There is high demand for skilled social workers. Demand will increase over the next ten years. A degree from an accredited online college for social work is a great first step. An online degree in this field prepares you for solid career growth as well.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an 9% rise in the demand for qualified social workers. This growth is expected through 2028. This will result in 81,200 new positions.
Related occupations are no different. For example, marriage and family therapists and psychologists should see a 22% and 14% rise, respectively. So, it’s no surprise that a degree from one of the best accredited online colleges for social work can help you gain long-term job security.
What Kind of Online Classes Will I Take as Part of a Social Work Degree Program?
Many bachelor’s in social work programs start with required courses. For any online degree in social work, these core classes cover areas like:
- Social policy
- Social justice
- Social welfare
- Improving the social environment
Required courses for an online degree program might also include the foundations of social work practice. Research methods and human behavior are also common topics.
The best online social work programs give you a list of elective courses to choose from, too. These online courses are designed to help future social workers prepare for the working world. Electives also give you the chance to specialize.
For example, you might take online courses in working with kids. Alternatively, your bachelor’s in social work program might focus on the elderly. You will find in your school search that the courses offered are similar from one school to the next.
What Requirements Do I Need to Fulfill Before I Apply for a Social Work Degree?
There are a couple of ways into a career as a social worker.
Some aspiring social workers start by studying for an online bachelor’s degree in social work. Other future social workers might complete an unrelated bachelor’s degree. These students then apply for a master’s program in social work (MSW) graduate degree. However, you’ll need to meet the entry requirements for the online social work degrees.
To be accepted into an online bachelor’s in social work (BSW) program, you need a high school diploma. Some online bachelor’s programs accept students with a GED. You’ll normally need to meet GPA requirements, too. This might be between 2.5 and 3.0 (on a 4 point scale).
Some of the best online social work programs might ask for your SAT or ACT scores. They might also want copies of your official transcripts. In some cases, a personal statement or your resume might be required. Some programs might want a personal statement, a resume, and letters of reference, too.
What Are the Best Social Work Degrees for Undergraduate and Graduate Students? What is the Best Online College for Social Work?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics to help you in your school search.
Each of the online social work degrees is scored individually in our school rankings. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree. This allows us to determine the final score you see by each school.
Accredited Online College considers several factors. This includes affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page.
Let’s see which online social work degrees are ranked the highest in our school search!
1. Liberty University
Liberty University specializes in online programs. It has regional accreditation from the SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges).
Many programs have also been accredited by other agencies. This Bachelor of Science in social work has accreditation from the CSWE (Council on Social Work Education). The program has also previously been named as a ‘Best Online College for Value‘ by guidetoonlineschools.com. This makes this program a solid choice for future social workers. It’s also one of the best in our school rankings.
You need to fill out a high school self-certification form for admission. You also need to provide official transcripts.
This degree includes 120 credit hours for distance learners. It can be completed in around 3.5 years, on average.
There is a low cost of online tuition for this degree. It is $390 for full time students or $455 for part time students.
You’ll gain real-world experience through field placements in this bachelor of social work. The remainder of your work can be completed online at any time.
2. Walden University
Walden University was founded in 1970. It has regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The institution also holds special accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.
Online students can get both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. Walden University online MSW tuition is $482 per credit hour. A master’s degree is critical for working as a licensed social worker.
The Master of Social Work program accepts up to 30 credits from transfer students. According to the program catalog, the curriculum features award-winning case studies. There are also virtual reality (VR) scenarios that enhance your learning.
The Walden MSW curriculum includes three options for prospective students:
The standard option for distance learners limits your workload to 1-2 courses per term. This allows you to better manage existing work. Accelerated students complete 3 online courses per term. Their study is full-time.
Advanced standing students must have a bachelor’s in social work. They must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Pursuing this track can lead to a reduced completion time for this degree.
3. University of Utah
The University of Utah has regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Students can choose from both fully-online and hybrid courses. Students get a personalized “plan to finish” either way.
This Bachelor of Social Work is offered by the College of Social Work at UOnline. It’s a specialized curriculum that focuses on supporting marginalized communities. The program also focuses on improving social justice and making a positive impact on the social environment.
It’s one of just 16 online bachelor of social work programs to have been directly accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This makes it among the best options in our school rankings.
