By pursuing a social worker degree online, you open the doors to a growing career field that's focused on helping others. While social workers do not typically earn top salaries, professionals in the field are in high demand, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 12% growth in the field over the coming years.

Social workers assist people in a variety of ways. For example, they help others cope with the challenges of addiction, mental illness, poverty, domestic violence, and criminal issues. It's an extremely rewarding field that's best suited for individuals who care about others and have a talent for connecting with people. As a social worker, you can make a real difference in the lives of others.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE?

Graduates of social work programs assist people facing various life challenges, including homelessness, addiction, mental illness, poverty, and domestic violence. Read more here..

HOW TO GET A DEGREE IN SOCIAL WORK

To earn a degree in social work, students must have an interest in helping others. Once admitted, students must meet all graduation requirements, which may include an internship or practicum component. Read more here..

CAN YOU BE A COUNSELOR WITH A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE?

Yes. Social workers can work as substance abuse counselors, group counselors, residential counselors, family counselors, or school counselors. Read more here..

WHAT IS A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN SOCIAL WORK?

A bachelor's degree in social work provides students with fundamental human service and behavior skills. Graduates can go on to pursue graduate studies in social work or pursue entry-level careers in the field. Read more here..

HOW MUCH DOES A SOCIAL WORK DEGREE COST?

The cost of a social work program depends on a number of factors, including residency status. On average, online students can expect to pay between $160 and $650 per credit. Read more here..

Choosing a Program

As you complete your social worker degree online, you learn a wide range of tools and techniques that are invaluable while working in the field. In most cases, students take courses focusing on interpersonal and intercultural communication, cultural anthropology, human growth and development, sociology, and psychology. After that, they engage in more program-focused coursework like child welfare studies, community mental health, social welfare, and research methods.

Most social work programs involve an internship or field practicum component, during which you work in real-world settings and learn from experienced professionals in the field. This may include spending time at a public health clinic, mental health facility, courthouse, school, or senior center.

Bachelor's of social worker programs online increasingly emphasize how best to communicate and work with individuals and families from diverse cultures and backgrounds. To that end, it's important for students entering the field to absorb as much as possible about topics such as cultural diversity, environmental sustainability, and social policy -- and how they impact people and communities.

Accredited Online Bachelor's in Social Work Degrees

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Founded as the University of Deseret in 1850, the University of Utah began as an all-male institution, but started enrolling women during the second term after opening. Today the school enrolls close to 33,000 students, offering 64 undergraduate and 90 graduate programs in diverse areas of study. The university holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The university offers an undergraduate online social work degree (BSW) accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Students can apply to the BSW program after completing general education requirements and prerequisite classes in general psychology, U.S. national government, social work as a profession, and an introductory course in sociology. The program comprises 48 credits of required social work courses, taken in sequential order. The College of Social Work offers all prerequisite and core courses online. The BSW program requires the completion of a practicum or internship, which online students can fulfill within their home area. Full-time students typically complete the program within 3-4 semesters.

Online classes at the University of Utah are primarily delivered asynchronously, and follow the regular semester schedule. Online students pay tuition based on residency. The BSW program follows the transfer credit policy of the university.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $265/credit in-state; $930/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 48 credits (major)
Program Length: 3-4 semesters

Delivery
Format: Fully online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.35 minimum

Contact
Phone: (801) 581-6192
Email: elizabeth.perez@utah.edu
Social Media Accounts: Twitter; Facebook

2

Brandman University

Irvine, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 79%

Initially established as Chapman University College in 1958, Brandman University's focus has always been on the adult learner. As a young college, it provided for the educational needs of service members at nearby El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Today, it continues to support the adult learner, but also accepts typical college students to its programs. Brandman University holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The school is 84th on U.S. News & World Report's list of institutions offering the best online bachelor's programs in the country.

The university offers an online social work degree accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Students who complete the program earn a bachelor of arts (BA) degree. In addition to general education coursework and approved electives, students complete 42 credits of required social work courses. The curriculum includes classes in fundamental topics such as human behavior and the social environment, diversity and justice in a global society, and social welfare. The program requires the completion of a 400-hour, supervised, onsite practicum that online students can fulfill within their home area.

