Social workers help people who struggle in their everyday lives, including assisting families in applying for food stamps, responding to reports of child abuse, and helping patients manage illnesses. Social workers often work with specific populations, like children and families, students, healthcare patients, or individuals struggling with substance abuse or mental health disorders.

the BLS projects an 11% growth rate for social workers between 2018 and 2028.

Pursuing a bachelor of social work online can lead to a rewarding career making a tangible difference in people's lives. Graduates with an online bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) can expect excellent job prospects, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting an 11% growth rate -- much faster than the average for all occupations -- for social workers between 2018 and 2028.

This page explores potential social work careers, certification and licensure requirements, and the education necessary to excel in this field. Keep reading to learn what to expect from an online BSW program.

Best Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs

University of Utah

A public research institution located in Salt Lake City, Utah, the U preserves academic freedom, promotes diversity, and provides equal opportunity in higher education. Founded in 1850 as the state's flagship university, the U's College of Social Work offers an online bachelor's degree in social work that educates and trains learners to become agents of change in the world. The program focuses on establishing mutual respect and support with marginalized groups and assists in community development. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: The U provides a generalist education in social work with a primary focus on substance abuse disorders. 
  • Credits and courses: The program requires 48 total credits of social work classes. These credits include core requirements and some free electives. The U delivers all classes completely online through a mix of synchronous and asynchronous courses that combine self-directed study with interactive experiences.
  • How long does it take?: Most full-time learners finish major-related coursework in three or four semesters, enrolling in 12-15 credits per semester. Part-time learners can expect to take twice as long, completing the program in eight semesters or less. 
  • Field education: All degree-seekers must successfully complete a practicum experience. Field education hours vary depending on a student's specific circumstances but typically range from 200-450 hours.
  • Transfer credits: The U handles transfer credits on an individual basis. The Office of Admissions provides a list of course equivalences and must approve all potential transfers in advance. 
  • Online student support: The school maintains a technical support helpdesk during normal business hours. Learners can access these resources by phone or email. 
  • Cost: $1,288/credit 
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must hold a minimum 2.35 GPA and submit a resume, a personal statement, and at least two professional evaluations.
  • Accreditation: The University of Utah is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Its social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Brandman University

Established in 1861 as Chapman University, Brandman obtained independent status as a private, nonprofit institution in 1958. Headquartered in Irvine, California, Brandman specializes in affordable and accessible educational programs with a practical focus. The school grants a bachelor of arts in social work that emphasizes practical experiences and prepares learners for professional development in a variety of clinical and community outreach settings. 

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work


  • Concentrations: Brandman offers a generalist course of study with electives in domestic violence, victim advocacy, and drug and alcohol treatment. The program also administers relevant minors in social welfare, global diversity, and interview and assessment. 
  • Credits and courses: The degree requires 120 total credits, including general education requirements, core major requirements, and free electives. Brandman administers the program through hybrid and online formats.
  • How long does it take?: Most learners complete the program in four years or less. Part-time students can expect to extend their study beyond this timeframe, depending on their course load and transfer credits. 
  • Field education: All learners complete at least 400 hours of supervised, on-site practical education where they apply gained skills and knowledge. 
  • Transfer credits: Degree-seekers must bring in at least 12 transfer credits to Brandman prior to admission. 
  • Online student support: Enrolled learners can access Brandman's technical support tools anytime during normal business hours. 
  • Cost: $500/credit
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and requisite transfer credits. 
  • Accreditation: Brandman University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. Its bachelor of social work onlineprogram is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Located in eastern Tennessee, UT Knoxville was founded in 1794 and operates as the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee public education system. The university awards a bachelor of science in social work that is designed primarily for transfer learners. The program focuses on providing information about advocacy, policy oversight, and practice-informed research to help individuals, families, and communities.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work


  • Concentrations: The curriculum covers the fundamentals of the field and provides learners with ample opportunity to explore individual areas of interest.
  • Credits and courses: UT Knoxville's social work course of study requires 60 credits, not including general education requirements. The school expects learners to transfer in most general education credits. Learners receive instruction entirely online.
  • How long does it take?: Graduation timelines vary depending on how many applicable transfer credits a student holds. Most degree-seekers finish this degree completion program in 1-3 years. 
  • Field education: Learners in this online program arrange a supervised practicum experience. This component typically involves 12-16 hours per week allocated across multiple semesters. 
  • Transfer credits: UT Knoxville boasts a generous transfer policy. The social work program expects most learners to bring in at least 60 transfer credits. 
  • Online student support: The school maintains a robust array of technical support services for all of its online learners. 
  • Cost: $439/credit in-state; $514/credit out-of-state
  • Admission requirements: Applicants should have a 2.5 minimum cumulative GPA.
  • Accreditation: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its bachelor of social work onlineprogram is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

California State University-Chico

Chico State is the second-oldest campus in the California State University public education system. Located less than 100 miles north of Sacramento, Chico State provides comprehensive educational experiences. The school grants a fully accredited bachelor of arts in social work that targets learners with at least two years of college experience but no undergraduate degree. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary learning with a strong commitment to global justice, rehabilitation, and community service.

