Social worker laughs along with a wheelchair bound elderly man and his grandaughter outside a house under a tree.

Human Services Degrees, AA

Do you want to help people and make a difference in your community? Then consider earning an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Human Services at San Juan College. You can take classes in person, online, or a combination of both! You'll learn how to assist the people around you so they can overcome challenges and thrive. Human Services careers include social worker, probation officer, prevention specialist, and more.

At SJC, you'll study with expert professors and gain real-world knowledge through a community practicum experience. After you earn your degree, you can enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year university to earn your bachelor's degree. Begin a career helping others at SJC!

Why Study Human Services?

Be a part of making our society a healthier, safer, and more inclusive space. By earning a Human Services AA, you'll have the knowledge and skills to assist and empower others. Study social problems, such as alcohol and drug abuse, child abuse, crime, domestic violence, and homelessness. Understand the role race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality play in society. You'll also explore how to help people through human service agencies, including social work. Build skills such as group counseling and interviewing.

With an associate degree in human services, you can enter many professions:

  • Family violence counselor
  • Community prevention specialist
  • Probation officer
  • Social work
  • Substance abuse counselor

If you are interested in social justice issues, looking for a stable career providing services for those in need, and want opportunities to improve your community, join the rewarding field of human services.

Why Complete the Human Services Program at San Juan College?

Rigorous In-Person and Online Learning

With SJC's program, you can learn in a way that fits your schedule. Our degree programs can be earned online, on campus, or a combination of both. All our faculty have vast experience working in the related human services fields and are expert instructors who will connect with you whether you meet in person or online.

Three Degree Options

Get the skills you need for the career path you want at SJC. We offer three Human Services AA degrees so you can specialize in the field that interests you. You can earn:

  • Human Services - Criminal Justice AA: Learn how to help those in the criminal justice system.
  • Human Services - Generalist AA: Get the knowledge and skills you need to assist people with various social needs.
  • Human Services - Substance Abuse AA: Discover how to support people with a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

Real-World Experience

As part of the human services program, you will gain practical experience working with clients. We will help you connect with local agencies to learn under the direction of skilled human service professionals for hands-on experiences. You will gain confidence in your abilities, learn applicable skills, and network with local human services specialists. Field experiences include:

  • Establishing therapeutic relationships with clients
  • Evaluating client needs and making relevant referrals
  • Interviewing and documenting client progress
  • Observing clients and respective professionals
  • Planning program activities

You can get more firsthand experiences through service learning and honors service learning.

Affordable Option for an In-Person and Online Human Services Degree

Because of SJC's low tuition rates, our Human Services program is a great investment for you. You'll be ready to transfer to a four-year university and start your career. You may also qualify to get your degree tuition-free through the NM Opportunity and Lottery Scholarships

What You'll Learn in the Human Services AA

Discover what it takes to become an effective human services professional at SJC. Classes in human services, psychology, and sociology will aid you in serving clients well. Courses provided in these degree programs include:

  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Introduction to Human Services and Social Work
  • Practicum
  • Professions and Practices

Through your courses, you will develop skills such as:

  • Case management
  • Ethics
  • Emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Interpersonal communication and active listening
  • Interviewing techniques and group facilitation
  • Multicultural competence
  • Needs assessment
  • Organizational skills and time management

The rest of your courses will depend on your specific Human Services degree. 

Learn about the criminal justice system and how to help rehabilitate people. You'll take courses such as:

  • Criminal Justice Systems
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Sociology of Deviance
  • Sociology of Race and Ethnicity


Human Services - Criminal Justice AA Curriculum

Develop knowledge and skills to assist people with various needs, from health care access to mental health resources. Choose from courses such as:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Contemporary Social Issues in Native American Societies
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology of Intimate Relationships


Human Services - Generalist AA Curriculum

Build the knowledge and skills to support people with a history of alcohol and drug abuse. Your courses include:

  • Drugs and Behavior
  • Contemporary Social Problems
  • Group Dynamics
  • Introduction to Alcohol and Drugs


Human Services - Substance Abuse AA Curriculum

Transfer Options

Be on track to transfer to a four-year university with SJC. The Human Services AA will prepare you to earn a bachelor's degree in just two more years. You will be eligible for human services jobs that require a bachelor's degree, which will result in more opportunities with higher pay.

You can enter as a junior majoring in human services or a related field at the following schools:

  • New Mexico Highlands University
  • Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Western New Mexico University

Check with your advisor if you wish to transfer to pursue your bachelor's degree in human services. You will need to coordinate your coursework at San Juan College with the transfer institution's requirements.


Learn More About the Transfer Process

Careers and Outcomes

We are seeing a great demand for people working in the human services field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, community and social service occupations are projected to grow 10% from 2021 to 2031. This is faster than average for other occupations. As a human service professional, you can work in a variety of public, private, and nonprofit agencies. 

In the criminal justice fields, you can work as a:

  • Crisis intervention specialist
  • Gang prevention specialist
  • Halfway house staffer
  • Jail and prison case management worker
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Parole, probation, or reentry officer
  • Social worker
  • Victim advocate

For generalist graduates, you can work in:

  • Community outreach
  • Domestic violence services
  • Homeless shelters
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Sexual assault services
  • Social work
  • Victim advocacy

To help people with substance abuse issues, you can become a:

  • Case manager
  • Detox counselor
  • Mental health counselor
  • Prevention outreach worker
  • Residential treatment counselor
  • Social worker
  • Substance abuse counselor

Employers of SJC Human Service AA graduates include:

  • Adult Detention
  • Adult Probation
  • Bloomfield Police Department
  • Cenikor Residential Treatment Program
  • Cottonwood Clinical Services
  • Farmington Police Department
  • Juvenile Detention
  • Juvenile Probation
  • Overcomers Counseling Services
  • People Assisting the Homeless (PATH)
  • San Juan County Sheriff's Department

"I absolutely feel better about my preparation for my career ahead with everything I've learned here. With the instructors and the internships that I've completed, along with the interaction that I've had with faculty and such, it has definitely prepared me for my future."

Crystal Garzes
Human Services Graduate

Next Steps

To enroll in our in-person and online Human Services program, you must first apply to San Juan College. It's easy, and you can apply online at any time!

Apply Now

If you are already a student at San Juan College, talk to your advisor about our in-person and online Human Services degree program. You can also discuss your transfer options.

Find Your Advisor

Phone: (505) 566-3320

West Classroom Complex,
Room 1911

M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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