If you have a passion for making a positive impact in people's lives then human services associate degree is for you! Human Services is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Program Overview

What Will You Learn?

Associate of Science

This program prepares you by teaching tools such as cultural competency, legal concepts, advocacy and networking to empower individuals and families overcome barriers to improve their quality of life. These tools will prepare you for career opportunities after graduation in various fields such as social work, counseling, community organizing, healthcare, education, and government agencies.


In-State Tuition: $223/credit

Out-of-State / International Tuition: $429/credit

Some programs have additional program fees


4 Semesters

62-63 credits

Quinsig was local--it was cost effective. I think you can tell the moment you walk into the classroom that these professors are so passionate about the courses they're teaching. They really want to see each student succeed and get everything they need out of the college experience.

- Hannah, QCC Alumna

Learn Online

This program may be completed 90% or more online.


  • High School Diploma or GED/HiSET.
  • English: Placement into college level English.


  • This program may be completed at QCC Worcester (Main Campus).
  • This program may be completed face-to-face.
  • This program may be completed in a combination of face-to-face, online, and blended course formats.


The following program(s) have connections that can be completed alongside or applied to this program:


Human Services Certificate

If you have a passion for making a positive impact in people's lives then the Human Services Certificate is for you! Human Services is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Direct Support Certificate

The Direct Support Certificate is designed for community support workers who work in programs funded by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS); it serves as a pathway for career development and advancement for non-degree workers in the field. Graduates are prepared to transfer into the Human Services associate degree program.

Career Stats

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More Info
Course TitleCourse #Semester OfferedCreditsPrerequisites

Semester 1

  • Apply and get accepted to this program (Program Code: HA).
  • Register for and successfully complete all courses to graduate in four semesters.
  • Complete ENG 101.
Composition IENG 101F/S/SU3Placement into college level English
Introduction to Human ServicesHUS 101F/S3Placement into college level English
The Helping Relationship: Delivering Human ServicesHUS 121F/S3Placement into college level English
Introduction to PsychologyPSY 101F/S/SU3Placement into college level English
Mathematics Elective or Science Elective---F/S/SU3-4 

Semester 2

  • HUS 143 recommended for students co-enrolled in Direct Support Certificate (Program Code: DSC).
  • If considering transfer, meet with a Transfer Services Advisor. See www.QCC.edu/transfer.
  • Plan for Practicum:
    • Complete prerequisite(s) for HUS 243 (refer to Human Services Department Student Handbook).
    • Register by May 1 for HUS 243 with Practicum Coordinator; HUS 243 and HUS 244 must be accomplished in a Fall/Spring cycle.
    • Complete required Practicum entry paperwork, including an in-depth CORI/SORI review prior to placement.
Composition IIENG 102F/S/SU3ENG 101
Group Process for Human ServicesHUS 125F/S/SU3HUS 101, HUS 121
Community Service: Delivering Human Services ORHUS 141F/S/SU3ENG 101, HUS 101, HUS 121
Direct Support PracticumHUS 143F/SHUS 101
Introduction to CounselingPSY 231F/S/SU3PSY 101
Introductory Sociology (Principles)SOC 101F/S/SU3Placement into college level English

Semester 3

  • If considering transfer, meet with representatives of four-year schools to discuss/begin the transfer application process; or create an account on the QCC job board to search for internships, co-ops and jobs.
Cultural Competence for Human Service WorkersHUS 221F/S3CRJ 101 or HUS 101, ENG 101, SOC 101
Legal and Ethical Concepts in Human ServicesHUS 231F/S/SU3CRJ 101 or HUS 101
Human Services Practicum IHUS 243F4HUS 101, HUS 141, PSY 231
Chemical DependencyPSY 273F/S/SU3PSY 101
Speech Communication SkillsSPH 101F/S/SU3Placement into college level English

