Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Social workers are the pillars of emotional and social health of their communities. Accelerate your career with the fastest online social work degree programs.
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Best Online Accelerated Bachelor's Degree Programs in Social Work

Earning an accelerated bachelor of social work (BSW) can launch you on a fast track to a social work career. If you have an associate degree, you can earn a BSW by enrolling in an accelerated degree completion program. After graduation, you can pursue careers in the field or apply to a master of social work (MSW) program and obtain state licensure.

Online BSW programs offer flexibility for students with personal and work responsibilities.

Check out this guide to learn about the top accelerated BSW degrees.

Popular Online BSW Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Best Accelerated Social Work Degrees of 2024

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

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#1 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Simmons University

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $1,150
Out-of-State | $1,150

Credits to Graduate: 128

Simmons University's online bachelor's in social work program can help you launch a career that helps you change lives for the better. You can transfer up to 96 credits to earn your degree faster. You'll get to experience an immersive and engaging digital campus with researched, effective online teaching techniques.

The curriculum includes two resident training experiences so you can explore clinical interviewing assessments in a live setting. You'll also get support finding a practicum site, where you'll get at least 700 hours of hands-on experience over nine months to a year, along with 280 hours working as a counselor trainee. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$41,872
Out-of-state
$41,872
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$21,384
Out-of-state
$21,384
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
5,984
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#2 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

  • Knoxville, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: None

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $13,480
Out-of-State | $31,970

Credits to Graduate: 121

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers an online bachelor's of science in social work. To apply, you'll need to have earned at least 60 transferable credit hours and have an associate of art or associate of science degree. You can still apply if you haven't yet finished your associate degree, but you must complete 60 credit hours by the fall semester.

The BSSW degree is taught through asynchronous teaching methods so you can fit school around your schedule. Choose from cutting-edge electives like courses on trauma, forensic social work, crisis intervention and suicidology, and social work with military and veteran populations.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,332
Out-of-state
$29,522
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,468
Out-of-state
$29,656
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
31,701
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $390
Out-of-State | $590 

Credits to Graduate: 120

The University of North Dakota could be a perfect fit if you want the option to create a custom schedule with online and on-campus course options to earn a BSSW. You can also pursue your degree fully online. The BSSW program focuses on serving people and communities in rural areas.

The curriculum includes courses on human behavior and the social environment, social work practice for individuals, families, and groups, and social policy. You'll also have the opportunity to participate in social work research and fieldwork to gain valuable experience.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,882
Out-of-state
$13,323
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,503
Out-of-state
$17,254
Retention Rate
77%
Acceptance Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
13,772
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#4 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Temple University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education 

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $670
Out-of-State | $670

Credits to Graduate: 120

Temple University's online bachelor's of social work can help prepare you for a career advancing social justice for individuals, families, and communities. The program emphasizes societal transformation, helping you build a career that addresses issues like institutional racism, health disparities, and poverty in Philadelphia’s urban setting. 

The 60-credit degree completion program is asynchronous and offered fully online, giving you access to the same courses as the on-campus program. Course topics include biological and social factors that contribute to human development, identifying forms of oppression, and advocating for individuals and social groups.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$16,488
Out-of-state
$29,712
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,388
Out-of-state
$23,922
Retention Rate
86%
Acceptance Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
35,626
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#5 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Honolulu, HI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: None

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $470
Out-of-State | $1,390

Credits to Graduate: 59

The University of Hawaii at Manoa's bachelor of social work program is delivered in a fully asynchronous format so you can adapt studying to your schedule. Unlike many other online programs, you'll take one condensed, intensive course at a time. 

The program is designed to remove the geographical or scheduling barriers to help you earn a BSW. You'll start in the field world after completing the first semester requirements. The program will match you with community agencies with the supervision of certified MSW-level field instructors.

To be accepted, you will need to have completed or be in the process of completing the general education core requirements from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,304
Out-of-state
$33,336
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,600
Out-of-state
$33,648
Retention Rate
80%
Acceptance Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
19,098
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
89% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#6 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Misericordia University

  • Dallas, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $680
Out-of-State | $680

Credits to Graduate: 121

Misericordia University's accelerated bachelor of social work program offers flexible hybrid and fully online options that can be completed in as little as two years. Courses are sequential within a cohort model, but timings can be adapted to your schedule. You'll get individual support and attention, along with hands-on experience through field instructions.

