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Completing an online social work degree at the bachelor's level allows you to compete for entry-level, non-clinical roles in myriad professional settings.

Whether you hope to work as a case management aide at a children's hospital, a probation officer at a county prison, or a behavioral management aide at a school, a bachelor of social work can help you achieve that goal.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that roles for social workers will grow 11% between 2018 and 2028 — much faster than the national average for all occupations. Approximately 81,000 new roles should be created during this timeframe.

Top Ten Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs

Table of Contents

If pursuing a bachelor's of social work sounds appealing to you, review our ranking of the best online social work bachelor's degree programs available today.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs

1
University of Utah
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4

University of Louisville 

Louisville, KY

About this school

Located in Kentucky's largest metro area, the University of Louisville enrolls nearly 22,500 students each year. UofL offers 266 graduate and undergraduate degrees across 12 academic schools, including more than 40 online programs through its Office of Online Learning. Nearly 8,800 students at UofL currently take at least one online course.

The online bachelor of social work program emphasizes social justice principles and practice. Offered through UofL's School of Social Work, the curriculum comprises 120 credits, including general education, major, and elective credits. The program includes courses like human behavior and the social environment, issues in policy and service delivery, and introduction to social work research.

Learners culminate the program with a practicum and practicum seminar. Students can also pursue an optional drug and alcohol counseling track that requires four courses and a practicum in a substance use treatment setting.

Students can transfer in up to 60 credits from a community college or up to 90 credits from a four-year university. Graduates qualify for advanced standing in the online master of social work program at UofL. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Active-duty military members receive a tuition discount.

Graduation Rate
57%
Percent Receiving Loans
48%
5

University of North Dakota 

Grand Forks, ND

About this school

Established in 1883, six years before the state was ratified, the University of North Dakota pioneered programs in aviation, medicine, engineering, and unmanned aircraft systems. Today, UND occupies the largest college campus in the state. It also oversees a comprehensive online division, enrolling more than 13,500 students each year. The university offers more than 250 academic programs, including over 120 online programs.

UND was first in the nation to offer an online bachelor's in social work through web-based videoconferencing technology. The BSSW program comprises 120 credits and takes four years of full-time study to complete. The first two years consist of general education coursework on topics like college composition, psychology, and sociology. The final two years of the online social work degree include generalist social work practice and social policy courses, culminating in a field experience and field education seminar.

Students can minor in an area such as chemical dependency or gerontology to complement their social work major. The program ranks among the most popular programs at UND. Online students can join the same student clubs as on-campus students, including Phi Alpha — the social work honor society. Students can begin the program in the fall or spring.

Graduation Rate
55%
Percent Receiving Loans
63%
6

Saint Joseph's College of Maine 

Standish, ME

About this school

Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Saint Joseph's College of Maine is a Catholic college that enrolls roughly 1,000 on-campus students and more than 2,500 online learners through over 40 major areas of study each year.

The online bachelor of social work builds a foundation in research, policy, and social work practice, with a focus on the impact of trauma, addiction, poverty, and abuse on the brain. Learners take classes like brain processes and social work, human behavior and the social environment, and social work practice with groups. The program also emphasizes experiential learning and professional social work skills through two student-selected internships.

Graduates of this online BSW program qualify to sit for Maine's social work licensing exam. Online students can join Phi Alpha and the National Association of Social Workers, which offer exclusive networking and peer-mentoring opportunities.

Graduation Rate
63%
Percent Receiving Loans
81%
7

Misericordia University 

Dallas, PA

About this school

Established in 1924 by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, Misericordia University enrolls more than 2,500 students each year. The school offers nearly 40 undergraduate and graduate programs across three liberal arts colleges, all of which are rooted in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. Distance learners can choose from 20 online degrees offered through Misericordia's ARCH Programs for Adult Learners division.

The 121-credit online bachelor of social work degree follows an accelerated schedule, graduating students in as little as two years. The curriculum blends theoretical and practical skills to prepare graduates for entry-level positions in social welfare agencies. The program includes classes on topics like social work policy, introduction to social welfare, and social problems. Students also complete a practicum. Graduates qualify to sit for Pennsylvania's social work licensing exam.

Students can begin the program at the beginning of any term; however, all online students must join a cohort in the fall semester to complete social work courses. Students must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA to graduate.

