The Best Online Associate’s in Social Work

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An online associate’s in social work degree helps students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the social work field, and to eventually earn a bachelor’s in social work degree.

Earning a degree in the traditional, on-campus format can be tough, but earning a degree online provides plenty of flexibility, even for the busiest students. Individuals earning online degrees in social work prepare for careers helping others in a variety of settings, all on their own schedule. This article ranks the best online associate’s in social work degree programs available today.

The Best Associate in Social Work Programs Online

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Perimeter College at Georgia State University 

Atlanta, GA

About this school

Perimeter College at Georgia State University enrolls over 18,000 students in a wide variety of undergraduate degree and non-degree programs. Dedicated to student advancement and professional success, many of the programs at Perimeter College utilize a “pathway" approach that allow for an easy transition from associate’s to bachelor’s degree coursework.

Perimeter College offers an online Associate of Science Social Work Pathway degree program designed to lead into the college’s online Bachelor of Social Work degree program. Students develop a strong foundation of key knowledge and skills in the field, studying professional social work practices, statistics, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. Students prepare for social work careers in settings such as clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and government agencies.

The online Associate of Science Social Work Pathway program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following required courses:

  • Elementary Statistics
  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Introduction to General Psychology
  • Introduction to Social Work
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Principles of Macroeconomics

University of North Georgia 

Dahlonega, GA

About this school

The College of Arts and Letters at the University of North Georgia houses 13 departments representing diverse fields, including the Department of English, Department of Political Science and International Affairs, and Department of Sociology and Human Services. With internship and scholarship options, study abroad options, and student organizations, the college provides many opportunities for student development and achievement.

The Department of Sociology and Human Services offers an online Associate of Arts general degree program with a concentration in Social Work. The program develops key knowledge and skills necessary to pursuing careers and future study in social work, covering topics such as social work practice, sociology, social issues, and marriage and family. Students prepare to enter bachelor’s in social work degree programs and pursue social work careers in settings such as hospitals, clinics, and government agencies.

The online Associate of Arts program requires 60 credit hours and features a flexible selection of courses that make up the Social Work concentration, including:

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Introduction to Marriage and Family
  • Introduction to Social Problems
  • Introduction to Social Work
  • Introduction to Sociology

Western New Mexico University 

Silver City, NM

About this school

Dating back to 1893, the School of Social Work at Western New Mexico University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students interested in the social work field. Dedicated to student success, the school provides on-campus and online degree program options, multiple start dates throughout the year, and internship and scholarship opportunities.

The School of Social Work offers an online Associate of Arts in Human Services degree program for students seeking to enter the field. The program develops key knowledge and skills in areas such as ethical practice, group dynamics, case management and evaluation, and principles of diversity. Students prepare to pursue a variety of jobs in settings such as clinics, government agencies, schools, and hospitals, as well as further study in a bachelor’s degree program.

The online Associate of Arts in Human Services program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Case Management, Planning, and Evaluation
  • Ethics in Social Work and Human Services
  • Human Service Delivery Systems
  • Individual and Family Development
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Introduction to Group Dynamics
  • Introduction to Human Services
  • Principles of Diversity
  • Resource and Information Literacy for Human Services

For students interested in continuing their studies, the School of Social Work also offers an online Bachelor’s of Social Work degree program, accredited by the by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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What’s the difference between human services and social work?

Human services and social work are closely related fields, and many people often confuse the two. Social work professionals tend to focus on solving problems at the individual level, through things like therapy, counseling, and connecting clients with resources and services. Human services professionals tend to focus on the bigger picture, planning and organizing programs, organizing community services, and performing administrative roles. Both help populations of people in related yet different ways, and the fields compliment each other.

Moreover, associate’s degrees in social work are not particularly common; many students earn an associate’s degree in human services before transferring into a bachelor’s in social work degree program.

How long does it take to complete an associate’s degree in social work?

Like most associate’s degree programs, associate’s in social work can be completed in 18-24 months and typically require around 60 hours of required and elective coursework.

Social Work Careers

Earning an associate’s in social work degree sets you on the path to pursue a variety of careers in the field or purse an advanced degree in social work. In fact,most students interested in social work don’t stop with an associate’s degree; they continue their education, earning a bachelor’s or master's in social work. The following information, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reflects the median annual earnings of individuals in these positions for 2017.

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