You can earn your Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) online and complete fieldwork in your home community. Typically, undergraduate social work courses are interdisciplinary and include social justice, human behavior, environment, crisis intervention, mental health, diversity, social policies, etc. In addition to coursework, most social work programs require students to complete a field experience. Field experiences are completed in agencies and organizations, working with clients, and under the supervision of a licensed social worker. Once you earn your bachelor’s degree in Social Work online, you’ll be prepared to work closely with individuals, families, communities, groups, and organizations.
According to the Bureau of Labor education statistics, employment opportunities in nonprofit and government agencies, healthcare systems, etc. will grow at a faster than average 7% rate with annual salaries of $55,000.
How We Ranked the Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Programs
The College Consensus Best Online Social Work Programs ranking specifically looks at schools that are accredited regionally and reputable. Online social work programs are ranked by three factors that we evenly weighted:
- US News Ranking
- Niche Score
- Grad Report Score
With these elements in mind, our team looks at college programs according to their record of providing a return on investment. Our ranking of the Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Programs shows the best combination of market reputation, educational quality, and rewarding income. We hope there is a program on this list that inspires you to take the next step in your school search.
Recommended Online BSW Programs
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Enrolling in UOnline’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, you’ll be taught by the same exceptional faculty as if you attended on-campus. This is one of only 16 Council on Social Work Education (CSW) accredited online BSW programs.
Along with the university’s general education requirements, this BSW program requires liberal arts studies in General Psychology, Social Work as a Profession, Intro to Sociology, and U.S. National Government. You’ll take 48 credit hours in social work classes specifically developed to prepare you for an entry-level social work or community resources position. This curriculum includes Social Work Practice 1: Individuals and Families, Social Welfare Policy and Services, Developmental Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect, substance abuse, Advanced Social Work Writing, Social Diversity, and Cultural Understanding, etc. You’ll participate in a field practicum that can be conducted in your home community.
Check out their financial aid options! U.S. News and World Report considers the University of Utah one of the Best Value Schools in the nation with online tuition of $260 per credit regardless of residency. Utah also offers a master’s degree.
If you’re an Alabama resident, you’ll want to explore this well regarded BSW from the University of Alabama that includes skills labs and field experiences conducted in Alabama.
Coursework for this BSW program is provided primarily online and has classes in Introduction to the Fields of Social Work Practice, Oppression and Social Injustice, Behavior and the Environment, Social Welfare Policy, and Services, Mental Health, History of Social Welfare in the United States, and more. You’ll also complete general education courses and your social work studies for a total of 120 hours for your diploma. Following your coursework, you’ll complete 450 hours of supervised field experiences in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, or Montgomery.
Admission applications are accepted year-round and you’ll attend a mandatory one-day, on-campus orientation before beginning classes. Alabama also offers a master’s degree.
The digital campus of Boston’s Simmons University offers a BSW in Social Work that is designed to prepare you for various social issues. This university was founded in 1899 to provide women with undergraduate educational opportunities and has an enviable 8:1 student-teacher ratio.
This is a 128-credit-hour BSW program curriculum, including general education studies and your major courses. In this accredited program, you’ll study Social Welfare Policy, Interviewing & Documentation in Human Services, Behavior in the Social Environment, Introduction to Social Research, and studies in Social Work Practice in three areas Introduction to Generalist Practice, Work With Individuals & Families, Groups, and Macro Social Work. Field Placements in community resources are required along with required Liberal Arts courses in General Biology, Introduction to Statistics, and Sex, Gender, Mental Health, and Biology.
Online classes at Simmons University are provided live and face-to-face. Check out their financial aid options! In January 2022, the university lowered its online tuition by 24%, making it more affordable. Out of state students may have to pay different rate.
Portland State University began in 1946 and has long been recognized for its innovative approach to education, as demonstrated by this first online BSW offered in the Pacific Northwest.
You can earn an online bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) in Social Work with this 180-credit-hour program. General education courses are required during your first two years. Provided completely online, the Social Work BSW program major requires 39 coursework hours and 12 hours in a field placement (in your home community). Introductory courses are needed in Social Work as well as Oppression and Privilege. Research methods include — Advocacy for Policy Change, Behavior Through the Lifespan, Social Work Practice, and Research and Evaluation. You’ll choose 12 credit-hours from the School of Gender in electives such as Chicano/Latino Studies, mental health, Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Black Studies, Indigenous Nations Studies, etc.
PSU’s accredited program has a rolling admission process and a high acceptance rate. Check out their financial aid options! The school recently reduced its online course fees from $35 to $22. Out of state students may have to pay different rate.
