Online Social Work Programs in Nebraska
Though students cannot currently earn an online master's in social work in Nebraska, the Cornhusker State offers a strong online bachelor's option in addition to a fertile landscape for social workers who want to practice in rural areas. The southeast Nebraska metropolitan area — still rural in nature — is the second highest paying area of its kind for mental health and substance abuse social workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), offering a mean annual wage greater than $72,000.
Beyond its southeast portion, Nebraska offers plenty of job opportunities for different types of social workers. According to a May 2017 data set from the BLS, Nebraska employed approximately 4,000 social workers, including substance abuse and mental health social workers; child, family, and school social workers; and healthcare social workers.
Read on for a list of the best colleges in Nebraska for social work.
Social Work Programs by Degree Level
Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs
Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Nebraska
The Licensure Unit of Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) takes responsibility for matters related to social work, including licensure. Currently, Nebraska offers four types of social work licenses: certified social worker (CSW), certified master social worker (CMSW), licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP), and licensed independent mental health practitioner (LIMHP).
Professionals can practice non-clinical work in Nebraska without licensure. Nevertheless, earning the CSW license, the initial professional certification for social workers, can make a difference in the eyes of employers. To earn the CSW, a candidate must hold a bachelor's degree in social work. The DHHS website does not specify whether or not this degree needs to be CSWE-accredited or not. To practice clinically, a Nebraska social worker must earn an LMHP or LIMHP license, for which they must hold a master's from a CSWE-accredited school.
Exam Application Process and Requirements
The exam application process and requirements vary for each level of social work licensure in Nebraska. A candidate pursuing the initial CSW licensure must hold a bachelor's degree in social work, but they do not need to complete any supervised hours. Unlike other licenses, the CSW in Nebraska does not require students to complete an Association of Social Work Boards exam. The application fee for a CSW license in Nebraska totals $125.
A CMSW candidate must hold a master of social work degree from a CSWE-accredited program and have 3,000 hours of supervised experience while holding a provisional certificate, which costs $125. They must also pass the ASWB master's ($230) or advanced generalist exam ($260). Each exam consists of 170 questions, with only 150 counting toward the final score. The LMHP and LIMHP certificates require the CMSW license as a prerequisite. They also require each candidate to earn 3,000 hours of supervised experience and pass the ASWB clinical exam ($260).
Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal
No matter what license they hold, all Nebraska social work professionals must renew their license every two years. Renewal fees vary widely based on each professional's license, so social workers in Nebraska should consult the DHHS website for a current fee schedule. All social workers must complete at least 32 hours of continuing education during each two-year renewal period. A social worker who holds LMHP or LIMHP licensure must complete a course in ethics every two years.
Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Nebraska?
Students pursuing social work degrees in Nebraska may wish to earn their degrees online for several reasons. The flexibility and convenience of asynchronous online coursework often appeal to students who continue to work full time or raise their families while completing their degrees. Furthermore, given Nebraska's rural landscape, certain students may opt to complete their degrees online and save money on housing instead of paying the costs associated with commuting or moving. Since many of Nebraska's social work jobs take place in rural areas, it also makes sense for students based in rural areas to complete supervised hours in their own communities to better prepare for their postgraduate jobs.
Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Nebraska as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. We cover online bachelor's in social work, online master's in social work, and online doctorate in social work programs. All programs are regionally and CSWE accredited, and all are available entirely online.
Online Social Work Programs in Nebraska
University of Nebraska Kearney
As one school in a four-college system, the University of Nebraska Kearney offers affordable education and a robust virtual college. UNK's Department of Social Work offers a social work comprehensive bachelor of science (BSSW). The department does not offer a graduate degree, but instead provides students with courses that count toward a master of social work foundation program at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Students who complete the BSSW classify as advanced standing students when they pursue a master's degree at schools around the country, earning the degree faster and more affordably.
University of Nebraska Kearney Bachelor of Science in Social Work
- Credits and Courses: Each student can earn 120 credits, delivered asynchronously online. The social work major requires 48 credits, including electives addressing specific social work areas such as child abuse and neglect, aging services, and school social work.
- Completion Time: Full-time students can finish the online BSSW in four years. Learners with transferable credit can do so in two years, depending on the number of credits transferred.
- Field Education: Each student must complete 400 hours in a field experience with three components: a 200-hour field placement at an agency, a 200-hour field placement at a second agency, and a senior social work seminar that gives students classroom experience.
- Transfer Policies: UNK accepts a maximum of 66 credits from a student who attended a two-year junior or community college. Applicants must earn a minimum "C" grade on transferable credit from institutions outside of the University of Nebraska system.
- Cost: $255/credit in-state; $387/credit out-of-state
- Admission Requirements: Each student must complete all institutional requirements with a minimum 2.5 GPA before admittance to this social work degree in Nebraska.
The University of Nebraska Kearney is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The University of Nebraska Kearney's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.