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Best Online Associate's in Social Work
Top Online Degree Programs 2021

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College Consensus Best Online Assoc Social Work 02

The field of social work is perfect for those who love people and want to make a difference in the world. Given the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic there are many social workers who are in essential worker positions. This is to say social workers are in demand at all times, but especially amidst this public health crisis at hand. There are many things you can do with a social work degree, and what better place to start than an associates degree in social work online. A perfect way to get your feet wet is to explore the intricacies of the social work discipline with the foundation that an associates degree offers. Generally, this course of study will include a series of introductory courses in the subjects that make up the discipline including sociology, psychology, and other related subjects like communication and statistics. 

An online social work associates degree is an excellent way to get started if you want to eventually go on to a bachelor’s degree program in the same field. Many courses of study are transfer friendly, making it easy to move seamlessly from an associate to a bachelors. This is not only an economical choice, but also one that allows students to really decide if this is the right field for them, prior to investing four years into an academic program. We have ranked the top 25 online associates degree in social work programs for you, looking at the following metric:

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Student Success Rates


Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, PA

Penn State World Campus offers an online associate degree in social work program. This program is explicitly an associate’s degree in human development and family studies. The entire course of study is made up of 60 credit hours that can all be achieved on their flexible online format. There are two specialization options for this course of study including adult development and aging services and children, youth, and family services. Though this course of study is perfect for the student who wants to further their education in the field beyond the program, it is also a great fit for someone interested in emerging into the profession following graduation. There are many entry-level positions that graduates can qualify for including: medical caseworker, child, youth, and families, school support services, substance abuse services, and medical and public health services. 

Degree: A.S. Human Development and Family Studies


Foothill College
Los Altos Hills, CA

Foothill College offers an associate in arts in sociology that is delivered entirely online. This online social work associate degree is made up of a total of 30 credit hours. Students will have the opportunity to study human interactions, culture, ethnicity, and social dynamics, among a myriad of other topics. One could so easily graduate with a foundation in culture, social sciences, globalization, ethnicity, and gender. Participants in the program will also be trained to apply theoretical concepts to real-world scenarios. There are many opportunities that students will have to practice their gained skills from the program in an experiential context. The core coursework makes up 17-course units and the direct support courses make up 13 credit hours. This program makes it easy for students to continue on with their educations and transfer to bachelor’s programs in related fields, or to gain entry-level employment in a social work context upon graduation. 

Degree: AA in Sociology


Thomas Edison State University
Trenton, NJ

Thomas Edison State University offers an online associate degree in social work that emphasizes human services that utilize extensive online coursework. The entire course of study is made up of 60 credit hours that support students to work in the fields of human services. In terms of required coursework, students will be required to take six credits in the theoretical foundation, three credits in client populations, three credits in cultural diversity, and three credits in interventions. Upon graduation, students will be able to define and identify the key concepts within this area of study. They will also be able to identify theories related to professional practice. Students will also be able to explain the specific techniques, skills, and agencies that are critical in serving various client populations. They will also learn how to articulate the ideologies related to the cultural diversity that are critical to the human services field. 

Degree: A.A. Human Services


University of North Georgia
Dahlonega, GA

The University of North Georgia offers an associate in arts in social work degree program. This course of study can be completed entirely online, though there are some campuses that offer the programming for students who want to take a traditional route. Students have many classes to choose from on this path; some of the classes tie into human services delivery and administration and sociology. Some class titles include: diversity and social justice, service delivery and interpersonal skills, service delivery small group systems, organizing services delivery, ethics, and values in human services delivery, the context of aging, and introduction to service-learning and case management. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a field practicum that will offer experiential learning opportunities for students who want real-world experience. Students will gain a foundation in social work that will clarify the many disciplines that make up the field. 

Degree: AA in Social Work


College of DuPage

The College of DuPage made the list for having a stellar associate in applied science generalist program. This course of study is designed with a variety of students in mind, including those that require a less traditional learning experience. Students will learn all of the necessary knowledge to become effective advocates for people from all walks of life. Someone with the title of human generalist might work in many different fields including social services agencies, mental health agencies, community health centers, non-profit agencies, employee assistance programs, among many others. Students who participate in this program will learn many treatment techniques that are effective in the contemporary context. This includes cross-cultural communication, behavioral modification, ethics in counseling, treatment models and family education, addiction counseling, interpersonal dynamics, and psychiatric rehabilitation. To complete the program, students must accomplish 64 or 65 credit hours, depending on a few factors.