Social work courses have been part of the University of North Dakota’s academics since 1905, and the BSSW degree began being offered in 1935.
This rich history has allowed UND to develop a flexible, online, and inclusive BSW program for students working toward professional licensure in Social Work. The 120 credit-hour online bachelor’s degree curriculum includes general education studies and a wide array of Social Work courses. This program also offers the opportunity to earn an interdisciplinary minor in either Chemical Dependency or Gerontology. Studies extend across the spectrum and research methods include — behavior, social policy, mental health, working with individuals and families, groups, communities, and organizations. Field experiences provide opportunities to learn from working professionals.
The BSSW at the University of North Dakota is considered one of the best in ND as well as Minnesota. This is a very transfer friendly and provides transfer help and services.
Ready to start your journey?
If you’re a Georgia resident, this may be a good option for you to earn your BSW from Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
The online bachelor’s degree curriculum is designed to meet Georgia licensure and accreditation requirements. Along with GSU general education requisite studies, you’ll study Social Welfare Institutions, Communication Skills for professional Social Workers, Behavior and Social Environment, Case Management, Methods of Social Work Research, etc… in this BSW program. The School of Policy Studies has an impressive list of electives ranging from topics in administration, aging, behavioral health, child welfare, justice, law, as well as forensics. Field studies are completed in Georgia social services agency under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.
The school takes an active role in your success and you’ll work with the advising center throughout your enrollment at GSU. GSU applications are due April 1 and acceptance is competitive.
This online online bachelor’s degree (BSW), through the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science at the University of Louisville, is an excellent option for prospective students seeking to enter a social work practice. The program is considered the #1 social work program in Kentucky.
Coursework is provided 100% online and requires general education, lower-division general electives, and 60 credit hours in the major for 120 credit hours. The core curriculum covers studies in human behavior, social welfare institutions, and general practice topics, such as theory, interventions, small groups, individual practice, community/organizations, and other research methods. Supervised field experiences in mental health clinics, community agencies and organizations are required. A Drug and Alcohol Counseling track is available with elective courses in substance abuse, counseling issues, as well as a field experience working with clinical social workers and community service managers.
The social work online program has a generous transfer policy of up to 60 hours from a community college and 90 hours from a four-year college or university. You may also consider staying for a master’s degree.
Texas State University has an online BSW generalist degree requiring 120 credit hours for completion. TSU was founded in 1899, and the School of Social Work is part of the university’s College of Applied Arts and has a typical enrollment of 600 students.
You’ll take university required lower-level general education classes along with your major studies in this online bachelor’s degree. General social work courses are fundamental in this curriculum. You should also explore the classes offered that provide a wider view of the profession. program development Courses in Ghana: Human Rights and Social Justice, taking an interdisciplinary approach to global human rights, Comparative Social Work Ethics in Canterbury (England) examining the NASW Code of Ethics and the National Codes of Ethics from the International Federation of professional Social Workers, Spirituality and Social Work Practice, and Animal-Assisted Therapy, etc. Field experiences working with clinical social workers is required as well.
Long known for its quality online degree programs, the College of Allied Health at the University of Cincinnati awards a BSW ideal for prospective students with an Associate Degree or who have hours to transfer from another college or university.
General education coursework for the online bachelor is required, and foundational social work classes include human behavior, program orientation, and social work generalist studies. You’ll then choose from courses in social work practice (groups, individuals/families, communities), mental health, substance abuse, assessment, and diagnosis. A field experience is necessary, which can be completed in your home community or human service agencies. You can earn credentials in Substance Abuse Counseling by taking specific electives if you want. This is provided through a partnership with the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. You’ll want to check with your state on specific credentials especially if your interested in working as a social worker at government agencies or moving up to community service managers.
This online bachelor degree requires 120-135 credit hours for graduation. You can then move on to a master’s degree.
The BSW from California State University-Chico is provided primarily online but does require periodic campus visits for personal instruction. This is known at the university as a Distributed Learning Program.
As a first-year Pre-Social Work major, you’ll complete prerequisite, general education courses and will make formal application to the social work program at the beginning of your junior year. Transfer students need a minimum of 60 transfer hours. Core social work classes are required in subjects of biology, statistics, psychology, and social work topics Diversity and Justice, Social Welfare Institutions, and Human Behaviors Across the Lifespan. Other courses include Policy & Programs for Older Adults, Social Work Methods, Law and Disadvantaged Persons, Mental Health Awareness and Recovery, Practicum Experience, and others.