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work


  • Concentrations: Chico State's program provides a high-level overview of the field and offers exploratory electives related to healthcare, mental health, criminal justice, and protective services. 
  • Credits and courses: Students must earn a total of 120 credits, including general education and core requirements. However, Chico State requires that prospective learners hold at least 60 transfer credits before entering this course of study. Program instruction occurs in a hybrid format with approximately two-thirds of the course content delivered asynchronously online.
  • How long does it take?: Learners enrolled in the full-time, accelerated path finish this degree completion program in two years or less. Part-time students can expect to complete the program in three years. 
  • Field education: All enrollees receive supervised field placements within the Chico State service area. Each placement involves 16 hours per week over the course of two semesters.
  • Transfer credits: Chico States maintains a flexible transfer policy. Learners should plan to bring a significant number of credits into this program. 
  • Online student support: Distance students can access many of Chico State's support services, along with those of any of the California State University system's 23 campuses. 
  • Cost: $1,665/credit in-state; $2,061/credit out-of-state
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must possess at least 60 transferable general education credits and a competitive GPA. 
  • Accreditation: California State University, Chico is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. Its bachelor of social work onlineprogram is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Wayne State University

WSU advances its mission of academic and research excellence by supporting the values of collaboration, integrity, and innovation. An urban campus located in the heart of Detroit, Michigan, WSU has provided premier educational opportunities to a diverse student body since its inception in 1868. The school offers an online bachelor of social work program that supports working professionals and other busy learners. This program prepares students for entry-level employment in social work.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: WSU offers a generalist curriculum that covers core components in human behavior, research methods, policy, social work practice, and field education. 
  • Credits and courses: The social work curriculum of this degree completion program consists of 60 credits, including 51 social work credits and nine credits of free electives. WSU provides all instruction completely online through flexible and accommodating learning modules. 
  • How long does it take?: Full-time learners can expect to complete major-related requirements in two years. 
  • Field education: Field education and internship placements occur concurrently with coursework. These placements typically involve 16 supervised hours per week for a total of 460 hours.
  • Transfer credits: WSU encourages prospective learners to bring in transfer credits to meet general education requirements. 
  • Online student support: Students receive support from WSU's Office of Teaching and Learning and its dedicated learning management support team. 
  • Cost: $397/credit in-state; $909/credit out-of-state
  • Admission requirements: Qualifying applicants should hold at least 60 transferable general education credits earned with a 2.5 minimum cumulative GPA. They must also provide a current resume, a personal statement, and two references. 
  • Accreditation: Wayne State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

University of North Dakota

Created by the Dakota Territorial Assembly six years before statehood in 1883, UND engages in cross-cultural understanding through thoughtful education and rigorous research. Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, UND maintains 10 different schools and colleges that focus on collaborative learning in the sciences and liberal arts. One of its 224 programs of study, the school's bachelor of science in social work prepares learners for service in rural settings throughout the state and across the country. 

Bachelor of Science in Social Work


  • Concentrations: UND offers a generalist course of study with optional minors in chemical dependency and gerontology. 
  • Credits and courses: The program entails 120 credits, including general education requirements and core major courses. UND offers all courses completely online through synchronous learning. 
  • How long does it take?: Depending on their number of transfer credits, learners can finish in 2-4 years 
  • Field education: Students pursuing this bachelor of social work online must complete 450 hours of supervised field work. Online learners receive an accommodating placement in their local area.
  • Transfer credits: UND maintains several articulation agreements with other institutions and handles all transfer credits on an individual basis. 
  • Online student support: Students can access UND's technical support services anytime. The school also offers online tutors for those in need. 
  • Cost: $404/credit
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must submit official SAT or ACT scores along with evidence of a competitive GPA. 
  • Accreditation: The University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

Located in Portales, New Mexico, ENMU prepares learners for careers and advanced study by focusing on liberal learning, freedom of inquiry, and cultural diversity. A public, comprehensive institution established in 1927, ENMU maintains two affiliate campuses in nearby Ruidoso and Roswell, each of which award graduate and undergraduate degrees. Housed within its College of Liberal Arts and Science, the school's Department of Health and Human Services awards an online bachelor of social work.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: ENMU's program provides general instruction in the field, covering fundamental subject areas such as mental health, social welfare, public policy, and chemical dependency. 
  • Credits and courses: This degree requires 120 credits, including general education and core requirements. ENMU delivers all classes entirely online through a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning that combines structured class participation and self-directed study.
  • How long does it take?: Many degree-seekers complete the program in four years or less, depending on their course load. Part-time learners may take longer. 
  • Field education: ENMU's course of study requires 464 supervised hours at an approved field education site. Students typically distribute these hours across two semesters.
  • Transfer credits: ENMU holds many articulation agreements with other regional institutions and welcomes transfers learners. 
  • Online student support: ENMU offers online tutoring services to enrolled learners and also maintains a robust online library. 
  • Cost: $269/credit in-state; $352/credit out-of-state
  • Admission requirements: Students should hold a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and submit a 500-word essay and three letters of reference. 
  • Accreditation: Eastern New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

