Homeonline collegessocial work degrees Online Social Work Degree Many online colleges offer social work degrees. Social workers help groups like veterans, addicts, at risk youth and the under served. If you hope to make an impact, earning a social work degree online may be a perfect start. A social work degree studies the skills, values and ethics you need to become a social worker. Then also helps you apply concepts in real settings through fieldwork. There are online social work degrees at all levels. Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate. These take you through general to expert level clinical practice skills. And, aim to prep you for state licensure. A bachelor’s degree in social work is a BSW for short. At this level, you learn basic info and guiding principles. Like how to advocate for clients, manage cases and link people with services. Master’s in social work, or MSW programs deepen your skill levels. They also refine your grasp of a clinical area in line with your career goals. An MSW is also what you need to take the national licensure exam. Doctor of social work programs (DSW) are clinical practice degrees. They differ from the PhD in social work which is a research degree. And, may help you build skills as a leader, academic or clinician. Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work A BSW is an entry point for most social work positions. Most online BSW programs entail 120 credits and take about four years to complete. The goal of a BSW program is to prep you for generalist practice roles (such as casework). And for jobs where you engage with clients (e.g., individuals, families, communities). As such, you may learn to assess their needs, link them to services, and track their progress. Accredited BSW programs also entail at least 400 hours of supervised field experience. To get into an online BSW degree program you need a high school diploma or its equal. You also have to meet your college’s standards for GPA. On average, it costs $6,518 to pursue a social work degree at a public college. But tuition for private schools average $28,538. That said, some online colleges charge a flat fee that does not depend on residency. MS in Social Work An MSW program is a grad degree. It aims to nurture clinical expertise and prep you to pursue a mandatory state license. You do not need a BSW to pursue an MSW, but you do need a bachelor’s degree. Some online colleges also look for a specific GPA range, references and GRE scores. There are two types of MSW programs to respond to students’ levels of education. Traditional and advanced standing. Both may study policy, advocacy, admin and assessment tools. Traditional MSW programs last from two to three years and may entail 60 credits. These often cover general topics in the first year. And, move into more defined clinical classes for the rest. If you earned a BSW, you may be eligible for an advanced standing MSW program. These often entail about 37 credits and take about one year to complete. Most accredited MSW programs include at least 900 hours of fieldwork too. But often contain fewer for advanced standing students. Tuition is another variable when it comes to online MSW programs. On average, it may cost $11,617 if you earn your degree at a public college. DSW or PhD in Social Work The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) and PhD in social work are the highest level of degrees in the field. A DSW is for practitioners and a PhD in social work, for academics.cThe reasons to enter a DSW or PhD vary. Many hope to teach, lead, work on policies and research. As such, these programs often feature on campus visits to develop related skill sets. Most people who enter a doctorate program in social work have an MSW and experience. They often need specific grades, references and a strong personal essay. A PhD in social work may help you master the skills needed to design and conduct social work research. It often takes about three years and may include supervised teaching. If you want to master the skills of a clinician, a DSW program may be ideal. It is a practitioner degree and usually refines your understanding of behavior. Many programs also prep you to solve problems. Like bullying, child welfare and issues stemming from poverty. You may get a chance to research these areas in depth too. What can I do with an Online Social Work Degree? A social work degree may help you enter or advance your career in social and human services. In these fields, you help others cope with, manage and resolve issues of all kinds. The field of social work spans many areas, settings and kinds of practitioner. As such, there may be jobs for people with all levels of education. Some social workers do start out with a BSW degree. Then with an MSW and two years of supervised practice, may also earn their state clinical license. People who want to teach, research and supervise often pursue a PhD or DSW too. Right now in fact, about 65% of social work teachers have a doctoral degree. 1. Social Workers Most social workers help their clients solve and cope with problems. To do this they need to know how to assess client needs. Then also to respond to tough situations like child abuse or a suicide attempt. Some entry level social work jobs may call for a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW). But most social workers need a master’s degree. They also need two years of supervised work in a clinical setting. This enables a social worker to pursue their state license. 2. Health Care Social Workers As a health care social worker, you work with people who are terminally ill, sick and aging. As such, you often help clients cope with changes in lifestyle, medication and treatment plans. 