If you have a 3.5 GPA, the school has a Social Work Honors Program that allows you to conduct research or create a project on a social work topic of interest to you. Contact student support to find out more. After successful completion you’ll be on your way to be a Social Worker!
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If you’re looking for a BASW, you should explore the online program at the University of Kentucky’s College of Social Work. This program ranks #1 in Kentucky for its social work licensing pass rates.
You’ll have access to the same faculty and student services as your on-campus counterparts, benefit from academic advising by a licensed social worker, and over 1,000 field placement sites. UK and the College of Social Work have required core courses in general education subjects, pre-major Social Work classes, and Professional Social Work courses. The curriculum for social work covers topics in behavior, social work practice, research, ethics, and a practicum experience.
The College of Social Work has a broad offering of field experiences in organizations and agencies working with mental health clinics, veterans, clinical, child welfare, substance use disorder, etc. You may also have the option of working with your advisor to establish a field experience in an agency of your choice. After successful completion you’ll be on your way to being a Social Worker or earning a master’s degree.
The University of Massachusetts-Global, frequently known as UMass-Global, is an accredited non-profit institution that offers quality online degree programs.
One of those programs is its BASW degree, designed to prepare you for entry-level social work positions. The degree requires 120 credit hours for completion, and the school accepts transfer credits from accredited colleges. You’ll study core social work topics in Social Welfare, Human Behavior and the Social Environment across the lifespan, Social Work Practice (individual, group, family, organizations), etc. You can choose from a range of electives in areas of domestic violence and victim advocacy, drug and alcohol abuse, at-risk youth, and more. You’ll also complete a supervised practicum experience.
UMass-Global has rolling admission and a flat tuition rate regardless of residency. The school has a high graduation rate with 68% of returning students earning their undergraduate degrees.
The motto for Wayne State University’s online programs is “Where Online Works” (WOW!), and you’ll want to review the BSW online degree. Students in the WOW program benefit from the school’s use of the Canvas distance education platform. This is an excellent program for working adults, and transfers smoothly to a master’s degree.
This is a 120-credit-hour degree program, and the school will accept up to 64 transfer credit hours from qualifying colleges and universities. The social work major comprises coursework in areas such as theory, research and data analysis, human behavior and environment, history and trends in social welfare, social justice issues, ethics and values, and seminars. You’ll also complete supervised field work as part of your overall curriculum. Typically, the field experience is conducted in your home community, but be sure to discuss your options with your academic advisor.
This program has been training social workers since 1942 and has continued to grow as the field has grown. The College of Social Work at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville website describes its online BSSW program as “Flexibility. Increased access. Quality education.” If you’re a transfer student with an Associate Degree, this program’s for you.
The curriculum is offered entirely online with real-time synchronous video conferencing software. You’ll take the same courses, taught by the same faculty as on-campus students, in Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families, Case Management with Military Personnel and Veterans, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma-Informed Care, Crisis Intervention, and Suicidology, Child Welfare, etc. Field practice, Off-Campus, Independent, and International Study courses are part of the overall curriculum.
Recently, UTK has reinstated ACT or SAT scores as part of its admission requirements. You’ll want to view the college’s introductory video on the website and hear about the experience of UTK social work students. You may also consider a UTK master’s degree.
For over 85 years, The Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health has been training social workers. If you’re a state resident, you can earn your BSW online from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, which offers the state’s only Distance Education Option for social work. This is a degree completion program available for Hawaii residents who’ve completed their general education requirements.
The BSW coursework covers issues in social work practice, social welfare history and institutionalization, human development and behavior, research, social services with children and geriatric clients, etc. You’ll also participate in field experiences where you’ll have hands-on education in skills, values, and application of what you’ve learned. The curriculum is offered part-time or full-time to meet your schedule and work/life balance.
If you need, you can talk with a Pre-Social Work advisor via Zoom with any questions you may have.
Northern Arizona University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has an online BSW which can lead to becoming a licensed social work generalist in most states.
As with most undergraduate degrees, 120 credit hours are required for this program, with 75 of those hours in your major. The curriculum is designed to develop professional skills in helping people experiencing child and domestic abuse, disability, homelessness, mental illness, etc. Studies are divided into professional and behavioral science courses, covering social work practice, intervention, research, social and economic justice, and more. A field experience is required but can be completed in your home community under a qualified preceptor.
One of the best aspects of the NAU online program is that you can enroll as a traditional online student (set semester schedule, assignment deadlines, per credit hour tuition) or personalized (set your own schedule, pay flat 6-month tuition).