Semester 4

  • Continue with/complete the transfer application process; or if seeking employment, meet with Career Services for career readiness preparation and to learn more about QCC’s job board.
  • Complete Capstone Paper and all required paperwork documenting Practicum experience.
  • Submit an Intent to Graduate Form, located on The Q.
Introduction to GerontologyGRT 101F/S3Placement into college level English
Human Services Practicum IIHUS 244S4HUS 243
Liberal Arts Elective---F/S/SU3 
Total Credits Required:  62-63 

Program Goals:

The Human Services associate degree program prepares students for a career as an entry-level human service practitioner; it also serves as a pathway for career development and advancement for non-degree workers in the field of human services. Graduates are prepared to transfer to a four-year program.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  • Understand the past, present and future of human services.
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively perform empathic listening, observation and interactional skills with individuals, groups, families and community.
  • Conduct intake interviews and provide a basic assessment of human needs.
  • Apply core interpersonal skills within the helping relationship.
  • Be prepared for group facilitation and participation.
  • Utilize knowledge of formal and informal networks in the human services delivery system.
  • Apply fundamental legal and ethical standards in providing client services and maintaining participant records.
  • Advocate for participant’s needs utilizing a strength-based, culturally-competent dynamic.
  • Identify, explain and apply the 12 National Community Support Skill Standards for human service delivery.

Admissions Process:

Admissions inquiries should be directed to admissions@qcc.mass.edu. Prospective students may apply to the program of their choice by following the enrollment steps at www.QCC.edu/enrollment-steps.

Program Admissions Requirements:

Students should note that some first semester courses carry minimum prerequisites. Refer to the program grid.

  • High School Diploma or GED/HiSET.

CORI, SORI, Finger Printing & Drug Testing:

Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) and Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) checks are required. Fingerprinting and drug testing are not required.

  • CORI/SORI checks are required for all students before fieldwork/practicum placement; students should be aware that a court record, active or inactive, may prevent them from completing curriculum/fieldwork requirements. There are placements and careers in the field of human services that are still an option with a CORI history; however, each individual case will be reviewed upon acceptance and again prior to placement for the practicum with the appropriate agency to assure there is no misunderstanding about what is or is not possible due to CORI issues.

Additional Cost:

See the Program Fees page.

  • Registration for the practicums (HUS 243 and HUS 244) includes a fee for liability/malpractice insurance.

Technical Performance Standards:

See the Technical Performance Standards page. (Note: Not all programs have technical performance standards).

Credit for Prior Learning:

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) allows students to use skills they already have towards a college degree or certificate. Work, life, volunteer and military experience may be translated into credit, allowing students to take fewer classes and earn their degree faster. CPL eliminates redundancies for students who have already earned credentials or mastered skills required for their program of study. Email experience@qcc.mass.edu for more information and eligibility.

  • For students attending QCC for career development who have a minimum of five years of prior experience in the field of human services, a portfolio may be a viable option for prior learning credit. The greater the number of years in direct service, the higher the number of credits one may earn.

Career Outlook:

Please consult the Massachusetts Career Information System at https://masscis.intocareers.org/ or the Occupational Outlook Handbook at www.bls.gov/ooh/ for specific occupational information. The CIP code for this program is 44.0000.

Transfer Articulations & Opportunities:

Prospective students may learn more about transfer articulation agreements at www.QCC.edu/agreements. More information regarding transfer opportunities is available at www.QCC.edu/transfer.

Additional Information:

  • The Human Services Department Student Handbook has a grid outlining the order in which courses should be taken; it will provide the optimal order of courses if one is taking two, three, four, or five courses per semester. It is imperative that prerequisites be accomplished to prevent barriers to graduating in a timely manner, without loss of financial aid options.
Program Page

The field of Human Services is a broadly defined one, uniquely approaching the objective of meeting human needs through an interdisciplinary knowledge base, focusing on prevention as well as remediation of problems and maintaining a commitment to improving the overall quality of life of service populations. The Human Services profession is one that promotes improved service delivery systems by addressing not only the quality of direct services, but by also seeking to improve accessibility, accountability, and coordination among professionals and agencies in service delivery.

Brenda Safford, M.A.

