Courses & Programs

Donna Rowe

Chair, Professor, Project Director, HCBS Grant


Kittredge Center 427

413.552.2029 (Tel)

Human Services

Are you looking for a career path that allows you to make a difference in the world? Are you a natural helper, advocate, or change agent? Have you built a career in the helping professions and are ready for the next level?

A student and a counselor sit at a table, talking over a laptop and notebook

Ready to explore Human Services at Holyoke Community College? According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the wide-ranging field of Human Services is booming. "Employment of social and human service assistants is projected to grow 17% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. A growing elderly population and rising demand for social services are expected to drive demand for these workers." 

Are you ready to take the first steps towards a meaningful professional path? Browse below to see which program is right for you. Need a little more information, or have questions? Read and fill out our info request form, and we'll get back to you quickly!

Learn about the new human services grant, and how you can earn your certificate cost-free.


Certificate in Human Services

This 24-credit certificate has been designed to offer students foundational courses in the Human Services major and is perfect for those interested in exploring the discipline who aren't sure if a degree path is for them. All courses taken in the certificate will directly transfer into the A.S. in Human Services degree. For students taking 12 credits per semester, this program can be completed in two semesters. 

A.S. in Human Services 

The Human Services A.S. program provides the academic work and field experience for successful careers in human services, as well as a strong foundation for transfer to four-year colleges and universities for programs in social work, human services, or other related majors. This program has been developed to transfer to four-year degree programs in Social Work or Human Services, in accordance with the agreement of the Mass Transfer A2B Pathway. 

For those seeking to enter the workforce, upon graduation students are qualified for entry level positions such as: residential case manager, outreach worker, gerontology assistant, crisis intervention worker, family and child advocate, and community organizer. 

Credit for Prior Learning option for HSV288

Students who have gained 2+ years of professional work in the Human Services field may be eligible to apply for the Credit for Prior Learning portfolio. This option allows students to complete a professional portfolio, under the mentorship of faculty in the Human Services department, in lieu of completing a practicum placement for HSV288. The portfolio produced will be a reflection of the students' academic learning, professional experiences, and accomplishments – a true capstone that brings together their work at HCC alongside their professional accomplishments. For more information about Credit for Prior Learning options at HCC and across all MA community colleges, click here.

To learn more about any of these program options, please contact Donna Rowe at

The Developmental Disabilities Direct Support Certificate was created in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to provide education to staff working for, or individuals interested in working for, agencies that provide residential programs, employment programs, and recreational, personal, and family supports for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

If you are a current Direct Support worker with a DDS-vendor agency, this program was created specifically for you and funding is available! For eligible employees, the academic certificate includes nine college credit-bearing courses at a cost of just $50 per class. That amounts to half of an Associate's degree for $450, which is less than the typical cost of one class. Should you then decide to continue on to earn your A.S. degree, all of the courses in this certificate transfer right over into the A.S. degree in Human Services. For grant-funded students, this program is entirely flexible – you can take one class at a time all the way up to full time. 

Please contact Donna Rowe at to inquire about eligibility for the DDS grant, or simply complete the DDS Grant Application.

Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic "the worst drug crisis in American history."*

In 2016, there were 2,069 opioid-related deaths in the state of Massachusetts.*

128 of those deaths were right here in Hampden County.*

This problem hits close to home, and opioids are just one of the many forms of addiction affecting our loved ones, neighbors, community members – even ourselves.

Be part of the change that is so needed! Begin your professional path towards becoming an addictions counselor by completing the Addiction Studies Certificate in just one year of full-time study. Specialized courses in Human Services and Addiction Studies, including Substance Abuse, Addiction Prevention, and Treatment Methodologies, will prepare you for rewarding work in addiction treatment agencies and community prevention programs.

Want information on the application process? Have a question about the program? You'll find more information, plus space to to send us a question or comment on this form. You can also contact Donna Rowe at

Click here for more information on the various addiction-related certifications in Massachusetts. 

The Addiction Studies Certificate has been developed in alignment with the Massachusetts Board of Substance Abuse Counselors Certification (MBSACC) requirements for the educational portion of the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) certificate. Courses reflect the educational portion of the state certification requirements solely; additional requirements, including documented supervised hours of practice, may be needed in order to complete the CAC certification process.

*Sources: NY Times; Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Are you interested in better understanding and working to help others, but are feeling unsure whether Psychology or Human Services is the right degree path for you? The certificate in Mental Health Studies was created as an exploratory path that leads directly to the A.A. Degree in the Psychology Option or to the A.S. in Human Services. Students enrolled in the certificate in Mental Health Studies will take foundational courses in both Psychology and Human Services which will expose them to both disciplines and assist in their decision-making process.

Courses in this certificate include
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Intro to Human Services
  • Foundations of Trauma & Trauma-Informed Care
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Human Development
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Diversity & Social Justice for the Service Practitioner
  • Helping Skills, Techniques & Ethics
  • +1 selected elective

All courses taken for this certificate transfer into either of the two degree paths:

  1. Human Services (see above)
  2. Psychology

For more information, contact Donna Rowe at

Donna Rowe

Chair, Professor, Project Director, HCBS Grant


Kittredge Center 427

413.552.2029 (Tel)