Graduation Rate
69%
Percent Receiving Loans
81%
8

University of Nebraska at Kearney 

Kearney, NE

About this school

Established in 1905 as a teacher training institution, the University of Nebraska Kearney offers more than 150 programs across its education, business, and arts and sciences schools. The university also oversees dozens of online programs through its eCampus, including an online bachelor's in social work.

UNK's bachelor's in social work requires 120 credits and takes four years of full-time study to complete. Students complete general education, social work, and elective courses. Courses cover topics like introduction to social welfare, human behavior in the social environment, and social policy and programs. Learners culminate the degree with a two-part field placement, a social work seminar, and a capstone requirement.

Students can access 24/7 technology assistance through a live chat feature at the UNK Help Desk. Online learners can also take advantage of virtual library services. Students can begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer.

Graduation Rate
58%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
9

Mary Baldwin University 

Staunton, VA

About this school

Founded in 1842, Mary Baldwin University was the first school in the state to offer degrees for adult students returning to higher education. Today, the university enrolls more than 1,900 students in dozens of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Online students can pursue a bachelor of social work through MBU's School of Social Work.

The online social work bachelor's degree suits first-year learners and students with previous experience, accepting up to 84 transfer credits. Learners study topics like human and cultural diversity, social and economic justice, and social work values and ethics. Courses include social work with diverse populations, girl-centered initiatives, and vulnerable populations in film. MBU stresses civic engagement as a central theme of the degree track, requiring 25 hours of service learning and a 450-hour field placement.

All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. MBU offers a variety of financial aid opportunities, including benefits for members of the military and veterans and tuition reimbursement programs. Online students can access tutoring services to support their studies.

Graduation Rate
47%
Percent Receiving Loans
83%
10

Northern Arizona University 

Flagstaff, AZ

About this school

Founded in 1899, Northern Arizona University is a public research institution that enrolls more than 30,000 students each year, including nearly 5,700 students in online and personalized learning programs. The online bachelor of social work comprises 120 credits, including general education, major, and elective requirements.

Students take 75 major credits, including professional courses and behavioral science cognates. Professional courses include social work research, crisis intervention, and contemporary topics in social work. Behavioral science cognates allow students to choose from courses on topics such as gender, ethnicity, human biology, and social and economic justice. Students culminate the degree with a field experience and a senior seminar course.

Though not required, social work students may complete a research project and/or enroll in the school's honors program. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. Graduates qualify for entry-level jobs in areas like child and youth services, victim advocacy, and family support services.

Graduation Rate
52%
Percent Receiving Loans
50%
11

Huntington University 

Huntington, IN

About this school

Chartered in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional programs. HU's bachelor's in social work program is one of the school's eight fully online adult degree programs.

The bachelor's degree in social work features liberal arts and social work courses rooted in the Christian faith. The degree completion program includes online coursework, a practicum, and a service-learning component to prepare graduates for entry-level social work positions and graduate study. Courses in the accelerated program span five weeks and follow a mostly asynchronous format.

HU caps student enrollment in its online programs to maintain small class sizes and ensure personalized attention from instructors. The school awards transfer credit for prior college education, life and work experience, and military training.

Graduation Rate
61%
Percent Receiving Loans
81%
12

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global 

Marion, IN

About this school

Founded in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University provides liberal arts and professional education programs in the Christian tradition. IWU enrolls nearly 14,000 on-campus learners and more than 10,000 online students.

IWU's online bachelor of social work integrates personal faith and learning through 120 credits of general education, social work, and practicum requirements. Students explore subjects including general psychology, social research, and human behavior and the environment. The online BSW track emphasizes professional development through coursework in state and local government and politics, social welfare organization, and social policy.

The program culminates in social work practice courses, a 400-hour field placement, and a two-part field placement seminar. Students need a minimum 2.5 GPA to graduate. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants need at least 45 transferable credits from a regionally accredited institution or a college that holds accreditation through the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

Graduation Rate
37%
Percent Receiving Loans
70%
13

Southwestern Assemblies of God University 

Waxahachie, TX

About this school

Established in 1943, Southwest Assemblies of God University began as a merger between three Bible schools in Oklahoma. Today, SAGU occupies a main campus in Waxahachie, Texas, with partner schools in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The university offers over 40 online undergraduate degrees, including a bachelor's in social work.

