If you have been considering studying to become a social worker but cannot afford to give up work to study, how about considering one of the social worker online programs? Studying online is a great way of getting into the career of your dreams, as it allows you to continue with your current job whilst studying.
In the economic climate that the world is facing today it is really difficult to study to improve your lot in life or to attain those lofty goals of doing your dream job. Many individuals give up on their dreams because they think that they will never be able to study as they cannot afford to stop working in order to study. The dilemma is generally `If I don’t work I won’t have the money to live or to study, and if I don’t study I will get nowhere in my career.’ The answer is social worker online programs.
Studying online is often the only way that one can attain a qualification, as it allows you to continue working whilst studying in your own home, at your own pace, and at the times that suit you best. Be warned though, doing online courses is not for the faint-hearted or the undisciplined. It is not always easy to have to sit and study when your significant other, family or friends are out and about having fun. It takes determination and a lot of self-discipline to study on our own.
If you possess the right qualities then social worker online programs are the way to go for you. There are many such programs advertised online, and all you have to do to access them is to do your research and ensure that the college or university through which you plan on studying is a reputable and accredited institution.
Job Outlook For Social Workers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, now is the perfect time to pursue an education in the social work profession, due to the growing need for social workers. The profession is expected to grow faster than average, especially the section dealing with the aging baby-boomer generation.
Social workers are also needed more and more in the poorer communities and in the rural areas where the population is suffering more and more as poverty takes hold and more and more youngsters are getting involved in taking illegal drugs and using alcohol as a crutch for their problems.
Qualifications Offered By Social Worker Online Programs
There are many very reputable schools that are meeting the need for social worker online programs right across the United States, and they offer anything from an Associate of Applied Science in Social Work to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree to a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.
Top Online Social Worker Programs
To help you with your research, here are some of the top schools offering social worker online programs
University Of Southern California
The University of Southern California School of Social Work is one of the most highly respected school’s of social work in the United States. It was also one of the first universities to offer a Master of Social Work degree online.
The MSW@USC, as the program is referred to, offers a blend of guided hands-on practicals and web-based learning modules. This is a 60 unit degree, and it can take between two and four years to complete, depending on how many courses you take per semester.
There are no geographical restrictions to this degree and financial aid is available to those that qualify. USC is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers two social worker online programs. Its online Master of Social Work degree is worth 62 credit hours and takes approximately one year to complete. This is a full-time online program and requires that students be online during class hours as the program is administered mainly via webcasts.
Saint Leo also offers an advanced standing program, worth 32 credit hours. It is available for students who have completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE accredited program within the past five years.
Although these are online programs, they do require that you spend a week on campus, and attend an internship. Due to the need for physical attendance, there are some geographical limitations. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. Saint Leo was awarded Accreditation Candidacy status by CSWE in June 2010 – full accreditation will be finalized once the first class graduates.
Northeastern University is a top-ranked private research university. Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies offers an online Master of Science in Human Services degree. This is a 42 credit program which is designed to prepare students for careers as registered substance abuse counsellors, mental health workers, program directors, senior case managers, volunteer coordinators, addiction specialists, prevention specialists, and social workers.
The program offers various electives and some specializations in organizational communication, global studies and leadership. The program includes a capstone service-learning project and work-based applications, and there are also internships and co-op opportunities available.
There are no geographical limitations to these, and financial aid is available to those who qualify for it. The program is CSWE accredited.
Florida State University
As one of the best and most well-known universities in the United States, Florida State University (FSU) needs no introduction. It was the first public university to offer social worker online programs. Its College of Social Work is ranked 30th overall by U.S. News & World Report and at number 24 by Princeton Review.
FSU’s Online MSW is offered in an Advanced-Standing part-time format to students who are already in possession of a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE accredited program or have completed the first year of another CSWE accredited MSW program.
This program is 39 credit hours long, which includes 12 credit hours of advanced clinical field instruction in your area of residence. A new class starts every spring and fall semester and it takes approximately two years to complete. There are no required campus visits and because the courses are offered asynchronously, you can go online whenever it suits you.