3. Clinical Social Workers A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) may diagnose and treat mental, behavioral and emotional issues. Then, may also provide one to one, group, family and couples therapy. Unlike other kinds of social workers, these roles call for a master’s in social work (MSW). You also need a mandatory state license. Not to mention strong assessment and case management skills. 4. Health Educators and Community Health Workers A health educator teaches people what behaviors promote wellness. They often liaise with community health workers who understand the people they serve. Then craft programs to address need. If you want to work as a health educator, you need a bachelor’s degree. Some employers also ask that you have the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. Or, that you have a grad degree in an area like public health promotion. 5. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Behavioral disorder and substance abuse counselors are also addiction counselors. In their role, they often use the 12 step (AA) approach to help clients recover and cope. Many pros in this field work with specific groups. Like teens, veterans, people with anger issues or suicide impulses. As such, many jobs call for at least a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree and license. 6. Social and Human Service Assistants As support staff, social and human service assistants are case work aides. They work under the watch of social services professionals. Social workers and psychologists, for instance. In this role, they help clients identify and get the benefits and services they need. This calls for an ability to research and willingness to be of service. You may also need at least an associate degree and the skills to handle people in crisis. Is a Degree in Social Work worth it? Social work may provide problem solving skills, opportunity and above average earning potential. Jobs in social work (substance abuse is one) are among the fastest growing in the nation. The demand for health care and social service programs is on the rise. And with it, the need for skilled social workers. As such, the field shows the promise of 11% more jobs by 2028. Since this is a norm, some areas forecast even brighter outlooks. Health care social workers face as much as 17% more jobs. And mental health and substance abuse social workers, 17% more opportunity. There is also need for child, family and school social workers. A 7% increase in jobs reflects gov’t budget limits as issues like child abuse prevail. Salaries for social workers are another moving part. The average annual salary for social workers was $49,470 in 2018. But as a mid point, some people also earned more than $81,400. Social workers earned most in state, local and private hospitals. Gov’t, ambulatory care, and family services are other top industry settings. Many people with social work degrees work in related fields too. Like health education, counseling and community service. Most employers in these areas look for bachelor’s or master’s prepared workers. And you may need some type of state license depending on the field you choose. Social Work Degree Jobs & Salary Occupation Average Salary Jobs Social Workers $50,470 707,400 Health Educators $46,910 123,800 Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors $46,240 304,500 Network and Computer Systems Administrator $35,060 413,700 Top States for Jobs as a Social Worker State Jobs Annual Mean Wage CA 12,210 $71,020 NY 4,910 $67,580 FL 3,880 $51,980 OH 2,870 $53,650 SC 2,770 $45,700 What classes will I take with an Online Social Work Degree? The classes you take in an online social work degree often follow the guide set by the CSWE. The Council on Social Work Education sets standards for skills, conduct and knowledge. If you plan to become a social worker, you need to earn your degree from a CSWE accredited program. This rule of thumb applies to BSW and MSW programs. But not to DSW and PhD programs as the CSWE does not accredit this level. Another thing that alters your study plan is your degree level. To give you more insight, here are three sample course outlines. Bachelor’s Degree Courses Most online BSW degree courses aim to prep you for generalist entry level practice. As such they often introduce to the field, its ethics, practices and theories. These topics help you build key client and case management skills. Like how to engage with, assess, intervene and check client progress. Also, to then apply these methods with individuals, families and communities. Other classes may help you understand human behavior through the lens of systems theory. You may also learn to apply social work theory to issues across the lifespan. A few other common topics are: Applied Social Work Statistics This type of class often focuses on the setup and maintain agency used databases. This is a hands on type of program. Students may learn how to analyze data to answer key questions about clients. They may also learn how to use that data to make clinical decisions. Students may learn how to handle funding and improve social work interventions. Human Development This course is a survey that exams the development of humans. This generally begins with prenatal development and continues as a look at all stages of life. In this area, students may learn the physical and intellectual aspects of development. This also often includes social development skills. Students may learn how culture, community, school, and family play a role in this outcome. Development Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect This is often a very targeted course in many areas. The program tends to focus on how child abuse impacts development. Students may learn how to evaluate abused children as well as their families. They may also look at topics such as major policy that relates to child welfare as well as child abuse causes and typical applications of abusers. Social Welfare This type of course often is an intro to