Misericordia University has articulation agreements with Marywood University and Monmouth University for their master of social work programs. If you're accepted, you could gain advanced placement into these master's degree programs.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,100
Out-of-state
$34,100
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$35,550
Out-of-state
$35,550
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
2,239
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#7 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Mount Vernon Nazarene University

  • Mount Vernon, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $350
Out-of-State | $350

Credits to Graduate: 46

Mount Vernon Nazarene University's online bachelor’s degree in social work is 100% online, with the exception of in-person practicum experiences. The cohort format means you'll have the chance to connect with other students and faculty. You'll need to complete an in-person field assignment to fulfill state licensing requirements.

You could complete the degree in as little as 27 months. Mount Vernon Nazarene University reports that graduates earn a median annual salary of $50,390, with a 9% job growth and 74,700 job openings.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$23,483
Out-of-state
$23,483
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,674
Out-of-state
$10,674
Retention Rate
78%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
2,064
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Touro University Worldwide

  • Los Alamitos, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: None

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $400
Out-of-State | $400

Credits to Graduate: 120

Touro University Worldwide's 100% online bachelor's in social work program offers 8-week courses with the option to transfer up to 90 credits from another institution. The program focuses on community advocacy and social policy, preparing you to provide counseling, referrals, and human services.

You'll have the opportunity to gain fieldwork experience. Previous program fieldwork placements have included schools, family counseling centers, senior centers, and social service organizations. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$14,440
Out-of-state
$14,440
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,000
Out-of-state
$9,000
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,251
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#9 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Millersville University of Pennsylvania

  • Millersville, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $430
Out-of-State | $930

Credits to Graduate: 120

Millersville University of Pennsylvania's 60-credit BSW program is designed for students who already hold an associate degree. Courses are offered year-round as a 100% online degree completion program. The courses you'll take are carefully sequenced to build upon previous knowledge.

To apply, you're expected to have already completed associate coursework in modern social welfare dilemmas, human behavior and the social environment, human biology, general psychology, state and local government, and sociology of the family. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,570
Out-of-state
$19,290
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,288
Out-of-state
$13,932
Retention Rate
75%
Acceptance Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
7,191
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#10 Best Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs of 2024

Briar Cliff University

  • Sioux City, IA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $380
Out-of-State | $380

Credits to Graduate: 120

Briar Cliff University's bachelor's in social work is offered both in-person and online, and has an option for a degree-completion program. You can choose from four concentrations: children, youth and families; behavioral health and addictions; faith-based ministry; or Latino cultural competence in social work.

You'll need either an associate of arts degree or 77 college credits to be admitted to the BSW program. The program aims to train you in ethical, professional behavior while advancing human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice. You'll gain exposure to practice-informed research and research-informed practice to help individuals, families, and communities.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$32,526
Out-of-state
$32,526
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,450
Out-of-state
$9,450
Retention Rate
63%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,000
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

What Can I Do With an Accelerated Social Work Degree?

Earning an accelerated social work degree can qualify you for entry-level positions in child welfare, mental health, and criminal justice organizations. BSW-trained social workers often work as child advocates, caseworkers, and substance use specialists.

After gaining experience, you may move into administrative roles as social service directors and case managers. You will need an MSW and the appropriate license to offer clinical services to diagnose and treat mental health or behavioral conditions.

How Much Can I Make With an Accelerated Social Work Degree?

Several factors can impact your salary, including your employer, specialization, and education. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers earned an annual median salary of $63,770, with the lowest 10% making less than $39,580 and the highest 10% earning more than $104,580.

Hospitals, local government, and ambulatory healthcare services offer the highest salaries, while individual and family services pay the lowest. The fastest growing specialties, including healthcare and mental health and substance use, may pay higher salaries than child, family, and school social work positions.

What to Look for in an Accelerated Social Work Degree Program

If you have an associate degree or undergraduate transfer credits, an accelerated social work degree provides a quick way to finish your bachelor's and enter the workforce. Before enrolling in a BSW program, pay attention to these key indicators to ensure it fits your personal and professional needs.

Program Curriculum

Not all social work programs offer the same electives or specializations. If you want to focus on a particular population, such as children or the elderly, or in a specialized area like mental health or substance abuse, find out if the curriculum matches your professional goals.

Accreditation

The schools ranked here hold institutional accreditation to ensure they meet the highest educational standards. Attending an unaccredited school can negatively affect your transfer credits, financial aid eligibility, and employment.