A public research institution headquartered in Natchitoches, Louisiana, NSU promotes the creation, dissemination, and acquisition of knowledge through teaching, research, and service. Established in 1884 through Act 51 of the Louisiana State Legislature, NSU serves over 10,000 learners each year through more than 50 programs of study. For degree-seekers interested in entry-level employment in the field, the school confers a bachelor of social work focusing on broad-based, practical applications.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: NSU provides general training in the field that prepares learners for further study or to find work in a variety of social work settings with individuals, groups, and families. 
  • Credits and courses: The program requires 120 credits, including general education requirements, core major classes, and field placement seminars. NSU provides all course content online through a mix of lectures, course readings, discussion boards, written assignments, and other interactive activities. 
  • How long does it take?: Most learners graduate in four years. Some students may finish quicker depending on their circumstances. Part-time learners typically take longer depending on their course load. 
  • Field education: Students complete 432 hours of supervised field education. These hours are generally distributed across two or more semesters, but learners can use NSU's block placement track to complete their hours in a single semester. 
  • Transfer credits: NSU encourages transfer applicants and handles all transfer credits on an individual basis. Prospective learners can use the school's transfer equivalency tool to determine how their credits may apply. 
  • Online student support: NSU maintains a helpdesk that all learners can use during normal business hours. The school also provides an array of online support resources for those in need. 
  • Cost: $375/credit 
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must submit official academic transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, immunization records, and two letters of recommendation. 
  • Accreditation: Northwestern State University of Louisiana is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

King University

Founded in 1867 and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, King provides foundational education in the liberal arts with areas of specialization in science, nursing, technology, and political science. A private institution located in Bristol, Tennessee, King focuses on learner success and academic excellence. Its School of Behavioral and Health Sciences offers a bachelor of social work for those interested in integrative practice, policy, and ethics. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: King offers a generalist course of study for learners interested in entry-level employment and further study. Students focus on advocacy and intervention strategies. 
  • Credits and courses: Students must earn a total of 124 credits distributed across core major courses, general education requirements, and free electives. King offers all course instruction completely online. Most courses feature five- or 15-week sessions. 
  • How long does it take?: Full-time learners can complete all major coursework in this degree completion program in 16 months. Part-time students typically finish in 2-4 years. 
  • Field education: King requires that all enrolled learners complete over 400 hours of supervised field education. Through this experience, degree-seekers learn to seamlessly integrate theory with practice. 
  • Transfer credits: The program boasts a generous transfer policy, accepting up to 76 credits from outside institutions. 
  • Online student support: Enrolled students can access King's online learning help center anytime. 
  • Cost: $305/credit 
  • Admission requirements: Applicants should have a 2.2 minimum cumulative GPA and at least 45 transferable general education credits. Individuals must also submit to an admissions interview.
  • Accreditation: King University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Bemidji State University

BSU provides comprehensive educational experiences that highlight environmental stewardship, community service, and global understanding. A state school founded in 1919 and located in Bemidji, Minnesota, BSU administers 47 different programs of study to over 6,000 degree-seekers each academic year. The school is part of the 54-campus Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The school awards a hybrid bachelor of social work focusing on human interactions in various cultural environments. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: This degree completion program provides a generalist education to prepare learners for entry-level work or further graduate-level study. 
  • Credits and courses: The social work course of study involves 69 credits. BSU delivers all course content through a cohort-based, blended format. Most coursework occurs online but there is a mandatory on-campus component each month. New cohorts begin every two years. 
  • How long does it take?: Learners can complete the program in as little as six semesters, depending on their enrollment status and other factors. 
  • Field education: All degree-seekers complete at least 540 hours of supervised work in field settings over the course of the program. 
  • Transfer credits: The program expects prospective applicants to possess a significant amount of college-level credit prior to admission. 
  • Online student support: Online learners can use the same student resources available to on-campus learners. These include technical support, advising, tutoring, and library services. 
  • Cost: $304/credit
  • Admission requirements: Eligible applicants must hold an associate degree (or the equivalent) earned with a 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA. 
  • Accreditation: Bemidji State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Spring Arbor University

Located in southern Michigan, SAU provides liberal arts education to about 4,000 graduate and undergraduate learners each year. Founded in 1873, this private university is affiliated with the Methodist Church and offers educational programming from the perspective of a Christian worldview. For interested degree-seekers, SAU grants a bachelor of social work online

