What’s the Difference Between a Human Services Degree and a Health Care Degree?

Human Services vs. Healthcare: Which Career Field is Right for You?

In the modern age, students interested and passionate about making a difference in the lives of others often consider majoring in human services or healthcare.

A career in human services allows you to serve others through various community programs and resources within the human services, social work, or counseling fields. On the other hand, a career in healthcare allows candidates to improve the lives of others across a number of various roles in the medical industry.

Given the similarities and potential overlap in career paths between the two fields, students often wonder which type of degree would suit them best.

Today’s article will define both areas of study and careers available and help students determine which pathway best suits their interests, talents, and goals.

What is a Degree in Human Services?

An associate or bachelor’s degree in Human Services provides students with the necessary skills to work as human services professionals and contribute positively to the lives of toddlers, adolescents, adults, and senior citizens in their community.

In associate degree programs, students build the core competencies that human services employers seek, such as performing intakes and assessments, conducting interviews and counseling, and understanding individual and group psychology.

In bachelor’s degree programs, students receive more in-depth training and access to additional opportunities and advanced positions in the human services field.


At Goodwin University, we offer both associate and bachelor’s degree programs to fit your professional needs.

Download our Get Start Guide to learn more about which Human Services program is right for you!


Human service professionals use the concepts they learn in both degree programs to help clients overcome challenges and obstacles in their lives and, in doing so, make a meaningful difference in their community and the world.

In addition to general education courses, standard courses in both Human Services degree programs include classes in psychology, sociology, criminal justice, and political science, like:

  • Introduction to Human Services
  • Community Organization and Advocacy
  • Disability, Society, and the Individual
  • Human Services Internship

Remember that each college and university has unique credit requirements for each degree, so students should research to understand specific degree expectations.

At Goodwin University, for example, students earning their Associate Degree in Human Services will complete sixty-one credits, and students earning their Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree will complete one hundred and twenty-one credits.

What Jobs Can I Pursue With a Human Services Degree?

Obtaining a degree in Human Services prepares and qualifies graduates for various exciting job prospects. Many degree programs allow students to concentrate in different areas, such as children and youth, community organizations and advocacy, criminal justice, substance abuse, and more, depending on their interests and passions.

And as concentrations can vary, so can areas of focus. For example, some candidates will find work focused on triage care and administering social safety nets. In contrast, others will work directly with clients in mental health or behavioral counseling centers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Human Services graduates pursue the following popular jobs with these median salaries:

  • Social and Community Service Managers – $74,000
  • Mental Health Associates and Counselors – $48,520
  • Probation Officers – $60,250
  • Rehabilitation Counselors – $38,560
  • Child, Family, and School Social Workers – $50,820

What is a Degree in Healthcare?

Students passionate about a career in health and wellness often earn Healthcare degrees to obtain the skills needed to succeed in helping others improve their well-being.

These degrees prepare students to work in the medical field by developing their knowledge for roles in specific areas like patient care, leadership, medical terminology, pharmacology, facility management, administration, and record maintenance.

Students can ultimately enroll in various specialized degrees under the healthcare umbrella, with common associate and bachelor Health Care degrees including:

  • Health Science
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Public Health
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant

What Jobs Can I Pursue With a Healthcare Degree?

The healthcare field is constantly growing. This booming industry allows candidates to pursue many exciting jobs and career paths under the broad healthcare umbrella.

Below is a list of jobs with their median annual salaries, as reported by the BLS:

  • Pharmacy Technicians – $36,740
  • EMTs and Paramedics – $36,930
  • Health Information Technologists – $55,560
  • Registered Nurse – $77,600
  • Dental Hygienist – $77,810
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialists – $74,870

Human Services vs. Healthcare: Which is Right For Me?

The decision to major in human services or a healthcare-related degree depends on individual interests, talents, and goals.

If you are passionate about helping others through social services such as crisis interventions, client advocacy, domestic violence cases, and navigating addictions or developmental disabilities, a degree in human services offers those opportunities and more.

On the other hand, if you want to help address issues in healthcare, improve health care management, and enable people to live longer, healthier, and happier lives, enrolling in a health care program would be a great choice.

Ultimately, students should know that no matter which degree they choose, they will gain skills and knowledge to positively impact their community locally and globally and enter a personally and financially rewarding industry.

Goodwin University prepares students to achieve great things in their careers with flexible degree plans and scheduling options, affordable education, financial aid opportunities, and comprehensive support services.

Contact us today for more information about our human services and healthcare degree options. We’re ready when you are!