Best Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs 2019

Many job opportunities in the field of social work require a minimum of a bachelor's of social work (BSW) degree. Pursuing a BSW is a good foundation for those interested in developing a human services or social work career. Many bachelor's degree in social work take four years to complete, typically around 128 credit hours, and will include field education requirements where students gain experience working in the field of social work under supervision. In addition to providing the basis for entry level social work jobs, a bachelor's degree in social work also qualify BSW graduates for advanced standing status if they wish to pursue a master's in social.

Advanced standing status cuts the duration of participating MSW programs from 60 credit hours, to only 30 credit hours, meaning you can complete your master's in social work in as little as one year. However, advanced standing arrangements almost always mean you have to have your BSW from a regionally accredited university that has CSWE-accredited social work programs. Our selection of top online BSW programs are all CSWE-accredited programs from regionally accredited universities so that you are in good position to enter into an MSW program should you chose to do so!

This guide features the nation's best bachelor of social work (BSW) online degrees. To determine the best online degrees, we compared graduation rates, academics, affordability of tuition, and the availability of online programs. Keep reading to learn what it takes to earn an online bachelor's degree in social work and how to access helpful resources and scholarships.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs of 2019

Top Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs 2019

University of Utah

As Utah's flagship public university, the U enrolls over 32,000 students from its main campus in Salt Lake City. The school's bachelor of social work emphasizes community leadership development and programs to achieve social equity for marginalized groups. The program features a fully online, primarily asynchronous format for students to balance their careers with schoolwork and other obligations. Online learners can choose from start dates in the fall or spring, with courses offered all year.

The online social work bachelor's degree at the U meets key needs for entry-level social work practitioners based on national standards. The program core comprises 48 credits and includes courses such as human behavior and the social environment, applied social work statistics, social diversity and cultural understanding, and social welfare policy and services. Each candidate can also complete an internship/practicum that builds professional experience in a social work setting. Online learners typically complete practicums in their own communities.

While most course content occurs asynchronously, distance learners can interact with professors during scheduled virtual office hours, either online or via telephone. Students who live in the Salt Lake City area can also attend in-person office hours and optional live classroom sessions.

The University of Utah is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. University of Utah's online BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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Brandman University

A private, nonprofit college that emphasizes professional and adult education, Brandman operates more than two dozen campus locations across the West Coast. The school's online bachelor of arts in social work explores social, political, and cultural change, training students in the organizational dynamics that best serve diverse communities. The broad curriculum prepares graduates for a variety of careers in social work, mental healthcare, gerontology, community services, and substance abuse treatment. 

Candidates can complete a total of 48 social work credits, including 42 core credits and six elective credits. The program core comprises 14 courses and covers topics such as interview and assessment skills, social welfare, human behavior and the social environment, and social policy. Students can select two elective courses from an assortment of specialized options, such as domestic violence, victim advocacy, military social work, and international social work.

As part of the online social work bachelor's degree, each candidate can complete a comprehensive practicum that requires 400 supervised hours in an approved social work environment. Most students select practicum sites in their communities, though Brandman can also assist with connections to appropriate agencies. Degree candidates can typically complete their practicum hours over three semesters.

Brandman University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Brandman University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

UT Knoxville, a public college serving more than 28,000 students annually, hosts an online bachelor of science in social work that trains students to serve marginalized populations through social advocacy, counseling, and community building. Along with a standard bachelor's degree, UT Knoxville also offers a combination bachelor of science/master of science in social work, an accelerated program that enables candidates to earn both degrees in just five years.

UT Knoxville's online social work bachelor's degree is a completion program designed for online students who hold an associate of arts or science from an accredited community college. Candidates typically enter the program with a minimum of 60 credits, completing coursework for the social work major fully online. Each applicant must possess a minimum GPA of 2.5 and complete introductory courses in social work and social welfare.

