Social Work Education, Degree Programs and Training Online
The vast majority of these programs are offered at the graduate level, frequently requiring students to already have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or other human services undergraduate degree in order to enroll in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Some programs offer a hybrid curriculum, which combines online and on-campus courses; others can be completed totally online. Online-format MSW programs usually lead to an ‘advanced generalist’ designation, meaning students are prepared to work as entry-level social workers in a specialty of their choice. Some colleges may also offer online bachelor’s degree programs, designed for students who have previously earned some college credit. Students will be required to complete internships and supervised field work.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Adult Development and Aging
- Child Care Management
- Child Care Services
- Child Development
- Community Organization and Advocacy
- Family and Community Services
- Family Systems
- Human Development and Family Studies
- Social Work
- Youth Services
Master’s Degree in Social Work
While some online coursework is offered as pre-recorded video lectures, other programs schedule online lectures similar to traditional classes, at a designated time, usually in the evenings. Students enrolled in online social work programs typically gain the 1,000+ hours of required fieldwork through internships or practicum experiences at approved facilities in their area. Degree programs usually consist of 2-3 years of coursework, and almost all require some variety of field internship or supervised fieldwork as a condition to earning the degree. Fieldwork typically includes hands-on practice with families, individuals and groups and may include a final capstone project.
Program Information and Requirements
Students are expected to have a high-speed Internet connection; use software programs to access reading materials, quizzes, tests and other course materials; read and compose e-mails pertaining to assignments, and participate in class discussion through forum postings on course bulletin boards.
Common Social Work Courses
Examples of social work classes offered in an online format might include:
- Human Behavior in the Social Environment
- Social Welfare Policy and Analysis
- Social Justice
- Research Methods and Analysis
- Individual, Family, Group and Community Practice
Career Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the employment outlook is good for professionals in the field of social work, especially for those interested in working with the aging, the mentally ill, and people with substance abuse issues. Jobs for social workers were expected to increase 12% overall from 2014-2024 (BLS). As of May 2015, healthcare social workers earned an average annual salary of $54,020; mental health and substance abuse social workers brought home an average of $47,190; and child, family and school social workers made an average of $46,610 annually (BLS).
Online social work degree programs educate students through video lectures, reading material, quizzes and other course materials. The master’s program provides coursework in social justice, social welfare policy, human behavior and other topics that will benefit those hoping to become a social worker.
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