Applicants to the BA in social work program need a minimum of 12 transferable, baccalaureate credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA for consideration. Brandman University accepts various work and educational experiences toward these required baccalaureate credits, including CLEP and DANTES general and subject examinations, military experience and training, and recent relevant professional experience.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Social Work
Tuition: $500/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (808) 746-0082
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Founded in 1883 with a one-building campus, The University of North Dakota’s first graduating class comprised just eight students. Today, close to 14,000 students enroll at UND and choose from more than 225 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. The university holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation. U.S. News & World Report ranks its online bachelor's programs as 69th in the country.

The College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines at UND offers an online bachelor's degree in social work. The program comprises 120 credits, 39 credits of which must come from core social work courses. The social work curriculum includes classes in social work research and data analysis, social policy, and general social work practice with communities and organizations. Students apply to the social work program upon completing the general education requirements and two required social work prerequisite courses: human behavior and the social work environment, and an introduction to social work practice. Prior to graduation, students must complete an onsite field work practicum. Online students can fulfill this requirement in their home area.

Although the online courses for the BS in social work degree follow a synchronous delivery format, students can access recorded lectures and discussions online at any time. The Council on Social Work Education has accredited UND's social work program since 1974, the first year the accreditation for the field was offered.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Social Work
Tuition: $395/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (701) 777-3000
Email: UND.info@UND.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

The University of Tennessee Knoxville

Knoxville, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 70%

Founded as Blount College as an all-male school, the University of Tennessee Knoxville began in 1794. The school was renamed in 1879, and first admitted women in 1892. Today, the university enrolls over 28,000 students and offers more than 110 fields of academic study at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has continuously accredited the university since 1897. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school as 52nd among public universities in the country.

The College of Social Work offers an online bachelor's degree in social work designed specifically for transfer students. Applicants to the bachelor of science (BS) program need 60 credits of general education coursework or have earned an associate degree from an accredited school. Additionally, the program requires the completion of two prerequisite courses: introduction to social work, and introduction to social welfare. Most students take five semesters to complete the program.

All required coursework for the degree follows a synchronous delivery format, with course materials, recorded lectures, and discussions available online at any time. Students complete field work or practicum experience prior to graduating from the program. The field work experience takes place in a real-world, social work setting within the student's home area.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Social Work
Tuition: $371/credit in-state; $446/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 60 credits (major)
Program Length: 5 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (865) 974-3352
Email: bsswinfo@utk.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Natchitoches, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

Northwestern State University of Louisiana began in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School, granting two-year teaching degrees. The school assumed its current name in 1970 when it achieved university status. NSU currently enrolls more than 10,000 students and offers a full range of degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The university holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The online bachelor's degree in social work at NSU prepares students for generalist social work practice. This 120-credit program includes 53 credits of core social work courses. Students graduate with a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree upon completing the program. Online courses follow both synchronous and asynchronous delivery formats, and courses are taught following the typical 16-week semester with fewer courses offered in either the 8-week A or B terms. In the summer, students can opt to enroll in 4-week or 8-week terms. The BSW program does not require any campus visits for completion. Students meet the field work requirement within their home area with the approval of the school.

A student may obtain admission to NSU and declare social work as their major at any time. However, the BSW program requires students to apply to the Social Work Professional Program prior to enrolling in any social work practice classes. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 overall GPA and a 2.5 GPA in social work courses. The program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $375/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (318) 357-5493
Email: socialwork@nsula.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Wayne State University began as Detroit Medical College in 1868, adopted the name Wayne University in 1934, and took its current name in 1956. Wayne State University currently enrolls just over 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and offers more than 350 academic fields of study through its thirteen schools and colleges. Wayne State University holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university among the country's top schools for its online bachelor's programs, 93rd out of 367 schools.

The online social work bachelor's degree at Wayne State University prepares students for entry-level, generalist social work practice, particularly in urban settings. Graduates earn a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree. The program consists of 120 credits, divided equally between general education, including pre-requisite social work courses, and core coursework.

The social work professional curriculum consists of courses revolving around five key areas: human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, social welfare policy and services, research methods, and field education. Online students complete the fieldwork component of the program within their home area. The university's BSW program maintains a preferential focus on various disenfranchised groups within an urban setting, including poor and oppressed populations, persons of color, and at-risk individuals and groups.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $457/credit in-state; $1,050/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 60 credits (major)
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (313) 577-4409
Email: sswadmissions@wayne.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter; Instagram

7

Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, NM Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

Although the state legislature approved its charter in 1927, the Eastern New Mexico Junior College, the forerunner of Eastern New Mexico University, did not formally open until 1934. The stock market crash of 1929 and ensuing Great Depression delayed the school's opening. The school adopted its current name, and achieved university status in 1949.

