Becoming a social worker is a commitment to serving individuals, families, and communities. For many, the journey to become a professional social worker starts with education. An online bachelor’s degree in social work can prepare you for a career that is dedicated to addressing social problems and supporting social justice. Before you begin, it’s important to know what to expect from an online bachelor’s in social work (BSW) program.
What Is an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work?
Social work can be a fulfilling career that helps communities around the world. Social workers focus on providing community services to people that need help. They serve a vital role in making life better for everyone.
To be a social worker, there are specific qualifications that you must meet to advance your career. You can do social work without advanced education or a college degree. However, government agencies and many organizations require at least a BSW degree in Social Work to qualify for positions.
Social workers operate in the government and private sectors, and there are degrees ranging from associate to doctorate levels. The extent that you want to advance your education and career is up to you, but a bachelor’s degree is the most common requirement for entry-level positions. A bachelor’s degree in social work program provides foundational instruction, and many aspiring social workers find that the flexibility offered by an online program is their best option for getting the training they need in such areas as research, social policy, and ethics.
The education and training is just a tool to increase that value. However, you develop your skills, choosing to go into social work is not a decision to take lightly. Fortunately, choosing social work over any other profession can be both rewarding and pay well under the right circumstances. There are many job openings available for those interested in helping their communities as a social worker, whether helping foster kids, senior citizens, or within a clinical hospital setting.
Benefits of Earning a Bachelor Degree in Social Work
A bachelor’s degree in social work can make you more employable and help you meet requirements for advanced degree programs if you choose to continue your education. It will also satisfy any requirements you have for graduate school, including going on to become a master’s student or beginning your doctoral studies. Earning your bachelor’s degree in social work can act as a stepping stone for entering the profession of social work; therefore, it will equip you with all the necessary skill set to do so.
Your bachelor’s degree in social work will help you build the necessary skills to become an independent social worker. This is because a fundamental part of becoming a successful social worker is being able to work on your own. Therefore, receiving your bachelor’s degree in this field can give you the knowledge and skills that can help you do so.
On top of earning yourself a diploma, earning this degree will also help your resume stand out from others who are applying for positions as well as graduate school programs. This is because earning a bachelor’s degree will show that you have the commitment, motivation, and drive to become a professional social worker.
The truth is that to have any success in the field of social work, it takes dedication and hard work. However, once you receive your bachelor’s degree, you can work on further enhancing your skills by furthering your education with one of several courses that are offered at the graduate level in social work. This is because you have already gone through the basics and now have the knowledge to move on to a higher level of education.
As a student in this field, you should expect to learn about a variety of topics as part of earning your degree. Topics that you will most likely need to learn about include ethics and values, social welfare, intervention strategies, and family dynamics. You will also have to learn how to apply the knowledge that you gain and put it into practice.
Another benefit of earning an online bachelor’s degree in social work is that you will be able to make a more informed decision regarding which type of career path you would like to choose. Social work is a broad field, and there are many different opportunities for career specialization. For example, you can choose to work as a therapist, counselor, or case manager. You can also choose to work in policymaking and administration. Each of these careers has its own set of job duties you will need to learn and then practice in order to be successful. It is important that you determine which career path will best fit your needs before choosing your degree field, as this can help guide your decisions in college.
With the help of an adviser when choosing a degree program is also essential. This is because you will need someone to help you with mapping out your degree program so that you can be sure that the courses that you choose will count towards your bachelor’s degree in social work.
When choosing the right program or college, it is imperative that the school or college offers quality education and training in their programs. Therefore, it is important that you evaluate the quality of the program as well as the facilities to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth for your educational experience.
How Much Does Bachelors in Social Work Cost?
The costs associated with social work programs vary widely; four-year programs can range from around $50,000 to closer to $150,000. Some students find that online schools cost less due to reduced housing and travel expenses. Online schools also tend to cost less than schools where you live on campus. In some cases, living off-campus can be less expensive, especially when you live at home with your parents or spouse.
Average Salary for a Bachelors in Social Work
According to theBLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, the average social worker makes about $52,000 per year. The lower end of the range is roughly $41,000, while there are cases where the heads of organizations and businesses can make it into the six-figure range. With a bachelor’s degree in social work, you can expect to make between $41,000 and $51,000. Compared to other professions, the amount social workers are paid is in line with other government employees with similar requirements.
What Is the Job Outlook for Bachelors in Social Work Holders?
According to theU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 713,200 social worker jobs in the United States in 2019. Jobs in the industry are expected to grow 13% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Courses in Bachelors in Social Work
Programs offering a bachelor’s degree in social work typically include courses in human behavior and case management, as well as organizational policy and management. BSW programs also commonly include field work, which provides practical experience that is needed to be effective as soon as a student graduates.
This degree will help you develop a more in-depth knowledge of human behavior, which is a key to successful social work. A bachelor’s degree in social work will equip you with the basic concepts of human psychological development. Often, coursework includes classes in psychology and sociology. It is the foundation of understanding how people think and act. These classes are combined with study in government policies and organizational management, which helps workers navigate government bureaucracies. Working with individuals, families, organizations, and communities requires an understanding of the family and community systems as a whole. This is essential to being able to effectively assess and address client needs.
Finally, the study course will focus on specialized skills. There are many types of social workers that specialize in different areas of need. Late in the BSW program, students begin to focus on their specialization and develop into experts in specific social work areas.
As you start your search to find the perfect online bachelors in social work program, there are many questions that you might have about this important life decision. This list of frequently asked questions is an excellent place to find answers to some of the questions you might have.
FAQs about Bachelor’s in Social Work Programs
Core Takeaways for an Online Bachelors in Social Work
- Can qualify graduates for a master’s degree in social work (MSW) program
- Some programs can help you with your state’s specific social worker licensing requirements
- Many schools offer specific concentrations including clinical social work, community development, and policy administration
- Depending on your previous coursework and the individual program, some programs offer accelerated tracks to get you your degree sooner
- The field of criminal justice is growing so the job outlook is good.
- Provides essential training social workers need
- Offers opportunities to work in careers that help and support communities
- Qualifies graduates for many in-demand roles within healthcare, behavioral health, and family law
- Costs vary depending on the school you choose
- Scholarships are available to defray the cost of higher education
- Federal grants and state-funded tuition rates are often available, even if all coursework is taken online