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One option is a degree in Human Services. For those unfamiliar with the term, HumanServicesEdu.org defines it as: “The interdisciplinary practice of servicing your fellow human beings, whether individuals or groups such as families or communities in order to alleviate stress and change to help them function at their highest capacity”. A more abbreviated definition is that it focuses on helping one’s fellow humans overcome adversity. The professions encompassed by human services are too numerous to list. The short list is: counselors, therapists, probation officers, social workers, child advocates, and public health educators. With such an array of occupations, there are going to be as many career possibilities for service-oriented individuals.

At the bachelor’s level, a typical degree in Human Services will involve courses in ethics, social problems and advocacy, case management and sociology. There are also specialty degrees under the Human Services banner, such as the one offered by Southern New Hampshire University. Their online BA in Human Services with a Child and Family Services concentration is designed for those with an interest in child welfare, schools, juvenile corrections, family court, family support agencies, domestic violence agencies, and other child and family organizations. Major courses cover assessment, evaluating client outcomes, advocating for policy change, developing a care plan and finding a career in human services.

A Bachelor of Arts or Science in Psychology is a means to enter the counseling profession. Undergraduate psychology degree programs ultimately teach students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers, which is directly applicable to most any profession including any of the counseling disciplines.

Another option is to select one of our top online bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice as there are counseling jobs for those with this particular degree. For example, a juvenile probation counselor requires a degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology, education, or human services. Another type of counseling is a correctional counselor who is responsible for helping incarcerated inmates develop relapse prevention plans to reintegrate as citizens back into society. Again, an undergraduate degree in psychology, criminal justice, or social work can be your ticket to apply.

A degree in Family Studies is a degree option, particularly if you want to specialize in family counseling. Colorado State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. This degree prepares you for careers in: Adolescent Intervention, Family Counseling, and Child Development.

If you are intent on specializing in one of the counseling disciplines, a master’s degree in mental health, addiction, family, school or marriage counseling will allow you the status of being in the category of a professional counselor. There are many top online master’s programs in mental health counseling to chose. A graduate degree can broaden your job possibilities and salary potential. Worthy of mention with respect to counseling is that it is regulated in most states, regardless of your education level. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that a master’s degree, successful completion of a state exam and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience beyond the master’s degree are typical requirements for licensure.

For those on the fence as to your degree choice, it seems apparent from this information that the psychology degree offers the most diversity. There are a number of titles that are given to psychology professionals at the master’s level. Some examples include therapist, counselor, psychology technician, marriage and family therapist, substance abuse counselor, and several others. For those intent on pursuing a graduate degree, we have created a ranking of our top online master’s programs in psychology.