The online bachelor's in social work program builds a foundation in psychology and sociology from a Christian worldview. Students explore subjects like generalist social work practice, social work policy and research, and social delivery service systems in the United States. Students also complete an experiential learning component, performing ministry-related community outreach through faith-based organizations. The program prepares graduates for entry-level social work positions or graduate study.

Online students can access the same resources as on-campus learners, including career, wellness, and counseling centers. SAGU keeps online class sizes small to ensure personalized attention from instructors. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
82%
14

Briar Cliff University 

Sioux City, IA

About this school

Founded in 1930, Briar Cliff University offers liberal arts programs in the Catholic tradition. BCU enrolls more than 1,100 students in a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Students can complete online degree completion programs in business administration, health sciences, and social work.

BCU's online bachelor of social work degree completion program comprises 47 credits. Courses explore the history and general method of social work, social work practice and policy, and human behavior and the social environment. The curriculum also includes a course in Christian and Franciscan traditions. The online social work degree track culminates in a 450-hour fieldwork experience and a fieldwork seminar.

Students can begin on one of multiple start dates throughout the year. BCU accepts up to 90 transfer credits toward the degree. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Applicants must submit transcripts, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
94%
15

Touro University Worldwide 

Los Alamitos, CA

About this school

Founded in 1998, Touro University Worldwide enrolls more than 19,000 students in online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs across fields like business, technology, health sciences, and social work.

TUW's online bachelor's in social work comprises 120 credits of general education, major, core, and elective courses. The curriculum provides foundational knowledge of social work policy and practice through case study coursework. Students explore topics including social welfare policy and services, human behavior and the social context of the environment, and social work ethical standards. The program also incorporates a supervised field experience at a social work organization.

Online courses span eight weeks. Students who enroll full time typically earn their degree in 3.5 years, while part-time students may take seven years to graduate. Students may transfer in up to 45 general education and 45 social work credits, but they must complete at least 30 credits in residence at TUW. Online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
23%
16

Spring Arbor University 

Spring Arbor, MI

About this school

Founded in 1873, Spring Arbor University offers more than 70 undergraduate liberal arts programs. The university incorporates a faith-based, service-learning component into all of its academic programs. Students can choose from 14 online undergraduate and graduate programs, including a bachelor of social work.

The fully online social work degree requires 124 credits. Students gain the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue entry-level employment in settings like nursing homes, domestic violence centers, and criminal justice agencies. The program requires core coursework in social welfare policies, human behavior in the social environment, and biblical perspectives. The curriculum also includes courses in practice interviewing, critical analysis and research writing, and practice with groups. Students culminate the degree track with an internship and internship seminar.

Applicants must submit an autobiographical outline, a writing sample, and transcripts. Graduates qualify to sit for Michigan's social work licensing exam. Graduates can also pursue MSW programs — this BSW program boasts a 95% acceptance rate for alumni entering graduate-level social work programs.

Graduation Rate
57%
Percent Receiving Loans
73%
17

Troy University 

Troy, AL

About this school

Troy University opened in 1887 as a teacher training facility. Today, Troy offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Formed in 1994, the school's College of Health and Human Services encompasses six academic departments, including the Department of Human Services, which offers on-campus and online social work programs.

The online bachelor of social work degree comprises 120 credits, including general studies, core, major, and elective courses. Coursework explores topics such as professional communication skills, social work research, and social policy and planning. Students culminate the degree with a 12-credit social work practicum and seminar. Students who earn an online BSW are prepared to sit for Alabama's social work licensing exam.

Students can begin on one of several start dates throughout the year. Online students can access career, disability, and library services; an IT help desk; online proctoring services; and 24/7 Canvas assistance. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
43%
Percent Receiving Loans
81%
18

Northwestern State University of Louisiana 

Natchitoches, LA

About this school

Established in 1884 as a teacher training facility, Northwestern State University of Louisiana currently offers graduate and undergraduate programs across 20 areas of study. The university boasts Louisiana's first and largest electronic campus — eNSU — which offers a variety of online programs.

The online bachelor of social work comprises 120 credits, including general education, major, and elective courses. General education courses include fundamentals of speech, concepts of physical science, and principles of sociology. Core courses explore topics like social welfare as a social institution, cultural diversity, and contemporary social policy. Students culminate the degree track with a field experience.

