According to the Council on Social Work Education, between 2008 and 2018 the number of students enrolling in social work degree programs increased exponentially: there was a 13.31 percent increase in the number of full-time social work students at colleges and universities around the country, as well as a 20.67 percent increase in part-time students. A similar trend was observed on the graduate level: full-time social work master's degree enrollments shot up by 42.72 percent, while part-time students pursuing these programs increased by 29.94 percent.

Clearly, there's a significant interest in pursuing a career in social work — those who provide extremely important services to their communities. This challenging work requires specialized skills and knowledge in order to effectively help people living through the most difficult of situations.

Continue reading to learn what this training entails, including what online social work degree students learn when they enroll in online social work degree programs on the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, this page includes information on the specific job duties that social workers perform, certifications to earn in order to move up in your career and professional organizations that provide services to workers in this field.

Frequently Asked Questions

Depending on the online social work degree program, you may take some or all of your coursework online. However, whether you enroll in an online social work degree or hybrid program, you are required to get hands-on experience through fieldwork.
When looking for an online social work degree program at top social work colleges, pay attention to the background of the department's professors, the types of concentrations the program offers, the research the department is involved in and the services available to current students and alumni. In addition, since fieldwork is such an important element of any social work program, find out what types of partnerships the school has with different agencies, which can be an indication of the quality of hands-on training available.

Online social work degree programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Best Online Colleges for Social Work in 2019-20

In order to plan for the best career outcomes, you have to choose the best program for your needs. To help you as a prospective social worker do this, we have compiled a list of the top online social work colleges on both the undergraduate and graduate-degree levels. Continue reading to learn about these online schools and the education that they offer.

1

Central Texas College

Tuition & Fees
$3,390
Distance Education Participation
57%
Location
Killeen, TX
School Type
2-year

CTC's Academic Focus: With its focus on ethical professional practice, accountability and excellence, Central Texas College offers degree programs that prepare students for a wide range of fields. The school offers associate degree programs, adult education courses and vocational-technical programs designed to develop people into skilled workers in the profession of their choice.

Featured CTC Resource: Central Texas College's library services allow online students to conveniently get help from a librarian and find the resources they need to work on assignments.

Social Work at Central Texas College

A.A.S. with a Social Work Specialization

  • Offered completely online
  • Some required courses are a Practicum-Clinical and Medial Social Work, Problems of Children and Adolescents, Pharmacology of Addiction, Dynamics of Group Counseling, Abnormal Intervention and Interviewing and Communications Skills
  • This degree may be appropriate for transfer into a bachelor-level degree program
  • 30 credit hours are in the mental health field
2

East Mississippi Community College

Tuition & Fees
$3,440
Distance Education Participation
56%
Location
Scooba, MS
School Type
2-year

EMCC's Academic Focus: Created with the mission of providing career and technical programs that develop students holistically, East Mississippi Community College offers a variety of degree programs that help give them the tools they need to become leaders in their chosen fields.

Featured EMCC Resource: The tutoring services at East Mississippi Community College provide assistance with English, science, writing and math coursework.

Social Work at East Mississippi Community College

A.A. in Social Work

  • Offered completely online
  • Students are exposed to personal/lived experiences of social work clients and the successes of professional social workers in respective practices such as mental health, child welfare, disaster, corrections, faith-based, military, international relief and industry
  • Students take classes in sociology, foreign language, and statistics
3

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Tuition & Fees
$6,657
Distance Education Participation
60%
Location
Fairbanks, AK
School Type
4-year

UAF Academic Focus: The Department of Social Work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is dedicated to training students for generalist social work practice by helping them develop critical thinking skills and an understanding of how to work with diverse populations in an ethical manner. In addition, students learn how bio-psycho-social, spiritual and cultural functioning impacts the lives of social work clients.

Featured UAF's Resource: The University of Alaska Fairbanks provides scholarships for eligible social work students to help them pay for their education expenses.