Eastern New Mexico University currently offers more than 60 programs at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. The school enrolls more than 6,000 students, representing all 50 states and 29 countries. The university holds accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

The university’s online social work degree consists of 57 upper-division coursework. Students graduating from the program earn a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree. The university's on-campus BSW program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), while the online BSW program follows the guidelines and standards set by CSWE. Both degrees prepare students for generalist social work practice in diverse fields, including child welfare, law enforcement, schools, and correctional facilities.

The social work curriculum includes coursework in social welfare policy, mental health perspectives, public child welfare, and human behavior in a social environment. The field component of the program comprises 464 clock hours, takes place over two semesters, and can be completed in the student's home area.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $260/credit in-state; $340/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 57 credits (major)
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (575) 562-4226
Email: kathleen.iremonger@enmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Troy University

Troy, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

Troy University was founded in 1887 as Troy State Normal School for the training and education of teachers for the state's school system. By 1957, the teacher training school had grown to a four-year college. In 2005, several small satellite schools and area colleges merged to form Troy University, which became the flagship school of the Troy University System. Close to 18,000 students currently study at the university, pursuing one of several bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees offered. Troy University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Students can earn a bachelor of science (BS) through the College of Health and Human Services’ online bachelor's degree in social work. After completing the general education requirements of a BS degree, students apply to the professional social work program for enrollment in advanced coursework in the major. Admission requires a minimum overall GPA of 2.0.

The social work curriculum includes courses in key topics in current practice, such as social policy and planning; social work with individuals and families; ethics; and social work with groups and communities. All students complete a 400-hour practicum experience in order to graduate. The social work programs at Troy University have accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Social Work
Tuition: $338/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (800) 414-5756
Email: ask@troy.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Northern Arizona University was founded in 1899 as Arizona Normal College, a teacher training school. The college opened with an initial enrollment of 23 students and two faculty members. The school achieved university status in 1966, at which time it took on its current name. Today, Northern Arizona University enrolls over 31,000 students and offers more than 150 programs on the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The university holds Higher Learning Commission accreditation. U.S. News & World Report rates the online bachelor's programs offered by the school among the best in the country, 58th out of 367 schools.

NAU’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a bachelor of science through its online social work degree. This program prepares students for generalist social work practice, with a particular focus on the rural and indigenous populations of the Southwest. It comprises 120 credits, 60-61 of which must come from core social work curriculum. Students enroll in classes on social and economic justice, crisis intervention, human behavior and the social environment, and contemporary topics in social work.

The BSW program requires the completion of 480 hours of field education internship prior to graduation. Online students can fulfill this requirement in their home area with the approval of the school. Northern Arizona University's BSW program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $459/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.25 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (928) 523-3626
Email: pamela.bishop@nau.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Kearney, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

The University of Nebraska Kearney began in 1903 as the Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney. It joined the Nebraska state college system in 1963, before achieving university status and taking its current name in 1991. Today, the University of Nebraska Kearney enrolls more than 6,000 students and offers undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse academic fields. U.S. News & World Report gives the school two top rankings: 10th in public schools and 53rd among Midwest universities.

The College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Nebraska Kearney offers an online social work bachelor's degree, allowing students to graduate with a bachelor of science. The program comprises 120 credits distributed evenly between general education credits, core social work courses, and approved electives. After completing the general education requirements, students must apply and be accepted to the social work program before advancing to the professional practice sequence.

All students complete a field placement experience consisting of at least 400 contact hours prior to graduation. Field placement experience takes place in the student’s home area, during the final year in the program. The Council on Social Work Education has accredited the BS in social work program at the University of Nebraska Kearney since 1982, while the university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Social Work Comprehensive
Tuition: $255/credit in-state; $387/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (308) 865-8927
Email: ecampus@unk.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

King University

Bristol, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 87%

King University was founded as King College in 1866, a small Christian college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. When it achieved university status in 2013, the college adopted its current name. King University currently enrolls more than 2,000 students and offers degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. It holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 71st among top universities in the south.