Tuition is offered at a flat rate for distance learners. This is regardless of whether you live in Utah or are an out-of-state student. You’ll pay a great-value $260 per credit hour for this online social work degree. All mandatory university fees are waived given your online learning status. In total, 48 credit hours are needed for successful degree completion. Students also participate in field placements.
4. University at Buffalo
This degree is from the University at Buffalo’s School of Social Work. Like many programs on our list, it is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This creates graduates that are immediately ready to apply for state licensure to practice as a social worker.
The University at Buffalo offers a nationally-ranked master’s program in social work. According to the program website, it emphasizes “integrated trauma-informed and human rights perspectives.”
The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. There is a 60-credit traditional path. There is also a a 35-credit advanced path. This path is for advanced standing transfer students with relevant, transferrable credits. It is also for students that wish to become a licensed social worker.
Tuition for full-time distance learners is $7,950 for NY residents. The fee is $12,515 for non-residents. Part-time in-state students pay $745.01 per credit hour. Out-of-state students pay $1,125.01 per credit hour.
While this is an online program, there are still some mandatory fees to be paid. These aren’t waived by this particular university.
5. University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The University was also recently named on a list of the Top 25 Most Innovative Schools by collegeconsensus.com.
UND offers two online social work programs for future social workers. There is a bachelor of social work. There is also a Master in Social Work that students complete for advanced studies. Both UND social work online programs offer deep insights into human behavior.
The online bachelor’s in social work program is a two-year or four-year program. There are 120 credit hours needed to graduate.
The master’s program can be completed in one to three years. If you’re an undergraduate with goals to study in grad school, UND provides a clear path to get you there.
Possible online coursework includes:
- Social welfare programs
- Human diversity
- Drug and alcohol counseling techniques
- Social research
- Crisis intervention
- Human behavior
- Social welfare
You will also learn about research and program evaluation. Additionally, you’ll develop critical thinking and communication skills as part of this liberal arts program. Courses for mental health assistants might be available as well.
For the online bachelor’s in social work, you’ll pay a total of $417.87 per credit as a resident of North Dakota. The rate is $591.55 for non-resident distance learners (inclusive of fees).
The master’s program costs $516.76 per credit hour for residents, or $739.89 for non-residents. Students interested in financial aid can inquire with the university.
6. Rutgers University
At Rutgers University, students complete a world-class curriculum. You’ll study with the same faculty as your on-campus peers. Class sizes are kept small and your curriculum is structured around real-world skills.
The school is nationally-ranked for its research methods. This makes it among the best options in our school rankings. The university is also a member of the Association of American Universities. Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The online Master of Social Work at Rutgers University is unique. You don’t need a GRE for admission into the program. It still prepares you to work as a licensed social worker, though.
As part of the curriculum, you’ll accrue 1,125 hours of practical fieldwork. This work is completed in:
- human behavior
- social welfare
- related areas
You have the option to tailor your studies with global study options.
Tuition at Rutgers University is broken down into different rates depending on your school of study. The Rutgers online MSW cost is $900.00 per credit. Rutgers online MSW tuition includes an additional $300.00 online program fee (per program). Online social work degrees vary a lot in their expense, though.
7. Indiana University
Indiana University was founded in 1820. It recently celebrated its 200th birthday, with nearly 700,000 living graduates.
Since 1923, the Master of Social Work program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. It’s no wonder, then, that the university has been named on multiple rankings by the U.S. News & World Report. This makes it a great option in our school rankings.
Indiana University offers the MSW Direct online program. The program has a concentration in clinical and community practice. The degree has been named among the top-ranked master of social work programs in the state, according to U.S. News & World Report.
You can estimate your tuition based on a requirement of 60 credits for degree completion.
Upon starting your online social work degree, you’ll take foundation courses. This includes:
- Introduction to the SW Profession
- Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice
- Social Policy Analysis and Practice
There is also a practicum that helps you gain critical thinking skills through field placements.
Concentration courses include:
- Clinical Theory and Practice
- Executive Leadership Practice
There is additional clinical experience as well.
Financial aid is available for eligible students for their online education.
8. Wayne State University
Located in the heart of Detroit, Wayne State University has a lot to be proud of. It’s been named one of the nation’s 50 safest campuses. It has 18 varsity athletic teams, and more than 500 student organizations.