Western Kentucky University is serious about its online programming, offering over 1,700 online courses each year. WKU also allows you to take classes on-demand or semester-based options for its online BSW degree. You’ll apply to the university and make a separate application to the Social Work program for your junior year.
Offering a slate of required coursework in social work foundation studies, human behavior and the environment, case management, communication skills for social workers, social policies and welfare, social work practices, and a field practicum. You’ll have a wide choice of electives from Diversity and Social Welfare classes, Ethical Issues, and Dilemmas in Social Work, Social Work & Women in Society, Military Social Work, Mental Health and Social Policy, and others. You can also choose to do a directed study and research under faculty supervision on a subject of your choice. Look into a master’s degree from WKU as well.
Established in 1912, The College of St. Scholastica is an independent, private, Catholic located in Duluth, MN. The school has a robust, online presence and offers a BSW degree which will prepare you for an entry-level social work position.
This degree requires a total of 128 credit hours in general education and social work courses. In the major, you’ll take courses in Social Work with Individuals and Families, Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Work Intervention with Groups, Research and Evaluation, Social Work with Community Systems, and others. A field practicum experience is required during your senior year. Among the electives for this program is a study abroad course titled, Jamaica: Exploring Global Social Work with a focus on child welfare while visiting several social agencies in the Montego Bay area.
The college has two application deadlines on November 15 or February 1 for fall semester. Admission applications are accepted for fall semester through the end of August.
If you have an Associate Degree in Social or Human Services, take a look at this BSW degree completion from Pennsylvania’s Millersville University. (Please note: if you completed another bachelor’s degree, you wouldn’t be eligible for this program).
Specifically designed for students who have at least 60 credit hours at a community college or university, this BSW can be completed in two or tw0-three years. You’ll take human behavior and environment classes, human diversity, social work practice, social economics and welfare policy, social research and statistics, welfare law, and fieldwork. The fieldwork is conducted where you live. You’ll want to be sure to review the program’s prerequisite requirements.
Each class lasts full 14-week semester length. The Office of Online Programs and Social Work Department provides various services and advising opportunities for its distance education students.
If you don’t live in the area, you may not have heard of this Minnesota school, but this hybrid BSW program is specifically designed to promote a healthy work-family-life balance for its students.
As a cohort program, you’ll attend one Saturday per month at the Bemidji, MN, with the rest of your coursework provided online. The cohort size is limited to 30 students, and you’ll take two or three classes with your cohort. Cohort classes in this degree include studies in human behavior, family dynamics and intervention techniques, general practice, and more. Foundation courses are required, along with core social work classes. You’ll study general practice (individuals, groups, communities, organizations), welfare policy, etc. An internship in your senior year at a social service agency.
A minor is offered in Substance and Behavior Addictions. You can opt for an internship in Chemical Dependency to earn an Alcohol and Drug Counselor certificate prior to Minnesota licensure.
Fort Hays State University consistently ranks as having some of the best online undergraduate programs. The online BSW degree is no exception.
Designed as a traditional undergraduate degree focusing on the practice of social work, pre-social work students complete 60 credit hours in general education classes. You’ll apply to the program and take core classes in policy and services, human behavior, social environments, general practice issues (individuals, groups, families, etc.), and more. Electives are offered in a range of topics in aging, spirituality, client management, etc. As with other programs, a practicum experience is required. You can specialize in addiction counseling by adding studies in Pharmacology and high-risk medical issues. Your practicum will be completed in an addictions counseling facility.
FHSU is a transfer student and military-friendly school. The university awards credits for prior learning and military experience/training.
The online BSW at the University of Arkansas Little Rock is available to Arkansas residents only.
This BSW prepares you for entry-level social work careers, working with individuals, groups, families, etc. You’ll complete general education classes before entering the social work program—courses in the significant policy, behavior, and social work practices. The curriculum provides you with the history of social welfare services in the US, therapeutic relationships, client-system assessment, research, statistics, etc. Two field experiences are required under licensed supervisors in a human service agency. Unlike other programs, this degree requires courses in Abnormal Psychology and rhetoric classes in writing techniques and styles.
When considering cost, UA-Little Rock doesn’t charge technology fees and offers military discounts. Application for this BSW is on March 1.
East Central University is located in Ada, Oklahoma, but you’ll not visit this campus with its 100% online BSW degree. You must have a high school diploma to enroll in this program.
This program provides you with the skills and practices for professional behavior, an emphasis on social justice, diversity and human rights, social justice, and more. ECU accepts up to 94 credit hour transfer policy for its 124 credit hour program, which includes general education classes and social work studies. Among the major courses, you’ll take areand Social Environment, Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare, Social Wor Human Behavior k Practice, Professional Skills for Social Work and Social Welfare, and an internship.
