Social work is a broad and diverse profession, ranging from community-centered practice to administration and policy. The duties of a social worker can also vary greatly depending on the setting of employment, but most positions are focused on client care. This guide answers common questions about social work degrees:
- What are common specializations within the field?
- What are the educational requirements for a social worker?
- What are the advantages of getting a social work degree online?
What are common specializations within the field?
There are many different areas of specialization in social work, each of which requires specific training in order to qualify for employment in your desired field. Thankfully, many colleges and universities offer a variety of different degree options for students in such areas as mental health, substance abuse, family and child services, just to name a few. Find out more by reading about each of the following areas in the social work field:
- General Social Work — These programs offer a general study of social work that can prepare students to work in a variety of settings.
- Addiction and Substance Abuse Social Work — Addiction and substance abuse social workers offer emotional support, provide individual and group counseling, and help people find the services needed to recover from alcohol and drug addictions.
- Family and Child Social Work — Family and child social workers 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.
- Medical and Mental Health Social Work — Medical and mental health social workers help people who suffer from a variety of different disorders and impairments.
- Military Social Work — Military social workers help active military personnel, veterans, and their families with issues related to mental health including PTSD and other impacts of war and military service as well as other issues that arise within the household.
- Counseling and Human Services — Counseling and human services are closely related fields that provide many services similar to social workers, often working alongside social workers to assist patients.
What are the educational requirements for a social worker?To become a Licensed Social Worker (LSW), an applicant must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work and pass the national examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
When looking for programs, it’s important to keep a few factors in mind:
- Is the program accredited?
- Will the program prepare you for licensure and other exams?
- Does the program offer online or hybrid courses for working and non-traditional students?
Below we’ve listed popular accredited programs in social work that meet these factors:
University of Southern California
Our Lady of the Lake University
Indiana Wesleyan University
What are the advantages of getting a social work degree online?
Online programs have much in common with traditional, campus-based programs. The curriculum in both formats often remains unchanged and both are backed by the same accrediting bodies. However, online study has several advantages over its campus counterpart, including but not limited to:
- Ability to work ahead and at your own pace
- More flexibility for working professionals or those with personal commitments
- Ability to choose the environment in which you work
- Flexibility in deadlines on when assignments are completed and turned in
- Degree options not limited by geography
- Engaging forums and discussions from students across the country and is some case, the world