All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Graduates can pursue entry-level generalist social work jobs or graduate study. Applicants must submit transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
19

Liberty University 

Lynchburg, VA

About this school

Established in 1971, Liberty University is an evangelical liberal arts institution. The school offers more than 600 undergraduate and graduate programs across 17 schools and colleges. The university's distance learning division — Liberty University Online — offers over 400 online programs, including an online bachelor of social work program.

The bachelor of social work program comprises 120 credits and takes roughly 3.5 years of full-time study to complete. The program includes general education, major, elective, and practicum requirements. Major courses include social work practice with individuals and families, social work practice with groups, and human behavior and the social environment. Students can complete most courses online, but they must complete one five-day intensive on campus. Students can transfer up to 90 credits into this program.

The online BSW degree track features eight-week, asynchronous courses. Students can begin on one of eight start dates throughout the year. The university froze tuition prices four years ago and offers electronic textbooks for online courses at no extra cost.

Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
59%
20

Millersville University of Pennsylvania 

Millersville, PA

About this school

Founded in 1855, Millersville University began as a teacher training facility. Today, Millersville offers over 100 undergraduate programs and more than 50 graduate programs. Millersville's online bachelor's in social work degree completion program suits students with at least 60 college credits and/or an associate degree.

The program features courses on topics like human behavior in the social environment, social welfare and the law, and writing for social work practice. The program also includes a two-part field experience. Students have the option to declare a minor in gerontology or social justice. Learners complete the online program as a cohort, taking courses with the same group of peers.

The university accepts applications on a rolling basis, and students may begin the program in the fall or spring. Applicants must satisfy prerequisites in human behavior and the social environment and modern social welfare dilemmas. The program also recommends that applicants have completed coursework in human biology, general psychology, and introduction to American government.

Graduation Rate
60%
Percent Receiving Loans
75%
21

Ursuline College 

Pepper Pike, OH

About this school

Established in 1871, Ursuline College enrolls more than 1,000 students in programs across 12 fields of study. Distance learners at the school can choose from a variety of online programs, including an online bachelor of social work program.

The online social work degree emphasizes generalist social work practice. Students take core classes on topics like research methods, human behavior and the social environment, and principles of sociology. Students must also complete Ursuline's signature university core sequence, including a first-year seminar; a course on identity, diversity, and community; and a capstone seminar. Students culminate the degree with a two-part field experience. Graduates qualify to sit for Ohio's social work licensing exam.

Students who apply online should hear back within two weeks of submitting their application. The university charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online students, regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
95%
22

Aurora University 

Aurora, IL

About this school

Established in 1893, Aurora University enrolls more than 6,000 students at its main campus in Aurora; at locations in Woodstock, Illinois, and Williams Bay, Wisconsin; and online. Students can choose from more than a dozen distance programs across fields like education, business administration, and social work.

The online bachelor of social work program prepares students for entry-level generalist social work positions. The program comprises 120 credits, including general education, major, and elective courses. Courses cover topics like social work with groups, human behavior in the social environment, and social work research. Students also complete a field experience, two field instruction courses, and an integrative seminar.

Prospective students must satisfy general education prerequisites in U.S. government, psychology, and sociology for admission. Students can begin on one of multiple start dates throughout the year. AU charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online BSW students, regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
65%
23

Rutgers University-Newark 

Newark, NJ

About this school

Rutgers University-Newark enrolls over 13,000 students in more than 150 graduate and undergraduate programs. The school has been a top producer of Fulbright scholars for nine years running, and 99% of the university's faculty hold doctoral degrees in their respective fields.

The university's online bachelor of social work degree includes general education, major, and elective courses. The program emphasizes six major subject areas: social work, sociology, psychology, research, biology, and political science. Coursework explores topics like contemporary social welfare politics, human diversity, and social research. Students culminate the degree with a field experience and a two-part senior social work seminar.

To declare the social work major, students must spend at least one semester enrolled at the university, maintain a GPA of at least 2.7, and earn a "C" or above in at least one social work course. Distance learners with prior credits may consult an advisor to assess their transfer credits; however, the program does not award credit for life or work experience.

Graduation Rate
64%
Percent Receiving Loans
48%
24

Western New Mexico University 

Silver City, NM

About this school

Western New Mexico University enrolls more than 3,500 students each year. Roughly half of the school's undergraduate students are Hispanic, and WNMU is officially designated as a Hispanic-serving institution. The university offers graduate and undergraduate programs in over 70 fields of study, including a variety of online options.