BSW programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education ensure you will qualify for employment and licensure.

Program Length

Students entering an accelerated BSW program with an associate degree or previously earned credits may finish their degree in as little as 15 months, depending on the number of transfer credits the school accepts.

Clinical Experience or Practicum or Field Placement

Even the fastest online social work degrees require 400 hours of clinical experience. Most accelerated programs allow distance learners to complete fieldwork near their homes in the evening or on weekends. When choosing a BSW program, find out if you can complete your required field hours at a place and times that fit your needs.

School Graduation Rate

Graduation rates are a good indicator of the quality of an accelerated BSW program. The percentage of students who graduate in a timely manner and the drop-out rate may indicate how difficult students find the program and how much support they receive.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

While online accelerated programs offer flexibility and convenience, ensure that the instructional format fits your own learning style and schedule. For example, does the program use synchronous (live) or asynchronous (recorded) course delivery methods? Does it require on-campus visits?

What Can I Expect From an Accelerated Social Work Degree Program?

You may enter an accelerated social work program with an associate degree or previous undergraduate coursework. Many transfer credits satisfy the general education requirements needed for the bachelor's degree. If you enroll without these prerequisites, you may have to complete them before moving into the BSW foundational courses in human behavior, social work practice, research, and policy.

As you progress through the program, you will select electives and specialized courses. These classes usually focus on population groups, such as families, children, or individuals dealing with addictions. You may also explore different social work specialties, including mental health, corrections and justice, medical, and school.

All BSW students must complete a field placement or internship. Some accelerated programs may require an integrative capstone seminar.

What Are the Admission Requirements for Accelerated Social Work Degrees?

Accelerated BSW and traditional BSW programs share similar admission criteria. However, most accelerated programs limit the number of transfer credits or only admit students with an associate or a bachelor’s in a non-social work discipline. Always contact the program's admission office program for up-to-date information.

Admission Materials

Similar to a traditional BSW application, you must submit official transcripts from previously attended schools, letters of recommendation, and, in some cases, complete a personal statement or resume.

Education and Transfer Credits

Accelerated programs typically accept applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent who have completed an associate degree or a certain number of undergraduate transfer credits. Applicants must demonstrate completion of general education courses and specific prerequisites in classes such as psychology, sociology, and statistics.

GPA

Minimum GPA requirements for degree completion programs vary by school. Most accelerated BSW programs accept students with overall GPAs between 2.5 and 3.0.

Entrance Exam

Most accelerated BSW programs do not require an entrance exam or submission of SAT or ACT scores. However, students may submit standardized test results to support their application.

How Much Does an Accelerated Social Work Degree Cost?

Tuition rates vary considerably depending on the BSW program. Public, in-state schools typically charge lower tuition than private or out-of-state institutions. The total tuition for a two-year BSW program ranges from $20,000-$80,000, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Some accelerated BSW programs offer distance-learners discounted tuition or the same rate as in-state students, regardless of where they live. Students enrolled in online programs can save on transportation, housing, and other personal expenses. Most schools offer the same financial aid opportunities to degree completion and traditional students.

Average Annual Tuition Cost of a Bachelor's Degree, 2022-2023

Public Institution

$9,750

Private Institution (Nonprofit)

$38,421

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Everything Else You Need to Know About Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

How quickly can I get a social work degree?

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You can earn an accelerated BSW degree in two years or less with an associate degree. Each degree completion program has different transfer requirements and course formats. In some online programs, you may take courses in short 5-8 week formats compared to the 14-16 week formats in traditional programs, enabling you to graduate as quickly as possible.

Are accelerated bachelor's degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

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A traditional four-year BSW and an accelerated BSW degree from an accredited college or university offer the same social work curriculum and field experience requirements. They are generally regarded equally by employers and graduate schools. Employers who hire graduates from accelerated programs may recognize the self-discipline required to complete a rigorous and fast-paced degree.

Can you graduate faster with an online degree?

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An online degree may save you time and money compared to a traditional degree. However, your degree completion time depends on several factors, including the number of transfer credits and courses you take each term. Other considerations include the online delivery format and whether you attend full-time or part-time.

Is an online social work degree worth it?

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Like a traditional on-campus degree, an online social work degree can lead to various social work careers and provide a foundation for an MSW and state licensure. Online programs offer convenience and flexibility for degree-completion students and those who want to finish a degree while handling personal and work obligations.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed January 19, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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