So you want to earn your human services degree online, do you? Excellent choice. Studying human services prepares you for a rewarding career helping people in need. An online program offers extra flexibility and convenience. You can study anywhere, anytime, fitting your education around your own busy schedules.
While online learning comes with challenges, having the discipline and motivation to succeed will open up opportunities to gain valuable skills and knowledge.
By the time you finish your studies, you’ll be ready to positively impact people’s lives as a human services professional. The journey may not always be easy, but will be well worth the effort. Now, take a deep breath and get ready to embark on this exciting new adventure in human services. Success is within your reach.
Benefits of Earning an Online Human Services Degree
Earning an online human services degree offers many benefits.
1. Convenience and flexibility
An online program allows you to earn your degree on your own schedule from anywhere. This is ideal if you have work or family commitments that make attending traditional classes difficult. You can study and complete assignments when time permits and at your own pace.
- Take classes on your own timetable
- No commute to campus
- Access coursework 24/7
2. Career advancement
A human services degree prepares you for a career helping others in your community. An online program provides the opportunity to earn a degree while still working, allowing you to advance in your current role or open up new career opportunities.
Common jobs in the human services field include:
- Social worker
- Case manager
- Community outreach specialist
- Youth counselor
- Gerontology aide
3. Lower costs
Online programs are often more affordable than traditional degrees. You can save money on expenses like transportation, parking, and housing. Some schools may charge lower tuition for online programs as well. Be sure to look into scholarships, grants, and employer tuition reimbursement which can help make an online human services degree even more budget-friendly.
4. Learn useful skills
An online human services program teaches skills directly applicable to jobs in the field.
Coursework focuses on areas like:
- Counseling theories and techniques
- Case management
- Crisis intervention
- Ethical practices
- Diversity and inclusion
How to Choose the Right Online Human Services Program
Choosing the right online human services program for you depends on several factors. Consider your goals, learning preferences, and schedule to find a good match.
1. Program Level
Do you want to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate in human services? Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees typically take 2-4 years, master’s 1-3 years, and doctorates 3-5 years or more. Higher degrees usually mean higher salaries and more advanced career opportunities.
2. School Accreditation
Look for programs accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). Accredited schools meet high standards for quality and their degrees are more widely accepted.
3. Concentration Options
Many schools offer concentrations or specializations, e.g. mental health, addiction, family dynamics, etc. Select a focus that aligns with your interests and career goals. Some programs are more generalized.
4. Learning Format
How do you prefer to learn – asynchronously on your own schedule or in real-time with live online classes? Many schools offer a mix of both. Make sure any live or synchronous components work with your schedule.
5. Faculty Experience
Look for professors with experience as human services practitioners, not just academics. They will provide valuable real-world insights and mentorship. Read bios and reviews from current students.
6. Fieldwork or Internship
Hands-on experience is essential for human services careers. Look for programs that incorporate fieldwork, an internship, or practicum into the curriculum. This allows you to gain experience and network.
7. Tuition and Financial Aid
Compare program costs and available scholarships, grants, and other financial assistance. Many offer tuition waivers, stipends and payment plans to make degrees affordable.
How to Prepare for a Career in Human Services After Graduation
Here are some steps you can take to set yourself up for success:
1. Build your experience
While experience isn’t always required to land an entry-level job in human services, any experience you can get will be valuable. Look for internships, volunteer opportunities, or entry-level jobs in the field. Getting real-world experience will allow you to strengthen your skills and make connections that may lead to job offers down the road.
2. Network and make connections
Connect with others currently working in human services. Reach out to your professors and advisors to ask if they know of any job openings. Join relevant organizations and professional associations to connect with others in the field, attend industry events, and look for mentorship opportunities. Building your professional network is key to career success.
3. Polish your resume
With your new degree and any experience you’ve gained, it’s time to update your resume. Include relevant coursework, any projects you completed, internships, volunteer work, and skills you’ve developed. Focus on accomplishments and the impact you made. Have friends or family review your resume for any mistakes.
4. Prepare for interviews
The interview is your chance to show what you’re capable of. Be ready to provide specific examples of situations where you demonstrated important skills like critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving. Prepare for common interview questions and practice your answers. Dress professionally, make eye contact, smile, and convey your passion for the work.
5. Keep learning
The field of human services is always evolving. Stay up-to-date with trends in policy, healthcare, technology, and social issues. Take additional courses or pursue certifications and credentials to strengthen your knowledge and skills. Continuous learning will make you a valuable asset to any organization.
With the right preparation and persistence, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career helping others. Good luck!