Coordinator for Human Services

Brenda Safford is currently a Tenured Professor at Quinsigamond Community College. Before accepting this appointment, she served as a Coordinator of Admissions and was an Adjunct Faculty at the college for more than nine years. Previously, Brenda worked at YWCA of Central Massachusetts as the agency’s first Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment where she oversaw programing that empowered women to achieve economic independence. Previously she served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Assumption College. Brenda is active volunteer having served on the board of directors YWCA, Worcester Youth Center, Board of Trustees at QCC, President, League of Women Voters Worcester and serves on the League of Women Voters Sate Board of Directors. She also recipient of numerous awards for her community service and leadership including the National Institute for Staff& Organizational Development (NISOD) for Teaching Excellence, Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance, YWCA’s Katharine F. Erskine Award, Community Build Youth Institute Volunteer Award, Girl Scouts of Central/Western Mass Women of Distinction Award, YMCA Minority Achiever, City of Worcester Advisory Board for Affirmative Action, the Greater Worcester Community Foundation Scholarship Committee and the Regional ACE Inaugural Award. Brenda received her Associate Degree from Quinsigamond Community College and her Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Rehabilitation Counseling from Assumption University.

TonyYeulenski, M.A, CRC 

Assistant Professor
Practicum Fieldwork Coordinator

In 2004, Tony Yeulenski received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Becker College and continued his education at Assumption College where he received his Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2010.  During his professional career, Tony has been employed at UMASS Medical School, Y.O.U. Inc., and the Bridge of Central MA as a Supervisor providing supports for adolescents. In 2006, Tony started a new work experience serving adults with disabilities at Life-Skills Inc. His supervisory responsibilities included Program Director, Human Rights Coordinator, DOL, grants and fundraising 15 of his total 30 years in the Human Services field. Tony has taught since 2009 as adjunct faculty for QCC prior to being named full time faculty within our department.  Tony has received numerous awards in the Human Service field; including citations from the House Senate and House of Representatives, Employee of the Year Award Life-Skills and Division Diamond award for UMass Medical School and received his NISOD Award for Excellence in Teaching at QCC.  Tony currently serves as the Salvation Army Unit Coordinator for Webster-Dudley and most recently trained for Disaster Relief deployment. He is also a member of the Webster-Dudley Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, he works relentlessly on his nephew’s foundation, Tyler’s Teammates, co-founded by the WooSox.

Jean Kennedy, M.A, LMHC, HS-BCP

Human Services—Board Certified Practitioner

Professor Kennedy has been teaching at Quinsigamond Community College as a full-time faculty since 2002 and as an adjunct faculty since 1999.  She was Coordinator of the Human Services Department (2008-2015) during which time initiated and helped achieve National Accreditation for the human services program.  She has taught in the disciplines of Human Services, Psychology, and Sociology.  Jean holds an undergraduate degree in Music Therapy, a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP).  She has taught in the QCC Honor’s Program for over ten years. She is a licensed mental health counselor and has worked in the field of human services for over 35 years.  During these years she has held positions as a Director of a Residential Scattered Apartment Site Program (Adult Psychiatric Rehabilitation Model),Group Therapist at a Fountain House Model program, School—Based Therapist (K-6th grade) a Coordinator for an Intensive Family Stabilization (home-based) program for families involved in DCF, and a Director of Healthy Families Program.  She holds a certification Reality Therapy (William Glasser) and certification of completion of Intensive (one-year) training in Family Systems therapy at the Family Institute of Cambridge. She is a level II EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) clinician and a Master Reiki practitioner.  She has studied and worked with Native Americans in South Western United States, participated in a three-year program on shamanism and is a certified Energy Medicine Practitioner.  She is a life-long meditator and brings mindfulness mediation into her classes, the college campus and to life! Jean has been a member of the New England Organization for Human Services since 2007.  She served as a Board Member on the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (2010-2017).  Jean has a Humanistic, strength-based philosophy in her clinical practice as well as in her approach to teaching.