Most courses feature a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous content. Online learners can participate in live class sessions that mimic the classroom environment, interacting with peers and faculty members with video conferencing software. Similar to on-campus learning, these courses require set weekly login times. Many courses also feature asynchronous materials that augment synchronous learning. Each candidate can also complete an in-person social work practicum in their own community.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The University of Tennessee, Knoxville's BSSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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California State University, Chico

Chico State, a public college located about 90 miles north of Sacramento, serves more than 17,000 students annually with a comprehensive distance department that includes an online social work bachelor's degree. This interdisciplinary program explores topics such as education, healthcare, mental health services, counseling, and government, training students to work with a variety of community organizations. Online learners can choose between a two-year accelerated format or a three-year part-time format.

Chico State's bachelor of arts in social work is a distributed learning degree completion program. Each applicant must complete an associate degree at an approved community college in one of the Northern California Superior Region's 18 counties before transferring into the program to complete the social work major coursework. Given the program's unique requirements, only Northern California residents may apply.

The degree follows a hybrid format that offers 67% of coursework online and 33% on campus. Many online courses use synchronous formats, conducting live class meetings through video conferencing software. Online students must also attend 2-3 on-campus sessions held each semester on the Chico State campus. These intensive sessions take place on weekends, bringing students together for collaborative learning activities, classroom sessions, networking events, and social activities.

California State University, Chico is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). California State University, Chico's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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University of North Dakota

A major public college located in Grand Forks, UND hosts anonline bachelor of science in social work that stresses the skills, knowledge, and values for community engagement and empowerment, emphasizing preparation for work in rural environments. The BS at UND is among the oldest accredited online social work bachelor's degree programs in the country, training students for leadership at all levels of engagement.

The degree curriculum builds generalized social work skills along with a strong liberal arts foundation. The social work major requires 39 credits, covering topics such as social policy, human behavior in the social environment, and social work research. One elective course enables students to explore a specialized area of social work, such as family counseling or substance abuse. Many social work students also pursue related minors in either gerontology or chemical dependency.

Each degree candidate must complete a 12-credit field experience as part of the general social work curriculum. The field experience lasts two semesters and integrates academic theory with professional practice through supervised work in a community or social services setting. Candidates complete two, five-credit field experience courses along with two corresponding one-credit field seminar courses that enable them to reflect on their work.

University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). University of North Dakota's BSSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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Wayne State University

WSU, a public research college based in Detroit, is among the largest colleges in Michigan, serving more than 27,000 students annually. The school offers an online social work bachelor's degree rooted in four key themes: values and ethics, oppression and discrimination, social justice, and populations-at-risk. The BSW online degree at WSU is a completion program, and applicants must possess a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits to apply, either from WSU or another accredited institution.

The social work program includes a total of 60 credits divided between 51 credits of social work courses and nine credits of general education electives. The social work major curriculum stresses five main areas: human behavior and the social environment, research methods, social work practice, social welfare policy and services, and field education. All social work courses are available fully online.

Each candidate must complete a 460-hour internship that takes place during their senior year. The internship lasts two semesters and places each student with an approved social work organization in their own community, enabling participants to gain hands-on experience working with clients. Most students choose their own internship site, but WSU can also assist in connecting interns to appropriate agencies.

Wayne State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Wayne State University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Located in the city of Natchitoches, NSU hosts one of the top online BSW programs in the South. This fully online degree prepares students to enter the social work field immediately upon graduation, building the knowledge, competencies, and skills to help clients resolve public issues and personal problems. The program also prepares graduates for advanced study, typically enabling them to skip many courses in their master's in social work programs.

The program curriculum builds a generalist foundation, preparing students for work in all common areas of social work practice, such as family services, community engagement, and alcohol and substance abuse. Courses examine social work values and ethics, cultural diversity, differential diagnoses, and social work research methods. Courses commonly use a combination synchronous/asynchronous format, mixing occasional live class meetings with independent assignments.

Each candidate can complete 12 credits of field work, which forms a significant component of the curriculum. The field experience/internship occurs during the final year of the program and builds professional skills in a real-world social work environment, enabling students to draw connections between course learning and hands-on social work. An intern can complete the field experience in either one or two semesters.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Northwestern State University of Louisiana's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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Eastern New Mexico University

Based in Portales, New Mexico, ENMU offers an online bachelor of social work that explores strategies to alleviate poverty and social injustice, helping individuals, families, and communities improve their quality of life. Integrating knowledge from various social sciences, this interdisciplinary degree emphasizes human diversity and the relationship between individuals and social environments. 

