Best Online Social Work Degrees in 2023

Choosing social work as a career requires dedication & a qualified education. Read about the best online social work degrees in 2023.

Do you have a passion for helping people overcome major challenges in life? Are you frustrated with social injustice and want to spend you life making positive changes for people around you? Social work is a field of specialization offering opportunities to do all these things and more.

Choosing social work as a career requires empathy, dedication and a qualified education. Are social work degrees available online? Many factors impact your decisions when choosing the social work program best suited for you. Convenient and affordable online degree programs are available for enrollment today. Read ahead for valuable information about the best online social work degrees in 2023.

Social Work Degree

Becoming a social worker requires you to obtain a college degree. While some career paths allow you to enter various vocational fields with an associate degree, getting hired as a social worker requires you to earn a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree usually requires four years minimum college attendance to accomplish. Flex and accelerated scheduling might be possible in certain situations, however. Virtual (online) learning formats became rapidly necessary and popular in 2020 due to COVID-19-related lockdowns. Online learning existed for many years prior, however and is projected to continue its surge through 2021 and beyond.

A social work degree online is well suited for online learning. The job is not a hands-on type of vocation although it does require one-on-one sessions, meetings and appointments with clients. What types of social work degrees are available online? Bachelor’s, masters and doctorate degrees in social work are all obtainable through online colleges and universities. Applying for a social work degree involves finding the right school for you and contacting an appropriate admissions office representative to begin your application process.

A master’s degree in social work generally takes two years longer than a bachelor’s degree to obtain. A social work doctorate degree takes an additional two+ years longer to obtain than a master’s. Schools offering some of the best social work degrees in the U.S. at varying levels of education include:

Field of Specializations

The type of social work degree you obtain might influence the field of specialization you choose to purse as a career. Child and family-based social work is also referred to as child welfare. This field of specialization involves working with families and children to improve or eliminate housing, emotional, financial/vocational and domestic safety issues. School-based social work is a field of specialization involving the counseling of school-age students. Different levels of intervention and guidance are also involved is this specialty field. Working with the elderly is another field of specialization for social workers. This specialty field involves working for home-health care agencies and community centers. Gerontological and health-related social work might also be involved depending on your level of education and training.

Clinical social work is a field specialization involving intense mental health specialty work. Usually only social workers with master’s degrees are able to pursue careers in clinical social work fields. Clinical social work involves dealing with mental illness issues by diagnosing its various types and causes. Assessing psychological disorders and treating family/relational problems are also integral aspects of clinical social work jobs. 

Levels of Social Work

Social work career opportunities are expected to expand by approximately thirteen percent through 2029. Social work jobs are divided into three important levels. Micro, mezzo and macro-level social work positions deal with varying levels of issues across the country. Each level has its fields of specialization although all fields interact in at least some ways at certain times.

Micro-level social workers deal with healthcare, housing nonprofit, law enforcement and military issues. Mezzo-level social workers work with groups as opposed to individuals. A family unit is a group as are employees working for businesses, students in schools and segments of people in a community. Macro-level social workers engage in large-scale advocacy and interventional procedures related to various levels of government and activist organizations.

Choosing Social Work as a Career

Choosing social work as a career requires empathy for others, dedication to improvement and extensive training. Are you passionate about helping others overcome serious challenges in their lives? Are you capable remaining calm and logical when dealing with emotional and sometimes troublesome human-behavioral issues? The job of a social worker is sometimes complicated and even draining. Choosing social work as a career requires personal and mental fortitude in addition to emotional intelligence and sensitivity. Does social injustice frustrate you? Are you aggravated by people becoming disenfranchised and looking to make positive, impactful changes in people’s everyday lives? If it is easy for you to answer these questions affirmatively then choosing social work as a career is right for you.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Social Work Program

What are some important factors to consider when choosing a social work program? The first factor to consider it the level of education you intend to pursue and whether or not the programs at schools you are considering are able to provide the appropriate degrees. Job placement percentage post-graduation is another important factor. The more jobs students graduating from your school acquire the more confidence you will have in also getting a job fast. 

Make certain your school of choice is accredited. Many organizations only hire graduates who have degrees from accredited colleges or universities. Does your program offer schedule flexibility? How much does your social work program cost? Federal Pell Grants and additional financial aid might be available to you when you fill out the Federal Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) form today.