Human Services Guide

Top CSHSE-Accredited Associates in Human Services By Region for 2019-20

Top CSHSE Associates in Human Services Programs BadgeAn associate’s degree is often just the first step on a much longer road to a career in human services, but it can be a really important one. Not everyone is interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, and in human services there’s still plenty of entry-level opportunities without one. Every little bit of education helps, and it is definitely possible to get out there and get a job in human services with your associate’s in hand and start gaining the kind of experience employers really value.

An associate’s can lay the groundwork for your career if you’re fresh out of high school… and it’s just the thing you need as a career changer looking to boost your skills and knowledge and land a better job.

When it comes to reputable associate’s degrees in human services, you have plenty to choose from… but if you’re looking for the ones that are objectively considered the very best, the list gets really short—there are only 31 programs out there that hold accreditation from the CSHSE (Council for Standards in Human Service Education). Since CSHSE comes with an extra assurance of quality, we feel strongly that these programs offer the best value.

If you’re angling for an associate’s in the first place, you’re probably not made of money… you understand that an education in human services sets you up for better opportunities to serve your community and make a living for yourself while you do so, but maybe you’re not in a position to get a bachelor’s degree just yet.

So if you’re getting started with an associate’s degree, you need to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

What Makes CSHSE Accreditation So Important?

So if there are so few CSHSE-accredited associate’s degrees out there, why did we insist on looking at only those programs?

Well, it’s pretty simple: CSHSE has done the heavy lifting of establishing the quality and adequacy of these degree programs when it comes to delivering the kind of education the industry expects.

Evaluation Based on Strict Standards

With a unique set of standards exclusively applied to associate’s degrees, CSHSE goes beyond the basics of general academic competence and dives into the elements of the program that are important to human services work. They establish and evaluate standards that include:

  • Ensuring the program has a philosophical basis in line with human services practices
  • Making sure feedback and assessment mechanisms are in place to update the program
  • Validating faculty credentials
  • Weigh the cultural competency of the curriculum and educators
  • Ensure that the program has enough resources to meet its goals
  • Check that the curriculum covers specific aspects of human services education important to the industry

On-Going Evaluations

It takes a stack of paperwork and in-depth analysis to get accredited, complete with on-site visits from CSHSE evaluators who check and double-check to ensure all those standards are being met. And it’s not a one-time deal. Every ten years, like clockwork, CSHSE is back on the front porch, re-validating the program to make sure nothing has slipped.

Credits Earned Eligible for Transfer to a Bachelor’s

That level of quality assurance means these programs are more likely to be accepted as transfer-eligible degrees at accredited colleges if you move up to a bachelor’s at some point. And even if your plans don’t include earning a bachelor’s, a CSHSE-accredited associate’s is more likely to include the kind of relevant, up-to-date education in the techniques and technologies used to deliver and manage social services – exactly the entry-level skills employers are looking for.

CSHSE Quality + Lower Comparative Price = Best Value

The process for finding the best value was straightforward. We simply isolated the lowest cost CSHSE-accredited associate’s degrees around the country. But there’s more to the equation than cost and accreditation alone.

In Comparing Prices, We Looked at All the Options in the Region

Because there are so few associate’s degree programs in human services in the first place, you may not have the luxury of looking only at something close to home. We’ve organized our list by region, so you can find something that’s at least in the same time zone.

We also made our price comparisons based on the average going rate in each region (West, Midwest, South and Northeast, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau). In some parts of the country everything is more expensive, including a college degree. Simply looking at the lowest priced programs across the country would mean programs on the coasts would never have a chance to make the list. That’s why we took the time to find the average cost of CSHSE-accredited associate’s degree programs in the West, Midwest, South and Northeast separately, then identified a handful in each of these four regions offering the most competitive tuition rates.

The number of programs we feature here is a reflection of the total number of options in each region. In regions where there are several schools, we were able to identify a few with tuition rates below the regional average; where there are very few options, like in the West, we only identified one.

Attributes that Make for a Great Student Experience

Value isn’t all about low cost; it’s also about high quality, but there’s a subjective element to what constitutes quality. Students want to know more about a program than just it’s accreditation status and how much it charges for tuition. That’s why we also identified the features in these programs that we feel really make them worth your time and money.

Whether it’s concentration and elective options you won’t find anywhere else, or a human services club you can join for networking and learning opportunities, we identify features that offer a little something extra.