The online bachelor of social work program at WNMU encompasses 120 credits, including social work core and social work elective courses. Core courses explore topics like ethics in social work and human services, social work practice, and human behavior in the social environment. Students can customize the curriculum to their interests and goals through electives on topics like human trafficking, child welfare, and medical social work practice. In addition to coursework, students complete a pre-practicum skills lab and a two-part social work field placement.

Students can begin on one of three start dates per year. The university considers transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit transcripts, a personal statement, a resume, and letters of reference.

Graduation Rate
26%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
25

University of Arkansas at Little Rock 

Little Rock, AR

About this school

Founded in 1927, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock enrolls nearly 10,000 students in more than 160 undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The university encompasses nine academic colleges and schools, including the College of Social Sciences and Communication, which offers an online bachelor of social work program.

The 120-credit bachelor of social work program includes university standard core, college core, and program courses. Classes explore topics such as social welfare policy, statistics for social workers, and addictions in social work. Students culminate the degree with two field experiences and a two-part field seminar. Learners gain the critical thinking, problem-solving, assessment, and research skills necessary for entry-level generalist social work jobs.

Applicants to the online program must reside in Arkansas. The university awards tuition discounts to qualifying military and veteran students. Distance learners must begin the program in the fall semester. Students gain access to information technology assistance, a disability resource center, and online library databases.

Graduation Rate
39%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology

Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on program quality and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is social work?

Social work focuses on providing help to those who need it. Social workers help clients with counseling, education, emotional support, and health referrals.

How much do social workers make?

As of 2018, median pay for social workers was $49,470. The top 10% of earners made over $81,400 in 2018.

What is the best online college for social work?

The best online college for social work for you is the one that matches your academic abilities, professional interests, lifestyle requirements, and academic needs.

What kind of job can you get with a bachelor of social work?

While you need a master of social work to qualify for licensed or clinical roles, a bachelor of social work qualifies you for entry-level support positions.

Is a social work degree a B.A. or a B.S.?

Most programs are a bachelor of social work (BSW degree), so they are not art or science degrees. However, some schools offer a bachelor of art in social work.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's in social work?

Full-time learners typically need four years to graduate from bachelor's programs.

What Is Social Work?

Social work jobs are primarily concerned with assisting and supporting individuals, groups, and families as they attempt to live healthy and stable lives.

Social work jobs are primarily concerned with assisting and supporting individuals, groups, and families as they attempt to live healthy and stable lives. It is also an academic discipline devoted to furthering research in social welfare, oppression, societal change, and human rights.

Social workers with bachelor's degrees provide support to licensed professionals, offering administrative and support services. Professionals must have a master's degree to become licensed and practice therapy, counseling, or case management. Social workers can also develop community programming, collect data on the effectiveness of existing community strategies, and perform administrative functions for health clinics or communtiy centers. Specializations include substance abuse, healthcare, developmental disabilities, and child welfare.

What Is a Bachelor's in Social Work Degree?

Pursuing a bachelor's degree in social work teaches you the foundational skills required for non-clinical roles in the field. Bachelor of social work students learn about research methods, serving diverse populations, social work ethics, and how to administer social work across the lifespan. Aside from coursework, learners often participate in a semester-long internship to gain practical skills such as assessing clients, developing treatment plans, and making appropriate referrals for additional services.

The typical bachelor of social work student has a passion for helping others. Some pursue master's degrees immediately after graduating from bachelor's programs so they can offer therapeutic services. Others wait until they've worked in an entry-level role for a few years. Doctorate-level students usually work in research or teaching at the postsecondary level.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor's in Social Work?

The average online social work degree at the bachelor's level requires four years of full-time study, though there are options for students who seek an alternate schedule. Part-time learners typically spend six years enrolled, while students in accelerated programs can often graduate in 2-3 years.

Other factors affecting the length of a bachelor of social work program include internships and whether the program delivers coursework synchronously or asynchronously.

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor of Social Work Program?

A typical bachelor's degree in social work curriculum often includes the following courses.

Diversity and Multiculturalism

All social workers assist clients from diverse backgrounds. To ensure each client feels comfortable and confident, social workers must have a nuanced understanding of human diversity and historic oppression. This class surveys social justice issues as they relate to a variety of populations. Learners examine theories and frameworks dedicated to creating equitable spaces for all people, regardless of how they identify.