Social Work at University of Alaska Fairbanks

Bachelor of Social Work

  • Offered completely online
  • Requires 400 hours of practicum experience
  • Helps build knowledge of social, political and cultural change as well as skills in organizational dynamics and technological processes to help serve diverse communities
  • Hone skills through 400 supervised on-site field practice hours

Social Work minor

  • 15 credits
  • Offered completely online
  • Take courses like Ethics, Values and Social Work Practice
4

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Tuition & Fees
$7,922
Distance Education Participation
81%
Location
Natchitoches, LA
School Type
4-year

NSU's Academic Focus: Since the social work department of Northwestern State University of Louisiana was developed in 1970, the school has been helping prospective social workers cultivate the knowledge and competencies they need to work in several professional settings, including correctional facilities, schools, medical facilities and child welfare agencies.

Featured NSU Resource: Whether students need assistance accessing the Moodle learning management system, email or academic records, they can get the help they need through the school's Information Technology Services department.

Social Work at Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Bachelor of Social Work

  • Coursework is offered completely online
  • Fieldwork required
  • Provides a generalist foundation that is transferable among the different fields of practice, populations, and problem areas
  • Apply knowledge of bio-psycho-social variables that affect individual development and behavior, and use theoretical frameworks to understand the interactions among individuals and between individuals and social systems
5

James A Rhodes State College

Tuition & Fees
$4,085
Distance Education Participation
27%
Location
Lima, OH
School Type
2-year

RSC's Academic Focus: Rhodes State College is dedicated to providing education programs based on the core values of integrity, caring, responsibility, respect and quality. When students complete their education at the school, they are equipped with the skills employers look for and the abilities needed to positively contribute to their communities.

Featured RSC Resource: Students who need help with technology issues can turn to the Information Systems Department for assistance.

Social Work at Rhodes State College

A.A.S. in Human Services

  • Courses offered online
  • Practicum required
  • Take classes in Society of Aging, Interviewing Techniques, Chemical Dependency, Social Welfare in the United States, and several classes in American Sign Language
  • Meets the requirements to pursue a certificate of registration as a Social Work Assistant (SWA) with the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, & Marriage and Family Therapist Board and the credential of Human Services-Board Certified Professional (HS-BCP) with The Credentialing and Education Center
6

Northeast Mississippi Community College

Tuition & Fees
$3,596
Distance Education Participation
76%
Location
Booneville, MS
School Type
2-year

NMCC's Academic Focus: Northeast Mississippi Community College offers degree programs that provide industry-specific education to prepare students to meet the demands of the workforce. The school offers student-centered, comprehensive associate degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.

Featured NMCC Resource: Northeast Mississippi Community College's student help desk offers assistance with technology issues, as well as guides to help students learn about the online programs they use for their coursework.

Social Work at Northeast Mississippi Community College

A.A. in Social Work

  • Delivered online
  • Complete the 32 semester hours of general education core consisting of English composition, social and/or behavioral science (sociology, psychology, political science, geography, economics, or education psychology), humanities (history, literature, modern foreign language, philosophy, religion, art, speech, or music), laboratory science, fine arts (art/music/theatre appreciation), mathematics (MAT 1313, equivalent or above)
7

Eastern Kentucky University

Tuition & Fees
$9,666
Distance Education Participation
45%
Location
Richmond, KY
School Type
4-year

EKU's Academic Focus: Eastern Kentucky University's social work department helps eligible students pay for their education by offering scholarships. The Dr. Anthony Goldson Memorial Scholarship, R. Powell Scholarship and Jackie Blanchard Stephens Scholarship award funds to social work students based on academic performance and financial need.

Featured EKU Resource: The Center for Career and Co-op provides guidance to help students explore the best career options for them based on their interests, values, skills and personality. The Center's services include helping students find internship opportunities, so they can get a taste of the day-to-day work of a specific field.