The program combines synchronous and asynchronous materials, with some courses requiring designated login times for live lectures and other collaborative activities. ENMU offers support services for distance learners, including academic advising, online writing tutoring, distance library services, and career counseling. Students can also gain access to a wide selection of financial aid and scholarships, some exclusively for social work candidates.

Along with a generalized curriculum, each social work candidate can complete a two-semester, 464-hour field experience. One of the program's defining features, the field internship functions as the culmination of the program curriculum, bridging the gap between academic theory and professional practice. The field experience typically requires candidates to work with a social services agency within New Mexico, and most participants choose organizations near their homes.

Eastern New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Eastern New Mexico University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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University of Nebraska at Kearney

UNK, a public college based in central Nebraska, serves around 7,000 students annually through on-campus courses and a distance program. The school's online bachelor of science in social work stresses the knowledge, skills, values, and ethics required for professional social work practice, preparing graduates to work with individual clients and groups at all levels.

The social work major requires a minimum of 48 credits, split between 36 credits of core courses and 12 credits of elective courses. The program core introduces key social work topics from a generalized perspective, including human service ethics, social policy, diversity and social justice, and social work research. Electives provide an opportunity for students to specialize their skills through unique course options such as aging services, social work in legal settings, medical social work, and violence across the lifespan.

Its online social work bachelor's degree includes a critical field experience component, recognized as one of the program's defining activities. The field experience comprises nine credits in total: six credits worth of field placement and a three-credit senior social work seminar. The placement activities require students to intern at a social work agency, while the seminar brings interns together to reflect on their experiences.

University of Nebraska Kearney is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). University of Nebraska Kearney's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

King University

King University, a private, Presbyterian-affiliated college, serves around 2,900 students annually from its campus in Bristol, Tennessee. Though small in footprint, the school hosts a wide-reaching distance education program that enrolls students around the state and the country. King's online BSW gives students the theoretical and practical skills to approach professional social work, focusing on restorative and social justice, counseling, and advocacy.

King caters to working students, with a highly flexible asynchronous format and generous credit transfer options (the school accepts up to 76 credits from transfer applicants). For online learners looking to complete their degrees as quickly as possible, the school also offers accelerated options that speed up course sequencing. Students can also enroll in courses year-round to complete their education even faster.

The social work major includes 52 credits, with 40 credits dedicated to general courses and 12 credits dedicated to integrative practice. General courses cover a variety of key social work topics, such as historical foundations and contemporary issues, human diversity and ethical issues, family and group practice, and writing for social workers. The integrative practice component requires students to intern at social work agencies, gaining professional experience under expert supervision.

King University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). King University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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Spring Arbor University

SAU, a Christian college based in Spring Arbor, Michigan, grounds social work in concepts of Christian morals and ethics, offering biblical, theoretical, and practical perspectives on the field. Students earning their BSW degrees online can receive a comprehensive overview of modern social work practices, gaining the skills to combat social and economic injustice. The fully online curriculum at SAU emphasizes the skills to help clients at all levels, including individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.

Its online BSW explores how clients interact with their environment, training students to develop planned-care processes that improve human relationships by addressing social and societal problems. The social work major requires 43 credits total, utilizing a set curriculum sequence in which each course builds on previous content. Some of the program's required courses include practice with individuals and families, research design, social welfare policies, and statistics for the behavioral sciences.

As part of the social work curriculum, each candidate must complete a 12-credit internship experience that takes place over two semesters. Requiring at least 400 hours of supervised practice in an approved community agency, the internship develops professional practice and refines general skills. Each intern can also complete an internship seminar capstone course that integrates agency experience with major program concepts.

Spring Arbor University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Spring Arbor University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Bemidji State University

BSU, a public college located in Bemidji, Michigan, offers a bachelor of social work in a blended format that combines online courses with occasional on-campus meetings. The school's online social work bachelor's degree provides students with a generalized social work background, emphasizing human interactions in varied cultural environments.