Community Organization

Rather than focusing on one-on-one work with clients, this class takes a macro approach, exploring how to effectively engage with entire communities. Students learn how to identify common issues at the community and organizational levels, build relationships with important stakeholders, and develop appropriate programs to meet each community's needs.

Social Work Practice With Individuals and Families

This class provides students with practical and concrete tools for their everyday work. Students develop the interpersonal and communication skills required to work with clients of myriad backgrounds while also learning how to effectively conduct interviews and interventions, engage clients in appropriate ways, identify problem areas, and develop treatment plans.

Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Countless social, psychological, and physiological changes happen across the lifespan, making it important for social workers to understand how those changes affect client health. This course covers developmental milestones; how issues such as trauma, grief, and other intense emotions affect behavior; and how to provide effective treatments based on tests and assessments.

Social Welfare Policy

This class covers the history of social welfare policy, including current issues and trends affecting social workers. Students evaluate the effectiveness of previous service models and identify areas of weakness. They also learn how social welfare policy impacts major issues today, touching on mental health, eldercare, income maintenance, and correctional programs.

Social Work Jobs

Graduates of online social work degrees at the bachelor's level can choose from many different meaningful career paths, including those covered below.

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

These professionals work with individuals, couples, families, and other groups across the lifespan to provide professional therapeutic care. They may offer one-on-one or group counseling, focusing on topics like conflict resolution, trauma, relational issues, or grief. Individuals hoping to work as mental health counselors or marriage and family therapists must earn a master's degree and complete supervised experience requirements before seeking licensure.

Median Annual Salary

$50,090

Projected Growth Rate

22%

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

These professionals work with individuals convicted of crimes who are in custody, awaiting trial, imprisoned, or out on probation or parole. They conduct interviews; identify, develop, and implement appropriate rehabilitation programs; connect their clients with necessary resources; and provide counseling. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists must maintain detailed records in case their observations or findings are required at a later date. They typically need bachelor's degrees.

Median Annual Salary

$53,020

Projected Growth Rate

3%

Social and Community Service Managers

These professionals oversee programming and services devoted to helping improve social and community engagement. They often hold community meetings to identify necessary services, ascertain the effectiveness of ongoing programs, and stay in touch with those whom they serve. Much of their work revolves around improving programming through data collection and analysis, managing community service providers, and ensuring all administrative functions — including grant proposals — are operating appropriately.

Median Annual Salary

$65,320

Projected Growth Rate

13%

Social Workers

Social workers provide meaningful services focused on making their clients' lives better. Social workers with a bachelor's degree mostly serve in supervised support roles, while those with master's degrees can provide clinical services such as counseling, therapy, and case management. Common responsibilities include making referrals, assessing client needs, working with individuals going through significant life transitions, helping those in crisis find security, and staying in touch with clients to ensure they have access to necessary services.

Median Annual Salary

$49,470

Projected Growth Rate

11%

Substance Abuse Counselors and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

These professionals often have a bachelor's degree, though some positions can be obtained with only a high school education. They work with clients as they navigate substance abuse and behavioral disorders, working in community health clinics, prisons, rehabilitation facilities, or counseling offices to provide mental health evaluations, treatment plans, and access to necessary resources. While they cannot provide therapeutic services, they can help individuals gain access to programming. They may also lead informational sessions or outreach programs.

Median Annual Salary

$44,630

Projected Growth Rate

22%

Social Work Professional Associations

There are many professional organizations that offer social workers networking opportunities, continuing education options, and leadership roles.

National Association of Social Workers

NASW is the leading professional organization for social workers in the United States. Founded in 1955, NASW currently serves more than 120,000 members, offering a career center, risk management training, networking opportunities, and advocacy. Members also gain access to scheduled events throughout the year, social media channels, and an active job board.

National Association of Black Social Workers

NABSW was founded during the Civil Rights Movement. Its mission is to ensure that African-American social work professionals receive equitable representation. Today, the group has more than 100 membership chapters, plus 30 student chapters headquartered at colleges and universities. Members benefit from committee leadership opportunities, trade publications, career center services, and opportunities for student involvement.

School Social Work Association of America

SSWAA is the premier membership organization for social workers employed in educational environments. It offers national and local awards, student programming, a webinar series, and opportunities for both online and in-person continuing education credits. SSWAA offers regional workshops and other professional development throughout the U.S., and members also gain access to its annual national conference, industry news, and university partnerships.

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