AS, or AAS

We’ve noted whether the program is an associate of science or associate of applied science, though all but one of our selections are AAS degrees. Neither of these options is inherently more or less valuable than the other, but the difference is worth noting.

AS degrees, are designed to prepare you to transfer eventually into a bachelor’s degree program. You’ll essentially cover the first two years of your BA or BS degree at a lower cost and with immediate benefits.

An AAS, on the other hand, is designed to offer a complete technical education in a particular human services skill set, and may not be readily accepted as a transfer degree by colleges offering bachelor’s programs.

Top Value Picks For Fully Accredited Associate’s Degrees in Human Services By Region

You’ll find the best-priced CSHSE-accredited associate’s degree programs here; every one of them designed with quality in mind to help prepare you for all the challenges and rewards that come with your human services career.



Midwest Region

 
Metropolitan Community College

Community and Human Services

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

AAS Human Services (on-campus)

  • General
  • Chemical Dependency Counseling

Related Certificate programs:

  • Certificate of Achievement, Human Services - General
  • Certificate of Achievement, Human Services – Chemical Dependency Counseling

Estimated Program Cost: $6,208 (in-state), $3,104 (age 62 and older and CollegeNOW! high school students), $4,656 (out-of-state age 62 and older), $9,312 (out-of-state)

$2,147 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Metropolitan College offers the Success Program, a collaborative learning community of students, faculty, and staff that includes a variety of resources and services, such as academic coaching, success workshops, the language and literacy center, and more
  • Program faculty has experience in mental health, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and social work
  • Chemical Dependency Counseling focus prepares students for the Provisionally Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification in Nebraska

Metropolitan Community College’s AAS in Human Services is a comprehensive course of study designed to prepare you for positions in public and private community agencies. And with a total program cost that’s more than $2,000 less than the regional average among CSHSE-accredited associate degree programs, the price can’t be beat! Whether you choose a general human services degree or one focused on working with chemically dependent individuals and their families, this degree, offered at the Fort Omaha campus, features in-depth classroom and practicum experiences, a qualified faculty with experience in mental health, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and social work, and an emphasis on ethical and professional behavior, advocacy for persons and communities, a multi-cultural centered curriculum, and more. Choose the AAS in Human Services in Chemical Dependency Counseling and you’ll qualify for certification as a Provisionally Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Nebraska.

 
Southeast Community College

Human Services Program

Lincoln, Nebraska

Website

AAS Human Services (on-campus, online, hybrid)

Related Certificate programs:

  • Human Services – Alcohol and Drug Certification

Estimated Program Cost: $4,623 (in-state), $5,589 (out-of-state)

$3,764 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Program offered on-campus, online, or a combination of the two
  • Add the Alcohol and Drug Certification certificate program to qualify for certification as a Provisionally Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Nebraska
  • Outstanding student services and resources include Academic Advising and Career Services
  • Program boasts a 93% employment/transfer rate among graduates

Whether in Lincoln, online, or a combination of the two, Southeast Community College’s AAS in Human Services provides students like you with a degree that’s wholly focused on improving the quality of life for all people. And thanks to a total program cost that’s nearly $4,000 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs, you’ll earn your degree without breaking your budget! This program, which addresses service delivery systems, including their quality, accessibility, accountability, and coordination, can be completed in just 24 months. Add the Alcohol and Drug Certification certificate program to your degree and you’ll qualify for certification as a Provisionally Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Nebraska. As a student of Southeast Community College, you’ll also enjoy outstanding student resources and services, including Career Services, where you’ll work with Career Services Specialists to help achieve your career goals, and Academic Advising and Support, where you’ll work with career advisors who will help you develop an academic plan, explore and identify career goals, and recommend strategies for your success.

 
St. Charles Community College

Department of Human Services

Cottleville, Missouri

Website

AAS Human Services (on-campus)

Estimated Program Cost: $6,283 (in-state), $7,198 (online), $9,394 (out-of-district), $10,309 (out-of-district online), $13,176 (out-of-state), $14,091 (out-of-state online)

$2,099 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Option to choose a general human services program or a program focused on victimology, gerontology, youth services, and substance abuse
  • College offers comprehensive career services, including one-on-one guidance with career counselors

At more than $2,000 less than the average among CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs in the region, St. Charles Community College’s AAS in Human Services is a model of affordability. But this program offers much more than just an attractive price tag, as it helps students like you understand human behavior and policy/program development through a robust curriculum and internship opportunities for real world experience. In addition to a general associate degree, you’ll have an opportunity to choose an area of emphasis in victimology, gerontology, youth services, or substance abuse. Choose St. Charles Community College for your human services degree and you’ll enjoy access to comprehensive career services, which includes career counselors who are there to help you explore potential career paths.