In-state students pay $397.05 – $471.19 in tuition. Out-of-state students pay $909.40 – $1,083.52.
The bachelor of social work at Wayne State University is offered fully online. Students complete a 460-hour internship that lasts for two semesters. You’ll be placed within a client-based setting. This allows you to gain real-world experience that can be applied in the (virtual) classroom. A full online bachelor program schedule can be found on the WSU website.
Like other online social work programs, you will need a minimum GPA of 2.50. You’ll also need to submit a personal interest statement alongside your application, in addition to your official high school transcripts (or college transcripts where necessary).
9. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. EKU offers a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work. The university provides programs in a broad range of related fields, too. This includes certificates in:
- Addictions intervention
- Mental health
- Child and family services
- Leadership and management
- Social advocacy
You might also study topics like social environment and social justice.
The online bachelor’s in social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. You can choose from several start dates throughout the year. As an enrolled student, you’ll receive free online career services and tutoring. Students complete practicum experiences in this online social work degree as well. There are no mandatory campus visits that students complete for graduation.
The online bachelor’s in social work program is 120 credit hours. Each credit costs online learners $409.00 in tuition. The rate is $250.00 for active duty military. Transfer students might be allowed up to 90 credits from previous studies in liberal arts.
Upon graduation, you can continue your education in generalist social work practice and get a master’s degree.
10. University of Illinois at Urbana
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867. It offers online learning through ‘Illinois Online’.
Students can choose from more than 90 online degree and certificate programs.
Since 2010, the institution has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Master of Social Work (MSW) at Illinois Online is open for students who may or may not have already gained a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). The curriculum includes 20 courses on social work and mental health so you can study human behavior.
Tuition is charged at a single rate for in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition is $598.00 per credit hour (estimated total cost $26,312). Financial aid is available.
Online learners may enroll in foundation and advanced courses for this online bachelor’s degree in social work. These courses may be fully-online or blended hybrid options.
Hybrid courses use both online and in-person instruction. Future social workers can take campus-based courses on weekends. This helps minimize the disruption to existing schedules as a distance learner.
11. University of Nebraska at Kearney
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the University of Nebraska Kearney (UNK) has more than 30 online programs to choose from. Their graduate programs are highly regarded, having been ranked eighth in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
UNK offers a minor in social work, comprising 24 credits, which can be paired with majors in nearly any other field. If you’ve an interest in social sciences, like psychology or sociology, or programs like criminal justice or public administration, the curriculums can complement each other well.
You’ll take mandatory courses for this bachelor’s degree in social work. This might include:
- social welfare
- human service ethics
- human behavior
You might also take classes in:
- social policy
You’ll also choose from electives that include:
- disability studies
- mental health issues
- aging services
- child welfare services
You might also learn about social work program development.
The average tuition per credit is $375.00. Financial aid is available.
12. Simmons College
Simmons boasts about having had the first school of clinical social work in the nation. Founded more than a hundred years ago along with Harvard University, the Simmons School of Social Work (SSW) offers some of the highest quality social work courses in the country. This includes real-world clinical experience to complement theoretical study, helping to prepare future graduates for their careers.
The master’s program at Simmons leads to an MSW and is titled “SocialWork@Simmons”. Taught fully-online, the online social work degree curriculum is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and includes synchronous—real-time—classes, in addition to field experiences that take place within or close to your community.
There are four program types to choose from for this online bachelor’s degree in social work. Advanced standing programs can be completed in 16 months, while the typical full-time program lasts for 23 months.
There’s also an extended option, lasting 32 months. This is a good option for distance learners who want to study part-time. In any case, students graduate with the needed skills to become a social worker.
13. Troy University
Troy University was founded in early 1887, starting out as Troy State Normal School, an institution dedicated to training teachers for state schools. Today, the institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, with degrees at associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. A number of doctoral degrees are also offered.
Starting in August of each year, the bachelor of social work program comprises 120 credit hours and is taught fully-online. The program is structured into 9-week terms, with 57 hours general studies courses and 27 hours core requirements in human behavior. A 27-hour social work professional program prepares you to start clinical practice.