social work. Students may learn the framework for understanding the social welfare system in place in the U.S. now. They may learn about social problems that many people face. This may include substance abuse, mental illness, racism, and other forms of abuse. The student may learn how to explore their own values and beliefs in this context. Bear in mind, you may have general education and elective classes too. Graduate Degree Courses The classes you take in an online MSW depend on your entry point. Traditional entry which is both broad and deep. Or, advanced standing which omits general courses. Traditional MSW programs are for bachelor’s prepared students from all undergrad majors. As such, it often starts out with the basics of social work. These areas span social welfare policy, behavior theories, and research methods. Advanced standing MSW courses stress clinical skills and science. So, you may refine knowledge of practice area. While also learning to apply theory into interventions. Keep in mind, you may also have electives that relate to social work. Play therapy, loss and grief, gender issues and forensics are a few ideas. A DSW offers advanced training in a specific area of practice in social work. Most DSW programs entail a form of residency or dissertation that helps form skills too. There are two main areas that a DSW curricula tends to cover. Social work administration and clinical social work. These themes aim to build your ability to problem solve as a leader (director) and expert clinician. While a practitioner degree, DSW course work does include research. Not to test theory like a PhD. Rather, to use statistical tools and current ‘best practices’ to address social problems and issues. As such, your courses may stress social welfare policy analysis and advocacy. In the mix, you may also learn to write grant proposals to fund programs to benefit groups with unmet needs. Here are a few other possible topics. Human Behavior and Social Environment This course is sometimes split into two. It often looks at the impact of social forces on individuals as well as families. Students who take this course are likely to learn social work best practices. They may employ theory and research findings as a way to understand the function of people and families within the social environment. Social Policy and Planning in Human Services This class tends to focus on origins, processes, and politics as they relate to modern American social policies. This often focuses on concepts such as advancing human rights and areas of social justice. Students may learn leadership skills. They may also learn about evaluating social policies and their implications to cultural diversity. Macro Social Work Practice This type of course often focuses on social work practice knowledge. It may help master level students gain a better understanding of theory and skills as they apply in social work best practices. It may include a look at how this applies to groups as well as communities as a whole. Research in Social Work Practice This high level class typically aims to help students gain the knowledge and skill to engage in research informed practice. They may also learn how to handle practice informed research. Students may learn to build skills in planning research, evaluation best practices, and analyzing data. Students will often learn the impact research has on the social work they do. Most programs also include research methods, statistics and classes in your chosen area. Popular Social Work Concentrations To focus on a specific group, clinical issue or interest area, you may need to add a concentration. Here are a few to think about. 1. Addiction and Substance Abuse This area focuses on the many facets of addiction. From root causes and effects of trauma to counseling theories and methods. Side topics may span treatment, recovery and ways to prevent relapse. 2. Clinical Social Work A focus in clinical social work is about the methods to treat and prevent mental illness. You also learn to apply these tactics with individuals, groups and families. 3. Social Work Administration Rather than working with one client, social work admin is about the practice as a whole. You still need to know how to listen to people but may focus more on policy. 4. Medical Social Work In medical social work, courses often cover ways to intervene in crisis. You may also study medical after-care and discharge planning. Some problems also cover mental health issues and aging. 5. Criminal Justice This area aims to provide you with the basic skills to test and treat forensic groups. These groups span sex offenders, substance abusers and victims of crime. You may also learn how to help law enforcement personnel. How long does it take to get a Social Work Degree online? It may take four years of fulltime study to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work online. And, you may reduce this time if you have associate degree credits to transfer in. The average fulltime student may complete an MSW degree online in two years, or part time in either three or four years. Some advanced standing MSW programs take one year assuming all your credits transfer. It can be another two to three years if you want to earn a DSW degree. But some colleges give up to 8 years. And others offer accelerated options. University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete University of North Dakota Bachelors 120 2 24 Indiana Wesleyan University Bachelors 120 5 24 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Bachelors 120 2 48 University of Buffalo Masters 60 1 36 Indiana University Masters 60 4 36 University of Southern California Masters 37 2 12 Walden University Doctorate 58 Multiple 30 Kutztown University Doctorate N/A 1 36 SUNY – Albany Doctorate 36 1 36 15 Online Social Work Degrees Many online colleges offer CSWE accredited social work degrees. Here are 15 schools with online degrees in social work at all levels. University of North Dakota Indiana Wesleyan UniversityNorthwestern State University of LouisianaNorthern Arizona UniversityBrandman UniversityUniversity of BuffaloIndiana UniversityUniversity of Southern CaliforniaOhio State UniversityTulane UniversityWalden UniversityKutztown UniversitySUNY at AlbanyCapella UniversityUniversity of Tennessee Knoxville FIND AN ONLINE SOCIAL WORK DEGREE Let’s take a closer look at the online social work degrees that these 15 schools have to offer. 