services workers make impacts at the individual level. Others are leading efforts to aid victims of human trafficking, make treatment for mental illnesses and drug addiction more accessible, address homelessness, and so much more, the federal Office of Human Services Policy reported.
With a master’s degree in human services, you can serve as administor of a social services program, agency, or nonprofit organization.
What is a Master’s in Human Services Degree?
The best master’s in human services degree programs have their work cut out for them. They must meet all 20 accreditation standards set by The Council for Standards in Human Service Education. These standards address everything from the theories and concepts taught in the program through the development of practical skills and meeting of fieldwork requirements.
Graduate human services degree programs include a variety of coursework, often culminating in a capstone course. Classes such as Skills and Practice in Human Services focus on developing practical abilities. Students also learn a great deal through courses in Human Development and Human Behavior. You may get to choose a concentration, such as family and community services or crisis intervention.
Some master’s in human services programs accept applicants with any educational background. Others prefer candidates who have a background in a subject closely related to human services, such as psychology, counseling, social work, or behavioral and social science.
Careers for Human Services majors
Plenty of community and social services roles require a master’s degree. Unlike counselors and clinical social workers, however, graduates of human services degree programs often work in administrative and management roles rather than therapeutic ones. They direct the efforts of programs and professionals to help them make a bigger impact on the lives of those in need.
Job titles like Community Services Director, Social Worker Supervisor, Care Director, Social Services Manager, and others confer a great degree of responsibility. The advanced knowledge and skill sets gained in graduate school prepare students to meet the challenges of administration.
Earning your master’s degree in human services can put you ahead of the competition, which can be particularly fierce for these unusually high-paying roles in the helping professions. Only 24 percent of social and community service managers have a master’s degree, while twice as many of these workers have only a bachelor’s degree, reported.
Master’s in Human Services salary potential
Leveraging your master’s in human services degree to attain a management role could make you a very good living. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median wage of $65,320 for management jobs in social and community service, compared to $44,960 for non-management roles.
The highest 10 percent of earners make $111,150, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Entry-level roles in jobs that lead to management roles pay less. Social workers, for example, make average salaries of $40,217 per year at entry level and $46,131 overall, PayScale reported.
Earning your master’s degree is the best way to boost your salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that social and community service managers with a master’s earn 30 percent, or $15,000, more than those with a bachelor’s degree. Besides education and experience, professional credentials like CEAP, LPC, LCSW, and LMSW can improve your career and earning potential.
What are the Best Master’s in Human Services Degrees?
We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of CollegeRank utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:
40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni
30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and National Accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year
30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school
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University Of Illinois At Springfield
Average Net Price
At the University of Illinois at Springfield, students can choose from nearly 50 academic programs and join any of more than 80 student organizations. The school prides itself on offering a diverse array of opportunities to students both on campus and off, serving the campus community, its local community, and the community abroad. There is an extensive array of internship, volunteer, and research opportunities available here, too.
Whether your background is in human services or another field, the Master of Arts in Human Services program at the University of Illinois at Springfield could be the perfect fit. This multidisciplinary degree prepares students to become competent, relevant human services professionals in a variety of sectors. It offers four concentrations: alcoholism and substance abuse, gerontology, social services administration, and child and family studies.
This degree holds true to the school’s mission of providing experiential learning opportunities to all students; the program requires a 4-credit hour internship during which students work in a human services environment. In addition, all students must take classes such as Social Policy, Ethics and Professional Development, and Interviewing and Assessment Skills in Human Services.
Saint Mary’s University Of Minnesota
Average Net Price
Want to earn a master’s degree in human services in just two years – and begin your studies at the time of year that is most convenient for you? If so, you should consider earning a Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. This degree is a great fit for students who want to work in long-term care settings like nursing homes – in fact, it’s one of the few that meets the education requirements for Nursing Home Administrators in the state of Minnesota and comparable requirements in other states.
This degree is offered as both an in-person and online program, but it can also be completed in a blended fashion. Saint Mary’s prepares graduates for a variety of leadership positions in human service and healthcare settings. Core classes include Organization Management and Gerontology. A practicum is also required, as is a final capstone course that brings together everything students have learned in their classes.
To apply, candidates should submit a completed application form along with an application fee. Official transcripts are also required, as is a reflective essay, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume. All applicants are expected to have maintained a minimum 2.5 GPA during undergraduate coursework.
St. Joseph’s College New York
New York City, New York
Average Net Price
Known for being one of the most affordable private universities in the tri-state area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, St. Joseph’s College of New York prides itself on its offerings beyond just its price tag. This comprehensive school has a strong tradition in the liberal arts, offering a variety of special courses, advanced certificates, and pre-professional programs.
The Master of Science in Human Services Leadership provides unique opportunities to aspiring mental health, substance abuse, health care, criminal justice, and child welfare professionals. It is perfect for both career changers and those seeking career promotions. St. Joseph’s equips its students with the leadership skills they need to conduct groundbreaking research and rise to the top of their disciplines. Students take classes that focus on the regulatory, financial, political, social, historical, and legal aspects of human services.
Ten core courses are required for this program. Applicants should hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and demonstrate no less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Applicants should also be employed in full-time positions and have significant work experience in program development, training, supervision, or other human services-related careers.
Average Net Price
For those interested in targeting a specific area of human services with their training – such as Christian Ministry, Life Coaching, Military Resilience, or Addictions and Recovery – Liberty University has an ideal program. Many of the core courses required for the Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling degree at Liberty are offered both entirely online and in a residential format. Students can choose from a variety of courses to help them specialize in one of 10 areas, or may take a combination to broaden their horizons.
This program is best for students who don’t intend to seek national certification or licensure, but instead are looking for basic career advancement. It includes 18 hours of core courses and 12 hours of electives. With multiple financial aid opportunities available (such as graduate assistantships), there’s no reason not to consider it.
This degree is just one of more than 300 unique areas of study offered by Liberty University, a private university located in Lynchburg, VA. To be eligible for admission at this Chrisitan college, students should submit an application, which is available online, along with transcripts from any undergraduate institutions attended.
Average Net Price
With tuition that starts at just $585 per credit hour and a number of classes available entirely online, there’s no reason not to consider the high-quality Master of Arts in Human Services at Bellevue University. This program is offered both on campus and online and requires 36 credit hours of study.
The curriculum is designed to help students succeed by developing strong management skills through applied learning projects in human services administration and broad-based analytical and managerial courses. Core classes include Sustainable Funding, Career Development, and Nonprofit Administration. Students can choose between two capstone courses to finalize their degrees – an internship/fieldwork option, or an applied learning project.
To apply, candidates should hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum 2.5 GPA in the most recent 60 credits of coursework. In some cases, a non-refundable application fee, letters of recommendation, and essays are also required.