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Home » Academics » Course & Program Information » Programs of Study » Human Services » Human Services Associate Degree

Human Services Associate Degree

Program Overview



If you like working with people and helping them overcome challenges in order to improve their lives, a career in human services could be for you. If you are sensitive to other people’s problems, patient, and non-judgmental, you have qualities essential for a successful human service practitioner. Students in the Human Service Program gain the skills and knowledge to enter the workforce as beginning professionals, leading to rewarding careers in the field. Job prospects are excellent and human services professionals are among the fastest growing occupations.

At NECC, the Associate in Science Degree in Human Services will prepare you to work with people with emotional and social problems, developmental disabilities, mental illness, and/or substance abuse problems. You will be trained as a generalist to work in a range of settings with seniors, adults, adolescents, and children.The program combines supervised clinical experiences that provide real-life experience and classroom learning. Personal and professional growth is enhanced through this learning method. The program integrates the National Community Support Skill Standards into the curriculum and is approved by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education.

Career Opportunities

Graduates will be able to pursue many career paths. Social and Human Services Assistants are listed among the fastest growing occupations.* You will be prepared to directly enter the workforce and also have the option of transferring to a four-year program to complete your bachelor’s degree. A small sample of career opportunities is listed below. Your two-year associate degree will prepare you for some of these careers, while others will require additional education, such as a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher.

Case manager
Outreach worker
Mental health worker
Crisis counselor
Residential counselor
Addiction counselor

 Human services assistants, mental health workers, social workers and substance abuse counselors are among the fastest growing occupations according to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employment Projections through 2016.

Additional Opportunities

As a student in this program, you will participate in practicums (supervised clinical experiences) where you will provide direct support services to individuals using interpersonal communication, interviewing, observation, problem solving, case management, and documentation skills in accordance with the human service philosophy. Practicum experiences allow you to experience the human services profession first-hand, and give you the opportunity to grow as a person and a professional.

Getting Started

Ready to get started? It’s easy! Northern Essex has an open admissions policy, which means that if you have a high school diploma or GED you are eligible to enroll at NECC. Just fill out an application, attend an orientation/assessment session, and then register for classes.

Print the Human Service Associate Degree Program Sheet (PDF)