The social work program at BSU uses a cohort format in which students complete most courses together in sequence. Due to the cohort model, the program only admits new students every two years. Coursework occurs primarily online, though online learners must attend one monthly Saturday session held on campus. On-campus sessions occur 3-4 times each semester, bringing students together for classroom meetings and other experiential learning activities.

The social work major requires 69 credits and includes courses such as family dynamics and intervention, generalist practice, and social work research. Along with general requirements, each student can complete a social work internship worth 6-12 credits. Requiring 480 supervised hours in a public or private social service setting, the internship integrates professional social work practice with academic theory. Each student can also participate in a seminar in which they analyze their internship experiences in the context of major program concepts.

Bemidji State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Bemidji State University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Touro University Worldwide

TUW, a fully online college that serves students around the world, offers an online bachelor of arts in social work that trains students to offer human services, counseling, guidance, and referrals to client populations of all types. The program stresses the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for effective social work, preparing graduates for entry-level positions in the field. Full-time students can complete their degrees in 3.5 years, while part-time students have up to seven years.

The social work major requires 75 credits divided between 51 core credits and 24 elective credits. The program core includes 17 courses, covering critical topics such as social justice and diversity, interviewing and assessment, child welfare resources, and comparative social work. Students can also choose from electives covering specialized social work topics such as victim advocacy, youth at risk, and social work with older adults.

Each social work student can complete a nine-credit, 450-hour internship that takes place over three quarters. Each practicum section pairs with a social work practice course focused on a different level of client interaction: individuals and families, groups, and communities and organizations. The program ends with a capstone that requires students to create an intervention plan based on a social work case study. 

Touro University Worldwide is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). 

Huntington University

HU, a private Christian college located in Huntington, Indiana, serves around 1,200 students annually through on-campus and online programs. The school's bachelor of science in social work employs a holistic education method that emphasizes the biological, social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of the field. The degree uses a fully online format that caters to working adults, with accelerated five-week courses that enable students to complete their degrees faster.

The program curriculum includes a total of 15 courses that introduce major topics such as addictions, social policy, and interviewing. Huntington emphasizes experiential learning, and degree candidates can complete an assortment of practicum activities, including a social work job shadow, an intercultural immersion experience, and a field internship. Students can complete 600 total hours of field work, working closely with a variety of professionals in the field.

For working students, Huntington offers credit for experience programs, enabling online learners to earn academic credit for relevant professional experiences. Students with professional social work experience may be able to skip selected courses and complete their degrees faster. Huntington offers several additional pathways to earn credit for experience, including CLEP tests, American Council on Education evaluations, and professional training transcript evaluations.

Huntington University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Huntington University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Metropolitan State University of Denver

MSU Denver, a major public college located near downtown Denver, serves a student body of more than 24,000, composed primarily of undergraduates. The school's bachelor of science in social work trains students to address personal, interpersonal, and societal problems for individuals and groups. The program offers both fully online and blended course options.

Students can complete 54 credits of social work major courses, covering topics such as philosophy of social work, privilege and power, social welfare policy, and research statistics. Candidates may also complete several social work electives, offering specialized perspectives on topics such as substance abuse and youth services. The program combines asynchronous independent assignments with synchronous course components such as live lectures, class meetings, and group work.

A six-credit professional internship forms a major part of the curriculum, requiring each student to complete supervised field work with a social services agency. Occurring during the program's final two semesters, the internship requires a total of 480 field hours, translating to about 16 hours per week. 

The college maintains relationships with an assortment of applicable social service agencies in the Denver area, such as the Denver Department of Human Services and the Denver Public Schools, but students can also select their own internship sites.

Metropolitan State University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Metropolitan State University of Denver's BSSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

Located in Standish, Maine, SJC offers one of the top online BSW programs in the Northeast. This highly flexible degree stresses the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for generalist social work practice, preparing students for positions such as case manager or discharge planner. The curriculum also meets professional social work licensure requirements for most U.S states, though students should still consult individual state agencies to determine their eligibility.

