Becoming a social worker is a very noble pursuit. However social worker tuition can be somewhat expensive, so it is important that you know exactly what you will need to pay. Interestingly most social worker courses will differ in price from course to course, so again you will need specific information form the conveners of the particular course that you are interested in. Social worker tuition will prepare you to perform the following tasks:
- Help clients find agencies which offer them assistance with their problems.
- Work with vulnerable children and adults.
- Implement social work policy.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are a number of factors to be taken into account if you want to study social work. The cost of a social work course can depend on a number of factors such as:
- Whether you are an in-state (cheaper) or out of state (more expensive) student.
- Whether you attend a public (cheaper) or private (more expensive) school or college.
- Whether or not you pursue a master’s degree in order to specialize in a particular domain of social work as a master’s degree will cost you more than the entry level bachelor’s degree.
Before you set your heart on becoming a social worker you should contemplate all the costs carefully and ensure that you have a strategy in mind for paying for them all.
Minimum Education Requirements
To be a social worker you need to get a degree of some kind. At the very least you will need a social worker bachelor’s degree from and accredited school or college in order to pursue a career in this field. It will take you four years to complete this degree and the average cost to attend a public college or university for an in-state student was $33,300 for all four years. If you want to study in a state different to the one that you live in will usually have to pay more. This is, however, only an average estimate. Most schools and colleges will differ slightly or vastly in the amount that you will have to pay for social worker tuition. The average cost to attend a private school for the same degree is $119,400. There are a number of other costs, such as accommodation costs, that must also be considered.
Concentrations In Social Work
If you want to specialize in the field of social work you will have to get a master’s degree. This will allow you to:
- Perform clinical assessments of clients
- Handle large caseloads
- Operate in a supervisory capacity
This is quite a time consuming program and it should take something in the region of 2 to 6 years to complete. The amount of time spent on the master’s degree really depends on how the school you attend chooses to structure the program. Depending on a variety of factors, tuition for a master’s degree program will be in the region of $30,000 to $120,000 with an average mean of $25,000. Once again you need to ensure that the program is properly accredited in order to avoid wasting your time and your money on it. Accredited programs are the only ones that will get you licensure.
Licensure requirements differ from state to state. However you will usually be required to get 2 years experience or 3000 hours of experience before you can be licensed. This is usually achieved by completing an internship. Internships can be found at:
- State-run social programs
- Private practices
It is important to note that these internships are usually unpaid or you receive a very low stipend. This will make paying the bills as an intern very difficult, but it is a necessary requirement in order to become a licensed social worker. In summary the licensure requirements that you will need are:
- The degree that you have chosen to pursue, and
- The practical work in the form of an internship that you have completed in order to be properly licensed as a social worker.
Exams And Continuing Education
Getting your degree is not the end of your costs or of your journey to becoming a social worker. You will also have to pass an exam administered b the state or the Council on Social Work Education. This exam may require you to pay a small fee in order to be eligible to sit for it. The actual cost of the exam will vary between states, so find out well in advance what exactly you will be expected to pay. In order to maintain you license you will also have to attend a certain number of continuing education courses each year, although some states do not have this as a requirement. These courses will keep you up to date and test your continued knowledge. However, once again, it will be your personal responsibility to pay for these courses each and every year, another aspect of social worker tuition.
It is incredibly important that ensure that the social worker program that you attend is one that is properly accredited. If it is not accredited you will effectively be wasting your time as well as your money on the program. Some of the bodies that can accredit a program are:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Make sure that your program is accredited by one of the above agencies. The program that you choose to attend to complete your social worker tuition will inform the rest of your career, so make sure that you choose the best option possible.
Best Social Work Programs
Here are the schools with a score of 3.5 out of 5 or higher according to this website:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI = 4.4
- Washington University, St. Louis, MO = 4.4
- University of Chicago, Chicago, IL = 4.2
- University of Washington, Seattle, WA = 4.2
- Columbia University, New York, NY = 4.1
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC = 4.1
- University of California, Berkeley, CA = 4.0
- University of Texas–Austin, Austin, TX = 4.0
- Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH = 3.9
- Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA = 3.8
- Fordham University, New York, NY = 3.7
- University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA = 3.7
- University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA = 3.7
- University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI = 3.7
- Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA = 3.7
- Boston University, Boston, MA = 3.6
- CUNY–Hunter College, New York, NY = 3.6
- New York University, New York, NY = 3.6
- Smith College, Northampton, MA = 3.6
- University of California, Los Angeles, CA = 3.6
- University of Illinois, Urbana, IL = 3.6
- University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD = 3.6
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA = 3.6
- University at Albany, Albany, NY = 3.5
- University of Illinois, Chicago, IL = 3.5
These are, of course, not the only options open to you, but they are some of your better choices. These schools are better for students who live in the areas specified as out of state tuition almost always cost more than if you choose to study in the state that you live in.
An interesting point to note is that online or distance education degrees tend to be substantially cheaper. In addition you will be able to work at your own pace, which means that there will be considerably less pressure on your shoulders. You will still be required to enter into an internship following the completion of your degree. This low paying part of your social work training is unavoidable and you will simply have to find a way to make it work if you are serious about becoming a social worker. Like all other schools the online or distance program you choose must be accredited.
Remember that, when you are looking for a social work course to engage in, that there are a number of considerations to take into account and, although the cost of social worker tuition is an important consideration, you should try to look at the whole picture when making your final decision. Some social worker schools and colleges are definitely better than others, and these should be at the top of your list of schools that you are considering. In addition you should consider the distance education option, but be sure to see that it is a genuine and well known as well as a reputable program before you pay any tuition fees or make any commitments to the program. As tuition fees differ considerably, you will need to do your own research into the schools that you are interested in.