Online Social Work Degree Programs

Online social work degree programs are ideal for those who prefer a flexible learning schedule that will allow them to complete their coursework at their own pace, without having to attend traditional on-campus classes.

Individuals who pursue an online degree in social work should have a strong interest in making a difference in the community, a respect for diversity and empathy for those in need.

For many people in society, social workers serve as a link to social services needed to overcome a variety of psychological, financial and health problems. Social workers provide advice, counseling and direction to people experiencing difficult personal issues such as homelessness, depression, disability and substance abuse. In doing so, they help not only these people, but also the families and communities involved. Social work is a challenging career, but emotionally rewarding due to the direct impact that social workers have on the community.

Program Specializations

Just like in a traditional program, areas of specialization in social work program taken by distance learning include child and adult problems, social welfare, addictions, and behavior modification. Most states require licensure or state certification before you can practice, and field work as part of the degree program is generally needed to obtain the best jobs. Not all social work degree programs that are taken online include field-work in the curriculum.

Most entry-level positions that involve directly interacting with clients such as a career, school, youth or marriage counselor require at least a bachelors degree in social work (BSW). A masters degree (MSW) is almost the standard requirement for jobs that involve therapy - in clinical or health settings as well as for administrative positions. A doctoral degree (DSW or PhD) is required for social work teaching, research positions and consultancy roles.

Featured Colleges with Online Degrees in Social Work

University of Phoenix

  • BS in Human Services
  • BS in Human Services Management
  • BS in Human Services/Addictions
  • BS in Human Services/Family and Child Services
  • BS in Human Services/Gerontology
  • MS in Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • MS in Counseling / Marriage, Family and Child Therapy
  • MS in Counseling/Marriage and Family Counseling
  • MS in Counseling/Mental Health Counseling
  • MS in Counseling/School Counseling

Why study social work online?

Online degrees in social work from accredited colleges offer quality education and flexibility. By earning your degree online, you will gain the skills needed to combat inequality, injustice and violence in the community. You can begin a career in social work without leaving your current position or sacrificing your personal life. If you are already working in a social work field, an online social work degree will propel your career forward. Online programs combine technology with the support and quality of a traditional institution, opening up opportunities for you that suit your needs and career level.

Career tips for social work degree graduates

  • Determine your interests: Which classes, field experiences and specialties did you enjoy most?
  • Focus your career: What population(s) would you most like to work with? Urban/rural, unemployed/homeless, certain cultures?
  • Consider your student loan debt: Loan forgiveness programs exist for social work graduates. Research your options. These may require you to work and/or live in specific areas of the country.
  • Network with social work professionals: Talk to you professors, join a professional organization, and attend social work conferences. Learn more about specific areas, interview tips and career advice.

Social work remains a top career

Social work graduates can expect to enter one of the top 50 careers for 2011, as identified by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to being an emotionally rewarding career, social work offers flexibility. You can find positions with government agencies, non-profit organizations, consulting firms, or even start your own business.

Social workers are needed in many settings, including hospitals, correction and mental health centers, foster homes, schools, senior centers and prisons. In addition to traditional social work careers, graduates can also find positions as therapists and guidance counselors, as well as teachers, literature writers and fundraisers.

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