In this program, you will study many elements of social work. This might include online coursework in:
- Human diversity
- Social and economic justice
- Child abuse treatment
- Substance abuse counseling techniques
- Child Welfare
- Crisis intervention
- Family services
- Social welfare programs
Courses for mental health assistants might also be available. Classes are common that focus:
- support services
- policy and service delivery
- cultural competence are common
Tuition for this degree in social work costs online learners $338 per credit hour. There is no separate rate for distance learners who live out of state. For entry into the program, you’ll need to have a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4 point scale.
14. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for more than 50 years. As an online student, you’ll enjoy cheaper tuition than your on-campus peers, while utilizing the same experienced, full-time faculty members.
Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a B.S. in sociology. As part of your online social work degree studies, you’ll analyze research in areas including:
- human behavior
- family relationships
Race, social class, and drug use will also be studied. Income inequality and social welfare programs might be studied as well. This program can lead to a career in social work, plus a range of other career paths.
The online bachelor’s degree program comprises 120 credits total, with each credit costing $470 when taken online. However, distance learners should be aware that this hybrid course is split into 7 weeks’ online study, plus 15 weeks’ campus study. Online learners may be able to transfer up to 90 credits. This helps transfer students reduce overall costs and program length.
The education you get in this program will move you toward a successful career or further study in grad school.
15. Arizona State University
According to its website, the School of Social Work at Arizona State University (ASU) is one of the largest in the world. It’s accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CWSE), meaning this program prepares students to pursue licensure in their state after completing the program.
The curriculum for this master’s degree program includes 960 hours of mandatory, real-world experience. These are satisfied through two placements, which take place at different internship locations. ASU’s Field Education Office will help you to source locations that are located close to home, while still meeting standards set by the Council on Social Work Education.
Arizona State University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) has a total of 20 classes, with each lasting around 7.5 weeks, for a total of 60 credit hours. For a full breakdown of course costs, you can use the handy tuition calculator on the ASU website. You can also read ASU MSW online reviews at GradReports.
16. Florida State University
Florida State University is an officially-designated preeminent research university, recently bringing in almost $250 million in grants and contracts, in a single year alone. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the institution was founded in 1851 and is the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state.
The fully online program at Florida State has previously been named the best of its kind in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. You can choose from either the two-year advanced standing social work program, for those holding a BSW, or the traditional three-year program if your bachelor’s degree is in another field.
For entry into the traditional program, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses beyond the first 60 hours of your undergraduate studies. You’ll also need to submit your resume alongside a statement of purpose, though you aren’t required to have a GRE if you meet the waiver criteria.
17. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Established in 1884, Northwestern State University is an affordable university that offers more than 40 online degrees. The institution has been recognized in a number of national journals and college guides, and is ranked among the most military-friendly institutions in the country for veterans.
NSU’s Social Work Department offers a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. It offers numerous credit transfer options. This includes transferring directly into the university’s master’s degree in social work. The program has been ranked among several “Most Affordable” program lists by websites such as HumanServicesEDU.org and BestColleges.com. It’s no wonder it’s on our list of the best online bachelor’s programs in social work.
Undergraduate tuition is charged at a rate of $375.00 per credit hour for the first 12 hours, then $100 for every subsequent credit hour, making NSU highly affordable. Graduates pay a slightly higher rate of $475 for up to 9 hours, then $100 thereafter. As an online-only learner, you also pay no out-of-state fees. Federal financial aid is available.
Learn more about Accredited Online Bachelor of Social Work at Northwestern State University of Louisiana here.
18. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) is home to more than 20 academic schools and colleges. Not only is the campus sprawling, but it is also the largest private sector employer in Los Angeles. Founded in the early 1870s, USC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The USC MSW ranking is 25 in the nation, according to US News & World Report.
This online Master of Social Work (MSW) program follows a curriculum that’s identical to its on-campus counterpart. It’ll impart you with a number of social work techniques, which include early years interventions, leadership qualities, and prevention. You have the option of studying either full or part-time.
Should you take the traditional program, you’ll complete 60 credits in as little as 16 months. Alternatively, the advanced standing program, available to those with a relevant bachelor’s degree, takes as few as 12 months and comprises 37 credits. Tuition varies based on the path chosen, but you can see a breakdown here.