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: SAU's program provides a generalist course of study that places equal focus on theory and skill development. 
  • Credits and courses: Students must earn a total of 124 credits. These credits include general education courses, required social work classes, and general electives. The school delivers all course material completely online through flexible, interactive learning tools.
  • How long does it take?: Learners can finish this degree completion program in 20 months or less. Part-time students can expect to extend this timeframe by about 50%. 
  • Field education: The program requires a social work internship, which is typically completed towards the end of the program. This internship involves 400 hours of work in an approved social work context. 
  • Transfer credits: The program expects all learners to bring in transfer credits from outside institutions. 
  • Online student support: Each learner receives a dedicated faculty mentor who can assist them as they work through the program. SAU also offers a robust array of support and technical services resources. 
  • Cost: $587/credit
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must have completed at least 40 general education credits. They also need to submit SAT or ACT scores and complete an admissions interview. 
  • Accreditation: Spring Arbor University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Initially established as a normal school for teachers, UNK offers affordable and accessible academic programs with hands-on learning experiences. One of three university campuses managed by the University of Nebraska public education system, UNK has conducted research, scholarship, and public service throughout the state since its inception in 1905. The school offers a comprehensive bachelor of science in social work that prepares degree-seekers for professional work in the discipline.

Bachelor of Science in Social Work


  • Concentrations: The program provides basic training in social work and offers optional electives in mental health, aging, child welfare, and domestic violence. 
  • Credits and courses: A 120-credit program, this course of study involves general education courses, core major requirements, and free electives. The school delivers all program instruction entirely online through a learning management system facilitated by the same faculty as the on-campus program. 
  • How long does it take?: Most learners can finish the program in four years, depending on their course load and potential transfer credits. 
  • Field education: Near the end of the program, students receive a field placement where they complete at least 400 hours of supervised contact hours. Students typically distribute these hours across two semesters. 
  • Transfer credits: The school maintains several articulation agreements with colleges and universities throughout the country. The admissions department handles all transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Online student support: All learners enjoy access to UNK's technology helpdesk. This resource offers in-person aid during normal business hours and maintains a chat portal that is available anytime.
  • Cost: $261/credit in-state; $396/credit out-of-state
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must pay a modest fee and provide official copies of all academic transcripts.
  • Accreditation: The University of Nebraska Kearney is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Huntington University

A Christian institution located in Huntington, Indiana, HU is affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Founded in 1897, HU provides comprehensive education in more than 80 academic disciplines on its 160-acre lakeside campus. The school awards an online bachelor of science in social work for learners interested in developing their skills and knowledge in the field. 

Bachelor of Science in Social Work


  • Concentrations: HU offers a generalist program of study that prepares learners for entry-level employment or further study in social work. 
  • Credits and courses: The program involves 128 total credits allocated across core major courses and general education requirements. HU administers distance courses through accelerated, five-week classes. 
  • How long does it take?: Most full-time learners can finish the program in four years. Part-time learners can expect a longer path to completion. Transfer credits can significantly reduce this timeframe. 
  • Field education: HU's program requires 480 hours of supervised field education, typically undertaken during the final two semesters of study. 
  • Transfer credits: The school accepts transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions that have been earned with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. 
  • Online student support: HU provides a toll-free technical hotline for all learners enrolled in its online programs. 
  • Cost: $25,956/year
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must submit SAT or ACT test scores and official copies of all academic transcripts.
  • Accreditation: Huntington University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

SJC is a Catholic liberal arts school located in Standish, Maine -- just outside Portland. Founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, SJC nurtures spiritual, intellectual, and social development through quality educational experiences. The school champions values like excellence, integrity, respect, and compassion in over 40 programs of study. SJC offers a bachelor of social work that prepares learners for entry-level employment as case managers, mental health professionals, and counselors. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: SJC's program stands as a generalist course of study that equips learners for professional licensure or further graduate-level study. The school also offers an optional minor in social service profession for degree-seekers interested in careers in sociology, psychology, or criminal justice. 
  • Credits and courses: The degree requires 128 credits split between core social work classes and general education requirements. Degree-seekers pursuing this bachelor of social work online receive all course material digitally. 
  • How long does it take?: Most learners can expect to graduate in four years or less. 
  • Field education: Learners acquire practical experience through two internships, including a full-year placement in the field. Combined, these placements accrue at least 320 hours of supervised work. 
  • Transfer credits: Students can transfer up to 95 credits into this program. 
  • Online student support: The school's team of expert student support specialists work to assist learners who have questions or issues pertaining to online education at SJC. The school also provides online tutors upon request. 
  • Cost: $356/credit
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must submit official academic transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and at least one letter of recommendation. 
  • Accreditation: Saint Joseph's College of Maine is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Its social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Touro University Worldwide

Initially chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York in 1971, TUW attained independent status in 2008. The school specializes in distance education for busy learners, working professionals, and the underserved. The largest private university in the U.S. with Jewish roots, TUW maintains campuses and affiliates across the globe, serving 18,000 degree-seekers each year. For learners interested in social work careers, TUW grants an online BA in social work