Financial aid is available, and there are some geographical restrictions to this program, so contact the university to ascertain what they are. The program is CSWE accredited.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University (MSU) is one of the top public universities in the world, and is ranked at no. 17 by Princeton Review and tied in 30th place in U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best graduate schools for social work.
MSU offers a blended online Master of Social Work degree in clinical social work, which means that it includes online instruction and face-to-face videoconferencing. Students are required to attend one week of face-to-face instruction on the MSU campus per year of the program. It also includes supervised field education units within your local community.
Financial aid is available. Some geographical restrictions apply due to the compulsory face-to-face videoconferencing. The program is CSWE accredited.
Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service is a top-ranking school and was one of the first elite schools to offer social worker online programs. The school is ranked 18th on the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the top schools of social work in the U.S.
The Master of Social Work program is a 66 credit degree, and is a mixture of hands-on field education in your local community, brief annual visits to the campus to meet and network with faculty and other online students, and web-based learning. The program takes approximately 42 months to complete and includes a clinical concentration.
Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Some geographical restrictions apply due to the compulsory annual visits to campus. The program is CSWE accredited.
Texas State University-San Marcos
Texas State University-San Marcos is a respected public university and although its School of Social Work has not been around for that long, it has already acquired national attention for its social worker online programs.
The Texas State online MSW program is offered via two programs; part-time Advanced Standing (36 credit hours), and part-time regular (62 credit hours). A BSW from a CSWE accredited program is required for entrance into the Advanced Standing program. The programs are delivered in asynchronous online format via web-casting discussions, online instruction, and various other non-traditional methods.
Financial aid is available for those that qualify, there are no geographical limitations, and the programs are CSWE accredited.
University Of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota (UND) is an established public university, and was the first accredited university to offer social worker online programs. UND also has the privilege of being the first school in the U.S. to offer an MSW to students who do not have a Bachelor of Social Work degree.
The Master of Social Work for non-BSW Students online program is a 60 credit program which was specifically designed for students who do not have a BSW. UND also offers an online Master of Social Work for BSW Students, which is a 36 credit program that takes approximately two years to complete. Both programs require synchronous online sessions at night and on weekends, and the non-BSW program also requires two 4 to 5 day campus visits. Students with a BSW must make one on-campus visit. Supervised field education units will be organized in your area of residence.
Financial aid is available to those that qualify. There are no geographical limitations to this program, but priority is given to rural students who are unable to relocate to a campus to do their degree.
University Of New England
The University of New England (UNE) is a private research school located in Maine, and it is ranked as one of the top schools in north-eastern United States by U.S. News & World Report.
UNE’s social worker online programs are offered in both a Traditional Track (64 credit hours) for MSW students without a prior social work degree or the necessary social work experience, and as an Advanced Standing Track (37 credits) for MSW students who have earned a prior CSWE accredited degree in the past seven years. The Traditional Track degree takes approximately four years to complete, and the Advanced Standing Track takes around two years to complete.
Students must choose from one of two concentrations; Individual and Community Practice (OCP) or Individual, Family and Group Practice (IFG). OCP concentrates on the role and responsibilities of social work administrators and supervisors, leadership in social work, professional standards, and the influence of policy and law. The IFG concentration explores advanced social work practice, including how to work with communities, individuals, families and other groups. Both programs include mandatory supervised fieldwork units which are arranged within your own community.
There are no geographical limitations for these programs, and both programs are fully accredited by the CSWE.
Free Online Social Worker Programs
There are also some free social worker online programs that offer a Diploma in Social Work Studies and are approximately 10 to 15 hours in duration. These courses are designed to give you a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of what social work is and the skills necessary to be a social worker.
These courses are generally aimed at professionals who are currently working in health-related or care-giving occupations and either desire to know more about social work in order to perform better in their current occupation or those who are interested in changing direction and becoming social workers.
It is important when researching social worker online programs that you ensure that you choose one that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). CSWE is a national non-profit association that represents in excess of 3,000 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. It is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States.
Be daring, take your future into your own hands and follow your dreams by joining the thousands of individuals who are pursuing social work degrees via social worker online programs because of their great flexibility and affordability.