19. University of Houston
The Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) at the University of Houston is the only college of social work in the world to have a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. It’s also the previous place of study for New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown, who is today a member of faculty.
When you start this program, you’ll undertake foundation studies coursework online in the first two semesters, comprising 16 credit hours. This will include practical fieldwork, giving you valuable experience early on in your program. The curriculum focuses on areas like:
- political justice
As is the requirement for any accredited MSW program, you’ll take at least 900 clock hours’ worth of fieldwork.
In the last several years, this program has also been named in at least five rankings for the best master’s programs. To get an idea of how much this program will cost, you can use the university’s tuition and fees calculator that’s located on the website.
20. University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Founded more than 100 years ago in 1794, UT Knoxville is part of the UT System, alongside UT Chattanooga, UT Martin, the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the UT Health Science Center. It’s a premier research institution and has been recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
The only difference between the online and on-campus programs is where you physically take your courses. Both programs have the same part-time, full-time, and advanced standing courses of study. Also, the same concentrations: evidence-based interpersonal practice and organizational leadership. According to GetEducated, who recently published new rankings, this program is one of the country’s top accredited social work master’s programs for affordability and value. As a graduate student, you’ll pay $700.00 per credit hour as an in-state student, or $775.00 as an out-of-state learner. A full breakdown of tuition costs and associated fees can be found on this useful PDF. Federal financial aid is available.
21. Metropolitan State University of Denver
Officially opened in 1965, Metropolitan State University of Denver produces highly skilled graduates that drive the state’s economy; over 80% of graduates remain in Colorado, taking up employment throughout the state. Their mascot is Rowdy the Roadrunner, so it makes sense that students at the university are known as roadrunners, too.
You can gain both a bachelor in social work degree and master’s in social work through the Department of Social Work at MSU Denver. Both programs are taught fully-online, using both synchronous and asynchronous learning; that is, you’ll study for some courses at your own pace, while logging in at a specific time for others alongside your peers.
Possible online coursework might include:
- Social welfare
- Child welfare
- Practical skills for social work
- Substance abuse treatment
- Child abuse investigation
There are four different tuition rates for the MSW program. Residents and non-residents pay differing levels of tuition, while the program costs also vary depending on whether you’re taking the mixed traditional course type, or opting for fully online course delivery. A full breakdown is available in this PDF from the institution’s website.
Learn more about Accredited Online Degree For Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver here.
22. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida offers fully-online programs through its e-learning platform, UCF Online. As recently as 2020, UCF Online has been named in two U.S. News & World Reports for their bachelor’s programs, in addition to being named on the 2020 Most Innovative ranking.
Under the guidance of the Health Professions and Sciences College, you can enroll in the online Master of Social Work (MSW). Costs for this online social work degree run at $487.45 per credit hour, with a total of 62 credit hours for course completion. Terms last for seven weeks.
This program has been specifically designed for students who haven’t already gained a Bachelor of Social Work, or those who completed a BSW over five years ago. Lasting for nine semesters, the curriculum allows for clinical specialization, and provides you with the required placement hours to gain licensure after graduation.
23. University of California at Berkeley
At UC Berkeley Extension, the distance learning arm of this institution, you can choose from three online course types. “Live online” programs provide scheduled online sessions with an instructor and your peers, while “start anytime” programs allow you to set your own pace and work alone. “Fixed-date” options provide a start and end date, with self-study and collaborative courses making up the bulk of the work.
At UC Berkeley, you can enroll in the post-baccalaureate program for counseling and psychology professions. It’s designed for students or career changers who have already completed a bachelor’s degree, and who need undergraduate course prerequisites, or to boost their applications for postgraduate study.
Within the curriculum, you’ll find numerous upper-division courses in psychology. These classes are suited to future study in the areas of:
- social work
Assistance is on-hand to help you work out the program of study that’s best suited to your career or further study aspirations.
24. University of Texas at Arlington
UTA’s School of Social Work has been around for more than 50 years, with this program being the first one to be offered to prospective students. In 1970, it was given accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This was closely followed by a new bachelor’s degree (BSW) in 1979.