Online students benefit from the same expert faculty as on-campus students, and you’ll have access to outstanding student resources such as online academic advisors.
The online BSW degree program through Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global may be perfect if you need a degree completion program. You must have a high school diploma to enroll in this program.
You can complete this faith-based curriculum of 22 core courses in 32 months. Courses are taken one at a time over six weeks. Studies include Environment and Society, Behavior and the Social Environment, Social Welfare Organization, Social Work Practice, and Field Placement. You’ll study under academically and professionally recognized faculty with practical experience.
IWU is dedicated to helping prepare students to succeed to become a social worker. They provide online students a robust support system, including faculty, staff, and full-time chaplains. You can also rely on 24-hour tech support as well as tutoring help. IWU has offered a tuition guarantee since 1985, ensuring qualified online students a locked-in rate from the beginning to the end of their studies. IWU has a rolling admission policy.
This Texas university has a completely online BSW degree program which will prepare students to sit for the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners Licensing Exam.
Designed to train you to help people with mental, physical, and, social issues, you’ll be qualified for entry-level social work careers. You’ll take an introductory course in social work and classes in domestic violence, group practices, human sexuality, field placement, administrative management, etc. You can participate in the college’s summer study abroad program, exposing you to social welfare and European culture. The entire program requires 120 credit hours which includes general education classes.
The online BSW has pre-social work requirements for admission, such as 20 hours of volunteer experience, resume, certain completed coursework, etc. This is in addition to being admitted to Angelo State University.
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Why Should I Get My Bachelor’s in Social Work Online?
This important field began in the U.S. in the 19th century when benevolent societies and organizations began to address social problems being ignored by the government. These societies worked with the impoverished living in urban settings, immigrants, orphans, widows, recently emancipated enslaved people, and other groups. In 1898, New York’s Columbia University began interventions in poor urban conditions which eventually lead to the first research and national association education of trained social workers utilizing evidence-based research.
The National Association of Social Workers defines social work as “a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment.” Not everyone is equal in society, and it can be impossible for segments of our population to access help or cope with complex situations.
An online bachelor of social work degree (BSW program) is the best way to kickstart your career as a licensed clinical social worker. Many people choose an online learning degree program because it gives them the opportunity to learn from the comfort of their home or office and they can continue working with a flexible academic schedule. Online bachelor’s degrees in social work often engage a fieldwork experience, which ensures that students will gain the hands-on experience they need to hit the ground running when it is time for them to look for a job.
Many graduates of bachelor of social work online degree programs gain entry-level employment upon program completion, while others decide to continue on and achieve a master’s degree in social work. Higher social work education too can be an online endeavor with extensive field experience offerings like community service managers. Online course offerings are extensive in many master’s degree programs, enabling students to study a myriad of topics. Some subjects may include, statistics, anthropology, among many others.
How Do I Choose an Online Social Work Program?
When doing a school search for different online bachelor’s of social work degree programs there are many things to look at. First of all, it’s good to get a sense of what you would like to get out of an online BSW program. Maybe you are looking for a faith-based approach to the coursework or one that is especially connected to community leaders, justice, and community organization issues. There are many programs that offer specializations, so it’s good to look out for social work education coursework that ties into your academic and career goals. Best online schools for social work degree programs are vast, so consider if you are interested in a program that is close enough to home where you can access some of the campus resources. This will narrow your online BSW program search down quite a bit.
Of course, look for a school that is accredited by a regional organization like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation also indicates an excellent program.
In addition, you might look at the learning formats that are offered for social work education. If you are especially interested in flexibility, you might look at an online social work degree that offers asynchronous learning options. This means you can participate in your coursework when it’s convenient for you. Synchronous learning options also are an option, meaning undergraduate students sign in at a certain time, and in many cases, they give online students the chance to have live discussions. Find the best online college for social work degree so that you can become the best social worker!
How Much Can I Make with a Bachelor’s in Social Work?
According to PayScale, on average, graduates with a bachelor in social work can make an average of $56,000 per year working as a social worker. The range is wide, as a licensed social worker can around $57,000 and it goes up and down from there. Case managers within family services at government agencies generally make in the high thirty thousand. Social workers in private practice can vary greatly. This is one of the professions that give professionals the opportunity to gain pay increases based on experience. The executive director’s in the field of social work have often paid their dues in entry-level positions prior to achieving their high-ranking job in private practice that makes close to $80,000 per year.
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