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work


  • Concentrations: TUW administers a generalist program with optional electives in diverse topics like domestic violence, victim advocacy, veteran affairs, and drug and alcohol treatment. 
  • Credits and courses: The program entails 120 credits, 24 of which are dedicated to free electives. Remaining credits are distributed between general education training and core social work courses. TUW provides all instruction completely online in an asynchronous format. 
  • How long does it take?: Full-time learners can finish the program in 3.5 years. Depending on individual circumstances, part-time students may take up to seven years to graduate. 
  • Field education: TUW requires an integrative practicum component that entails at least 450 hours of supervised field work. Through this experience, learners apply classroom knowledge and skills in practical scenarios. 
  • Transfer credits: The school mandates that learners earn at least 30 credits at TUW. Transfer students can bring in up to 90 credits from outside institutions. 
  • Online student support: Enrolled learners can contact TUW anytime for technical support services. 
  • Cost: $400/credit
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must provide copies of academic transcripts and pay a small application fee. 
  • Accreditation: Touro University Worldwide is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Located in Denver's Lincoln Park neighborhood, MSU Denver maintains a public, urban campus. Established in 1965 as an opportunity school, MSU Denver provides comprehensive, high-quality, and accessible educational programming that empowers degree-seekers to pursue successful professional careers and lifelong learning. The school awards a bachelor of science in social work that focuses on solving urban problems specific to the discipline. 

Bachelor of Science in Social Work


  • Concentrations: MSU Denver's program provides general training in social work with a specific focus on urban development, underrepresented groups, and oppressed minorities. Program electives cover topics like poverty, race, and gender; child welfare; and human trafficking. 
  • Credits and courses: The program requires 120 credits, which are allocated across general studies prerequisites, social work prerequisites, core courses, and free electives. Learners in this online program access materials through a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning. 
  • How long does it take?: Timeframes for completion vary depending on a student's enrollment status and individual circumstances. However, most learners graduate from the program in four years or less. 
  • Field education: All degree-seekers in this program complete at least 480 hours of supervised field experience. This experience typically spans two semesters. 
  • Transfer credits: MSU Denver welcomes learners from outside institutions and handles transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Online student support: The school maintains a variety of online and technical support services, including tutoring and a helpdesk. Enrolled learners can access these tools anytime.
  • Cost: $345/credit in-state; $809/credit out-of-state
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must provide copies of their academic transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and a 500-word personal statement that outlines their goals. 
  • Accreditation: Metropolitan State University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Brescia University

A private institution affiliated with the Catholic church, Brescia values identity, knowledge, and action in comprehensive education. Founded in 1925 by the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Joseph, Brescia offers over 50 graduate and undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences. The bachelor of social work degree fulfills the school's vision by focusing on high-level theory and practical applications. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: Brescia offers a generalist course of study that prepares degree-seekers for successful careers as case managers, mental health professionals, licensed counselors and social workers, and community service advocates. 
  • Credits and courses: The 128-credit program provides training in general education and core social work fundamentals. Brescia offers instruction in these areas completely online through an accelerated, eight-week course format that accommodates working professionals.
  • How long does it take?: Full-time students who hold ample transfer credits can finish the program in two years. Part-time learners and students with fewer transfer credits will take longer.
  • Field education: The school's practicum components involve a minimum of 340 hours of field education where learners apply their knowledge and skills. These hours must occur at a pre-approved site and are typically carried out in the final two semesters of the program. 
  • Transfer credits: Brescia expects that most applicants will possess some previously earned college-level credits. The school accepts up to 86 transferable credits, which are typically applied to general education requirements. 
  • Online student support: A technical support team is available to all enrolled learners in Brescia's online programs. These specialists offer assistance with the school's online learning management system and other IT-related issues. 
  • Cost: $425/credit 
  • Admission requirements: Prospective learners must submit official transcripts for all previous academic work. 
  • Accreditation: Brescia University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Northern Arizona University

A public research institution located in Flagstaff, Arizona, NAU was founded in 1899 as a normal school. The university drives innovation and develops solutions to contemporary challenges through quality learning experiences in an inclusive environment. NAU offers over 150 different programs of study to graduate and undergraduate learners. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences grants a bachelor of social work to interested degree-seekers.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: NAU's program provides general instruction in the field to prepare learners for a variety of entry-level careers in social work. The course of study offers ample opportunity for cognate exploration through free electives.
  • Credits and courses: Students must earn a total of 120 credits. In the social work program, 75 of these credits must come from core major courses. The remaining credits encompass liberal studies, free electives, and general education requirements. Degree-seekers can access all course materials online through a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning tools. 
  • How long does it take?: NAU learners work at their own pace, often completing the program in 2-4 years depending on their number of transfer credits and enrollment status. 
  • Field education: The school requires that all students complete at least 480 hours of supervised field education. Online learners receive an approved placement in their local area. 
  • Transfer credits: NAU accepts up to 64 credits earned from other regionally accredited institutions. Transfer students must submit transcripts indicating a 2.0 minimum GPA. 
  • Online student support: All online learners at NAU enjoy access to 24/7 technical support, full library privileges, tutoring services, and guidance from academic advisors and admissions counselors. 
  • Cost: $435/credit
  • Admission requirements: Eligible applicants must possess at least 24 transferable credits and a 2.25 minimum cumulative GPA. They must also provide information for two references and submit written responses to questions.
  • Accreditation: Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Limestone College