1 University of North Dakota Bachelor of Science in Social Work Fully Online UND offers an online Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW). It features “live” online classes so you can ask questions in real time. There are also a few campus visits and a 450 hour field placement which you may complete part time. And, while general in nature, it aims to prep you to work in rural settings. You can also pursue a focus in gerontology or clinical dependency. Sample courses include: Generalist social work practice Social work research Human behavior Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $15,895Grad $19,958Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$5,506 Average Net Price:$15,654 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:Higher Learning Commission 2 Indiana Wesleyan University Bachelor of Social Work Fully Online Indiana Wesleyan offers an online BSW program where you learn in real time with a cohort. Their program aims to prep you for generalist entry level practice. And, does so from a Christian lens. Apart from your classes, you also need to complete a 400 hour field placement. Sample Courses include: Intro to social work Social policy General psychology Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $9,743Grad $11,977Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$6,167 Average Net Price:$21,511 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC. Accredited:Higher Learning Commission 3 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Bachelor of Social Work Fully Online NSU offers an online BSW. It aims to prep you for entry level direct social work and human services jobs. Also, if you plan to roll into their MSW program, you may be able to skip about one half of master’s courses. Expect a 432 hour field placement as well as your class work. Sample classes include: Social work as a profession Statistics in social research Generalist practice with groups Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $19,556Grad $20,474Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$7,594 Average Net Price:$12,336 Military Programs:Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC. Accredited:SACSCOC 4 Northern Arizona University Bachelor of Science in Social Work Fully Online NAU offers an online BSW program that aims to equip you with generalist skills and knowledge. It also focuses on practice with rural and indigenous groups of the Southwest. As such you study poverty and service for the weak and underserved. There is also a field placement and choice of formats. Traditional semester or competency learning. Sample courses include: Crisis intervention Human behavior Policy Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $26,516Grad $20,338Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$9,960 Average Net Price:$14,236 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:Higher Learning Commission 5 Brandman University Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Fully Online Brandman offers an online BA in social work program. It focuses in areas like clinical research and community outreach. You also hone skills through a 400 hour field practice. And, may choose to minor in a focus that lines up with career goals too. There are 8 options including military social work, victim advocacy and at risk youth. Courses may include: Social work basics Human behavior Diversity and justice Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $12,440Grad $12,320Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$6,714 Average Net Price:$23,781 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC. Accredited:WASC Senior College and University Commission 6 University of Buffalo Master of Social Work Fully Online UOB offers two online MSW programs. One is a traditional, 60 credit program and the other a 35 credit advanced standing. Both root you in evidence based practice. They also focus on trauma informed and human rights points of view. Apart from this, you need to complete a field practice which you can do in your home region. Classes may include: Diversity and oppression Interventions Evaluation in social work Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $28,194Grad $25,920Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$8,714 Average Net Price:$17,264 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:MSCHE 7 Indiana University Master of Social Work (Direct) Fully Online IU offers an online MSW (direct) program. It includes basic courses in diversity, human rights and social justice. You also explore fields such as military social work, e-social work, tele-behavioral health and addictions. Sample courses include: Community and global theory and practice Social policy analysis Clinical theory and practice Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $36,512Grad $33,304Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$11,541 Average Net Price:$13,036 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:Higher Learning Commission 8 University of Southern California Advanced Standing Master of Social Work Fully Online USC offers an online advanced standing MSW for BSW prepared students. It may take about one year to complete and comes with a choice of anchor points. Adult Mental Health and Wellness, Children, Youth and Families and