Degree: A.A.S. Human Services Generalist


Casper College
Madison, NJ

Casper College offers an associate degree in social work online that is delivered online. This course of study is made up of a minimum of 60 credit hours that must be accomplished in order to complete the program. The general education requirements make up a minimum of 32 credit hours.  As far as the required major courses go, students will be required to take the following classes: macroeconomics, biological psychology, fundamentals in statistics, as well as the education and good life: first-year seminar. Some students may choose to take the introductory statistics for social science. In addition, students must take a minimum of nine credits between a selection of the following classes: introduction to cultural anthropology, drugs and behavior, abnormal psychology, marriage and family, criminology, world languages, and a social work lab. Beneath the Relationship to the World category, students will take one of the following classes: cultural environment or human behavior.

Degree: A.A. Social Work


Minot State University
Minot, ND

Minot State University offers an associate degree in social work online in human services. The particular emphasis of this human services degree is intellectual and developmental disabilities. This program is offered in an entirely online format for those who are interested in a more flexible and convenient learning path. Students can choose to take a more traditional campus-based path if that interests them. The parent to the program is a partnership between the department of special education and the NDCPD. Minot State makes it easy to be on an academic trajectory, as the associates are very transferable to the bachelor’s program, which is an easy pathway to a master’s. One of the perks of the online format is the fact that the classes are delivered in a convenient asynchronous program that can be accomplished on the terms of the learner. The program is fully accredited by the higher learning commission.

Degree: A.S. Human Services


Amarillo College

Amarillo College offers an exceptional social work associate of science degree that made it on our top 25 list. There are many things about this online social work associate degree that make it an excellent choice for a variety of learners. One perk of the program is the flexible online format that makes it easy to study without compromising your other commitments, which may include work and/ or family. This is a great program also for those of you who are interested in continuing on to a bachelor’s program in the field of social work. This will offer an economical way to get the first two years of a social work bachelor’s under your belt and upon transferring you will hit the ground running on the more intensive specialized classes. Amarillo College is known for offering exceptional support in the transfer process. The foundations of social work tie into a myriad of disciplines that are addressed in this comprehensive program. 

Degree: A.S. Social Work


Columbia College

Columbia College offers an associate in science in human services degree option. This is an online flexible social work course of study that can support students to have a career that supports a variety of populations to thrive. The online coursework is designed to be flexible and convenient, enabling students to balance their education alongside their other life commitments, including work and family. This program is offered beneath the umbrella of the psychology, sociology, and human services departments. Some of the course requirements include: first-year writing seminar, ethical reasoning, mathematics reasoning, civic engagement, reasoning in natural science, creative thinking and experience, communication competence, global awareness, human experience, and environmental stewardship. The entire program is made up of 60 credit hours. All students will get to participate in a human services elective, along with an introduction to human services, foundations of counseling, and working with groups. 

Degree: A.S. Human Services


Brescia University
Owensboro, KY

Brescia University offers an online social work associate degree specifically in human services. This online social work associate’s degree is perfect for an aspiring social worker or social work student. Many students are interested in human services as well, which can apply to human resources. This program is known for its convenience and flexibility and offers five start dates. The flexible online courses were designed with adult learners in mind. This is to say, they account for how busy adult professionals and parents are. This interdisciplinary series of classes draws from fields that include: integrated studies, social work, theology, and sociology, and theology. This is a great program for those who want to transfer to a four-year program in social work or human services. This is a great program for those who want to build a career working with groups, individuals, in a variety of communities, with many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. 