The fully online MSW program at UTA’s School of Social Work provides you with a lot of choice. There’s an accelerated full-time program of study for advanced standing eligible students, plus several specialty areas. These are:
- direct practice with children and families
- direct practice in aging
- direct practice in mental health and substance abuse
While some institutions charge separate tuition rates for out-of-state students, only Texas residents who are residing within the state can apply to this program. However, it has been named in a Best Master’s in Social Work ranking by CollegeChoice on two separate occasions.
25. University of Mary
The University of Mary is a Christian liberal arts college. It has more than 50 years’ worth of experience in faith-driven adult education, in addition to over 25 years of providing online and evening education programs. Guided by Benedictine and Christian faith, their programs will help you meet your career goals, while letting you stand out as a servant leader.
At the University of Mary, you can enroll in the Master of Science in counseling, clinical mental health counseling program. This can be completed in as few as 20 months, with most courses taught online; however, there’s a requirement for classes once per week on campus in downtown Bismarck, ND. Tuition costs $590.00 per credit hour.
Designed for working professionals or those looking for a career change, the program prepares you for:
- professional licensure as a licensed associate professional counselor (LAPC)
- licensed professional counselor (LPC)
- licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC)
You’ll also learn how to integrate Christian values into your practice.
Learn more about Accredited Bachelor’s in Social Work at University of Mary here.
26. Columbia College
Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for more than 100 years. Undergraduate tuition for online and evening classes runs at $375.00 per credit hour, or $250 for active-duty military. There are no fees or book costs. Financial aid is available.
Prospective students with a keen interest in becoming social workers can pursue a human services major at Columbia College, through a number of programs. These include the:
- Associate in Science in human services
- Bachelor of Arts in human services
- Bachelor of Science in human services
For students who are already working in the field, with considerable existing experience, the BA program is recommended. With a focus on knowledge acquisition and skills development, the program could help boost your existing career. Possible courses include:
- social justice
- social welfare
- social environment
- interpersonal and communication skills
- social work research methods
The BS program is more geared towards those who are only just entering the field, or who need more clinical experience to become confident; this program includes an internship.
Likewise, you can use this program to step into a job where you teach practical skills to your clients. You might be a case manager and check on child welfare cases. You might work in social welfare or in the substance abuse field, too.
27. Spring Arbor University
Established in 1873, Spring Arbor University is a Christian institution. It weaves faith into its teachings to create well-rounded graduates. The institution has been named in over ten rankings for a number of disciplines within the past decade.
Spring Arbor University’s online bachelor program can be completed entirely online. There are no requirements to complete a residency for this online social work degree.
The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). It offers all online students a program mentor throughout. That mentor is also a member of faculty.
This program has been ranked among the best 25 Christian colleges for social work degrees. Additionally, it ranks number 15 on a list of the Best Online BSW degrees for 2020 (GradReports).
Program costs run at $587.00 per credit hour. This is the lowest rate offered by Spring Arbor for all courses.
28. Columbia University
According to U.S. News & World Report, Columbia University ranks in #3 in National Universities. It also ranks #6 for Best Value Schools. The university has won numerous other accolades.
Operating for more than 120 years, the Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW) allows master’s degree students to specialize in a broad number of areas.
Students in this online bachelor program can join events and contribute to the Columbia Social Work Review. They can also win numerous student awards. Online students aren’t required to be on campus. However, they are welcome to visit for orientation, graduation, and other occasions.
Every new online student takes an orientation. The purpose of the orientation is to get familiar with the Learning Management System (LMS).
Online students each have access to live support specialists throughout their studies. You’ll also join peers who start their courses at the same time. This gives you a community of like-minded learners, even when you’re not setting foot on campus.
29. Our Lady of the Lake University
Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) was founded in 1895. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. The institution is named in numerous rankings by U.S. News & World Report, in addition to other college guidance websites.
The online Master of Social Work at OLLU is offered via the Worden School of Social Service. It’s a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program. This ensures that you meet requirements for licensure after graduation.
There is an advanced standing option for online students who already have a bachelor’s degree in social work.
The advanced standing MSW comprises 30 credit hours. It can be completed in less than two years. The foundation MSW has 57 credit hours for completion. It is geared towards online students who hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field. This makes it ideal for those looking to change careers.
Upon completion, you can work for community organizations. You might also help clients with transition support or child welfare needs. Racial and ethnic relations is also a popular area of work for social workers.
30. Capella University
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is an online college offering a range of programs at every level.