King University offers an online bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) that prepares its graduates for generalist social work practice. The BSW program consists of 124 semester hours, 52 of which come from core social work courses. The core curriculum includes coursework in social work research and evaluation, human diversity and ethical issues, social welfare policy, social work practice methods, and human behavior and the social environment — all through a trauma-informed lens. All students must complete a field work assignment prior to graduating from the program. Online students can fulfill this requirement in their home area. The King BSW program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

The University makes it possible to earn a BSW degree online in as few as 16 months for students who have completed at least 45 transferable semester hours. Except for two courses, integrative practice and historical foundations, each online social work course lasts for five weeks.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $305/credit
Credit Requirements: 124 credits
Program Length: 16 months

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.2 minimum

Contact
Phone: (888) 391-8258
Email: online@king.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

As part of Touro College and University System, Touro University Worldwide began in 2008 with the goal of helping adult learners meet their academic and professional objectives. The university currently enrolls more than 12,000 students and offers several associate, bachelor's, master's, and first-professional degrees in fields including business, education, health sciences, and law. TUW holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

The online social work bachelor's degree at TUW comprises 120 credits broken down as follows: 45 general education credits, 51 credits of major and core requirements, and 24 credits of approved electives. Students must first complete the general education and prerequisite courses before enrolling in social work classes. The social work curriculum includes courses in ethics and social policy, social work research, child welfare services, and comparative social work. All students complete a 450-hour field work practicum in their final year, carried out in each student's home area. Additionally, students complete a capstone project prior to graduation.

Online courses at TUW follow 8-week delivery formats. Students can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students earn the BA degree in three and a half years, while part-time students graduate in seven years.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Social Work
Tuition: $400/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 3.2 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Contact
Phone: (818) 575-6800
Email: online@tuw.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 28%

Founded in 1963 as Metropolitan State College, Metropolitan State University of Denver opened in 1965 with an initial enrollment of 1,180 students. The college began as a vocational school offering general education and two-year programs, but quickly transformed into a baccalaureate institution. Today, Metropolitan State University of Denver’s nearly 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students pursue one of the school’s 217 degree options at the certificate, bachelor's, and master's levels. The university holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Metropolitan State University of Denver offers an online social work degree through the College of Professional Studies. Students who complete the program graduate with a bachelor of science (BS) degree in social work. After completing general education and prerequisite coursework, students apply for admission to the social work major before enrolling in upper-division classes. The social work curriculum includes courses in civic responsibility and community engagement, social welfare policy, contemporary gender and sexuality issues in social work, and scientific inquiry for social work. This BS in social work program has Council on Social Work Education accreditation.

The field experience component of the program consists of 480 supervised hours over two semesters. Students complete this requirement in their home area. Courses for the BS program in social work follow an asynchronous delivery format, although some courses contain synchronous components.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Social Work
Tuition: $260/credit in-state; $810/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (303) 615-0555
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

California State University - Chico

Chico, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

In 1887, Chico State opened as a teacher training institution with five faculty members and 90 students. Now, the university — which officially became California State University in 1972 — enrolls more than 17,000 students from 34 states and 47 countries. Chico State holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 9th among top public university and 41st among best universities in the West.

Designed as a degree completion program, the online social work degree at Chico State begins at the junior year, after students have completed all general education requirements. Students who complete the program graduate with a bachelor of arts. The social work program requires the completion of roughly 60 units in the major including coursework in social work research methods; community and organizational change; and social welfare policy, programs, and services. Courses for the BA in social work follow a hybrid delivery format, with approximately 67% of the time spent online and 33% as face-to-face instruction and interaction.

The online social work program prioritizes applicants from specific Northern California counties. Students can opt to pursue an accelerated two-year, full-time course of study or a three-year, part-time study plan.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Social Work
Tuition: $2,699/6 credits
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.1 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (530) 898-5235
Email: mcheatham@csuchico.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Bemidji State University

Bemidji, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Bemidji State University began in 1919 as a teacher training institution and became a full-fledged university in 1975. Today, BSU enrolls approximately 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students from 36 states and 38 countries. The school offers 65 bachelor's degrees and pre-professional programs and 14 post-baccalaureate degrees. U.S. News & World Report includes the school in two of its rankings: as 22nd among top public schools and 94th among best regional universities Midwest rankings.

