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

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College Consensus Best Online Bach Social Work 02 03

It’s easy to feel powerless amidst all of the public health crises of today. Living in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic has raised a lot of questions about who has access to reliable healthcare, the ability to work from home, and who does not have access to secure food and housing. Also, the career outlook is a good one for this path, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Asking such questions can be the first step to deciding that you want to go into the field of social work. In other words, this is the perfect discipline for those who want to make a difference in the lives of others. Social work is an interdisciplinary field that brings together many subjects such as: psychology, anthropology, communications, statistics, and other special topics related to the humanities. This bachelor’s degree will touch on all of these subjects.

This field looks deeply at families, communities, individual health and wellness, and the societies at large. Many people choose this path if they want to work in settings such as hospitals, hospice centers, institutions that support people with disabilities, mental health facilities, and with individuals in counseling contexts, among others. Some programs are easy to transfer into from related associates degree pathways. There are different types of social work, and achieving a degree in the field can give you the tools to learn the best niche of the discipline for you. We have looked at many programs and determined which we believe are the top 25 best online social work degree programs.

Many of the programs offer unmatched convenience with their online learning course format and the flexibility to study where, and in many cases, when it is convenient for you. We used the following metrics to create our ranking:

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Student Success Rate

1

University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Seattle, WA

Coming in an honor second is the best place on our list is the University of Washington’s Bachelor of Art in social welfare program offered entirely online. This is one of the best online social work degree programs. They begin accepting applications in February through April for entry in fall 2021. The program is exciting because of its 480 hours of field experience with a training licensed social worker. However, due to the current state of the pandemic, this aspect of the program has gone virtual. As well as the hands-on experience in fieldwork, this program focuses on teaching students to think critically about systemic oppression, becoming an active part of actions against injustices and inequalities. Graduates of this program will have the ability to continue learning by pursuing their Master’s of Ph.D. in social work. This will allow graduates to become licensed clinical social workers and will open the door for a myriad of positions in the mental health field and beyond. 

Degree: B.A. Social Welfare

2

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

Obtaining a bachelor in social work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is becoming easier as the entire course of study is offered online. This is one of the best online social work degree programs. Social Work requires 120 credit hours for graduation. This program is rooted in a foundation in liberal arts. Upon completion of this degree, students will achieve advanced standing in a master’s in social work program, or see career opportunities in professional sectors such as corrections, human resources, government, health care, or education. Unlike some social work programs, this one requires 50 paid or volunteer hours in a social service agency. Another exciting point about this program is the quantitative reasoning courses that help develop the skills that all social workers need, which are critical thinking and communication skills. Students will take courses like Diversity, social work and military, Social work, and disability studies. There are a required 15 credit hours of agency-based field practicum graduates are required to complete. 

Degree: Bachelor in Social Work

3

The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX

The University of Texas at Austin offers a bachelor in social work with a focus on social justice work. This is considered one of the best online social work degree programs. Students interested in social work already have a passion for creating change. However, if you want a program that will nurture the inner activists this one is a good place to start. This rigorous program requires 122 credit hours, 480 hours of field internship, and 60 hours of service in the community. This hands-on learning approach is one of the impressive parts of this program. Students can begin to understand their roles in this very challenging profession by understanding civic engagement first hand. There are some strict GPA requirements for the student applying to this program a GPA of 3.5 is required. There is also an honors program. BSW students can apply to be in that will allow students to dive deep into research of their interest. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

4

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

The University of Wisconsin has a bachelors in social work degree is an introduction to social and behavioral science. This is considered one of the best online social work degree programs. Graduates of this program can work as social workers and human service professionals with the goal to impact their communities positively. This program is part of the liberal arts education and closely follows teaching students how to engage in social welfare problems and policies. This 120 credit program is tracked out in a traditional four-year program. Another compelling aspect of this program is that students can with the help of faculty, curate part of their learning in the form of an independent study. To declare social work potential graduates must first complete the required general education course. It is the key focus of this program to promote excellence in the field of social work. They are striving to do this by imparting key elements of the courses, like recognizing human differences, critical evaluation of research, and becoming familiar with the history of the social work profession. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