Degree: A.A. Human Services


Del Mar College

Del Mar College offers an associate of arts in social work that is delivered in a flexible online format. In this associate’s degree in social work online, all of the majors are required to undergo a series of core coursework. Some of those classes include in-depth statistics, introductory sociology, social welfare as an institution, and social problems. This course of study is designed to train students on the foundations of social work and help them make decisions regarding the type of social work they work like to ultimately practice. Some options include: micro, macro, and mezzo spheres of the industry. One of the astounding perks about this particular program is that they work on 2 + 2 agreements with other universities to enable easy course transfer. All students in the program have access to complex advising, which they suggest students who are interested in continuing on to a four-year program. 

Degree: A.A. Social Work


Alexandria Technical & Community College

Alexandria Technical and Community College offers an associate in applied arts human services practitioner program. This online social work associate degree is a specialized program for those who are interested in working with people who have a variety of disabilities. The course of study is delivered in a flexible online format that can be completed from the comfort of your home or office. The coursework prepares students to work in many settings including within the field of education, health, and human services. Participants will be trained to work with young children, teens, adolescents, senior citizens, and adults. Students will learn the ins and outs of the discipline, including working with behavior, medications, and communications. Keep in mind that residents in the state of Minnesota must have a background check in order to participate in related internship opportunities. The entire course of study is made up of 64 credit hours. 

Degree:  AAS Human Services Practitioner


Delta College

Delta College offers an associate degree in social work online that is delivered in a flexible online format. This program prides itself on not only offering an excellent foundation in social work, but also a well-rounded introduction in the liberal arts field. This course of study was designed to offer the scaffolding for a successful academic career in social work. This comes with the critical skills required to excel in the field such as writing, critical thinking, and communication skills. Students will also participate in extensive coursework in psychological and sociological theories. For those who want to immediately enter the workforce in an entry-level field that is related, this program will prepare them to do so. This includes taking on positions such as social and human service assistants and social and community service managers.  Some additional perks of the program include free tutoring and significant convenience. 

Degree: AA Social Work


Allen Community College

Allen Community College offers an associate in social work program that is delivered in a flexible online format. One of the draws to this program include the transfer options that it offers. The coursework enables students to achieve a foundation in sociology as well as other aspects of the social sciences. Some of the subjects covered include criminal justice, social work, human resources, social science, political science, and anthropology. Allen Community College is known for offering classes that are not only affordable, but they prepare students to engage in social work and sociology programs. Graduation from this program supports students to engage in a successful transition into a four-year degree program. The program is fully accredited by the higher learning commission. There are many scholarship opportunities accessible in this program. They utilize the Blackboard learning management system to deliver the coursework. 

Degree: AA in sociology


Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown, PA

Elizabethtown College offers an associate of science in human services that is delivered in an online and flexible format. There is also the option to participate in the program using a blended format that enables students to study both online with some on-campus face time. The entire course of study is made up of 64 credit hours. The program is fully accredited by the Middle States Association for Colleges and Secondary Schools. The program is known for ensuring that students are able to work at their own pace and are met where they are in terms of their personal needs and life goals. As far as career opportunities for graduates go there are many possibilities. Graduates have such options as social service coordinators, community support specialists, community managers, enrollment coordinator, and Medicaid specialist. Students will learn many important and relevant skills that will offer the perfect foundation for a career in human services. 

Degree: A.S. Human Services


Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
Portales, NM

Eastern New Mexico University’s Roswell Campus offers an associate in arts degree in human services that are designed to be incredibly flexible and convenient. This online associate degree in social work is explicitly designed to be a transfer program that introduces students to the foundations of the field of human services. Addressed in the course of study are the ins and outs of the discipline including group, individual, major interactions, and community and society. Students will be able to explain the field to strangers including the conditions and causes that promote or impact the optimal functioning of human systems. Students will also be able to show what they learned in the form of fundamental skills regarding relationship support combined with the screening and assessment of relationships. Students will also be able to exhibit skills related to selecting, planning, implementing, and evaluating human service interventions. 