The social work major curriculum includes 52 credits and covers major topics such as research, theory, and practice. Students can complete 13 major courses, including brain processes and social work, writing for social work, and social welfare policy. Most courses use a primarily synchronous format that requires students to log on at designated times for weekly virtual class meetings. Certain courses also use asynchronous elements, enabling students to complete their work at any time.

Students can complete two internships as part of the curriculum. A three-credit, 96-hour internship occurs early in the program through a course in social work with community groups. During the final year, each degree candidate can complete a 12-credit, 224-hour internship that takes place over two semesters. A student typically performs both experiences with an agency in their own community.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Saint Joseph's College of Maine's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Northern Arizona University

NAU, a public college located in Flagstaff, Arizona, serves over 31,000 students through both on-campus and distance education programs. The school's online bachelor of social work explores techniques and strategies to enhance human well-being, emphasizing the empowerment of vulnerable populations. Students can gain the skills to practice social work with diverse client populations at all social levels. The program focuses on the needs of rural southwestern populations, including indigenous groups.

The online social work bachelor's degree curriculum focuses on structural oppression, leadership development, and promoting social and economic justice. Students can complete 75 credits of major courses, including 60 credits of professional courses and 15 credit of behavioral science cognate courses. The professional core covers key topics for generalist social work practice, such as crisis intervention, social welfare, and information technology literacy. Each candidate can also complete a 12-credit field education experience and a senior capstone.

The behavioral science cognate builds knowledge in five key areas: ethnicity, gender, human biology, indigenous populations of the Southwest, and social/economic justice. Students can complete one course in each area, with several options available. For example, the ethnicity section offers three course options: race and ethnic relations, sociocultural aging, or global race and ethnic relations.

Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Northern Arizona University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Brescia University

Brescia serves around 1,300 students from its campus in Owensboro, Kentucky, offering Christian-informed education through on-campus and online courses. The school's bachelor of social work stresses the cognitive and affective processes for generalist social work practice, preparing students for leadership roles in the field. For candidates interested in pursuing advanced education, the BSW online program leads directly into the school's master's in social work, which is also available online.

Brescia caters primarily to working students, with flexible, fully online courses and five start dates throughout the year in January, March, May, August, and October. Most courses use an asynchronous format with no required login times, enabling students to complete coursework as it suits their schedules. Some online learners can complete their degrees in as little as two years of full-time study.

Social work degree candidates complete 42 major credits, including 36 required credits and six elective credits. Program requirements cover foundational social work topics such as research, human behavior, social environments, and social work practice. Electives focus on specialized topics such as aging populations and substance abuse counseling. Students also complete 12 related credits in social and behavioral sciences, which introduce relevant topics such as general psychology, law and social issues, and social issues and diversity.

Brescia University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Brescia University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Southern Arkansas University

A public college located in Magnolia, Arkansas, SAU serves a small student body of around 4,700. The school hosts an interdisciplinary bachelor of social work that combines knowledge in psychology, counseling, social justice, and other related fields to prepare students for entry-level positions with social services agencies of all types. The BSW at SAU uses a hybrid format that mixes online coursework with some required on-campus sessions.

Students can complete 58 credits of social work courses divided between the 52-credit program core and a six-credit elective section. The core covers major topics in social work theory and practice, including cultural diversity, social policy, ethics, and research. Along with social work courses, all students must also complete relevant electives in cultural diversity, including options such as Hispanic life and culture, African American politics, and the Native American.

SAU stresses experiential learning, and a field practicum forms a significant portion of the core curriculum. The practicum takes place over three semesters and requires students to intern at an approved social service agency, connecting key program principles to hands-on social work practice. Each section of the practicum pairs with a fieldwork seminar that provides space for students to analyze and evaluate their experiences.

Southern Arkansas University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Southern Arkansas University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Troy University

Troy University, a public college in Alabama, serves over 18,000 students through multiple campus locations and a substantial distance education program. The school's online bachelor of social work trains students for generalist practice and prepares graduates to assist client populations of all backgrounds. Troy offers all courses online, enabling candidates to complete their degrees without ever visiting campus.

