If you want to pursue a career where you are helping other people improve their lives, you may find the field of social work to be one of the most rewarding career paths. Social work degree programs prepare students for clinical and non-clinical positions by providing advanced training and field instruction. Master's degree programs typically include an internship or at least 900 hours or supervised field instruction. You can now find several online social work degree programs that can be a convenient alternative to a campus-based program. Getting an online degree in social work can help you complete your degree requirements while working part-time or full-time.
Choosing an Online Degree in Social Work Program
You can complete a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) or a master's degree in social work (MSW) at a handful of schools that offer online social work degree programs. Many schools also offer advanced training and specializations within the degree program. For example, you could specialize in medical and public health services where you would be working with families to provide psychosocial assistance to families dealing with a terminal illness or other health problems.
You could also specialize in the mental health and substance abuse field where you would be providing counseling and services to family members of individuals who have substance abuse or mental health problems. Child, family, and school social workers work directly with families and children to improve their social and psychological functioning.
Bachelor's degree programs typically take about four years to complete, while master's degree programs take about two years to complete. You will need to fulfill all state certification, registration, and licensing requirements before you can apply for a job.
Most online social work degree programs require a practicum that must be completed locally and approved by the school. The practicum provides students with the essential hands-on and in-person experience needed to be successful in this line of work. The rest of the program takes place completely online so there is no need to attend a physical campus location.
Accredited Schools that Offer an Online Degree in Social Work
There are only a handful of accredited schools in the United States that offer an online degree in social work. Some only offer associate's degree programs, while others offer everything from bachelor's degrees to doctorate degrees. You may consider enrolling in an online program at any of the following schools:
- Capella University
- Walden University
- Iowa Central College
- USC School of Social Work
- Florida State University
- Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
- Our Lady of the Lake University
- University of Alaska
- University of Kentucky
- University of Maine
- University of Oklahoma
- University of Tennessee
- West Virginia University
Some schools do offer the opportunity to specialize in a particular area such as rural social work, social and community services, or clinical social work. If you are unsure of what to specialize in, you can just complete a General Social Work degree program (DSW) and then complete advanced training or a certification program in a particular field that interests you at a later date.