The online bachelor's degree in social work at Bemidji State University prepares students for generalist social work practice, providing a foundation for further studies in the field. A degree completion program, applicants need at least an associate degree and a minimum 2.25 GPA to be considered for admission. Students enroll in 69 credits of core social work coursework in social welfare policy, family dynamics and intervention, and social work research. The program requires the completion of a 480-hour internship experience that students can complete near their home.

The program takes six semesters to complete and follows a cohort model of education, with each cohort consisting of 20 students. Courses follow a blended delivery format that requires students to visit campus one Saturday each month. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and BSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $270/credit
Credit Requirements: 69 credits (major)
Program Length: 6 semesters

Delivery
Format: Hybrid

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.2 minimum

Contact
Phone: (218) 755-2068
Email: epaine@bemidjistate.edu

16

Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

In 1873, Spring Arbor University served elementary and secondary grades, then grew to a junior college, a four-year college, and finally, in 2001, it became a full-fledged university. Today, SAU enrolls over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 70 associate, degree completion, bachelor's, and master's programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school as 53rd in its best regional universities Midwest rankings.

SAU offers an online bachelor's degree in social work through its School of Human Services. After completing general education requirements, students apply to the social work major to begin enrolling in upper-division coursework. Applicants need at least a 2.5 GPA to be considered for the social work program, which requires coursework in social welfare policies; racial and ethnic relations; statistics for the behavioral sciences; and social work practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Students undergo a 400-hour internship experience prior to graduation, which they may complete in their home area.

SAU offers all coursework for this degree online, but all electives may not be available online every semester. Qualified Michigan residents can earn a child welfare endorsement along with the degree. SAU's online social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and SAU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $587/credit
Credit Requirements: 124 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (844) 621-0900
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Western New Mexico University

Silver City, NM Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 27%

Western New Mexico University began in 1893 with 40 students and became a university in 1963. It currently enrolls more than 3,500 students and offers 70 fields of study on the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. The university holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

WNMU offers an online social work bachelor's degree through its College of Professional Studies. The program does not require students to complete all general education requirements prior to enrolling in social work courses. Students complete 18 credits of supporting coursework in disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and education. The core social work requirements comprise 44 credits and include courses in ethics, social welfare policies, diversity in social work, and research methods.

This program requires the completion of an internship, which students may fulfill nearby. Working students may use their place of employment as long they delineate practicum hours from regular work hours. WNMU's social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $3,865/15 credits in-state; $8,065/15 credits out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (575) 538-6421
Email: patricia.west@wnmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Aurora University

Aurora, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Located outside Chicago, Aurora University enrolls approximately 5,800 undergraduate and graduate students who pursue bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Aurora University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

AU offers an online social work degree designed as a degree completion program for adults; traditional students entering their junior year may also apply. To be considered, adult applicants need two years of work experience or military service, 15 semester hours of transferable college-level credits from an accredited institution with at least a 2.0 GPA, and an associate degree or proof of high school completion. Aurora University students need at least a 2.5 GPA; 60 semester hours of general education courses; and coursework in general psychology, principles of sociology, and the U.S. government.

Students at AU complete 40 semester hours of social work core courses on social welfare policies and institutions, social work with communities and organizations, and social work research and methods. Students complete the fieldwork requirement over two semesters in their home area. Online courses follow an eight-week delivery schedule. Graduates can sit for the state licensed social work examination. AU's online social work program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $425/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (888) 570-5070
Email: onlineinfo@aurora.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Limestone College

Gaffney, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

Limestone College opened with an initial enrollment of 67 women and ultimately became the first women's college in the state of South Carolina, the school began to welcome male students in the 1960s. Limestone currently enrolls over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 31 countries and 23 states. U.S. News & World Report ranks Limestone 45th in its best regional colleges South rankings.

Limestone's online bachelor's degree in social work comprises 123 credits and prepares students for generalist social work practice. Core courses include social welfare programs and policy; the influence of sexual factors on behavior; practice with culturally diverse populations; and social work intervention for individuals, families, small and big groups, and communities. The program requires students to undergo a 400-hour field practicum experience, and students meet weekly with their field practicum coordinator. Finally, students who earn this degree are eligible for initial social work licensure in South Carolina.

