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Social Work Training: Top 5 Online Degree Options

The social work sector is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the US.

In the next decade, the growth is expected to be around 13%.

While employment prospects are bright, there is also the need for continuous social work training, license maintenance, and keeping up with new regulations.

There are many courses that can now be done online, and there are many social work training programs you can choose from.

However, online learning also needs to be coupled with practice in the actual environment that social workers typically work in.

social work practical

Qualifications & Requirements of Social Workers

The first step towards becoming a social worker is obtaining a master’s degree in social work, and then passing the state’s licensing exam.

In general, the United States requires the following elements of a social worker in order to be certified:

  • Obtain a master’s degree in social work from an approved or accredited college or university.
  • Become licensed or certified to practice social work on your own

Several Universities offer a bachelor’s degree program in social work, however as education is increasingly moving online, we’ve focused on some of the online programs available.

It is important to consider the costs, mode of study, duration, and potential application to research and job prospects.

social work degree

Master of Social Work (MSW) Online Programs

Columbia University, US

Master of Social Work (MSW), online program

You can earn a master’s degree from this top-ranked school completely online.

Students can receive the same high level of academic excellence as they would in an on-campus program, as well as complete work placements in their own communities.

Students can access all academic resources online, and a social worker serves as a career advisor for the curriculum and helps students set career goals.

Find out more on their website.

Case Western Reserve University, US

Master of Social Work (MSW), online program

Case Western University’s School of Applied Social Sciences offers an online master’s degree to working professionals across the country.

The program uses Zoom and an online learning platform so as to fit into busy schedules.

Classes are held live, and students interact with other students and faculty members.

Staff members are available to assist with any issues and offer career services and counseling.

Find out more on their website.

University of Southern California, US

Master of Social Work (MSW), online program

Students can earn this online master’s degree in social work either part-time or full-time and will be prepared to become licensed clinical social workers.

On-campus students follow the same rigorous curriculum and are held to the same high standards.

In addition to addressing the current needs of employers, the program builds on the school’s historical strengths, such as early intervention and leadership, core competencies, and prevention and wellness.

Find out more on their website.

University of Denver, US

Master of Social Work (MSW), online program

The master’s in social work program prepares students to practice in both traditional and non-traditional settings.

Students in the online MSW program gain an understanding of social work principles and social justice in multiple settings.

While the foundation course provides an overview of the history, values, and ethical considerations pertinent to social work, the concentration course allows students to choose between mental health/trauma or health equity/wellness as a focus.

Find out more on their website.

Boston University, US

Master of Social Work (MSW), online program

In their online MSW program, Boston University’s School of Social Work promotes social and economic justice.

Programs can be part-time or full-time, but every student is individualized, including instruction, research, and practice.

There are mandatory and elective online courses as well as weekly live classroom sessions.

Placements in the local areas where students live give them practical experience.

Find out more on their website.

social work degree

In addition to education, training, and licensure requirements, becoming a social worker involves significant time and financial commitment.

Thus, it is important that you find a program that meets your personal needs and practice at the location of your choice.

Gaining and maintaining the skills and licenses necessary for newly qualified social workers to help in family, schools, and healthcare situations requires increasingly flexible and effective education opportunities”

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