Social Work at Eastern Kentucky University

Bachelor of Social Work

  • Delivered entirely online
  • Elective courses in crisis intervention, addiction and stress management available
  • Accelerated 8-week terms
  • Opportunities for practicum experiences to help you discover your calling and network with other professionals
8

Western Wyoming Community College

Tuition & Fees
$2,953
Distance Education Participation
50%
Location
Rock Springs, WY
School Type
2-year

WWCC's Academic Focus: Since 1959, Western Wyoming Community College has been offering associate degree programs to prepare students for a variety of careers. Created based on the school's mission of empowering people so they can improve their lives, degree programs are student-centered and designed to give students the skills that employers are looking for so they can carry out their work in an ethical manner.

Featured Resource: The Peer Tutor Center, which is certified by the College Reading and Learning Association, provides online tutoring to help students who are having challenges with their classwork.

Social Work at Western Wyoming Community College

A.A. in Social Work

  • Offered completely online
  • Courses include US & Wyoming Constitution, Intellectual Community in Social Work: Mechanisms of Oppression, Biology, Anthropology, Business and Chemistry
9

Liberty University

Tuition & Fees
$22,584
Distance Education Participation
90%
Location
Lynchburg, VA
School Type
4-year

LU's Academic Focus: iberty University has been a pioneer in distance education since 1985, when it began offering correspondence courses that allowed students to watch videotapes of lectures they received through the mail and send their tests and assignments back. By the late 1990s, Liberty began using the internet to bring its distance courses to the next level. Today, the school offers 400 online programs in numerous disciplines.

Featured LU Resource: Since social workers provide services to people from diverse backgrounds, they may wish to learn a foreign language to work in different communities. Students who need extra help mastering Spanish, French and German can get speaking and writing assistance through Liberty University's Online Foreign Language Lab.

Social Work at Liberty University

B.S. in Social Work

  • Coursework is delivered completely online
  • Fieldwork required
  • Featured courses include Social Work Field Exploration, Chemical Dependency, Human Behavior & the Social Environment and Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations
10

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Tuition & Fees
$9,544
Distance Education Participation
50%
Location
Little Rock, AR
School Type
4-year

UALR's Academic Focus: The University of Arkansas at Little Rock's School of Social Work was established in 1969 with the mission of teaching students how to follow the profession's code of ethics, work in culturally diverse areas, advocate on behalf of the field and advance social justice. The school's social work programs are designed to give students a deep understanding of research-informed practice methods, social work policy and evaluation and intervention strategies.

Featured UALR Resource: The Disability Resource Center ensures that all course materials are accessible to online students who are living with a disability.

Social Work at University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Bachelor of Social Work

  • Coursework is offered entirely online
  • Field experience required
  • Take courses in Social Work and Diversity, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Welfare Policy, Animal Assisted Therapy, Statistics for Social Workers and Independent Study
1

Western New Mexico University

Tuition & Fees
$6,066
Distance Education Participation
71%
Location
Silver City, NM
School Type
4-year

WNMU's Academic Focus: Western New Mexico University's social work department has been training professionals since 1893 with the mission of teaching students to perform their jobs in an ethical manner with social and economic justice in mind.

Featured Resource: The Center for Student Success offers several resources, including career, tutoring and accessibility services.

Social Work at Western New Mexico University

Master's of Social Work

  • 39 to 60 credits, asynchronous
  • Coursework delivered entirely online
  • 13 to 20 transfer credits accepted
  • Advanced standing and non-advanced standing programs available
  • Field practicum required
  • Courses include Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice, Community Organization and Development, Social Welfare Policy, Disabilities & Empowerment and Understanding the Rural Community
2

Missouri State University-Springfield

Tuition & Fees
$7,376
Distance Education Participation
37%
Location
Springfield, MO
School Type
4-year

MSU Springfield Academic Focus: Since 1905, Missouri State University has provided comprehensive, student-centered academic programs that not only prepare students for a specific industry, but also helps them work in a creative, innovative and collaborative manner.

Featured MSU Springfield Resource: Missouri State University's School of Social Work offers graduate assistantships that help students pay for their education as they receive 20 hours of valuable work experience each week. In addition, social work students can also apply for scholarships though the school.