Limestone offers all required coursework for this degree online via an eight-week delivery format; each academic year consists of six eight-week terms. The Council on Social Work Education first accredited this program in 1999, and the school continues to hold this accreditation. Limestone itself is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $1,323/3 credits
Credit Requirements: 123 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (864) 489-7151
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Union Institute & University

Cincinnati, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 0%

The Union Institute & University began in 1964 when the presidents of nine liberal arts colleges agreed to form an institution for research and educational collaboration. Through a series of expansion and acquisitions, the institute eventually became the Union Institute & University in 2001. The university currently enrolls more than 1,000 students and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.

Union's online social work bachelor's degree prepares students for generalist social work practice in community and public health, youth and education, and mental health. Students who complete the program earn a bachelor of science. The program requires students to apply to the social work major after completing general education requirements. Prior to applying to the major, students need to complete two prerequisite courses: introduction to social work, and social welfare policy and issues.

The core social work curriculum at Union comprises 48 credits and includes courses in ethical issues in social work, research methods in social work, and human behavior and the social environment. Required fieldwork consists of 400 contact hours that can be fulfilled near the student's home, pending school approval. Online courses at Union follow an eight-week delivery schedule. The social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and the university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Social Work
Tuition: $545/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Contact
Phone: (800) 861-6400
Email: cinti.admissions@myunion.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Brescia University

Owensboro, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

Established as a college in 1950, Brescia University currently enrolls more than 1,200 students and offers several associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges first accredited the university in 1957, and the school continues to hold this accreditation. U.S. News & World Report ranks Brescia University as one of the best regional colleges in the South.

Brescia offers an online social work bachelor's degree through its Marilyn Younger Conley School of Social Work. Major coursework comprises 42 credits and includes classes in politics and social issues, social welfare policy, and research methods in social work. Students complete the degree's fieldwork component in their home region. Finally, students who have met the school's minimum general education requirements and who have 86 transferable credits may complete the program in roughly two years.

Brescia University offers five start dates for their online programs: January, March, May, August, and October. Students who complete the program can also sit for the state social work licensure exam. The program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $425/credit
Credit Requirements: 128 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (270) 686-4353
Email: buonline@brescia.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 34%

Campbellsville University began in 1906 as a school for boys founded by the Russell Creek Baptist Association. The school gradually expanded its academic offerings until it became a university in 1996. CU currently enrolls approximately 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students who seek degrees on the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels (some certificate programs are available as well). The university holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

CU offers an online social work degree that consists of 120 credits: 41 credits of general education, 51 credits of social work, and 28 credits of electives. Core social work curriculum consists of courses in social policy and planning, human diversity, and qualitative and quantitative statistics and research methods. Although the program does not require students to pursue a minor, they can focus their elective coursework around a specific social work cognate like foster care, adoption, aging, and addictions. Student complete required practicum hours within their home area.

Students can transfer up to 72 accredited earned credits to CU's social work program. These credits often fulfill general education and elective requirements of the program. The Carver School of Social Work holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $399/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Contact
Phone: (888) 506-6011
Email: online@campbellsville.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Standish, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy and chartered by the Maine legislature in 1915, Saint Joseph's College began as a school for women. The college began admitting men in 1970. Today, the on-campus student population of SJC stands at just over 1,000, with approximately 2,500 more enrolled in online programs. The college offers over 40 fields of study on the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate levels. SJC holds accreditation from the New England Commission on Higher Education.

The online social work degree at SJC prepares students for generalist social work practice with disenfranchised and at-risk populations. The program follows a cohort model of education primarily via synchronous classes, although some courses have asynchronous components. Classes cover brain processes and social work, social welfare and policy, and qualitative and quantitative research methods in social science research. The program requires two distinct internship experiences, providing online students nine months of field experience. Students can fulfill this requirement in their home area.

In 2016, Saint Joseph's College began the three-year accreditation process with the Council on Social Work Education. At the end of the process in June 2019, social work graduates from SJC will be eligible to pursue licensure in their state of practice and may be eligible for advanced standing towards their MSW.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $345/credit
Credit Requirements: 128 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 752-4723
Email: onlineadmissions@sjcme.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Huntington University

Huntington, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Founded by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1897, Huntington University enrolls more than 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 70 programs of study at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 20th among the best regional colleges in the Midwest.

