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Social work is one career where you can see the positive impact you have on the people you work with, and an online social work degree program can help working adults make a shift to their social work career seamlessly. It is an extremely rewarding career for anyone who wants to be able to make a difference in the lives of those they serve. The career options you have available to you as a social worker are extremely diverse and offer more flexibility than most other types of careers. Social workers can choose to work with the elderly or they can choose to work with families and children. The options are extensive.

Advancements in technology also give you a much better handle on working with your clients. Through the use of technology, you can actually provide services to those who may not otherwise be able to receive them. This advanced technology also allows students to continue working at their current job while attending online classes, giving them the advantage of both an online social work degree as well as much-needed hands-on experience. Technology enhances communication and also helps to make it easier for individuals to reach out to one another in situations that will allow them to get the help they need. The same tools that allow the student to earn their degree online can also enable them to assist others.

Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Online Social Work Degrees

Working adults who want to make a career change need an online degree that will have a real, positive impact on their lives. That’s why Bachelor’s Degree Center focuses on reputable, trusted institutions that have shown their value. The best online social work degree programs are ranked according to tuition cost, students satisfaction, and alumni salary.

1. Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University offers one of the best online social work degrees for students who want to work with vulnerable and disenfranchised individuals, families, or communities. The Bachelor of Social Work program emphasizes professional knowledge and skills to help individuals in complex situations that may relate to substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, childhood trauma, or related problems. It also teaches students to focus on identifying strengths and using those abilities to help others.

Northern Arizona University encourages students to evaluate social work through the lens of making social changes and addressing injustice within certain communities or groups. It also strives to teach students the ways to handle situations when working with others who may hesitate to seek assistance or who may have concerns about specific challenges they are facing.

Highlight: Northern Arizona University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

2. Washington State University

When you want to focus on the best online social work degree programs, Washington State University offers a bachelor of arts in social sciences that helps with your goals. The degree program emphasizes cultural awareness, effective communication skills, and analytical skills as they apply to social work. The program provides students with the fundamental skills they need to handle challenges within social work and related fields.

Washington State University encourages students to focus on their long-term goals by providing a level of customization when it relates to course materials. By allowing students to customize the program to fit their goals, it provides an opportunity to address specific concerns and develop useful skills that allow students to emphasize their plans.

Highlight: Washington State University offers 12 concentrations under social science to help students focus on a specific specialization.

Degree: Social Sciences, BA

3. Salisbury University

Salisbury University offers one of the best online social work bachelors degree programs for students who want to develop generalist skills that apply to social work careers. The degree program emphasizes ethics and values that apply to the field of social work and provides students with the strong foundation they need to work with individuals from various backgrounds and situations.

Salisbury University stands out by focusing on providing students with eclectic skills that apply to their field of study. That emphasis on generalist skills ensures that students are able to adapt to multiple career paths and can work in many environments. It provides a level of flexibility that encourages students to develop their abilities as they begin working in their field.

Highlight: Salisbury University offers scholarships to students in the social work program, including students who are taking online courses.

Degree: Social Work, BA

4. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University offers a bachelor of social work that prepares students for the challenges of helping others in difficult or dangerous situations. The degree program emphasizes generalist skills that apply to multiple areas of social work. The program also recognizes the way that social workers may assist in corporations, private organizations, non-profit companies, and related organizations, so it ensures that students are able to work in multiple environments and roles.

Indiana Wesleyan University takes a Christian approach to the topic of social work and the goals of the program. Since it is a Christian university, students can expect to evaluate course materials through the lens of Christian values. Students can expect to develop useful skills related to helping others in vulnerable or challenging positions while also maintaining their strong sense of values and ethics.

Highlight: Indiana Wesleyan University has been accredited by the CSWE for 25 years and continues to maintain accreditation through high standards of education.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

5. Mercy College

Mercy College offers one of the best online social work degrees for students who want to help others and work with individuals in challenging situations. The program recognizes the importance of addressing needs within vulnerable communities and teaches students the skills they need to address specific problems. It helps students learn the process to find appropriate resources to assist individuals, as well as the skills to develop programs that help in local communities.

Mercy College takes a career-oriented approach to social work studies and encourages students to seek out mentors and advice from faculty. It also encourages students to work in the field to gain hands-on experience that allows them to develop useful skills before starting out in a career. The focus on hands-on experience and mentorship helps students evaluate their goals and develop relevant skills to reach their career objectives.