Social Work at Missouri State University-Springfield

Master of Social Work

  • Offered online
  • Regular standing and advanced standing degree programs available
  • Field experience required
  • Classes on Social Justice, Social Welfare Policy and Services, Services for Women, Grant Writing, Families in Later Life and Nonprofit Management in the Health and Human Services
3

Arizona State University-Skysong

Tuition & Fees
$10,317
Distance Education Participation
97%
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
School Type
4-year

ASU Skysong's Academic Focus: Arizona State University's School of Social Work houses several research centers that dedicate their efforts on different areas of the field. For example, the Office of Forensic Social Work Research and Training focuses on increasing professionals' understanding of social work practice as it relates to the criminal justice system and the Office of Global Social Work concentrates on projects related to globalization.

Featured Resource: Arizona State University provides several scholarships to help social work students pay for their graduate education. For example, MSW students can win the Bhatti Scholarship, Domingo Rodriguez Scholarship, Karen Williams Endowed Scholarship or Edith Kolodny Block Endowment Scholarship from the school.

Social Work at Arizona State University-Skysong

Master of Social Work

  • 60 credits, asynchronous
  • Coursework offered entirely online
  • Classes last 7.5 weeks
  • Field education required
  • Offers three concentrations: Advanced Generalist, Direct Practice and Planning, Administration and Community Practice
4

University of Central Florida

Tuition & Fees
$6,368
Distance Education Participation
57%
Location
Orlando, FL
School Type
4-year

UCF's Academic Focus: The School of Social Work at the University of Central Florida is staffed with faculty members who are actively involved in social work research that explores topics like suicide prevention, the stigma of obesity, mental health and human rights education. In fact, the school has received research grants from various organizations, including the Orange County Board of County Commissioner, the Florida Department of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Featured UCF Resource: The University Writing Center offers consultations to online students who need help with assignment drafts.

Social Work at University of Central Florida Master of Social Work

  • 62 credits
  • Coursework is delivered online
  • Fieldwork required, with the ability to work with diverse clients in a variety of agency settings
  • Not all elective options or program prerequisites may be offered online
  • Program has potential ties to professional licensure or certification in the field
5

University of North Dakota

Tuition & Fees
$8,695
Distance Education Participation
49%
Location
Grand Forks, ND
School Type
4-year

UND's Academic Focus: Since 1984, the Department of Social Work at the University of North Dakota has been home to the Children and Family Services Training Center, the state's primary child welfare services training agency. Through its partnership with the Division of Children and Family Services, the agency provides training for both child welfare professionals as well as prospective foster parents.

Featured UND Resource: ProctorU provides a live online proctoring service via webcam for distance students who are required to have supervision when they take examinations.

Social Work at University of North Dakota

Master of Social Work

  • Offered completely online
  • An M.S.W. can be earned in three semesters
  • Thesis and non-thesis options available
  • Complete a field internship under the supervision of an experienced field instructor
6

Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Tuition & Fees
$11,707
Distance Education Participation
25%
Location
Fort Collins, CO
School Type
4-year

CSU Fort Collins' Academic Focus: Part of the school's Office of Engagement, CSU Online is the home of dozens of degree and certificate programs. Leveraging Colorado State University's long history of providing quality education that dates back to 1870, CSU Online offers courses that are created based on the school's core values of communication, service, innovation and engagement.

Featured CSU Fort Collins Resource: Since online students are required to take proctored exams, Colorado State University's testing center assists them in making the necessary arrangements when they need to complete a test.