Social work candidates can complete 52 major credits, including 27 credits of core courses and 25 credits of professional courses. The social work core introduces generalized topics that build a foundation for further study, including social work ethics, professional communication skills, and social policy and planning. The professional component delves into the skills necessary for generalist practice, training students to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

The professional curriculum includes 15 credits of practicum work, which allows students to develop their professional practice through fieldwork in a social agency. The practicum begins with a three-credit seminar course that assesses essential competencies for hands-on social work and includes professional activities such as resume building and interview skills development. A social work candidate can then complete 12 credits (400 hours) of fieldwork at an approved agency, spread over two academic semesters. 

Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Troy University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Aurora University

Located in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, AU hosts one of the top online BSW programs in the Midwest, training students to address diverse client populations across many settings. Online learners benefit from a highly flexible program format that includes accelerated eight-week courses and multiple start dates per year. The curriculum prepares students to obtain Illinois state social work licensure, and graduates can also enroll in AU's social work master's program with advanced standing.

Students can earn their degree in 2-4 years, depending on enrollment and credit transfers. Each candidate can complete 40 credits of social work major coursework, which includes both core courses and field instruction courses. The 32-credit program core comprises eight courses, covering topics such as social welfare, institutions and policies, social work with communities and organizations, and an integrative seminar in social work. The eight-credit field instruction component builds professional experience in a social work setting.

Aurora's online social work bachelor's degree primarily serves working students, and each program applicant must possess at least two years of demonstrated work experience or military service. All candidates must also possess at least 15 transferable credits from a regionally accredited college or university (including community college) with minimum GPAs of 2.5.

Aurora University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Aurora University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Limestone College

A private, non-denominational Christian liberal arts college based in Gaffney, South Carolina, Limestone serves a small student body of just over 1,000. The school's online bachelor of social work develops students' understanding of race, ethnicity, class, and culture, exploring these differences to facilitate social equity and justice. The program emphasizes strategies for helping clients, improving social conditions, and boosting economic and social well-being.

Limestone offers fully online enrollment and blended options that mix on-campus and distance courses. For South Carolina residents, the school maintains six campus locations around the state, making it convenient to combine distance learning with occasional classroom courses. The school also serves online learners across the country who benefit from fully online courses and no on-campus requirements.

The program curriculum covers an assortment of general and specialized social work topics, including introduction to psychology, the influence of sexual factors on behavior, and practice with culturally diverse populations. Each candidate must complete a 400-hour field practicum with a social service agency, which typically requires a commitment of 3-4 days per week. Both in-state and out-of-state online students can complete the practicum with agencies in their own communities.

Limestone College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Limestone College's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Campbellsville University

CU, a Baptist college located in Campbellsville, offers a BSW online degree that grounds social work practice in professional ethics and Christian values. The program explores historical and contemporary approaches to social work, along with the latest theoretical perspectives and research-based practices.

CU uses a primarily asynchronous format that places students and faculty in a virtual classroom via video conferencing. Small class sizes offer individualized attention for students, and most courses include debriefing sessions with faculty for students to address academic concerns. With a focus on working students, faculty members offer support for enrollees who may be transitioning back into a school environment.

Candidates can complete 51 credits of major courses divided between a 45-credit core and a six-credit social work elective section. The core introduces major topics in research, social work practice, social policy, human behavior, and diversity. Electives offer the chance to explore specialized social work topics, such as child abuse and interventions, medical social work, foster care and adoptions, and human rights. Social work students can also complete a 12-credit practicum experience with a social services agency.

Campbellsville University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Campbellsville University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Albany State University

ASU, a public, historically black college based in Albany, Georgia, enrolls around 6,000 students annually. The school's bachelor of social work encourages students to advance social, environmental, and economic justice through generalist social work practice in diverse populations. Based around a liberal arts foundation, the degree requires 51 credits of social work major courses, including a 12-credit social work practicum experience.

ASU does not offer its BSW fully online, but students can complete the college's core curriculum entirely online. These 42-44 credits of required courses form a significant portion of the degree, and students can complete the core online before switching to a blended format for remaining social work courses. The core includes several courses relevant to social work, such as human sexuality, mental health, drugs and drug abuse, and stress management.