Degree: A.A. Human Services


Northampton Community College

Northampton Community College offers an associate of arts in social work that was designed for students who value justice. This course of study was created to be flexible in order to accommodate a variety of learners including those who are working while accomplishing their education. The coursework can be accomplished one hundred percent online if the student chooses. There are options to take some courses at the Bethlehem or Monroe campuses. They make it easy to virtually meet with counselors prior to participating in the program in order to ensure that they have all of the information and support that they need. There are many career paths that students can embark on from this program, as well as further academic goals. Many students are working for careers in hospice centers, hospitals, homeless assistance programs, government, addiction treatment facilities, child welfare agencies, group homes, among others, 

Degree: AA in Social Work


Cornerstone University
Grand Rapids, MI

Cornerstone University offers an associate of science in human services that can be completed entirely online. The program can be completed over the course of 28 months. This online social work associate’s degree is made up of 68 credit hours. Some important aspects of the program include the fact that over 90 percent of students work full time while they are in the program. This is an important factor that ensures the course of study is designed to accommodate busy professional adults and therefore is flexible and convenient. Ninety-one percent of the people who graduated from this program stated that they were thoroughly prepared for their vocational path following graduation from the program. As far as prerequisites go, prospective students can apply with either a GED or a high school diploma. They are also required to have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience following high school graduation. 

Degree: A.S. Human Services


Big Sandy Community and Technical College

Big Sandy Community and Technical College offer an associate of arts in social work that is delivered entirely online. Students in the program will gain an extensive liberal arts foundation. Graduates of this associate’s degree in social work online will have many options in terms of pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree in the discipline at a variety of institutions of higher learning. Many people use this as a foundation for bachelor’s degrees in subjects such as the humanities, the arts, social sciences, or behavioral sciences. Though the degree can be completed on a full-time basis within a two-year time frame, many people take longer and study on a part-time schedule. The entire program is made up of a minimum of 60 credit hours. Students must have a 2.0 GPA to succeed in the program. There are many general education requirements that students will be required to complete, which will make them good bachelor’s degree candidates if they choose to transfer in the future. 

Degree: A.A. Social Work


Georgia Military College
Milledgeville, GA

Georgia Military College offers both an associate in arts and an associate in science program in social work. Both options are excellent for students who would like to learn the ins and outs of the social work discipline. This is also a good fit for those who want to immediately gain entry-level employment in the field. Many graduates of the program go on to achieve positions such as mental health technicians. Though it is an option for students to hit the ground running with their career, the program also supports students to seamlessly transfer to a bachelor’s program, and many students have goals of achieving a master’s degree in the field of social work. Some of the course offerings include: careers in social work, introduction to social work, self-awareness and professional development, introduction to sociology, societal issues and trends in healthcare, and the family. 

Degree: A.A & A.S. in Social Work


Western New Mexico University
Silver City, NM

Western New Mexico offers an Associate of Arts in Human Services program is a flexible online program, graduates who pursue this degree will advance into careers in the human service field. This associate’s degree in social work online stands out by offering an asynchronous online platform so students can advance in the program at their own pace. To attend potential students must get accepted into the school, the application fee is $30 dollars. This is a standard 60 credit two-year degree, with 26 credits dedicated to the core major courses, and34 credits required for general education courses. The benefits of this program are the focus on integrating technological advancements in the field of social work. As the profession involves a technological era students are encouraged to engage in research-informed practices and practice-informed research to provide effective services to the public. This is a self-paced self-reflective practice of learning while using self-reflection, this program is for a self-motivated individual passionate about providing excellent social services. 

Degree: A.A. Human Services


City Colleges of Chicago

City College of Chicago’s Associates of Art in Social Work program creates pathways to social work with the entire program available online. This associate degree in social work online has a course load of 60 credits. Full-time students can complete this program in two years, however, there are part time course schedule options. Students pursuing a degree in social work from the city college of Chicago have the option to transfer, this program is curated as a gateway to a bachelor’s degree in social work. Students can also choose to not seek out a bachelor’s and enter into the field of social work. The exciting points of this program are the seven campuses available to students seeking to attend this program in person. As an online program, there are still benefits to on-campus resources and with this program, you will not be lacking. Advisors, libraries, online faculty communication, this program is dedicated to providing a personalized experience for their students. 

