Master’s in Human Services Degrees & Schools Guide

Master's Degree in Human Services Career Options & Salary

Why Earn a Master’s in Human Services?


Professionals in the human services field are a special breed. They have chosen to make helping others their life’s work. This is perhaps even more true of those who have invested the time, energy, and pure heart into attaining a master’s degree in human services.

If you are driven to help others find vital resources so that they can live their best lives, this field might be for you. You can choose to work with any one of a variety of populations. You might be called to help developmentally disabled people, for instance, or you might seek to help impoverished families secure housing and job placement services.

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PROS

A master’s degree in human services has many positive attributes. In fact, it might serve as the catapult that lifts your career from good to stellar. For starters, you will be able to spend time in school studying what you love. You can build on the work you did in your undergraduate program and delve deep into the areas that mean the most to you.

Once you have graduated, your academic credentials will attract the attention of employers. They will be more likely to hire you for supervisory positions and you will be at the top of the list for promotions and raises, too. If you work for a governmental agency, your pay should automatically increase once you submit your new status to HR.

You will also find that you can build on top of your master’s degree with certifications and state licenses. Make that you research your state’s rules and regulations to ensure that your courses will satisfy the state licensing boards.

CONS

While more education is almost always a net positive that yields rewards for a lifetime, that is not always the case. In fact, pursuing your graduate degree can be quite a gamble. That is, you could invest years of time and intellectual energy, and take on large debts to find that you are not as employable or promotable as you’d hoped.

Another possible negative aspect of a graduate degree is that you could decide that the field is not for you. This one is avoidable if you take time to work in human services for a significant time, at least two years for example, before going after your master’s. Experience can also help you decide precisely what to concentrate on during your graduate studies.

Overview of a Master's in Human Services


What Human Services Master’s Degrees are Available?


  • Master of Arts in Human Services
    An MA in Human Services is a graduate degree that focuses on non-mathematical or analytical subjects. If you are considering furthering your work in public policy, counseling, or administration you should perhaps consider an MA when researching programs.
  • Master of Science in Human Services
    An MS in Human Services differs from an MA in that you will typically find your coursework focuses more on statistics and even social science research, than topics such as public policy or administration. However, there is often a lot of crossover with an MA degree and some programs offer both within the same department but confer one or the other depending on your specific course selections.
  • Master of Human Services
    Yet another option is an MHS degree. This type of degree will serve much the same purpose as an MA or MS. In fact, many MHS programs offer specific concentrations that you can choose. Each program will offer slightly different tracks for your studies, so be sure to thoroughly research and compare your top choices.

Admission Requirements


Graduate school admissions are often far more rigorous than undergraduate programs. For degrees that have an occupational focus, such as a master's degree in human services, you should be prepared to document your experience in the field and even discuss it in an admissions interview. On top of your professional experience, you will need a strong undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores that meet minimum criteria. You may also need to submit an admissions essay that details your passion for the field as well as your plans for the future.

How long does it take to earn a Human Services Master’s?


Graduate degrees vary in length. Some are designed to take a single year while others are designed for up to three years. When you assess the time it ostensibly takes to complete a master's degree, factor in your personal time constraints as well. That is, some programs might have a track that leads to graduation in 16 months, but that might not be reasonable for you and your situation. Consider that to hit the 16-month target you will have little time for anything but studying. You may need to forgo things like family vacations, overtime at work, and some personal time.

Prior to applying to a program, consider your current time constraints vis-a-vis work and family, and make a reasonable plan for a timely graduation. You want to be certain that you can dedicate your full attention to your studies. After all, the degree will help launch a new chapter in your career.

Potential Careers in Human Services with a Master’s


  • Social Worker
    Social workers are found in a wide variety of settings. They work in hospitals, jails, in government offices, and independent non-profit organizations. Their function can vary from counseling to administration.
    Social workers currently earn an average yearly salary of: $45,300.
  • Addiction Counselor
    The opioid epidemic, as well as the continuing rise of alcoholism, is driving demand for more addiction counselors. Some states license addiction counselors starting with those with an associate degree. These professionals work in settings including drug rehabs, private practice, and perhaps even prisons.
    The national average income for this occupation is: $39,500.
  • Community Outreach Coordinator
    This profession is found as the face of non-profit organizations. They are often the contact person on press releases and they typically spearhead public initiatives. Professionals in this occupation don't need any specific degree, but a master's degree will certainly provide the knowledge and skill they need to thrive.
    The average salary for this job description is: $40,800.
  • Case Manager
    This job is very demanding, as these professionals must manage many different individuals who are all at very different stages in their lives. Typically, case managers work with specific populations such as prisoners on release, homeless people seeking a stable place in society, or children in the foster care system. With a master's degree you might even manage the managers.
    The average salary for case managers is: $39,400.
  • Juvenile Probation Officer
    This sort of probation officer is dramatically different from the corrections professionals who work with adults. Juvenile probation officers work with children and adolescents in hopes of transitioning them out of the corrections system and into a more stable living pattern.
    An average salary for this profession is: $39,800.