Enrollees can also apply for the university's Title IV-E Scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship can complete an internship with the Department of Family and Children Services to gain a unique perspective on youth and family social work. A recipient must also complete two elective courses: social work with families and family/child welfare services. Each scholarship candidate must hold a 2.5 minimum GPA.

Albany State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Albany State University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Western New Mexico University

Located in Silver City, WNMU serves a small student body of around 3,500 through both on-campus and online courses. The school hosts an online bachelor of social work based around key principles of social justice, dignity and worth, human relationships, integrity, and competence in care. Students receive a comprehensive overview of key social work practices, including counseling, case management, advocacy, and intervention.

The online social work bachelor's degree curriculum includes 44 hours of general social work courses and nine hours of electives. The program core focuses on social work at the micro and macro levels, comprising topics in research, human behavior, and ethics. The elective section offers specialized course options, enabling students to explore topics such as sustainable development, social work with the homeless, human trafficking, and social work in mental health settings.

Along with in-class courses, online learners complete a six-credit, 450-hour practicum that takes place over two semesters. The practicum builds professional skills in a supervised social work setting and requires about 20 hours each week. Before the practicum, each student must complete a two-credit pre-practicum skills lab that introduces topics such as professional self-image, supervision and consultation, and client systems. Students choose their practicum agencies with a focus on diverse, at-risk populations.

Western New Mexico University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Western New Mexico University's BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Why Choose an Online College?

Students who earn their bachelor's degree in social work online enjoy benefits that traditional students miss out on. The format of an online degree appeals primarily to students who have especially busy schedules. Parents, working professionals, and students on a budget can all benefit from BSW online programs. The structure of online BSW programs allows students to study remotely, which means saving money on transportation, parking, and room and board.

  • Flexibility

    Flexibility remains a primary benefit of earning a bachelor's in social work online degree. Typically, BSW online programs offer asynchronous scheduling that lets students participate in classes remotely, as long as they have a computer and internet access. Even synchronous schedules, which use set class times, do not require students to travel to campus.

  • Accessibility

    Bachelor's in social work online degrees also provide students with ample accessibility. Online students can access lectures, reading materials, tests, and class discussions online. Additionally, out-of-state students can study at schools hundreds of miles away -- often paying in-state tuition rates -- and international students can attend college from across the globe.

  • Diversity

    Online BSW programs break down barriers, allowing students from anywhere in the world to attend classes. The improved affordability, flexibility, and accessibility mean students from different ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds can come together virtually to study and obtain an expansive network for future job opportunities.

  • Technology

    Students enrolled in a bachelor's in social work online program use distance learning programs such as Blackboard and Moodle, which allow them to connect with professors and classmates. These programs provide students with easy access to discussion boards, university resources, and coursework.

How to Choose an Online Social Work Program

A college education comes at a large cost -- in terms of both time and money -- so it makes sense that people conduct a lot of research when figuring out where to go to school. Students weigh numerous factors when applying for college, including a school's overall cost, accreditation status, and location. Determining which college best suits your needs is a process, and you should consider several aspects to help you weigh your options.

First, to ensure that you receive a quality education, make sure that your prospective schools hold regional or national accreditation. Accreditation serves as a stamp of approval that protects students. Regional accreditation is a more prestigious designation than national accreditation. Two- and four-year academic schools tend to earn regional accreditation, whereas vocational and for-profit schools usually earn national accreditation. Students should also consider the graduation and retention rates of prospective programs to gage the success of an MSW online program.

Cost often represents a significant factor in a student's decision-making process. Students should consider the financial aid packages schools offer to students who prove financial need based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications, particularly aid reserved for minority students and veterans.

Finally, even for distance learners, a college's location can also influence where they decide to pursue a bachelor's degree in social work online. Students sometimes consider out-of-state BSW online programs when a program offers better career opportunities and resources for social workers. With this in mind, make sure to investigate the state criteria for becoming a licensed social worker, as well as other state requirements that may pertain to your career goals.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs

The two most common types of accreditation are regional and national. Credits earned from regionally accredited institutions are more widely accepted by other college programs. Degrees earned from regionally accredited schools are also more desired by employers, as they usually have more rigorous standards. Students pursuing their online bachelor's degree in social work need to pay attention to accreditation. If bachelor's students wish to continue their education by earning a master of social work, they will need to have bachelor's credits from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited college or university. Licensing requirements outline that applicants must have earned their bachelor's or master's degree from a college or university that is CSWE-accredited.

