6 Courses You'll Encounter While Earning Your Online Human Services Degree

woman helping other woman

You’ve been thinking a lot about what you want your working life to look like. Human services seems to meet some of your most important criteria—a stable career that truly helps people. There’s a lot to like about having a meaningful way to earn your living.

And maybe you just know deep down that you would be good at this job, that you would connect with people and be effective. You know you need to get additional education to become qualified, but this is the part you just can’t picture. What does earning an online Human Services degree look like? What kind of classes would you take? How would you take them?

Whether you are new to online education or a veteran, it’s always helpful to hear about the courses you’ll take and how the platforms are going to work. If you’d like a little more information about pursuing this degree, read on!

How are Human Services courses delivered online?

If you are pursuing human services, you’re probably a people-person. The good news is that the online Human Services degree at Rasmussen College is built to maximize interaction and class collaboration.

“The entire program is developed in an online format, but there are many opportunities for the students to interact with each other and their instructors,” says Rasmussen College Human Services department chair Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd. “The curriculum is developed to support various learning styles to include videos, discussions, multimedia activities and written research assignments.”

Instructors deliver live sessions where they teach and lecture, attending students can log on and actively participate in real time. If students can’t make the live sessions, they can watch them later in the archive and send any questions to the instructor, according to Gilmore-Byrd.

“The program was designed to offer students cutting-edge courses that focus on technology-based learning and practice in the field,” Gilmore-Byrd explains. Instructors actively participate in the discussions with the students, provide office hours and interact with the students as much as possible.

“Most Human Services students are very interested in helping and serving their clients, so these courses give them an opportunity to learn and talk about how to truly help those that they will work with.”

6 Online Human Services degree courses you can expect

Here’s a teaser of some of the exciting and engaging courses you’ll encounter as a student in human services.

1. Multiculturalism and Diversity

“This is my personal favorite course in the program,” Gilmore-Byrd says. Because of its usefulness and impact in so many professions, Multiculturalism and Diversity is offered as a general education course that Human Services students take.

“While this is a course that can benefit any student in any discipline, it is especially important for Human Services professionals to have a good understanding of diversity and how to work with different populations.”

2. Social Problems and Advocacy

In this course, students assess social problems from multiple perspectives; discover advocacy at local, national and global scales; and analyze historical and sociological systems. Gilmore-Byrd explains that this course focuses on current events—making it slightly different every time it’s taught. “Each section that runs is unique and interesting. Students really enjoy the ability to discuss what is currently going on.”

3. Working with Special Populations

Human services professionals interact with a wide range of people and need to know different approaches and needs tailored to everyone they serve. Some of the populations include children, the elderly, people who are homeless, people who are disabled and more. Students will learn about current issues facing different populations and strategies to locate resources for varying needs.

Students in this course also get a chance to assess their own aptitudes and interests in working with different groups to better shape their career path going forward. Gilmore-Byrd says students particularly enjoy this class for the chance to apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios. 

4. Dynamics of Human Ecosystems

People don’t exist in a vacuum. Families, work contexts, communities and societies impact everyone. This course looks at the broader context of individual experience to diagram the systems in which people interact.

The coursework will also include identifying strengths (such as support systems) to help enable people to make changes in their lives.

5. Models and Techniques of Effective Helping

Even when you know all the right information, transferring that knowledge to real-life conversations with clients can be tricky. Human services professionals need a foundation for the conversations, practices and habits they will use in the field with clients.

This course exists to give students plenty of experience building rapport, guiding conversation, establishing boundaries, and identifying support structures and time management in their own lives. Students will also get a chance to practice self-care by setting goals, acknowledging personal limitations and managing stress using various strategies to help prevent burnout in the field.

6. Case Management in Practice

Can you see yourself managing people and supporting the larger operational work of an agency? In this course, you’ll get the chance to practice the necessary skills—designing programs and implementation and evaluation plans to address a community need.

Students in this course focus on developing the perspective and skills toward management, strategy and ethical leadership. In this course, students will develop a broader perspective on human services as a strategic, ethical leader. Business-minded students should particularly enjoy this one.

Are you cut out for this material?

Not everyone has the right aptitude to work in human services. But if the courses listed above sound interesting or exciting to you, there’s a good chance you are the kind of person who could thrive in this work. “The program prepares students for careers such as case management, mental health technicians, substance abuse counselors and healthcare advocates,” Gilmore-Byrd says.

She also emphasizes that the most important skills students need for this field are empathy, cultural awareness and the ability to complete assessments of clients. Learning and honing these skills is an essential part of a great online Human Services degree.

If you are a fan of everything you’ve heard so far about an online Human Services degree, you’re probably ready for more granular details. What does this kind of education cost? How long will it take? What are the entrance requirements? Check out Rasmussen College’s online Human Services degree page to get the full picture.

About the author

Brianna Flavin

Brianna is a senior content manager who writes student-focused articles for Rasmussen University. She holds an MFA in poetry and worked as an English Professor before diving into the world of online content. 

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This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

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