5

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

The bachelor in social work offered by the University of Utah has caught our interest in this ranking because of its innovative techniques in their approach to social work. This is considered one of the best online social work degree programs. Students have a plethora of additional student opportunities, research projects, learning abroad programs, and offers several on-campus organizations to become a part of to begin building a powerful network of professionals. A BSW provides the skills graduates need to work in the many demanding sectors that require social work. Completion of the program includes 122 credit hours, with a minimum of 48 for major courses. The online degree is accredited by the council on social work education. Graduates can work in the field of healthcare, human service, family services, juvenile justice, aging, and gerontology. An outstanding element of this program is it seeks to create professionals who value the importance of establishing supportive relationships with communities of color and other marginalized groups. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

6

University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

The University of Iowa has a Bachelor of the arts in social work offers a bachelor’s degree program that can be completed entirely online. This is considered one of the best online social work degree programs. They also have a minor in the discipline for students who want to primarily study something else. There are competitive admissions standards for this program, which speaks to the quality of the coursework. This program has about 90 students at a time, many of whom you will have opportunities to collaborate with. There are opportunities to take honors courses and to graduate in a four-year period. Some of the classes embedded into the program include: introduction to sociology principles, social justice and social welfare in the United States or introduction to social work, human biology, elementary psychology, introduction to sociology principles, introduction to American politics, and extensive field experience. There is an option to transfer into the program, however, students are encouraged to discuss the process with an advisor. 

Degree: B.A. Social Work

7

Ohio State University-Main Campus
Columbus, OH

Ohio State University offers a bachelor in science in social work that can be delivered in an entirely online format. There are many special aspects related to this program including their 4+1 opportunity. This combines the bachelors and masters and enables students to accomplish both in just five years. Students will be prepared to become generalists in the field with a foundation in ethics and professionalism that will be paramount to the profession. Students will learn how to work effectively with diverse populations in roles of advocacy. They will be able to employ empirical data to not only inform their practice but also to evaluate and improve their work. Ohio State does everything it can to make this program accessible, including the offering of many financial aid resources. Even in the online programming, they foster a community and team mentality that students are able to access for support throughout the program. 

Degree: B.S. Social Work

8

University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota offers a bachelor of science in social work program that is delivered entirely online. This is the perfect program for someone who is interested in working towards licensure in social work. As one of the best online social work degree programs, it is designed to be flexible, supporting a diverse body of learners achieving their post-secondary education at a pace and schedule that works for them. The program is built on 120 credit hours of coursework, though they are very transfer-friendly, and enable students to come in with a significant amount of credits from another institution of higher learning. Students will choose between two specializations, which include chemical dependency or gerontology. The program gives students an opportunity to dive into the discipline of social work and the ways it addresses the most difficult challenges in which one may be faced including: poverty, disability, and mental illness, discrimination, educational problems, abuse, unemployment, hysterical illness, loss, and divorce. 

Degree: B.S. Social Work

9

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville offers a bachelor of science in social work program that can be completed entirely online. This is considered one of the best online social work degree programs. One of the key tenets regarding this program is its flexibility. It is also known for being an accessible course of study with a quality foundation. Students who have previously achieved an associate’s degree in a related discipline are encouraged to apply, as this is considered an incredibly transfer-friendly pathway. Transfer students must have achieved a 2.5 or above in order to qualify for this program. Additional prerequisites include classes such as: introduction to social work, introduction to social welfare, and writing prompt including: what motivated you to pursue a career in social work instead of another helping profession? In order to graduate from the program, students must complete 120 credit hours of coursework. Many graduates of this program go on to achieve a master’s in social work upon completion of their bachelor’s. 