Highlight: Mercy College allows students to transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited university.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

6. Wayne State University

When you want to find the best online social work degree programs, the Bachelor of Social Work from Wayne State University is a good option for your goals. The degree program emphasizes flexibility to help students focus on accomplishing their goals when it fits their schedules. It teaches students the skills they need to work in vulnerable communities and to help others when challenges arise in their lives.

Wayne State University focuses on the needs of students who may have obligations to family or a job that limits their ability to attend traditional courses. The online program encourages students to work at their own pace and gives students access to useful materials to keep up with their courses. It makes the process of obtaining a degree simple.

Highlight: Wayne State University encourages students to get hands-on experience through internships while they work on an undergraduate degree.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

7. Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor University is one of the best online social work bachelor’s degree programs for students who want to help others. It prepares students to work with individuals, communities, groups, or organizations so that they can handle different work environments and situations. Since it provides an education that emphasizes working with groups and organizations, it prepares students for the rigors of balancing different needs or complications that may arise when working with disparate individuals.

Spring Arbor University takes a generalist approach to social work education and gives students a strong foundation in relevant skills they can apply to multiple situations. It recognizes that students may work in different industries or fields, so it provides an opportunity to develop skills that apply to a variety of settings. That focus on general studies ensures that students are able to adapt to their careers.

Highlight: Spring Arbor University is ranked among the top 25 Christian universities for its social work program.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

8. Brandman University

The bachelor’s program in social work from Brandman University is one of the best online programs for students who want to work with vulnerable individuals or communities. The program focuses on developing real-world experience through 400 hours of on-site practice that allows professionals to provide students with relevant skills and training before they start working in a career.

Brandman University stands apart by teaching students to recognize the interactions between political policies, social groups, and cultures that may cause challenges among different communities. It provides students with the fundamental skills they need to address problems within vulnerable communities in a sensitive and understanding manner.

Highlight: Brandman University is a military-friendly school that accepts military training and service as credits into the online program.

Degree: Social Work, BA

9. Union Institute & University

The Bachelor of Social Work from Union Institute and University is one of the best online programs to help students accomplish their goals when working with others. The program takes a generalist approach to social work education and emphasizes ethics as it applies to social work and vulnerable communities. The emphasis on strong ethical standards ensures that students are aware of the potential consequences of their actions when working with others.

Union Institute and University stands out by allowing students to transfer up to 90 credits into the online program. It gives students the opportunity to reduce the time required to complete their degree by allowing them to transfer a large portion of their credits. It also recognizes that students may need a full-time or part-time schedule, so it allows students to work on course materials as it fits their needs and situation.

Highlight: Union Institute and University offer accelerated eight-week courses through the online social work program.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

10. Bemidji State University

The online social work degree program from Bemidji State University allows students to develop hands-on skills that prepare them to work in a rigorous environment. Students are able to take the same courses through an online format as the on-campus students and learn from the same qualified professional faculty. While the majority of the courses are online, the program does require students to attend three to four on-campus classes throughout the program.

Bemidji State University emphasizes innovation in learning through its online program. It takes an active approach to help with student education and encourages students to reach out to faculty or staff with questions or concerns when working on their degrees. The program gives students access to trained professionals who offer personal feedback throughout the program.

Highlight: Bemidji State University requires students to complete a 480-hour internship through an organization that focuses on social services to complete the degree program.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

11. Northwest Mississippi Community College

Northwest Mississippi Community College offers an online bachelor’s degree in social work that prepares students to work in a challenging environment. It focuses on generalist skills and studies to allow students to work in a variety of industries and adjust to different career requirements. By taking a generalist approach to student education, it allows students to choose a career that fits their goals and interests.

Northwest Mississippi Community College stands out by taking a career-oriented approach to student education. It recognizes that students may work in a variety of industries or careers, and it provides the opportunity for students to learn different ways to handle challenging situations. That focus on student goals ensures that students are able to focus on their long-term plans while working on a degree.

Highlight: Northwest Mississippi Community College offers scholarships and grants to help students with the costs of an undergraduate degree.

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work

12. Malone University

The BA in Social Work from Malone University is one of the best online programs for students who want to help others. The program provides a rigorous education with a focus on developing hands-on experiences that provide students with the opportunity to succeed in their careers. Students are encouraged to work with faculty mentors to help develop their skills and clarify their long-term goals.

Malone University is a Christian school and it takes a Biblical approach to the topic of social work. Students can expect to view social work studies through the lens of Christian values and morals. The program recognizes the importance of cultural sensitivity and prepares students to work with others who may have different views or perspectives, as well as different backgrounds.

Highlight: Malone University does not have a maximum number for transfer credits, so students can transfer credits from other colleges or universities to accelerate the process of completing a degree.

