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Top 5 Specializations in Human Services Degree Programs

Take a closer look at the focus areas, job opportunities, and salary potential of these specialized career paths for graduates of online social work degree programs.

The human services profession attracts those who want to help improve quality-of-life services for individuals and communities. Human services degree programs offer diverse specializations in areas such as family studies and community intervention. Coursework encompasses practical knowledge and skills as well as conflict, crisis, and case management training. Human services online degree programs are also responding to the fast-growing need for social and human services professionals who can serve as positive change agents on a local, state, national, or international level.

Job Growth and Salaries for Human Services Professionals

The job market for community and social service managers is projected to grow 13% from 2018 to 2028. In 2018, the median annual salary was $65,320, with the top 10% earning $111,150. The job market for social and human service assistants is projected to grow by 13% from 2018 to 2028. The median annual salary was $33,750, with the top 10% earning more than $52,420 in 2018.1

Top 5 Specializations in Human Services Degree Programs

A Profession of Specializations

The human services profession offers a variety of career options that require many types of skills. As a result, many human services degree programs provide online degree specialization options so students can pursue a particular area of interest. Some doctoral programs provide as many as 14 specializations.

Top Five Human Services Degree Specializations

  1. Global Social Services
    Doctoral programs such as a PhD in Human and Social Services with a specialization in Global Social Services offer a perspective on human and social services across countries and cultures. Coursework helps you prepare to navigate various social services settings around the world, including government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, and religious organizations. Your residencies and dissertation will help you focus your interests through practical applications and intensive research.
  2. Social Policy Analysis and Planning
    A PhD in Human and Social Services with a specialization in Social Policy Analysis and Planning can prepare you with strategies for shaping and implementing public policy. Coursework focuses on how you can make an impact on legislation that governs society. Animated case studies stimulate class discussions and provide a clearer understanding of how to analyze situations, develop strategies, and research solutions. This PhD specialization can prepare you for leadership positions such as analyst, consultant, professor, or policy advisor to government agencies, NGOs, and nonprofits.† As with other PhD programs and specializations, you’ll further hone your knowledge and become a true scholar-practitioner through your residencies and dissertation.
  3. Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention
    Master’s programs with career-aligned specializations such as an MS in Human and Social Services with a specialization in Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention focus on theories and strategies to meet the needs of individuals, families, and communities in crisis. You’ll have the opportunity how to analyze a local or regional crisis and prepare a crisis plan to handle future emergencies. You’ll study real-world scenarios via simulations and case studies. This human services specialization can prepare you for influential careers such as agency coordinator, program director, emergency management manager, and other roles.
  4. Community Intervention and Leadership
    An MS in Human and Social Services with a specialization in Community Intervention and Leadership can prepare you to assume a leadership position in involving organizations and communities in social change. For your master’s capstone project, you’ll address a current problem in your field and provide a potential solution. For your future role as a key change agent, you’ll learn about how to lead efforts in communities to improve living and working conditions, as well as about assessing a community’s needs. This specialization can help prepare you for rewarding positions such as community worker, community organizer, or human services program director for a government agency or NGO.
  5. Courts and the Legal System
    Bachelor’s programs such as a BS in Human Services with a concentration in Courts and the Legal System explore how the justice system really functions, as opposed to how it is portrayed on TV crime shows. You can gain the foundational skills and knowledge to identify and analyze the complex relationships between victims, offenders, communities, and government agencies in response to crimes. This human services concentration can help prepare you for a career as a parole officer, community support worker, or other roles in the criminal justice system.2

Explore Walden University's online human services degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Continue your education and advance your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.


2Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of a degree program.

The MS in Human and Social Services program, including its specializations, is not designed to lead to professional licensure including licensure as a professional therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychologist.

Find information on costs, occupation types, completion rates, and median loan debt for these programs at


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