Huntington University offers an online bachelor's degree in social work that prepares students for generalist social work practice and/or further studies in the field. Prior to enrolling in upper-division social work classes, students need to submit a portfolio for formal evaluation in the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Online courses at HU follow a five-week delivery schedule, and students must complete two residency periods. The social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and HU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work
Tuition: $25,956/year
Credit Requirements: 128 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.3 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (800) 600-4888
Email: online@huntington.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Briar Cliff University

Sioux City, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

First opened as an all-female institution, Briar Cliff University enrolled 25 students during its first year. The school quickly expanded its two-year degree offerings to four-year programs and began admitting men in the mid-1960s. Today, nearly 1,200 students from 42 states and 26 countries enroll at BCU, pursuing degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The Council on Social Work Education has accredited the university since 1974.

BCU offers an online social work degree designed as a degree completion program. Applicants need an associate degree from an accredited school to be considered for admission. In lieu of an associate degree, the program considers applicants with a minimum of 77 transferable college credits. Students can pursue all required coursework for this degree online via asynchronous format and scheduled online meetings with faculty. The program only accepts 22 new students each semester.

Major coursework for BCU's social work degree covers community organization, history and general method of social work, social issues and policy, and digital research for social science subjects. Students complete at least 450 hours of fieldwork, which can be carried out in their home area. This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of Social Work (Degree Completion)
Tuition: $415/credit
Credit Requirements: 47 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (712) 279-5200; (800) 662-3303
Email: admissions@briarcliff.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Social Work Program?

The vast majority of bachelor of social work online degree programs prepare graduates for entry-level positions in the field as residential counselors, group home workers, and mental health assistants. While certain details will vary depending on specific schools, this guide is a good starting point to help you find the social worker degree online program that best suits you.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Bachelor's in Social Work

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Generalist Social Work The generalist track is the most common option within social worker programs online for the undergraduate level. By teaching students the fundamental theories and practices in the field, this track lays the foundation for further education and research and provides graduates with the flexibility to pursue a wide range of careers. Mental health assistant, program coordinator, case worker, group counselor
Minority Group Service Students with an interest in the health of minority groups may choose to pursue coursework that allows them specifically cater to the needs of underserved populations. This social worker degree online LGBT persons and those within an ethnic or racial group. Students focus on community organization and diversity challenges in the United States. LGBT health associate, community organizer, latino health advocate
Family and Aging In family and aging social worker programs online, students focus on family dynamics and the challenges of the aged, preparing for careers in nursing homes or as child welfare specialists. They are also prepared to tackle issues of violence within the family, particularly as it affects women, children, and mental health. Group home worker, family counselor, women's health promoter

Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's in Social Work

Most social work programs online teach students to become generalists, thereby preparing them for entry-level positions or more specialized training through graduate programs. Nuances between programs exist based on the school's history, location, and influence of instructors who teach there. Below are some sample courses that provides a broad overview of what you can generally expect from this type of degree.

  • Human Behavior & the Social Environment: This introductory course is common among social worker degree online programs. Providing a broad understanding of human developmental stages and the connection between human growth and the environment, this course prepares students for general entry-level work in the field as school counselors or case work assistants.
  • Cultural Diversity: This course provides students with a general understanding of the history and challenges of oppressed people in the United States. By delving into their own ethnic and cultural heritage and looking at other minority groups, students begin to prepare for work with diverse populations as advocates and educators for a diverse approach to social work and community care.
  • Death & Dying: This class focuses on the complex and various aspects of individual responses and cultural beliefs towards death and dying. It provides future social workers, particularly those who want to work with the aged, with some fundamental tools to help individuals deal with their mortality. They also learn to help grieving families heal after the loss of a loved one.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Social Work?

Online colleges for social work require students to earn at least 120 credit hours to graduate. This usually takes four years of full-time enrollment. Students who have previous college credits can complete their bachelor's in social work in about two years. Some online programs exclusively provide a degree completion track and require applicants to have at least 60 hours worth of college experience before they can enroll in the program.

Other factors that affect length are whether or not a program adheres to a cohort or individual learning model. Most programs have aspects of both in their curriculum. Cohort learning usually means distance learners advance through a linear degree plan with a group of peers, enabling them to build relationships and support each other during the learning process. This also means that certain classes are only available during certain semesters, which can be challenging for online students with full-time jobs or other obligations. An asynchronous, individual program allows the most flexibility and can be completed quickly.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Social Work Degrees

National accreditation is the most popular and comes from either the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education (DOE). Regional accreditation is the highest available from of accreditation. It ensures a school meets the educational requirements of the state or group-of-states within that particular area, a marker that almost all employers look for. There are six agencies recognized by CHEA and USDE as having the power to grant this designation. Fully accredited online schools for social work should have approval from the Council of Social Work Education, a private body that creates academic and professional standards of education in this field and ensures that programs meet certain standards. You should look for a program that has all three forms of accreditation.

