Welcome to Your Online Guide to Social Work Degrees

Social workers are driven to raise the living conditions and standards of individuals, groups, as well as communities. If you’re motivated to help others, earning a degree in this field is a great start towards becoming a clinical or non-clinical social worker. You’ll have the skills and education necessary to work in a variety of settings, from social service agencies to universities and hospitals. Social workers are also needed to fill a number of different positions at government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and charitable groups. Like so many careers, becoming a social worker starts with an education. There are a variety of educational options to consider. What degree you pursue should depend on what type of job you want. If you want to become a licensed social worker, make sure the program will prepare you for all certification exams and other licensure requirements.

If you’re still unsure if a career in social work is right for you, feel free to check out a few of our articles such as:

Social Work Degrees: A look at Online Programs

A career in social work typically requires you to obtain a graduate degree like the MSW or DSW, but occasionally other majors like human services can aid you in this field, too. A social work degree used to be limited to campus programs only, but recent trends have yielded several accredited schools now offering online alternatives like the programs below.

Kaplan University — Although Kaplan University is based in Davenport, Iowa, the school has over 70 campuses across the nation and is one of the largest online colleges in the world. While Kaplan lacks a program specific to Social Work, it does boast an array of Human Services programs that can train students in aiding and counseling others. Specializations include Child and Family Welfare and Human Services Administration. If you would like to learn more about Kaplan University, click here.
Ashford University — Located in Clinton, Iowa, Ashford University has over 60,000 students currently enrolled either online or at the campus, making it one of the largest schools in the country. Ashford offers two programs for students interested in the Social Work field: the BA of Social Sciences in Social Services and the MA of Education in Family and Community Services. Ashford University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001, wascsenior.org. If you would like to learn more about Ashford University, click here.
Walden University — Walden University is one of the largest and most respected school networks in the country with almost 50,000 students enrolled world-wide. The school offers several MSW degrees online including specializaitons in Medical, Military and Family Social Work. Walden is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
University of Southern California — If you wish to earn your degree from a large school with a lengthy history of tradition and academic excellence, the University of Southern California is a perfect choice. The school has a very popular online Master of Social Work degree available that does not require campus visitation for completion. USC is located in Las Angeles. If you would like to learn more about University of Southern California, click here.

Click here to see more online Social Work degrees

Social Work – The Profession

hand shaking

Do you enjoy helping others? Are you passionate about social justice and human rights? If you want to be an agent for change, earning a degree in social work is good preparation for employment in this field. You’ll learn the skills necessary to secure employment and maintain employment. Social work allows you to work for the greater good, contribute to communities, and increase people’s well-being.

Social work degrees come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets. Deciding on a program is one of the most important decisions you will make, as each school and degree program are different. Your career aspirations will influence the classes you take so it’s important to enroll in a program that aligns with your future goals. You can learn about a few of the specializations found within the social work field below:

Once you’ve earned your degree, it’s time to start putting your philanthropic energy into action. Jobs in this field provide an enormous about of personal fulfillment. You can work as a therapist, hospice worker, probation officer, case manager, counselor, advocate, just to name a few.

Social Work Degree Programs – Coursework and Program Requirements

If you’re a recent high school graduate and looking to enter the social work profession, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is a good place to start. Both degrees offer an entry-level education and the training requirements necessary to work as a social worker.

If you’ve worked in the field for a couple of years and are ready to pursue a graduate degree, many schools, both online and on-campus, offer a Master of Social Work. This degree typically takes two years to complete and requires students to fulfill a series of advanced courses and fieldwork. What’s unique about an MSW is the option to specialize in either clinical practice or organizational management.

Once enrolled in a program, you can expect to take courses that cover a wide variety of topics, some of which may include:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Behavior Modification
  • Child Welfare
  • Mental Health
  • Multicultural Issues
  • Principles of Sociology
  • Social Welfare
  • Social Problems

In addition to coursework, you might also be required to complete fieldwork or an independent research project. Fieldwork is an opportunity to gain experience by working for an organization or charity in your community. You’ll work alongside people with experience and knowledge.

Careers in Social Work – What to Expect

Child and family counseling is one of the many specializations you can choose once enrolled in a social work program. If you enjoy working with adolescents and families, you might want to consider researching schools that provide the necessary training.

Below is a brief overview of some of the job duties of a child and family counselor, according to O*Net OnLine:

  • Counsel individuals, groups, families, or communities regarding issues including mental health, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, physical abuse, rehabilitation, social adjustment, child care, or medical care.
  • Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems, to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
  • Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts, to help children who face problems such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
  • Maintain case history records and prepare reports.
  • Counsel parents with child rearing problems, interviewing the child and family to determine whether further action is required.
  • Consult with parents, teachers, and other school personnel to determine causes of problems such as truancy and misbehavior, and to implement solutions.

If you want to work at a school, a school counselor concentration would provide the training you need to perform the following job duties, according to O*Net OnLine:

  • Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students’ problems and arranging for needed services.
  • Address legal issues, such as child abuse and discipline, assisting with hearings and providing testimony to inform custody arrangements.
  • Develop and review service plans in consultation with clients, and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.

By no means are you limited to these careers. Social workers can also work on the administrative side, managing organizations and charities as well as positions in research, academia, and human resources. Below is a list of similar occupations, in case you’re still on the hunt for ideas:

  • Health Educator
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Psychologist
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

Our list of accredited degree programs will help you find the right program, at any education level. We’ve included associate’s, bachelor, and master’s degrees to better serve our visitors.

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer