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BS in Psychology vs. Bachelor of Social Work vs. BS in Human Services: Which Is Right for You?

Comparing these online degree programs can help you decide which path will best help you advance your career goals.

As “helping professionals,” people who choose careers in psychology, social work, and human services are all motivated by a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities in need. Psychologists, social workers, and human services managers work with different populations across a broad range of settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Health clinics
  • Extended care facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Home health agencies 
  • Prisons
  • Courts
  • Schools
  • Private practice
  • Social services agencies 

All three online bachelor’s degrees in psychology, social work, and human services will prepare you to continue your education at the master’s and doctoral levels, helping you gain advanced skills that can help you go further in your career. However, to ensure you choose the right bachelor’s degree program for the specific career you desire, it’s important to compare the most important features and career options of each degree.

BS in Psychology vs. BS in Human Services: Which Is Right for You?

BS in Psychology

An online bachelor’s in psychology degree program provides a broad overview of the field of psychology and introduces you to different theories, approaches, and perspectives in the field. Some Bachelor of Science in Psychology programs also give you the option to choose a concentration so you can focus on the area that interests you most—for example, addiction, criminal justice or forensic psychology. A psychology degree can prepare you for a variety of interesting entry-level positions such as alcohol counselor, case management aide, or social services liaison.*

Bachelor of Social Work

Earning an online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree can prepare you for a career change or career advancement. Your online BSW degree program should be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CWSE) and focus on in-demand career skills like case management, treatment planning, and crisis intervention. With a BSW degree, you may choose to pursue social work jobs that include school social worker, child life specialist, or family services worker.1 With a passion for social work practice, you may decide to continue your education by earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree online, or, ultimately, an online Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree or a PhD in Social Work.

BS in Human Services

If you are interested in helping improve the lives of individuals and communities that are facing serious issues that endanger them or affect their quality of life, an online bachelor’s degree in human services can teach you specific skills for becoming their advocate and a positive change agent. Coursework focuses on topics like prevention, remediation of problems, conflict resolution, and improved delivery of essential services. A human services degree can prepare you for rewarding positions such as community support worker, child advocate, community activist, parole officer, or mental health support or aide.1* This degree also gives you a foundation to pursue an MS in Human Services, and, ultimately, a PhD in Human Services.

Job Market and Salaries

Though you will need a master’s or PhD in psychology to counsel patients, the job market for psychologists is growing. In fact, it is expected to grow by 3% between 2019 and 2029. The median annual wage for psychologists was $80,370 in May 2019, while the lowest 10% earned less than $45,380 and the top 10% earned more than $132,070.2

The job market for social workers is expected to grow by 13% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than average for all occupations. The median annual wage was $50,470 in May 2019, while the lowest 10% earned less than $31,790 and the top 10% earned more than $82,540.3

The job market for social and community service managers is expected to grow by 17% between 2019 and 2029, faster than average for all professions. The median annual wage was $67,150 in May 2019, while the lowest 10% earned less than $41,220 and the top 10% earned more than $112,480.4

Walden University is an accredited institution offering high-quality online degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, as well as online certificate programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


1Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
2Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
3Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
4Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm#tab-1

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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