Northeast Region

 
Brookdale Community College

Psychology & Human Services

Lincroft, New Jersey

Website

AS Human Services (on-campus)

  • Pre-Social Work Option
  • Addiction Studies Option
  • Generalist Option

Estimated Program Cost: $8,280 (in-state), $14,700 (out-of-county), $16,200 (out-of-state)

$2,158 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • College has several articulation agreements with area colleges and universities for seamless transfer to bachelor’s degree programs
  • Three program options for continued study and/or entry-level positions
  • Addictions Studies Option satisfies the educational requirements to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential in New Jersey
  • Excellent student resources and services include academic advising, academic tutoring, personal counseling, and more

With three different emphases for a human services degree, Brookdale Community College’s AS in Human Services offers students like you with a variety of options for exciting careers in human and social systems. And with a total program cost that’s more than $2,000 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degrees, you’ll save money while achieving the education you need to get your career off the ground. Through a combination of classroom work and fieldwork, this degree prepares you for entry-level positions in hospitals, mental health centers, social services agencies, and more. Choose the Pre-Social Work Option and you’ll be prepared to transfer to a BSW program. Choose the Addictions Studies Option and you’ll be prepared to transfer to a BSW program, Bachelor of Human Services program, or another closely related program while you also earn valuable addiction certification credits toward the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential in New Jersey. Choose Brookdale and you’ll also enjoy access to comprehensive resources and services related to academic advising, academic tutoring, personal counseling, and more.

 
Montgomery County Community College

Public and Social Services

Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

Website

AAS Human Services (on-campus, online, hybrid)

  • Addictions
  • Gerontology
  • Children, Youth, and Family Services

Related Certificate programs:

  • Human Services Certificate (online, on-campus, hybrid)

Estimated Program Cost: $9,216 (in-state), $18,432 (out-of-county), $27,648 (out-of-state)

$1,222 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Program available online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format to accommodate your schedule and lifestyle
  • College has transfer agreements with nearly 34 Pennsylvania four-year colleges and universities for easy transfer to bachelor’s and master’s programs
  • Outstanding services available through the Student Success Center

Whether on-campus, online, or a combination of the two, Montgomery County Community College’s AAS in Human Services is designed to prepare you to help others in the areas of consumer advocacy, residential counseling, intake work, crisis intervention, and more — all at a truly affordable price tag! Choose a concentration in Addictions, Gerontology, or Children, Youth and Family Services, and choose the online, on-campus or hybrid courses that best fit your lifestyle and schedule. The AAS in Human Services is designed for easy transfer to other colleges and universities, so continuing your education at the bachelor’s and even master’s level is truly seamless. In fact, Montgomery County Community College has transfer agreements with nearly 34 Pennsylvania four-year colleges and universities! As a student here, you’ll also have access to a wide array of services through the Student Success Center, including academic advising, career services, and tutoring.

 
Lehigh Carbon Community College

School of Business, Education, Legal, and Social Services

Schnecksville, Pennsylvania

Website

AAS Human Services (on-campus)

Estimated Program Cost: $6,000 (in-state), $9,000 (resident of Schuylkill County, $18,000 (out-of-state)

$4,438 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Program features a generalist course of study that prepares students to assume a variety of positions in the human services field
  • Outstanding educational support services offered, including one-on-one tutoring, online tutoring, disability support services, supplemental instruction, and success workshops

Lehigh Carbon Community College’s AAS in Human Services is affordable, at nearly $5,000 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs, and comprehensive, featuring an interdisciplinary curriculum that’s focused on arming students with the values, knowledge, and skills needed to assume entry-level positions in the human services field. Choose Lehigh Carbon Community College for your human services degree and you’ll have access to outstanding educational support services, many of which are offered through the school’s Educational Support Center. Just some of the services offered here include one-on-one tutoring, online tutoring, disability support services, supplemental instruction, and success workshops.