Doe West, M.S., M.Div., PhD., HS-BCP

Human Services—Board Certified Practitioner
Professor and Chair, Human Services Department 

Dr. West enjoys telling her students that she “wears two hats and a collar” as she is a Professor, a Psychotherapist, and a Chaplain! Now a tenured professor at QCC, she prior to that at Boston University, Northeastern, Assumption, Anna Maria, Bay Path and also was an adjunct faculty member here at QCC since 2008. She was the very first full time Professor at QCC’s Southbridge campus and also our primary online instructor for many years. Dr West has taught in Human Services, Psychology, Gerontology, Deaf Studies at QCC as well as Sociology, Social Work studies and Bioethics at other universities and colleges throughout the Commonwealth since 1982. She holds parallel degrees in the social sciences and theology from the Associates through the Doctoral level (a total of 8 college degrees). Her secular undergraduate degrees were in LA/Pre-Med Biology and Speech & Language Sciences with a parallel teaching certification in Special Ed; her master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling and her Doctorate in Law, Policy & Society. Her theological degrees are in Sacred Literature, Religious Arts, Master of Divinity, and Doctorate in Pastoral Care to support her work with hospices and Emergency Rooms care. During her decades in the Human Services she has held positions as diverse as serving as the first Commissioner of Disability Services / 504 (ADA) Compliance Officer for the City of Boston; as Executive Director for non-profit organizations including  Social Action Ministries of Boston and Springboard Inc. for young adults with Developmental Disabilities; as Chief of Staff for a Massachusetts State Senator; as Director of Pastoral Care & Education for Quincy City Hospital and later as Chaplain at Overlook Lifespan Community in Charlton; as well as sustaining a small private practice as a Psychotherapist since 1980. She is of the Lenape tribe (Algonquin Nation) and was raised in the Native American tradition as a healer by her full blood Grandmother. As an adult she added training in nutrition, herbs and homeopathy and is a Reiki Master, Dr. West is a past Vice President of the New England Org for Human Services and passed the national exam as a Board-Certified Human Service Practitioner. She was awarded a NISOD medal for Excellence in Teaching, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award by Who’s Who in America. Her latest project for QQ was the creation of the national prototype Human Service Apprenticeship model and while on Sabbatical she added a next publication to her list of books and articles specific to our students at QCC. It is entitled: “Searching for Solutions: Case Studies & Discussion Questions for Helping professionals.”

Susan Moriarty

Adjunct Faculty
Program Coordinator, Direct Support Certificate

"During the late 1950s and 1960s, there were dramatic changes in the area of helping those in need. Populations like the poor, the unemployed, children in need, the elderly, the disabled, the substance abuser and others began to be recognized as needing social and rehabilitation services. About this time, new legislation mandated that those formerly served in state mental hospitals would now be deinstitutionalized and would henceforth be seen in the communities in which they lived. It was not long before it became obvious that the traditional human resources would not meet the needs of the helping services being offered.

The community based mental health system necessitated that professionals be trained in a different manner. While the provision of mental health services was undergoing these changes, the civil rights movement brought attention to social justice and equity issues. Consumers of social services became more involved in advocating for themselves and in creating services that would meet their own needs. Thus "grass roots" (started by the clients) level activism created opportunities for new approaches to human services. Amidst all these changes, a new class of workers was born.

Originally called paraprofessionals, these workers were often those who had been served by the helping system and had a better sense of the qualities and skills that were important for helpers to possess. Thus, what had begun as an informal orientation to helping would soon become formalized as competency based mental health/human services training.

To meet the demand for and the availability of educational programs based on the development of competencies, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1956, provided the resources to establish the first associate degree program in mental health at Purdue University. This would be the forerunner of human services programs across the country.

It was not long before two-year colleges were offering human services (sometimes called mental health) degrees. Four year colleges were not far behind in developing and offering bachelors degrees in human services.

Today the number of certificate, associate, baccalaureate and more recently graduate degrees in human services has grown to more than five hundred academic programs. Associate level human service degrees continue to be the majority of degrees awarded for human services." (NOHS)

The pioneers of human services training and education programs felt that the answer to the workforce shortage was not to train another group of specialized professionals but to develop an entirely new kind of worker, the "generalist".