Founded in 1845 as the first women's college in South Carolina, Limestone continues to provide high-quality academic training in the liberal arts and selected professional disciplines. A private school located in Gaffney, South Carolina, Limestone maintains a learning environment based on Christian ideals and ethical principles. The school offers a bachelor of social work program for learners interested in helping others. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: Limestone offers a generalist course of study that focuses on developing a better understanding of differences in ethnicity, race, culture, and gender.
  • Credits and courses: The program requires students to complete a total of 123 credits. These include core major requirements, free electives, and general education courses. Learners can take courses completely online or in a hybrid format. Limestone's eight-week, online courses deliver content asynchronously.
  • How long does it take?: Most learners can earn their bachelor's degree in four years -- quicker if they carry applicable transfer credits.
  • Field education: At Limestone, learners complete at least 400 hours of supervised social work practice in a setting that closely mirrors their target profession. During this integrative experience, degree-seekers apply classroom knowledge in practical contexts. 
  • Transfer credits: The school maintains several partnership and articulation agreements with nearby institutions and welcomes learners with transfer credits.
  • Online student support: Limestone offers useful technical support services to all learners -- especially those enrolled in an online course of study. 
  • Cost: $1,323/course
  • Admission requirements: Applicants must submit official academic transcripts for all previous work and SAT or ACT scores. 
  • Accreditation: Limestone College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Troy University

Located in southeastern Alabama, Troy promotes the discovery and exploration of knowledge and practical applications through emerging electronic formats. A public, comprehensive institution first founded in 1887 as a teacher training school, Troy administers over 70 academic programs across five colleges, a graduate school, and a division of general studies. The College of Health and Human Services awards an online bachelor's degree in social workto prepare learners for work in the industry. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: This course of study offers introductory education in social work with nine required core competencies. These include professional ethics; diversity and difference; human rights and social justice; practice-informed research, policy, and assessment; intervention; and evaluation with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. 
  • Credits and courses: The school requires students to earn a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. These credits relate to general education classes, core major requirements, and exploratory electives. Troy delivers course material completely online through nine-week, asynchronous sessions.
  • How long does it take?: Many full-time students complete the program in four years or less depending on their course load. Part-time learners may take longer, especially if they do not carry transfer credits. 
  • Field education: Troy's practicum component involves at least 400 hours in a supervised environment that directly pertains to social work applications. 
  • Transfer credits: The school accepts most transfer credits and handles all cases on an individual basis. All transfer credits must be properly processed through Troy's credit evaluation tools. 
  • Online student support: Online learners at Troy receive the same support services as on-campus learners. These resources include counseling and tutoring services, library access, writing centers, and career services. 
  • Cost: $338/credit
  • Admission requirements: All applicants must hold at least 30 transferable credits earned with a 2.5 minimum cumulative GPA. They must submit official academic transcripts along with SAT or ACT scores. 
  • Accreditation: Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Aurora University

AU offers comprehensive educational programming. A private institution founded in 1893 and located in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, AU fosters the values of integrity, excellence, lifelong learning, and global citizenship. The school offers an online bachelor's degree in social workto learners interested in developing the skills and knowledge necessary for further study or a fulfilling career in social services. 

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: As a generalist course of study, this degree completion program offers classes that train students to become future case managers, behavioral management aides, licensed counselors, and mental health professionals. 
  • Credits and courses: Learners must complete a total of 120 credits, 40 of which cover core major requirements. AU's eight-week, online courses deliver instruction through flexible, convenient tools within a collaborative learning environment.
  • How long does it take?: Most learners complete major-related coursework in two years. Completion times vary depending on transfer credits, course load, and other circumstances. 
  • Field education: Learners participate in integrative field education placements over the course of the program. These experiences encourage professional development and practical applications of theoretical concepts. 
  • Transfer credits: AU accepts up to 68 credits from two-year institutions and up to 90 credits from four-year institutions. All transfer credits must come from regionally accredited colleges or schools. 
  • Online student support: The school maintains an array of tutoring, career, and technical support services. 
  • Cost: $425/credit
  • Admission requirements: Qualified learners must possess at least two years of professional work experience and at least 60 credits of college-level general education coursework. They must also provide a written statement of purpose.
  • Accreditation: Aurora University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Campbellsville University