In 2022, the student body comprised nearly 70% part-time learners. This highlights the suitability of this institution for working professionals who want to advance their education.
Capella offers two programs for distance learners in this specialty. The first is a Master of Social Work (MSW). The second is a Doctor of Social Work (DSW).
While both programs can be taken online, there’s a practicum/internship component of the curriculum for each. The latter program focuses more on:
- research methods
Master’s tuition is $540 per credit. Master’s students may also be eligible for a Capella Progress Reward. This is a scholarship that can contribute up to $2,000 towards the cost of your education. These needs-based awards don’t have to be repaid after graduation.
Doctoral tuition is $995 per credit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Social Workers Need to Get a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree?
Social workers help connect families to social services. Social workers also support children who are having trouble at home or in school. They support clients who have ongoing health problems as well.
This is a specialist area. It requires specific knowledge. Social workers should understand social policies and ethics. As such, it requires several years of study and training to become a qualified social worker.
This kind of knowledge comes from a bachelor’s degree in social work. What’s more, social workers in a clinical setting typically require more than a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is a good example of this.
Social workers must also be licensed. A license is issued by the state in which you work. States often only issue licenses if the coursework was from an accredited institution. Keep this in mind as you conduct your school search.
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is a professional who has a master’s degree in social work and has completed the necessary requirements to become licensed in their jurisdiction. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker will:
- provide therapy, counseling, and support
- be trained to diagnose and treat mental health disorders
- offer guidance and resources
- advocate for their clients’ well-being
LCSWs often work in hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, government agencies, and private practice settings.
What Careers Can a Social Work Degree Lead To?
Specific studies for social work degrees can vary from one university to another. However, a typical curriculum gives you knowledge in many areas. This includes:
- public health
After graduating, you’ll be prepared to work with the public. Your skills will allow you to help solve their social, personal, and emotional problems.
One of the most popular career paths for a graduate with a degree in social work is to become a social worker. There is, however, a lot of scope for choosing the setting in which you work.
For example, social workers are needed in hospitals. They are also needed in mental health inpatient facilities. Social workers work in elder care facilities and community counseling organizations, too. There are also roles in numerous government agencies.
Some of the roles open to you as a graduate with a degree in social work include mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist. You might work as a probation officer. Social and community service assistants or managers often have social work degrees. Recreational therapists and behavioral disorder counselors do as well. Further options include working as a health educator or a social worker.
How Long Does a Social Work Degree Take to Complete?
Most bachelor’s in social work degrees last for four years. Associate degrees last around two years. However, associate degrees in social work are often not sufficient for many employers. Master’s programs, on average, take around two years.
Online bachelor’s degree programs are typically designed for students who have a busy schedule. Online studies are often tailored for students that can’t commit to full-time study. If you’re studying part-time, it will take you longer to complete your degree. However, you’ll still learn the skills needed for a successful career.
Many institutions offer advanced master’s degree programs. These programs can reduce the amount of time to finish. They are for students that already have a bachelor’s degree in social work. As you conduct your school search, keep this important point in mind.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Social Work Degree?
According to the National Center for Education Services, the typical cost for a master’s degree is around $13,800 in a public university. It’s $36,300 in a private university.
Online programs can affect these figures. Studying online is often cheaper. Additionally, they often include no additional fees. You’ll also save on the cost of fees for room and board compared to on-campus programs.
If you’re studying online, it’s common for tuition to be charged on a per-credit basis. Based on the colleges and universities in our rankings, the approximate cost per credit hour is anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Out-of-state students often pay a higher rate of tuition. However, many schools charge a flat rate for all online students.
What Does it Mean to Get a Social Work License?
Some professional social workers must get licensed from the state in which they want to practice. This is true for clinical social workers, in particular.
These licenses verify that you’ve gained the education and experience to succeed. Licenses aren’t required in every state, but without a license, you might struggle to find a job. Licensed social workers usually have more success in getting employment.
As part of your licensure requirements, you’ll need to get a minimum number of clock hours of supervised work. Again, the amount required varies from one state to another.
For example, Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) need at least 3,000 hours in California. That number for clinical social workers is 4,000 in Washington.
The best place to start working toward a license as a social worker is by reviewing the eligibility requirements for social workers from the Association of Social Work Board examination.