Generalists are trained in a wide variety of helping interventions so that they may provide direct services to individuals or groups with a diversity of needs. These generalists also work in many different service settings integrating and coordinating the efforts of specialized professionals. Although graduates may vary from program to program in response to local needs, human service generalists are trained in basic helping skills essential to the helping relationship.

These skills include:

  • interviewing                                                                
  • observing and recording pertinent information
  • conducting groups                                                
  • implementing treatment plans
  • consulting with other workers & agencies                       
  • mobilizing and utilizing community resources
  • problem solving                                                          
  • advocating for clients
  • direct support
  • social skill training

A major component of all human service education is experiential learning or learning-by-doing. Programs provide extensive field-based experiences or practica (internships) in a variety of community agencies. Such practica allow the student to integrate knowledge and skill and thereby demonstrate competency.

The delivery of human services historically has moved from institutional and medical based systems to community based, not for profit, holistic services. Human service professionals perform a variety of roles. Some of these roles are:

  • counselor to those who need support
  • broker to help people use community resources
  • teacher of daily living skills
  • advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves
  • mediator between clients and between clients and agencies
  • caregiver to children, elders, disabled adults

National Organization for Human Services (NOHS)

Human service practitioners provide direct and indirect client services. They assess clients’ needs, establish their eligibility for benefits and services, and help clients obtain them. They examine financial documents such as rent receipts and tax returns to determine whether the client is eligible for food stamps, Medicaid, welfare, and other human service programs. They also arrange for transportation and escorts, if necessary, and provide emotional support.

A sample of the tasks and responsibilities include and are not limited to:

  • Monitor and keep case records on clients and report progress to supervisors and case managers.
  • Transport or accompany clients to group meal sites, adult daycare centers, or doctors’ offices.
  • Telephone or visit clients’ homes to make sure services are being received, or to help resolve disagreements, such as those between tenants and landlords.
  • Help clients complete insurance or medical forms, as well as applications for financial assistance.
  • Assist others with daily living needs.

Human service practitioners play a variety of roles in a community. They may organize and lead group activities, assist clients in need of counseling or crisis intervention, or administer a food bank or emergency fuel program. In halfway houses, group homes, and government-supported housing programs, they assist adults who need supervision with personal hygiene and daily living skills. They review clients’ records, ensure that they take correct doses of medication, talk with family members, and confer with medical personnel and other care givers to gain better insight into clients’ backgrounds and needs. Often time there is a need to provide emotional support and help clients become involved in their own well being, in community recreation programs, and in other activities.

In psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation programs, and outpatient clinics, human service practitioners work with professional care providers, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to help clients master everyday living skills, to teach them how to communicate more effectively, and to get along better with others. They support the client’s participation in a treatment plan, such as individual or group counseling or occupational therapy.”  (Occupational Outlook Handbook)

Opportunities for human service workers and assistants are expected to be excellent, particularly for applicants with appropriate postsecondary education. The number of human service workers and assistants is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations between 1998 and 2008—ranking among the most rapidly growing occupations. The need to replace workers who move into new positions due to advancement, retirement, or for other reasons will create many additional job opportunities. This occupation, however, is not attractive to everyone. It can be draining emotionally and the pay is relatively low. Qualified applicants should have little difficulty finding employment.

  • Social services, except child-care, ranks among the fastest growing industries.
  • About 2 out of 3 jobs are in professional, technical, and service occupations.
  • Human service workers and assistants— the ninth fastest growing occupation— are concentrated in social services.
  • Average earnings are low because of the large number of part-time and low-paying service jobs.

Public assistance programs have been employing more human service workers and assistants in an attempt to employ fewer social workers, who are more educated, thus more highly paid.

OccupationEmployment: Nat%changeEmployment: Mass% change
 19982008 19982008 
Human Service Worker268,400409,90053%11,45016,30042%
Residential Counselor189,900277,80046%9,80013,00033%

Source: Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training, Research Department

For additional information on trends and wages for human service careers