CU is a private institution located in central Kentucky. Initially founded in 1906 by the Kentucky Baptist Convention, CU no longer maintains its religious affiliation but continues to support the vision and ideals of its forebears. The school currently serves more than 4,000 degree-seekers each year through graduate, undergraduate, and professional programs. These programs include an online bachelor of social work track.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: CU offers a generalist program that prepares degree-seekers for a variety of entry-level positions in social work. Through electives, learners can explore potential areas of interest, such as crisis intervention, family and marriage, addictions, and aging. 
  • Credits and courses: The program entails a total of 120 credits distributed across core social work courses, electives, and general education requirements. CU uses interactive classrooms for most of its online courses. 
  • How long does it take?: Many students graduate in four years or less, depending on their transfer credits. 
  • Field education: All learners complete a capstone experience that promotes practical applications of acquired skills and knowledge. 
  • Transfer credits: CU accepts up to 72 credits from other regionally accredited institutions. 
  • Online student support: Online learners at CU enjoy access to the same set of educational, technical, and career support services as on-campus students. 
  • Cost: $399/credit
  • Admission requirements: Prospective learners must supply copies of transcripts for all previous academic work. They must also submit an admissions essay and three letters of reference.
  • Accreditation: Campbellsville University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Western New Mexico University

A public research institution located in Silver City, New Mexico, WNMU engages and empowers learners in a multicultural and creative community of scholarship and learning. Founded in 1893 as a normal school, WNMU offers more than 70 programs of study to over 3,500 learners each academic year. For interested degree-seekers, the school awards a bachelor of social work that develops all the skills necessary to practice social work in a variety of professional settings.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: WNMU's program provides basic training in social work in an effort to prepare learners for broad-based employment in the field. Degree-seekers can hone specific interests through program electives. 
  • Credits and courses: All learners must complete 120 credits to graduate. These include courses in liberal studies, social work core areas, and free electives. WNMU offers all program instruction completely online through asynchronous learning. 
  • How long does it take?: The school expects most students to complete the program in four years or less. Course load and transfer credits can affect timeframes for completion. 
  • Field education: All learners pursuing this bachelor of social work online complete at least 450 hours of supervised field education. Online learners typically receive a convenient placement in their local area.
  • Transfer credits: WNMU generally accepts all transfer credits earned at other regionally accredited institutions. The school must approve all transfer credit requests. 
  • Online student support: The school provides all distance learners with an online advisor and maintains 24/7 technical support and tutoring services.
  • Cost: $263/credit in-state; $323/credit out-of-state 
  • Admission requirements: Prospective students must provide official copies of all academic transcripts. Supplementary application materials include reference letters and a statement of purpose.
  • Accreditation: Western New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Briar Cliff University

Located in Sioux City, Iowa, BCU provides quality academic programming that combines a broad intellectual background with career development. A private institution affiliated with Franciscan Catholicism, BCU has an open appreciation for diversity. For degree-seekers looking to find careers in the helping professions, BCU offers an online social work degree.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: BCU's program emphasizes generalist professional development with broad applications in a variety of social work settings. The course of study also offers an optional minor in gerontology.
  • Credits and courses: Learners in this degree completion program must accrue a total of 124 credits prior to graduation. These include courses that explore the history of the field, its practical techniques and research methods, and its contemporary challenges. BCU offers all coursework completely online through an interactive and flexible learning management system. 
  • How long does it take?: Completion times vary depending on course load and prior academic work. Most full-time learners finish earning their social work degree within two years. 
  • Field education: All participants undertake at least 450 hours of field education in an approved, supervised setting. Online learners assume a placement in their local community. 
  • Transfer credits: The program accepts up to 90 credits earned at a regionally accredited institution and expects prospective learners to hold at least 77 transferable credits. 
  • Online student support: All online learners receive a dedicated academic advisor and enjoy complete access to BCU's technical support services. 
  • Cost: $415/credit
  • Admission requirements: Interested students must complete an online application and supply required supplementary materials. They must also possess at least 77 transferable credits earned at an accredited institution. 
  • Accreditation: Briar Cliff University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor of social work online programis fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Union Institute & University

Established in 1964, Union provides academic programs that engage, enlighten, and empower all learners as they work toward their professional goals. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Union offers a variety of comprehensive degrees at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The school administers a fully accredited online bachelor's degree in social workfor learners and working professionals interested in extending their career prospects.

Bachelor of Social Work


  • Concentrations: Union's social work program prepares learners for entry-level employment in the field with a particular focus on social justice and change. The course of study offers electives in special advanced topics for degree-seekers with specific areas of interest. 
  • Credits and courses: All learners must complete a minimum of 120 credits. These include core major courses, electives, general education requirements, and a final capstone component. The program delivers all course instruction completely online through flexible learning technologies that can accommodate most schedules.
  • How long does it take?: Students can enroll in the program on a part-time or full-time basis. Most full-time learners complete requirements within four years, depending on their course load. 
  • Field education: Union's program requires at least 400 hours of supervised experience in an approved field setting. This integrative capstone experience typically takes place in the learners' local community during the last two semesters of the program. 
  • Transfer credits: The school accepts up to 90 transfer credits from outside institutions that hold regional accreditation. Union also awards credit for professional experience in some cases. 
  • Online student support: Learners in Union's online social work program enjoy access to all of the school's support services. These include tutoring services, career services, library privileges, and technical support. 
  • Cost: $545/credit
  • Admission requirements: Eligible degree-seekers must complete an online application and submit official copies of all academic transcripts. 
  • Accreditation: Union Institute and University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its social work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Social Work Program

Accreditation

Students should look for bachelor of social work online programs that hold accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). CSWE ensures the quality of social work education programs at the bachelor's and master's levels. The organization sets and maintains accreditation standards that give future social work professionals the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Attending an accredited program is important because it can affect licensure and certification. For example, students must hold a CSWE-accredited degree to take the Association of Social Work (ASWB) licensing exams. Many employers also prefer applicants who hold an accredited BSW.

