Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

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Updated January 4, 2023

Looking for the best PhD in Social Work in Illinois? You should consider these top-tier institutions and jobs in the social work field.

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Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

Earning a Doctoral Degree in Social Work in Illinois

Earning one of the best degrees in Illinois for social work will help put you ahead of the competition in today's competitive world. A doctoral degree is a great way to prepare for work in a variety of fields. A doctoral degree is a great way to advance your career in the social work field.

Social Work PhD Programs for You

Working and Living in Illinois in the Social Work Profession

Social work degree programs allow students to learn about the demographics, challenges, and trends facing a community. Students learn to use a holistic approach to treat social problems. There are a number of common courses in a social work degree program, including research and data analysis, healthcare policy issues, mental health provisions, child welfare services, and community organizing. Students who complete their coursework may secure related positions, such as a family counselor or even a director of regional human services

The state's median annual wage is $46,630, or $22.42 per hour. The number includes a total of 5,618,830 employees. The lowest 10% of earners make $24,470 a year and the highest 10% make $103,490 a year, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For social workers in Illinois, the following is a comparison.

Key

Social Workers in Illinois
Social Workers Nationally
All Occupations in Illinois
All Occupations Nationally

Social Work Careers and Salaries in Illinois

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Among 51 states (including Washington D.C.), Illinois ranks number 13 on the cost of living index, according to MERIC. Typically, cost of living indexes measure the average cost of living in specific states compared to the national average. Assuming that the U.S. average is 100, all locations in the U.S. are either higher (more expensive) or lower (less expensive). In comparison with the national average, Illinois's cost of living index is 91.4, which is 8.6% lower than the national average. Prospective students in relocating to Illinois can use the cost of living comparison to find the right fit for their situation.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Over the next decade, social workers can expect a growth rate of 5.8% in their profession. Currently, employment in occupation is projected to change from 71,400 in 2020, to 75,500 by 2030. These positions typically require a bachelor's degree. Typical job titles include:

Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

#1 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

Aurora University

  • Aurora, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online doctor of social work program, offered by Aurora University, ranks as a top program in the field. The private university provides flexible enrollment options to meet the needs of diverse degree-seekers. Doctoral students receive research support throughout the program.

Learners complete doctoral coursework in the social work program. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates complete an original dissertation that contributes to the field. A doctorate in social work prepares graduates for careers in academia, research, and leadership.

Doctoral students attending the accredited institution online qualify for several forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about research support, financial aid opportunities, and admission requirements.

Aurora University at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,252

Online Master's Programs: 7

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $12,600

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,600
Out-of-state
$25,600
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
6,265
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

Loyola University Chicago

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Doctoral students seeking an online program benefit from the Ph.D. in social work. program at Loyola University Chicago. Degree-seekers benefit from flexible course options through the private institution. Doctoral students participate in career advising and gain research skills.

In the social work program, graduate learners take advanced classes. After completing coursework, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation or doctoral project. As the terminal degree in social work, the doctoral program trains graduates for roles in academia, research, and industry.

At the accredited institution, online doctoral students qualify for scholarships, federal loans, and other forms of financial aid. Contact the program for more information about research support and financial aid.

Loyola University Chicago at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 2,521

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $18,594

Average Tuition
In-state
$45,500
Out-of-state
$45,500
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
16,893
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

University of Chicago

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The online doctoral degree in social work, offered by the University of Chicago, ranks as a top program in the field. The private university offers flexible enrollment options for degree-seekers. Doctoral students work closely with faculty mentors and career advisors.

In the social work program, learners take doctoral-level coursework. After passing comprehensive examinations, doctoral candidates conduct research for their dissertation. Graduates with a doctorate in social work pursue academic, research, and industry positions.

The accredited institution meets federal requirements for financial aid support. Reach out to the social work program to learn more about admission requirements.

University of Chicago at a Glance:

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 5-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $60,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$57,642
Out-of-state
$57,642
Retention Rate
100%
Admission Rate
7%
Students Enrolled
17,834
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The Ph.D. in social work program at the University of Illinois at Chicago offers a doctorate in an online learning format. At the public university, degree-seekers participate in virtual classrooms to earn a doctorate. Doctoral students conduct research and participate in academic conferences.

The doctoral program incorporates advanced social work coursework. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research for an original dissertation or project. Graduates with a doctorate in social work pursue academic, research, and industry positions.

At the accredited institution, doctoral students qualify for several forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program for more about financial aid and admission requirements.

University of Illinois at Chicago at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 7,719

Online Master's Programs: 8

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $13,276

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,105
Out-of-state
$26,726
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
73%
Students Enrolled
33,518
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Doctoral students seeking an online program benefit from the Ph.D. in social work program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The public university provides flexible enrollment options to meet the needs of diverse degree-seekers. Doctoral students receive research support, library access, and career advising.

In the social work program, graduate learners take advanced courses. Doctoral candidates move through the program by passing exams and researching a dissertation project. With a social work doctorate, graduates work in academia, research positions, and leadership roles.

Doctoral students who attend the accredited institution in an online format qualify for several types of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about financial aid opportunities and the admission process.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 20,199

Online Master's Programs: 30

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $14,997

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,317
Out-of-state
$33,824
Retention Rate
94%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
52,679
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Financing a Doctoral Degree in Social Work

A number of financial aid options can assist with paying for college. In addition to scholarships and grants, work-study programs are available as financial aid. There are some students who qualify to receive federal student loans, and some qualify for private student loan programs. The college's financial aid office is a great resource for applicants who need help determining their eligibility for federal scholarships.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Illinois

Depending on which college you attend, the cost of education in Illinois may be higher. Public and private institutions do, however, share some similarities. You can determine whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you by reviewing the information listed below:

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Illinois vs. National Average

Key

Illinois
National Average

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The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Have you ever considered attending a college that is private? Private schools typically charge a higher tuition rate. In the graph below, information is provided regarding the number of students attending private colleges in Illinois.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Illinois vs. National Average

Key

Illinois
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

Have you ever considered taking out student loans to fund your degree? When considering a loan, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

You can determine how much students typically borrow by looking at some statistics below.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On-Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The major difference between an online degree and a degree completed on campus is the amount of money you pay and the class size. An online degree program offers many advantages, including flexibility, affordability, and convenience. Typically, on-campus degrees are more expensive because of student fees, which are optional for distance learners. There are, however, advantages to attending classes.

Top Social Work Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Florida Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Illinois Associate, Bachelors, Masters
New York Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
North Carolina Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

There are a number of differences between attending a private college and a public one. Generally, public colleges charge lower tuition fees than private universities. The cost of education at public schools is often reduced through grants and scholarships. There are often merit scholarships that help with the cost of attending a private college.

It is common for private colleges to have smaller class sizes, allowing students to connect with professors directly. There are several pros and cons to attending a private institution over a public institution.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a social worker make in Illinois?

Social workers report a mean annual salary of $66,490 in Illinois.

In today's environment, are social work majors in high demand?

The total number of social workers is expected to change by 5.8% from 2020 to 2030.

Are online social work degrees available?

There are many options for earning an online doctoral degree in social work. At least some online courses are included in most schools' programs in the current environment.

How long does it take to complete a doctoral degree?

The average time it takes a full-time student to complete a doctoral degree is 4-6 years. The completion time will vary for part-time students.

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