Options to Advance


As your human services career progresses you will surely want to attain raises and promotions. As you put more and more time and effort into your job, you are sure to receive both. However, you may find that your earnings cap out at a certain point. This is often due to your educational credentials. Thus, with each higher degree you will find more options to advance yourself.

You can even seek out special non-academic certifications and even win awards that will bolster your resume. However, the best way to advance is through higher and higher degrees. Even if you achieve a master's degree you can still return to school for either a different master's or a graduate certificate. For instance, you might complete an MBA to inform your ability to administer a non-profit, or you could simply add a new certificate that specifically speaks to your passions for human services.

Best Master of Science in Human Services Programs


  • Webster University
    St. Louis, MO

    Webster University's human services graduate degree focuses on inclusiveness and social justice. They seek to produce professionals who are steeped in a variety of disciplines including sociology, psychology, counseling, and non-profit management. This base of knowledge will bolster your career for a lifetime.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Arts in Human Services
    • Master of Arts in Counseling
  • Northern Arizona University
    Flagstaff, Arizona

    Northern Arizona's College of Health and Human Services might not have a degree specifically called human services, but they offer a variety of degree options that might suit your long-term career goals. Those include allied health degrees in nursing, speech pathology, and athletic training, but the school also covers public health.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Public Health – Health Promotion
    • Master of Public Health – Nutrition
  • Springfield College
    Boston, MA | Houston, TX | Milwaukee, WI | St. Johnsbury, VT | Springfield, MA | Tampa Bay, FL | Wilmington, DE

    Springfield College's Master of Science in Human Services can prepare you for dramatic success in your field. Their program will not only arm you with the academic knowledge you need but will instill the leadership and critical thinking skills you need to implement your insights and ideas. If you work hard, you can graduate in as few as 16 months. Alternatively, you can take the 24-month option.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Human Services
    • Master of Science in Human Services – Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Amridge University
    Montgomery, AL

    Amridge's MS in Human Services degree will prepare you to provide aid and assistance to the populations you care about the most. The program will help you improve your communication and analytical skills, develop you as a counselor, and your sense of cultural sensitivity. If you work full-time, Amridge projects that you can complete the degree in four semesters, or two academic years.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Human Services
    • Master of Art in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Mercer University
    Macon | Atlanta | Savannah, GA

    Mercer's Penfield College offers a graduate degree in human services and concentrations in either gerontology services or child and adolescent services. Their approach instills graduates with an entrepreneurial approach to human services on top of the leadership and critical thinking skills you need to succeed.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Human Services
    • Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Traditional Schools Offering an MS in Human Services


  • Southeastern University
    Online

    SEU's MA program in human services is a fully online program that offers concentrations in Children and Family, Administration, and Ministry. Each student is also immersed in the subject a comprehensive core curriculum that touches on issues such as theology, program planning, field experiences, and ethical issues, among many others.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Arts in Human Services
    • Master of Arts in International Community Development
  • Touro University Worldwide
    Online

    If you study full-time, you can graduate from TUW's MS in Human Services program in as little as one year. This degree is not intended for those seeking state licensure as a counselor. Rather, the program will sharpen the critical skills you need to deliver human services to your clients.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Human Services
    • Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Ashford University
    Online

    Ashford's top-notch instructors and time (and human) tested online platform deliver an education in human services that will serve you and your clients. They will instill you with an historical perspective on the field, ethical mindfulness, and the research and communication skills you need to help push the field forward.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Arts in Human Services
    • Master of Arts in Healthcare Administration
  • Purdue Global
    Online

    No matter where you are on the planet, if you have a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, you can receive a top-notch Purdue education. Their MS in Human Services degree will push your career to new heights. On top of the dynamite core curriculum, you will concentrate in either family and community services or organizational and social services. The program requires a mere 45 quarter hours, which will likely fly by.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Human Services
    • Master of Science in Psychology
  • Post University
    Online

    Post University's MS in Counseling and Human Services is designed to focus your human services career towards one of three counseling concentrations. During your time in the program, you will study either Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Alcohol and Drug Counseling, or Forensic Mental Health Counseling. Your credits may apply towards state licensure.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Science in Counseling and Human Services
    • Master of Public Administration

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