Degree: B.S. Social Work

10

Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

Sorry, this program is no longer offered online.

11

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global
Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan University-National and Global offer a bachelor program in social work that is delivered entirely online. This course of study was designed to train students to show up to the profession of social work with professional and ethical behavior. As one of the best online social work degree programs, they pride themselves on offering an education that is adult-friendly and takes into account the needs of busy working professionals and parents. Not only is Indiana Wesleyan fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, but the program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program is offered within the School of Service and Leadership. Some of the required courses include: general psychology, introduction to sociology, social problems, intergroup relations, environment and society, basic economics, social research, social welfare organizations, social policy, among others. Prospective students can be admitted to the program with a GED or a high school diploma. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

12

Brescia University
Owensboro, KY

Brescia University offers a bachelors in social work program that is delivered entirely online. They ensure that students will achieve an education, in this program, that offers both the theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline. As one of the best online social work degree programs, it is known for being affordable and offering financial aid opportunities that make the coursework more accessible. The online coursework is designed to be flexible and enables students to continue working and not compromise on their family obligations. The program is fully accredited by the council on social work education. Brescia prides itself on being an adult-friendly campus, meaning they cater to serving the needs of adult learners. Some of the courses students will engage in include: introduction to social work, human behavior and the social environment, practice one and two, social issues and diversity, ethical considerations in social work, social welfare policy, research and statistics, and the field practicum. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

13

Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Natchitoches, LA

The Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers a bachelors of social work program that is delivered entirely online. This program has come up with the best teaching practices, as they have been offering social work coursework since 1970. This course of study prepares students to either engage with diverse populations while putting to the test a wealth of advocacy skills. Students might choose from a variety of career paths that are touched upon in the program including: aging, corrections, income maintenance, child welfare, disabilities services, schools, alcohol, and substance abuse, among many others. Not only is this program known for being affordable, but they offer many financial aid opportunities to make it more accessible for their students. Students will be prepared to continue on with their education if they choose to achieve a master’s of social work upon graduation. They will also be prepared to immediately enter the workforce if that is their preferred path.

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

14

Misericordia University
Dallas, PA

Misericordia University offers a bachelors degree in social work program that is delivered entirely online. As one of the best online social work degree programs, there are a number of flexible online options. The Council on Social Work Education has fully accredited this program, making it an easy transition for advanced standing in many social work graduate programs in the country. They offer two minors including a minor program in gerontology and a minor in addictions counseling. Students are required to complete 121 credit hours to earn their bachelors in social work. Students are required to complete 78 credits of social work-specific coursework. Some of the classes that are required include: intro to social welfare, cultural minorities, social problems, intro to psychology, comparative sociology, intro to philosophy, research methods, fieldwork instruction, and senior integrative seminar. All students will create a unique portfolio that will look at their academic achievements and fieldwork experience. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

15

Bemidji State University
Bemidji, MN

Bemidji State University offers a bachelors in social work program that is delivered entirely online. This program is responding to the demand of social workers in a variety of fields, and therefore training students to answer the call. In fact, they offer an accelerated masters program for students who graduate from the bachelor’s and want to take their education to the next level. The accelerated master program can be completed in one year’s time. They have many opportunities for students to complement this program, including a minor in addictions, a certificate in alcohol and drug counseling, and preparation for licensure through the School of Social Work. They also offer additional graduate coursework for students who are interested in a well rounded academic experience. They support students to have internships that will give them the hands-on experience that will make them career ready upon graduation. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

16

Walden University
Minneapolis, MN

Walden University offers a bachelors degree in social work that has the motto Education for Good. As one of the best online social work degree programs, this program makes it easy for students to transfer from other institutions of higher learning. This is viewed as a degree completion program. In fact, students can transfer up to 135 credit hours from another program. The coursework is designed for adult learners who already have some life experience. They pride themselves on supporting students to gain the necessary foundation to engage in a masters of social work program upon completion of this bachelor’s. Some of the courses students will take include: living and learning in a technological world, diversity and multiculturalism, introduction to social work, introduction to the welfare state, and basic skills for social work practice. Students will be prepared for a variety of roles including child life specialist, substance abuse counselor, discharge planner, residential counselor, school social worker, among many others. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