Social Work at Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Master of Social Work

  • 60 credits
  • Takes three years to complete
  • Fieldwork required
  • Combines online coursework with two intensive learning weekends per semester in Denver, the Boulder/Longmont area or Fort Collins

Certificates

  • Nine credits
  • Offered entirely online
  • Students have the option to earn certificates in:
    • Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health
    • Conflict Resolution and Mediation
    • Military and Veteran Culture
    • Nonprofit Administration
    • PreK-12 School Social Worker
7

University of South Dakota

Tuition & Fees
$9,061
Distance Education Participation
46%
Location
Vermillion, SD
School Type
4-year

USD's Academic Focus: The University of South Dakota's social work department offers opportunities to learn about the field outside of class by participating in research projects and attending events that present different social work perspectives. In addition, the school has organizations dedicated to social work students, so they can learn more and connect with each other.

Featured USD Resource: Social work students can receive scholarships to help defray the cost of their studies if they have a good academic record and financial need.

Social Work at University of South Dakota

Master of Social Work

  • 60 credits
  • Coursework is delivered entirely online
  • Advanced-standing program available
  • Field education required
  • Includes opportunities to learn about the profession through activities and organizations like conferences and the Social Work Student Association
8

California State University-Northridge

Tuition & Fees
$6,893
Distance Education Participation
52%
Location
Northridge, CA
School Type
4-year

CSUN's Academic Focus: California State University-Northridge has been committed to student success since it opened its doors in 1958, when courses were taught in portable classrooms on former agricultural land. Since that time, the school has grown exponentially to offer dozens of traditional and online degree programs.

Featured CSUN Resource: California State University-Northridge's career center provides services to current students and alumni, such as career counseling, resume writing and interviewing assistance and events that connect people to potential employers.

Social Work at California State University-Northridge

Master of Social Work

  • Cohort model format
  • Designed in collaboration with the Department of Social Work in CSUN's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the program is offered fully online in two- and three-year formats
  • Field practicum and capstone project required
  • CSUN faculty and practitioners receive training and support to ensure instructional excellence
9

University of Missouri-Columbia

Tuition & Fees
$9,972
Distance Education Participation
31%
Location
Columbia, MO
School Type
4-year

UMC's Academic Focus: The faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Social Work is involved in research designed to help improve the delivery of services, increase clinical knowledge among professionals and advance social work policy. These research areas include homelessness, mental health among vulnerable populations, gerontology, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and body image.

Featured UMC Resource: Students who need help with their mental health can receive support from the school's counseling center.

Social Work at University of Missouri-Columbia

Master of Social Work

  • Courses are offered entirely online
  • Fieldwork required
  • Concentrations in clinical social work and policy, planning, and administration available

Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health Dual Degree

  • Courses offered online
  • Fieldwork required

MSW/PhD Joint Degree

  • Coursework offered online
  • Field practicum required

Certificate in Gerontological Social Work

  • 12 credits
  • Offered completely online
10

Concord University

Tuition & Fees
$8,211
Distance Education Participation
66%
Location
Athens, WV
School Type
4-year

CU's Academic Focus: The faculty at the Concord University's Department of Social Work & Sociology brings students together who are committed to creating a better world by improving people's quality of life and promoting justice and safety of communities. Students develop important research skills and have the chance to present professional-level work. CU also provides opportunities for field work and internships so students can apply their knowledge and skills while serving the local community.

Featured CU Resource: Students have access to an online database and online resources through the campus online library.

Social Work at University of Missouri-Columbia

Master of Social Work

  • Offered entirely online, except for the required fieldwork
  • Become a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society which fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social works
  • Content is focused in the context of rural practice and addresses the four dimensions -- knowledge, values, skills, and cognitives and affective reaction - that support the program's advanced generalist social work practice

Social Work Program Overview

To prepare you for the challenges of the social work field, colleges may expect you to complete many writing assignments, participate in research projects and engage in skills labs to gain sufficient practice before real-world application. In addition, both social work bachelor's and social work master's degree online programs require fieldwork, so students get a sense of what it's like to navigate the realities of the social work profession.

As a result of your education program, you are able to gain valuable skills that can be used throughout your social work career. Some of these skills include communication, critical thinking, problem solving and active listening abilities. Also, you can learn how to demonstrate empathy toward the people you serve, while still maintaining boundaries to create a healthy separation between your work and home life. You can also expect to gain insights and the valuable tools to work within an individual's or individuals' community. A thorough sociological and ethnological education can play an important role in your work.