The most popular accreditation for nonprofit colleges and universities is at the national level and comes from either the DOE or the CHEA. The DOE recognizes seven regional accreditation organizations, while the CHEA only recognizes six. DOE approval is more important, though you should look for a social work degree online program that has both. For a list of accredited colleges and universities, see the DOE's and CHEA's websites.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Social Work Graduates

Job Placement

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor's degree from an accredited online schools for social work is a requirement for most entry-level positions in the field. This is because a bachelor's degree prepares individuals for the challenges and opportunities of serving as a social worker, case manager, substance abuse counselor, or a related professional.

All states also require social workers to be licensed and licensure is typically an option restricted to those who have completed a relevant four-year degree. As a result, individuals who have achieved an associate degree will not be able to practice in the field.

Bachelor's in Social Work Salary

While entry-level salaries for those who have received a degree from one of the online colleges for social work tend to be comparatively low, more experience translates to higher salaries. Consider the data below on median salaries for social workers and related professions from Payscale.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Social Worker $43,984 $39,560 $46,000 $54,610
Substance Abuse Counselor $37,957 $35,300 $39,855 $46,690
Child Life Specialist $40,088 $39,210 $42,410 $60,410
Mental Health Case Manager $35,967 $34,200 $37,080 $48,240
School Social Worker $48,089 $44,160 $48,960 $62,400

Bachelor's in Social Work Careers

Although most graduates of social worker degree online programs go on to become social workers, many other career options are also available. A common thread among all careers in the field is the fact that successful professionals are personable, excellent communicators, and willing and able to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds and facing many a diverse set of life challenges. Below are five of the most common careers in this field:

  • Social Worker: The most common career path for those who take part in social worker programs online, these professionals work with individuals and families in a variety of settings. Social workers typically have strong communication skills and an ability to connect and build trust with others. Professionals in this field regularly handle large caseloads, making good time management skills a must.
  • Substance Abuse Counselor: These professionals focus on addressing the needs of individuals dealing with drug and alcohol use and abuse. Their work may take place in group settings or through one-on-one meetings with clients, and they're often contracted by businesses and nonprofit organizations to assist employees. Many substance abuse counselors emphasize prevention and can recognize common signs of abuse in both children and adults.
  • Child Life Specialist: Most often found in hospitals and other healthcare settings, child life specialists work with children who have serious medical conditions. These professionals help families cope with illness from a psychological, emotional, and physical perspective. Stress reduction, counseling, and care coordination are key components of child life specialists' work.
  • Mental Health Case Manager: These professionals develop and implement care plans for individuals with mental illnesses, often coordinating these plans with doctors, home care providers, and family members. They also conduct regular check-ins with their clients to ensure that they remain on track with their care.
  • School Social Worker: Typically focused on K-12 education settings, school social workers observe students and determine if they may be dealing with mental, emotional, or social challenges. If so, they work with teachers and parents to help students address these issues in positive ways.
Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Social Worker $46,890 12%
Substance Abuse Counselor $41,070 22%
Child Life Specialist $46,610 6%
Mental Health Case Manager $44,170 19%
School Social Worker $47,510 12%
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW): With more than 132,000 members, NASW is the largest professional organization in the social work field. The group offers professional development opportunities and advocates for sound public policies at the federal level.
  • American Case Management Association (ACMA): ACMA offers professional development opportunities, networking, and advocacy related to laws and policies that impact the practice of case management across various fields.
  • The Network for Social Work Management: This international association aims to strengthen the field of social work by providing a platform for its members to communicate, network, and share best practices.

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Social Work Program

When searching through the various bachelor of social work online degree programs available, one of your concerns may be how you will pay for your education. Fortunately, a variety of resources are available, including scholarships and federal student aid. All students, regardless of their financial circumstances, should take the time to fill out a FAFSA form to find out if they are eligible for grants, subsidized loans, or work-study programs that can help fund their studies.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.