17

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
Portales, NM

Eastern New Mexico University offers an online bachelors in social work program that is delivered in a flexible format that accommodates a diverse body of learners. This is considered one of the best online social work degree programs. The coursework in the program includes recorded lectures that can be watched at the learner’s convenience, many readings, assignments, labs, and tests that will all be delivered in a remote format. There is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning in this program. Eastern New Mexico is committed to supporting students to finance their education with ease, therefore there are many financial aid options. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Graduates of the program have been known to find career paths in corrections, courts, hospice care, youth services, education, law enforcement, child welfare, health and mental health, medical facilities, community-based organizations, and beyond. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

18

Spring Arbor University
Spring Arbor, MI

Spring Arbor University offers a bachelors of arts in social work that is delivered entirely online. There are no residency or on-campus requirements in this particular program. This is a Christian college and they take that very seriously as in all of the coursework that they deliver. They believe that students find this program in response to a higher calling. Maybe you heard this call? It is fully accredited by the council on social work education. As part of the coursework the students will undergo, they will receive a faculty mentor to not only support them through their upper-division courses, but also a fieldwork internship placement. Some of the featured courses that this program offers include racial and ethnic relations, social work welfare policies, and practice with individuals and families. Students can also choose to achieve an additional child welfare endorsement. 

Degree: B.A. Social Work

19

Mary Baldwin University
Staunton, VA

Mary Baldwin University offers a bachelors in social work program that is delivered entirely online. As one of the best online social work degree programs, they offer extensive fieldwork opportunities that match the interests of the students. In fact, students will engage in a minimum of 450 hours of fieldwork. The program is expressly delivered through the Susan Warfield Caples School of Social Work, which is known for its academic rigor. They are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program enables students to choose a specialization within medical or school social work. They enable students to choose to go on international fieldwork expeditions, including in Haiti or Honduras. They are extremely transfer-friendly, ensuring that students can transfer up to 84 credit hours from another institution of higher learning. There are many financial aid offerings in this program, making it accessible to a variety of diverse prospective students. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

20

Aurora University
Aurora, IL

Aurora University offers a bachelor’s degree in social work that is delivered entirely online. There are many aspects of this program that make it affordable beyond tuition. One interesting fact is all of their course material is within open education resources (OER). This means, in place of traditional textbooks, all texts are free of charge and copyright free. All of the faculty members in the program have extensive real-world experience. Students will gain hands-on experience embedded into the coursework in the form of fieldwork. Students will bring their previously earned credits, as this program is known for being transfer-friendly. The curriculum is built on 120 credit hours, forty of which are specific to the major. The courses are delivered in eight-week increments. Students can complete the program in as little as 2-4 years time. Some examples of the core courses include: social work with groups, individuals, and families, and human behavior in the social work environment: the human lifespan. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

21

Huntington University
Huntington, IN

Huntington University offers a bachelors in social work program that can be completed entirely online. As one of the best online social work degree programs, this program engages students in a myriad of themes related to the justice and wellness of all people. In fact, their motto is Globally Aware and Locally Active. Another important aspect that defines this course of study is its biblical foundation and emphasis. They offer scripture within all of their coursework. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on learning experience. In fact, each student will graduate with a minimum of 600 hours of field experience under their belts. This will be an excellent gateway into an entry-level career and/ or the perfect foundation for further graduate study. Some important statistics include the 100 percent of graduates who have applied for graduate school and gained acceptance and 100 percent of graduates who applied for social work employment and achieved employment. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

22

Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University offers a bachelors of science program in social work that is delivered entirely online. Even though the courses are online, there is one in-person intensive that is required for students to participate in. This offering ensures students that they will have a chance to build a community and expand their professional networks. The entire course of study is 120 credit hours and can be completed in 3 and a half years’ time. It is a very transfer-friendly program; in fact, students can matriculate with 75 percent of their credits transferable. Each student will get a hands-on learning experience in the form of a field placement that is in the learner’s home community. Liberty prides itself on its evangelical Christian approach. This program is no different, as engages a Christian lens in all of their teachings. This program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. 