Continue reading for more specific information about how online social work degree programs instill these vital skills through their curriculum, as well as other facts about these programs.

Earning an Online Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

How Long Does a Social Work Bachelor's Degree Online Take?

You usually complete a social work bachelor's degree online within four years, though some students may only take three years to complete it, if accelerated courses are available.

Requirements to Start

Typical admissions requirements include a high school diploma or GED and a minimum 2.0 grade point average. In some cases, you may be admitted after completing college-level prerequisite courses designed to introduce you to social work concepts.

Why Earn a Bachelor's in Social Work?

This degree program is for people who want to obtain the initial training needed to pursue a social work position. Through this program, you become familiar with the basics and then apply those concepts to the hands-on training you receive.

Degree Timeline

Years One and Two:

During the first two years of the social work bachelor's degree online, you are introduced to social work practice and learn the basic theories that you need in order to do your job as a social worker. In addition, you take general education classes that allow you to hone your knowledge and skills in other areas in order to become well-rounded workers. During this time, you should start to form solid ideas about where you want to go with your career, which can help pick the field experience that may best meet those ambitions.

Years Three and Four

During the third and fourth years of your social work bachelor's degree online,you take elective courses so you can learn more about specific areas of the field that interest you. In addition, this is a time when you participate in hands-on training that exposes you to the day-to-day job duties of social workers. Depending on the school, you may also complete a research assignment that allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the course material you learned throughout the program.

  • 1.Common Courses
    • Policy and Advocacy
    • Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
    • Social Policy
    • Domestic Violence
    • History and Values of Social Welfare
    • Research in Social Work
    • Diversity and Multiculturalism
  • 2. Common Careers:
    • Family Services Workers
    • Mental Health Case Managers
    • Adoption Clinicians
    • Health Care Social Workers
    • Caseworkers

Earning an Online Master's in Social Work

How Long Does an Social Work Master's Degree Online Take?

You usually can earn a social work master's degree online within two years, although some students may take more or less time depending on the program.

Requirements to Start

In order to be admitted into an online master's degree program in social work, you are expected to have a bachelor's degree and at least a 3.0 grade point average. In some cases, you may be expected to earn a certain score on the GRE exam.

Why Earn a Master's in Social Work?

Social work master's degree online are for people who want to advance in their career and command a higher salary. Through the advanced concepts you learn, you can specialize your practice and qualify for higher-level positions.

Degree Timeline

Year One

During the first year of the online social work degree program, you begin to learn advanced social work concepts that build on what you studied on the undergraduate level. You may also begin taking elective courses that can help you decide on what area of concentration you would like to pursue.

Year Two

The last year of the social work master's degree online program allows you to fully dive into your area of concentration and gain expertise in that specific topic, whether you're interested in addiction disorders, military social work, children or health and wellness. In addition, you are required to complete your fieldwork so you can apply what you learned to real-world work situations.

  • 1.Common Courses
    • Social and Economic Justice
    • Loss, Grief and Bereavement
    • Social Welfare History and Policy
    • Crisis Management
    • Social Ecology of Wellness
    • Social Policy
    • Administration and Supervision
  • 2. Common Careers:
    • Welfare Services and Administrators
    • Family Counselors
    • School Social Workers
    • Clinical Managers
    • Adolescent Health Social Workers

Complementary Fields of Study

In some cases, you may choose to combine your online social work degree program with another field in order to tailor your education in a way that meets your academic and professional interests. The following are examples of some disciplines that may be combined with social work, whether you choose to double major or consider these areas of study as a minor. Also, these programs may be an alternative for you if you decide that social work is not the right fit.

Counseling

Counseling and social work can go hand in hand because people in both fields are often dealing with the same kinds of clients. By double majoring or minoring in counseling, you can deepen your practice by being able to provide trained emotional support and guidance based on an understanding of mental health.