Degree: Social Work, BA

13. Briar Cliff University

The online social work degree from Briar Cliff University is one of the best programs for students who need a flexible schedule. The online program emphasizes flexibility for student convenience and encourages students to work on their course materials when it fits their schedule and their needs. Students can expect to learn useful skills that relate to helping others in challenging situations. It also focuses on leadership and commitment to ensure that students are able to address problems within different communities or families.

Briar Cliff University sets high standards of education for students and has maintained CSWE accreditation since 1974. Students can expect to gain general skills related to social work careers and have the ability to adapt to different situations and environments. The program emphasizes the skills students need to work with individuals or groups who may end up in vulnerable or dangerous situations.

Highlight: Briar Cliff University offers a variety of scholarships that apply to the online program when students qualify for the scholarship.

Degree: Social Work, BA

14. Liberty University

Liberty University offers a good online social work degree program for students who want to help others in their local or state environment. The program recognizes that students may work with individuals or communities within their state, so it provides a strong foundation in relevant skills that apply to social work on the individual, group, or community level. It gives students the ability to address problems that may arise through critical thinking and analysis.

Liberty University stands out by taking an integrated approach to social work education. Students are not only studying the skills they need to work with vulnerable individuals. They are also learning psychology and related topics that help them analyze and understand a situation from a different perspective. They recognize the psychological aspects of a problem and are able to identify realistic solutions based on their knowledge of social work and the community.

Highlight: Liberty University allows students to transfer up to 75 percent of their credits into the online program.

Degree: Social Work, BS

15. University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers an online program in social work that provides students with the relevant skills they need to address problems within local communities, families, or schools. The program encourages students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills, so they are able to work with different individuals. It also recognizes the importance of cultural sensitivity and teaches students the different ways to handle disparate groups or cultures within a local environment.

The University of North Dakota stands out by encouraging students to complete a supervised field internship while working on an undergraduate degree in social work. The internship gives students hands-on experience while ensuring that they maintain a high level of ethical standards and safety. It provides students with the opportunity to start working in social work before finishing a degree.

Highlight: The University of North Dakota encourages students to work on a minor when obtaining a social work degree to further specialize in their field.

Degree: Social Work, BS

What Are Some Jobs in Social Work?

There are several different jobs you can choose from if you decide to look at career options for social workers. A medical social worker is someone who works with patients while they are living in assisted living or nursing home type facilities. A social services director works in a more managerial role and oversees both medical social workers and licensed clinical social workers who work with clients in several different capacities. The job opportunities for social workers will only increase with time. Those who choose to pursue social work jobs can expect continued growth and advancement in their chosen field.

Social workers can also find employment working with foster care families, schools, human resources, and other positions that deal with the creation of policies that govern what services people receive once they enter the social services system. They can also act as marriage and family counselors or as a therapist who works with children in distress and their families. Social workers can work in both public and private sectors by assisting clients in getting the things they need and caring for their families the best they can.

Will a Certification Help My Social Work Career?

Social work certification programs provide additional credentials that will help them maintain their current license and continue to work in their chosen careers. Most state licenses, including those for social work, require that the professional take continuing education classes that allow them to stay up to date with new laws and policies that affect their specific job. For social workers, this can be changes to family law that govern child custody or it can include changes in foster care guidelines. Each license requires a specific number of continuing education hours each year that must be completed in order to maintain their license.

In addition to the continuing education certifications that are mandatory to maintain their licensure, there are also several social work certification programs online that are designed to add additional facets to the social worker’s existing skill sets. Receiving additional certifications adds depth to the social worker’s existing knowledge, allowing them to expand their boundaries and take on other responsibilities. Receiving a social work certification online allows the student to take their classes when it is most convenient for them and completing the program in their own time.

Can I Use a Social Work Degree in Another Field?

There are many other careers for social workers outside of the traditional social services. While most people think of social workers as those who work within the welfare department, many social workers find employment in managerial positions in group homes or mental health facilities. In this capacity, a social worker may help a person with disabilities navigate their way into the world. They can assist them in finding a job and taking care of their own responsibilities so that one day, they may be able to live independently outside of the group home or assisted living facility.

Social workers can also find job opportunities within the health care field. Working with the elderly, they can help older individuals who may not have family members nearby, make difficult decisions such as moving into a nursing home or selling their home and moving in with family members. Social workers can assist them in finding the answers they need to live a full and healthy life. Most job opportunities for social workers involve providing assistance to individuals who need it the most. The positive impact a social worker has on the clients they serve is life-changing and will provide them with the confidence they need to move forward.

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