Degree: B.S. Social Work

23

Limestone University

Limestone University offers a bachelors in social work that can be delivered in an entirely online format. It’s a choose your own adventure format, as students can pick some or all online courses. This is considered one of the best online social work degree programs. Limestone prides itself on offering one of the most renowned and the biggest social work programs in the country. Limestone ensures prospective students that they will prepare them for generalist entry-level careers in social work or graduate study if they so choose that path. Their mission includes offering a comprehensive education to a diverse body of students who can truly make a difference in the industry. They prepare students to work in a variety of settings including: school social workers, mental health counseling, hospital social worker, addiction counseling, and nursing home social worker. The curriculum has a backbone that lifts up racial and economic justice. Some of the course requirements include: elementary statistics, the influence of sexual factors in behavior, and social work specialized groups. 

Degree: Bachelors in Social Work

24

Touro University Worldwide
Los Alamitos, CA

Touro University offers a bachelor of arts in social work that prepares students to be generalists in the rewarding careers that social work engages. The program is delivered entirely online and offers unmatched flexibility and convenience. The entire course of study is 120 credit hours in length, which can be completed in 3 and a half years. They have made it easy for those who want to transfer previous coursework as they matriculate. In fact, they allow students to transfer as many as 90 credit hours from another institution of higher learning. They pride themselves on training future social workers to be culturally competent and work in a variety of settings in support of a myriad of populations. For those who are interested in achieving further education in the form of a master’s degree, this is an excellent choice that offers such preparation. 

Degree: B.A. Social Work

25

Briar Cliff University
Sioux City, IA

The Briar Cliff University offers a bachelor in social work, this program uses a foundation in liberal arts as well as the specialized training of social work. This is one of the best online social work degree programs, as it has a broad curriculum that introduces students to topics like social welfare problems and social policies. This is a rigorous course of study with a detailed course outline. Students will graduate having gained knowledge of organized networks of public and private social services. Declaring social work as a major has several key requirements and prerequisite courses, so students interested in this program should declare as soon as possible. As this field is growing rapidly and becoming in high demand, it is no surprise that Briar Cliff University employs a staff dedicated to providing a professional curated program for the future social workers of America. 

Degree: B.A. Social Welfare

Why Should I Get My Bachelor’s in Social Work Online? 

An online bachelor’s of social work degree is the best way to kickstart your career in the professions that help others. Studying online is particularly pertinent to the times we are in, as there is still so much uncertainty around traditional in-person learning during the covid pandemic. Many people choose online learning anyway 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 in social work. This too can be an online endeavor with extensive field experience offerings. Online course offerings are extensive in many programs, enabling students to study a myriad of topics. Some subjects may include social justice, statistics, anthropology, among many others. 

How Do I Choose an Online Social Work Program?

When considering different online bachelors 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 a program. Maybe you are looking for a faith-based approach to the coursework or one that is especially connected to social justice. There are many programs that offer specializations, so it’s good to look out for 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 search down quite a bit. In addition, you might look at the learning formats that are offered. If you are especially interested in flexibility, you might look at a program that offers asynchronous learning options. This means you can participate in your coursework when it’s convenient for you. Asynchronous learning options also are an option, meaning students sign in at a certain time and in many cases, they give students the chance to have live discussions. The best online college for social work degree 

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 up to $50,244 per year. The range is wide, as a licensed social worker can around $57,000 and it goes up and down from there. Case managers generally make in the high thirty thousand. 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 that makes close to $80,000 per year. 

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