South Region

 
Montgomery Community College

Troy, North Carolina

Website

AAS Human Services Technology (on-campus)

  • General
  • Developmental Disabilities

Related Certificate programs:

  • Substance Abuse Certificate
  • Developmental Disabilities Certificate

Related Diploma programs:

  • Diploma in Human Services Technology
  • Diploma in Human Services Technology: Developmental Disabilities

Estimated Program Cost: $4,940 (in-state), $17,420 (out-of-state)

$3,157 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Human Services Developmental Disabilities program is designed for students with an interest in specializing in the areas of developmental and intellectual disabilities
  • Exciting opportunities to promote the profession and participate in fundraisers and outreach activities through the school’s Human Services Club

Whether you’re looking for a human services program that’ll prepare you for future academic work or for entry into the human services field, Montgomery Community College’s AAS in Human Services Technology has you covered – all at a truly affordable price that comes in at more than $3,000 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs! Choose this program and you’ll complete in-depth classroom study that’s complemented with 320 hours of clinical work at the clinical site of your choice. Interested in specializing your course of study in the areas of developmental and intellectual disabilities? Then the Human Services Developmental Disabilities program is right for you. As a student here, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the school’s Human Services Club, a voluntary campus organization that works to promote the profession and participate in fundraisers and outreach activities.

 
Vance Granville Community College

Division of Health Sciences

Henderson, North Carolina

Website

AAS Human Services Technology (on-campus)

  • Generalist
  • Gerontology
  • Substance Abuse Counseling

Estimated Program Cost: $4,940 (in-state), $17,420 (out-of-state)

$3,157 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Choose from one of three human services specialization areas
  • Substance Abuse Counselor track prepares you to take the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) and/or the Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP) exams through the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board
  • Outstanding student services and resources available through the Student Learning & Success Center

At more than $3,000 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs, Vance Granville Community College’s AAS in Human Services Technology is a lesson in value. But it’s also where you’ll enjoy a variety of options for specializing your human services degree. Along with core courses and 320 hours of hands-on learning experiences, you’ll take courses that will prepare you for specialization in a specific human services area. Choose this program and you’ll be able to complete a generalist program (aimed at social services) or one that’s focused on gerontology or substance abuse counseling. Choose the Substance Abuse Counselor track and you’ll be prepared to take the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) and/or the Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP) exams through the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board. As a student of Vance Granville Community College, you’ll enjoy access to outstanding student resources and services, including the Student Learning & Success Center, which offers career services, personal counseling, advising, and disabilities services.

 
Wharton County Junior College

Division of Allied Health

Richmond, Texas

Website

AAS Human Services (on-campus)

Related Certificate programs:

  • Human Service Technician Level One Certificate

Estimated Program Cost: $2,112 (in-state), $5,544 (out-of-state)

$5,985 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Outstanding student services including online and face-to-face tutoring and comprehensive academic advising
  • Program boasts record of student success, which includes a 96% retention rate and a 100% graduate success rate (either employed or pursuing additional higher education)

A true model in affordability, at nearly $6,000 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs, Wharton County Junior College’s AAS in Human Services is where you’ll prepare for jobs related to child welfare, psychology, human services, social work, substance abuse, and more — without breaking the bank. This program, which includes a multicultural emphasis and a focus on effective communication, ethics, and interpersonal and time management skills, is also designed to easily transfer to a four-year university or college for higher degrees in social work, sociology, human services, and psychology. Choose the AAS in Human Services at Wharton County Junior College and you’ll be part of a proven program that boasts a 96% retention rate and a 100% graduate success rate (either employed or pursuing additional higher education).

West Region

 
Great Basin College

Human and Social Services

Elko, Nevada

Website

AAS Human Services (on-campus, online)

Related Certificate programs:

  • Certificate of Achievement in Substance Abuse Counselor Training
  • Certificate of Achievement in Human Services

Estimated Program Cost: $5,940 (in-state), $12,180 (out-of-state)

$5,017 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs

  • Accreditation: CSHSE
  • Optional Certificate of Achievement in Substance Abuse Counselor Training can be added to the degree
  • Many courses can be completed online learning through video conferencing technology or independent study
  • Access to live tutoring, student success workshops, and career services through the Academic Success Center

Great Basin College’s AAS in Human Services can’t be beat, both in terms of affordability (it’s priced more than $5,000 less than the regional average for CSHSE-accredited human services associate degree programs) and academic preparation (its courses, job shadowing, and community field experiences offer opportunities for real life learning). Choose this program and you’ll be able to add a Certificate of Achievement in Substance Abuse Counselor Training through which you’ll develop additional knowledge and skills related to addictions counseling. This flexible program features many online courses that can be completed through video conferencing technology or independent study. As a student here, you’ll also have access to the school’s Academic Success Center, which features services like live tutoring, student success workshops, and career services.