Ethnic Studies

Social workers are required to serve clients from diverse backgrounds, so by learning about ethnic studies, you can become familiar with the needs of people in the different communities in which you may work. Coursework may explore the history of different racial and ethnic groups, how cultural differences impact people's lives and the socioeconomic landscape of people from different backgrounds.

Psychology

The types of crises that social workers regularly encounter are often related to the mental health issues of clients. By studying psychology as a prospective social worker you can learn about the mental health disorders that may be influencing people's lives, so you can make your practice even more effective.

Sociology

If you want to pursue sociology, you can expect to learn about social behavior and its origins within a community. This can help social work students because it provides different insights on how people behave and what motivates their actions.

Career Outlook: Child, Family and School Social Workers

Thanks to the increased demand for social services, this is a good time for people to pursue a career in social work. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are expected to be 81,200 more social work jobs created between 2018 and 2028, which translates to an 11 percent increase in the profession. For more information about what these positions specifically entail, continue reading.

What Does a Child, Family and School Social Worker Do?

Child, family and school social workers are responsible for helping individuals and families who are struggling with serious challenges that may be related to issues like abuse, illness, unemployment or addiction. In order to do this, you interview clients to assess their problems and determine what types of services they need, create and maintain case histories, help clients obtain social services and follow up to ensure that their situations are getting better.

How to Become a Child, Family and School Social Worker

In order to become a child, family and school social worker, you are required to have at least a bachelor's degree. However, if you want to work as clinical social worker you must earn a master's degree and complete two years of supervised work experience. In most cases, you are required to obtain a state license.

Social Work Certifications and Exams

The American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders offers this certification for social workers who have clients struggling with gambling, alcohol or drug addiction disorders, as well as clients with eating disorders.

  • Requirements: Graduate degree and at least five years of work experience in a job delivering direct addictive disorder services
  • Exam format: 150 multiple-choice questions
  • How long does the certification last? One year

This certification is for social work case managers who want to verify their knowledge, skills, values and ethics.

  • Requirements: Master's degree, current social work license and at least two years of work experience
  • Exam format: 180 multiple-choice questions
  • How long does the certification last? Two years

Case management professionals who are responsible for helping clients improve their biopsychosocial state, as well as their social systems, can pursue this credential.

  • Requirements: A bachelor's degree, state social work license and at least three years and 4,500 hours of professional experience
  • Exam format: 180 multiple-choice questions
  • How long does the certification last? Two years

This certification, provided by the National Association of Social Workers, allows school social workers to demonstrate a dedication to their practice and the adherence to the ethical standards set forth by the NASW.

  • Requirements: Master's degree, at least two years of work experience and a current state license
  • Exam format: 170 multiple-choice questions
  • How long does the certification last? Two years

Professional Organizations

Continuing education can help social workers discover new and more effective ways to help the people they serve. As a result, joining a professional organization can be a great way to stay in tune with what's going on in the field while connecting with colleagues. The following are some examples of the organizations that social workers can participate in.

Social workers who dedicate their careers to assisting those with cancer can join the AOSW to network with other professionals, participate in education opportunities and keep up to date with the developing news and research going on in the field. In addition, the organization's career center can help members find new job opportunities.
The CSWA represents and supports the needs of individual clinical social workers by providing access to advocacy services, legal assistance, news and a job board.
With over 120,000 student members, the NASW is one of the largest industry organizations on the globe. Whether professionals are in social work practice, conduct research or teach the next generation of social workers, they can take advantage of resources that can help them grow in their careers and build relationships with others in the field.
School social workers can play a significant role in contributing to the well-being of students, and the SSWAA is an integral part of promoting this important subsection of the social work field. The group offers evidence-based practice tools, access to liability insurance, news briefs and networking opportunities. In addition, the SSWAA advocates on behalf of school social workers through its public policy services.

Related Rankings

After reviewing this page, you may find that social work is not quite the right career choice for you. However, the following pages highlight similar community-focused careers for you to consider.

Sources