Degree: A.A. Social Work


Dine College
Tsaile, AZ

Dine College offers an online associate degree in social work degree accredited by the higher learning commission. The entire course of study can be completed in 67-70 credits with the bulk of that 40 credits in general education. The major core coursework prepares students for taking on the rigor of social work. There is a major focus on-field experience, Client processing, community social services, and speech communication. After the completion of this program, graduates can transfer to a bachelor’s program in social work, or enter the job field. Graduates will qualify to work as community outreach leaders, social workers, and community support work. Students of this area of study are comforted by the knowledge that Diné College will shelter their interest, by creating a vigorous environment for students to excel in their practice. The faculty is dedicated to the advancement of the field and the success of their students. 

Degree: A.A. Social Work


Franklin Pierce University
Rindge, NH

Franklin Pierce University has an online associate in social work degree specifically in Human Services program for those seeking to join the workforce to serve the public. Earn a degree by completing 60 credits, in psychology, sociology, social work, criminology, and business as you prepare for a career in social work. The key benefit of this program is its dedication to one on one learning, the faculty has years of experience in the field and understands the importance of concentrated instruction. Franklin Pierce also offers a seamless transition into a bachelor’s in social work for those that have graduated from the Associate’s program passionate about pursuing higher learning in the field of social work. The full course of study is offered at several campuses yet they are offering this associate’s program entirely online, for the convenience and safety of the working student. Joining the field of social work is a fulfilling and demanding career. 

Degree: A.A. Human Services


New England College
Henniker, NH

New England College offers an Associate of Science in Human Services entirely online. This regionally accredited program trains students to work as social workers, community support workers, mental health aides, client advocate, and community outreach workers. Getting started in this program requires acceptance into the school and applicants can apply without a fee. The entire course of study is available online. New England College offers a career-focused curriculum. Some of the core courses include: Client assessment and planning, delivery of human services, social psychology, and substance abuse. For completion, students must complete 28 credits of General education courses, 28 credits of major requirements, and 4 credits of electives, for a total of 60 credits. Another interesting aspect about this program is if students are transferring from another program you can transfer up to 44 credits towards your AS degree. The deadline to apply for acceptance into the school is coming up on January 20th, 2021. 

Degree: A.S. Human Services

Why Should I Get My Social Work Associate’s Degree Online?

Given the times we are in, an associate degree in social work online might be the best way to go. For starters, with the climate of COVID-19, the fate of in-person higher education is uncertain for now. Starting off in an online program might be the best way to go. A social work associate’s degree online offers the flexibility to accomplish everything you were already doing while studying from the convenience of your home or workplace. Social work is a career that will always be in demand, as long as there is a need in the world. Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine that changing any time soon. Many of these associate degrees in social work online programs are geared towards students who are interested in transferring to a four-year bachelor’s program upon completion. In most cases, this is a more economical choice than going straight into a four-year institution of higher learning. Some people, however, choose to hit the ground running on an entry-level career in the field instead of furthering their education at this particular juncture. There are many styles of programming, and some are intended to get students out in the field as much as possible. 

How Do I Choose an Online Social Work Associate’s Degree?

As aforementioned, there is a myriad of program styles for online schools for associates in social work programs. Some programs emphasize extensive hands-on learning opportunities. In fact, many programs connect students with organizations in their area where they can participate in internship opportunities. There are other fieldwork opportunities that programs offer, some of which are the entire length of the program, and others are short sections. Some opportunities are considered practicum classes and will be important contributions to a final portfolio. Portfolios can be excellent additions to job applications in the future. This is all to say, you might look for a program that offers the field experience that is in line with the career path you are interested in. 

How Much Can I Make with an Associate’s in Social Work?

According to PayScale, with an associate in social work, the average salary is $36,261. One could easily gain entry-level employment in the field. An associate degree in social work salary has quite a range; a staffing manager can easily make something to the tune of $47,000 with an associate’s degree. Not so bad if you ask me. Many of these positions offer additional perks like health insurance and profit-sharing benefits, as well as health savings accounts, and bonuses. Also, in the social work industry, there is plenty of room for growth. This is to say that a social work associate degree salary will grow with time as the career path makes it easy for professionals to work their way up the ladder in an organization. Many people start in entry-level positions and end up in managerial positions in a few years. Social work is a field where experience can get you farther than education in some cases. 


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