Popular Online Social Work Degrees

Social work provides a fulfilling career for people who want to help others improve their lives. To learn more about earning a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate in social work, click on the guides listed below. You can read information about the courses offered in typical social work programs, common specialties pursued by social workers, and careers you can pursue after graduation.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Social Work Online Master's Degrees in Social Work Online Doctorate Degrees in Social Work

Certifications and Licenses for Social Workers

Licensed social workers work with many types of patients to treat mental, emotional, and behavioral
issues. Exact requirements for licensure depend on the state. At a minimum, applicants need to hold a master's degree in social work to become a licensed social worker. Additionally, after graduating from an accredited online MSW program, social workers must accrue supervised work experience and pass required exams.

Social workers can also advance in their careers by obtaining certifications from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Certifications allow social workers to demonstrate experience in a variety of specialties, such as case management, palliative care, and addiction.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

To become an LCSW, applicants must earn a master's in social work and complete additional coursework. Candidates also need to finish supervised work experience and pass exams, such as the national clinical exam offered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and a law and ethics exam.

Licensed Social Worker

People interested in becoming a licensed social worker -- a position that does not have the same privileges as an LCSW -- must earn a master's in social work. Applicants also need to pass two exams.

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker

Social workers can receive an LBSW credential after earning a bachelor's in social work and passing a jurisprudence exam and an ASWB exam. Applicants also need to submit an application fee and pass a background check.

Licensed Master Social Worker

Graduates with a master's in social work can apply for the LMSW credential. The exact requirements vary depending on the state; however, applicants typically need to pass an exam, pay fees, and pass a background check.

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker

To become an LICSW, applicants need to hold a master's or Ph.D. in social work. Candidates must also complete supervised work experience and continuing education credits, with exact requirements varying by state.

Careers in Social Work

Social workers can find jobs that suit their work experience, education level, and personality. Most social workers also focus on a specialty by pursuing continuing education, licenses, and/or certifications. Earning a specialty better prepares social workers to find jobs in their desired fields, such as substance abuse or child and family services. For more information about social work careers, visit our careers page and check out the jobs described below.

School Social Worker

School social workers must hold a master's degree in social work. These counselors work in elementary, middle, and high schools to help students with their studies and social skills.

Entry-Level Pay: $45,000
Late-Career Pay: $63,000

Mental Health Counselors

Some employers only require mental health counselors to hold a bachelor's degree, while others prefer a master's. Mental health counselors help people suffering from mental health issues. They may work with children and adults.

Entry-Level Pay: $50,000
Late-Career Pay: $61,000

Child and Family Social Workers

Child and family social workers work to help parents considering adoption and children in school who have truancy or behavioral problems. They can find work in schools, hospitals, and government agencies.

Entry-Level Pay: $39,000
Late-Career Pay: $50,000

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

A licensed clinical social worker helps people cope with their mental health issues. These professionals conduct evaluations and aid patients in finding jobs and treatment. Many work in hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers.

Entry-Level Pay: $50,000
Late-Career Pay: $63,000

Medical Social Worker

Medical social workers often serve as a patient's first point of contact. These workers may document a patient's medical history, and when patients need medical referrals, social workers step in to help.

Entry-Level Pay: $50,000
Late-Career Pay: $61,000

Additional Social Work Resources

Explore Scholarships for Social Work Students

Check out this guide to find the social work scholarships right for you. We list scholarships for social work master's students, scholarships for social work majors, and social work doctoral students.

Professional Organizations

Professional social work organizations connect social workers across the country and world and offer many valuable networking opportunities and resources for students and graduates. Explore our guide to finding the right social work organization for you.

Resources

Whether you are an aspiring social work student or a seasoned social worker already in the field, there are many resources available to support, encourage, and develop your professional knowledge and insight into the social work field. Browse our list of must-have resources for every social worker.