Social Change and Innovation. After earning your degree, you may pursue a professional license. You can also look into their traditional online MSW. Classes may include: Policy and advocacy Science of social work Applied learning – field education Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $58,195Grad $47,107Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$39,516 Average Net Price:$37,521 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:WASC Senior College and University Commission 9 Ohio State University Master of Social Work Fully Online Ohio State offers an online traditional MSW as well as an advanced standing option. The program begins each Fall semester and may take two years full time. You can study part time too. And, you will be able to choose from two anchor points. Mental Health and Substance Misuse or Child and Youth Services. You also complete two field placements. Classes may include: Evidence in social work Professional development Seminar on child and youth services Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $32,061Grad $36,009Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$10,456 Average Net Price:$18,706 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:Higher Learning Commission 10 Tulane University Master of Social Work Fully Online Tulane offers an online MSW traditional program with fulltime and part time formats. You can also pursue an advanced standing MSW. The program leans on its New Orleans’ heritage and resilience in facing crisis. To this end, you may add a Disaster and Collective Trauma or Mental Health certificate to your degree. You will also need to complete 948 hours of field-based study. Sample classes: Diversity and social justice Intro to community practice Theories of human behavior Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $56,800Grad $56,958Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$30,904 Average Net Price:$40,783 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program & dedicated point of contact. Accredited:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) 11 Walden University Doctor of Social Work Fully Online Walden offers an online DSW degree program. It focuses on leadership and social justice and advocacy. At the same time, it nurtures clinical expertise through a choice of anchor points. There are eight areas to chose from including medical social work. Criminal justice, administration, and addictions are a few others. Plus, you have up to eight years to complete the program. Learning topics may include: Advanced social work theory and practice Program and practice evaluation Clinical seminar Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $12,150Grad $12,539Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$3,900 Average Net Price:N/A Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:Higher Learning Commission 12 Kutztown University Doctor of Social Work Fully Online KU offers a hybrid DSW degree program. Students enter as a cohort and pursue their degree on a part time basis over the course of three years. The program also highlights education and inquiry. As such, it features a robust set of research and statistics topics. And, includes supervisory leadership and / or teaching activities. Classes may include: Social work leadership The social work teacher scholar Intervention research Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $15,166Grad $15,620Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$6,154 Average Net Price:$22,401 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:MSCHE 13 SUNY at Albany PhD in Social Welfare Fully Online SUNY at Albany offers an alternative to the DSW, an online PhD in Social Welfare. It aims to prep you for a career in teaching and research as opposed to clinical roles. As such, you may take away quality research skills and an ability to analyze social policy. You also use these skills to input into theory or practice in social welfare via a dissertation. Classes may include: Social welfare practice theory Advanced statistics Social welfare policy Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $27,766Grad $25,193 Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$9,284 Average Net Price:$16,769 Military Programs:Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC. Accredited:MSCHE 14 Capella University Doctor of Social Work Fully Online Capella offers an online / in person DSW degree program with a leadership focus. You may also develop the ability to advocate for and create public policy. As well as assess how it impacts individuals, families, groups, and the community. Sample courses include: Clinical theories of social work practice Leadership and management Grant writing and admin Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $14,540Grad $15,233Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$3,781 Average Net Price:$17,368 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC. Accredited:Higher Learning Commission 15 University of Tennessee Knoxville Doctor of Social Work Fully Online UT offers a DSW degree program which features real time online and asynchronous learning. It also comes in an accelerated, three year format. A main focus of the program is evidence based practice. And on helping you build skills in clinical leadership, clinical science, and applied research. Classes may include: Neuroscience Cognitive behavioral therapyTrauma focused interventions Tuition and Fees:Undergrad $31,664Grad $31,568Special rates available for military students. Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:$9,750 Average Net Price:$21,024 Military Programs:Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & recognized student vet organization. Accredited:Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) *Unemployment Earnings. Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.