Curriculum in an Online Bachelor's in Social Work

The curriculum in an online bachelor's in social work program varies by program. However, most online BSW programs prepare students for careers as professional generalist social work practitioners who can provide evidence-based services for individuals, families, and groups.

Students learn about issues like crisis intervention, case management, and treatment planning. Typical curricula also explore the history, major guiding theories, and practical tools of the profession. Learners gain critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. BSW programs also explore social work practice settings, professional ethics, and common challenges facing social workers.

BSW programs offer courses like human behavior in the social environment, diversity and multiculturalism, and generalist practice with individuals and families. Many online BSW programs require distance learners to complete a practicum or internship in addition to their coursework. Gaining professional experience in a social services agency lets students apply their skills and interact with clients in a supervised setting. Some BSW programs let students choose a concentration in a subfield of social work.

Learners who plan to pursue a master's in social work (MSW) can often move to advanced standing more quickly if they already hold a BSW. In some cases, BSW graduates can shave an entire year off of their MSW coursework.

Bachelor's in Social Work Concentrations

Not all bachelor's in social work programs offer concentrations, but some do. Adding a concentration lets students focus on a narrow area of interest within social work. At the bachelor's level, some programs allow students to add a minor rather than a concentration.

  • Child and Family Well-being

    A child and family well-being concentration focuses on social service assessment and treatment of children and families. Students pursuing this concentration may find careers providing social services to children and their families. Potential job titles include child life specialist, social worker, and case manager.

  • Addiction

    An addiction concentration helps future social workers learn how to assist clients struggling with substance abuse issues. Students learn about the addiction cycle and prevention and treatment options. This specialization prepares graduates for careers as substance abuse counselors.

  • Crisis and Trauma

    Students who choose a crisis and trauma concentration learn trauma-informed care for individuals in critical circumstances. Postgraduate careers include hospital social worker, general social worker, and mental health case manager.

Online Bachelor's in Social Work Careers

Students who graduate with a bachelor's in social work can pursue many rewarding career paths. Most BSW graduates pursue careers as social workers. Other top occupations for graduates include case manager and social and community service manager.

Social Worker

Social workers help people confront problems in their daily lives. These professionals frequently connect people with community resources like healthcare and housing. They also respond to crisis situations, including mental health emergencies and child abuse.

Median Annual Salary: $49,470

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers coordinate and manage community organizations and social service programs. They work with communities to determine necessary programs and services. Next, they implement these programs and analyze their effectiveness.

Median Annual Salary: $65,320

Case Manager

Case managers provide guidance to people dealing with issues like addiction, poverty, and illness. They create treatment plans to help improve their clients' lives. They often work closely with healthcare providers.

Median Annual Salary: $39,699

Certification and Licensure Requirements

Graduates of online bachelor's in social work programs can pursue certification or licensure to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. The following two sections compare and contrast these two options to help readers determine which works best for their career goals.

Licensure

Licensed social workers hold a state-issued license that allows them to legally practice social work in their state. Licensure demonstrates that an individual has the requisite skills, education, and experience necessary to practice as a professional social worker. Many employers prefer or are required to hire licensed social workers.

Each state has its own state licensing board that licenses social workers. Rules and requirements for becoming a licensed social worker vary by state. Some states only award licensure to MSW graduates and do not license social workers at the bachelor's level. Students should consult the state licensing board of the state where they plan to work to learn specific licensure requirements for BSW holders.

Typical requirements for licensure as a BSW social worker include a bachelor's degree from a school accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a passing score on the ASWB exam, and an internship. Social workers typically need to complete continuing education credits periodically to renew their licenses.

Certification

BSW graduates can demonstrate their skills, knowledge, and professional experience through certification. Although not required to practice social work, certification can improve job prospects and salary potential. When employers need to choose between multiple candidates, those who hold certifications typically shine. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) offers many certification opportunities.

Certification is voluntary, whereas licensure is a legal requirement. Certification is especially important for BSW graduates because it helps them demonstrate professional competency in states that do not license bachelor's-level social workers. Social workers who want to pursue a subfield of social work -- including healthcare social work, case management, or family and children social work -- can demonstrate specialized knowledge through certification.

Typical requirements for certification include a bachelor's in social work from a CSWE-accredited program, documentation of professional experience, a state BSW license or a passing score on an ASWB BSW-level exam, and adherence to NASW ethics and continuing education requirements.

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