For those who wish to work in human services but are still a bit unsure of the specific career they intend to pursue, a bachelor’s in social work is the perfect place to start. Earning a degree in social work opens the door to many job opportunities in the realm of human services and provides you with the chance to determine what field your interests lie in.
Within the world of human services, you will find jobs available in every field from education to medicine and family. By earning a bachelor’s in social work, you will be able to work in any of these fields, giving you the freedom to experiment with jobs and decide which area is best for you. To help your journey, below are the best bachelor’s in social work programs.
Best Bachelor’s in Social Work Programs
Choosing to enroll in one of these top on-campus programs is a great way to start your career in social work. Some of the top faculty in the nation for the social work field teach within these following higher education programs. Not too sure about on-campus studies? Check out online social work programs instead.
University of California- Berkeley
In Berkeley, California, you can enroll in the University of California’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Welfare. This program focuses on an introductory education to the world of social work. Throughout this degree program, students learn about the history of social welfare alongside the current policies, institutions, and general knowledge of the welfare state.
As is the case with most bachelor’s degree programs, it takes students an average of four years to complete this BA in Social Welfare. In order to graduate, students will need to have maintained a GPA of 2.0 or higher, though many graduate schools require higher GPAs for admission so be sure to keep that in mind while studying. Students of this program will be able to participate in many student organizations and career services prior to graduation.
New York University
New York University, located in New York City, New York, offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Social Work. Students who choose to enroll in this program will spend time learning about social and economic justice and interprofessional collaboration within the realm of social work. This curriculum is designed to be similar to a liberal arts curriculum and provides students with a global perspective rather than focusing solely on the United States.
In this program, students will be required to take many core courses with titles along the lines of society and social welfare, social welfare policies and programs, and social work research. After completing all 64 credits of core courses, students will need to complete an additional 64 credits in liberal arts studies to graduate. After graduating, interested students can often earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work in just one year of schooling.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
In Madison, Wisconsin, students can enroll in a 120-credit bachelor of social work program. While enrolled in this program, students will take core courses such as human behavior and the environment, psychopathology in generalist social work practice, and the basics like introduction to social work and introduction to social policy. After completing the core courses, students will be required to complete elective courses, with options including homelessness, and social work and adolescents.
Prior to graduating from this program, students are expected to complete a sequence of social work practice seminars and professional services that add up to the equivalent of four courses. During these practice seminars and professional services, students are allowed to work in social service agencies near the campus. This allows students to apply classroom knowledge to solve real-world problems while gaining work experience.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
If you choose to enroll at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you can join a 120-credit Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work program. This program puts an emphasis on professional ethics and social justice and diversity, preparing students for careers in professional environments. Prior to applying for this program, students will need to have proof of 50+ hours of paid or volunteer social work, so be sure you have this ready to go.
Out of the 120 required credits, 53 of them must be completed through social work courses. Many of the core courses include titles such as statistics for social work, social work and disability studies, and non-profit sector education. Additionally, students will be required to complete 15 credits of internships and field seminar courses, providing work experience and a way to apply classroom knowledge to actual situations.
University of Georgia
Through the University of Georgia, students can enroll in a 120-credit bachelor of social work program. This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, providing graduates with credentials to add to their resumes. Throughout the duration of this program, students will focus on themes of oppression, power, and advocacy in the field of social work.
Students will be required to complete core courses such as social welfare policy and services, foundations of social work research, and human behavior in the social environment. These courses, alongside electives, will culminate with a field internship in a social work environment. Before graduation, students in their senior year will be expected to complete a capstone project.
What Can You Do With a Social Work Bachelor’s Degree?
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, many students are left confused when trying to start their careers. Even if you intend to enroll in a graduate program, you will likely need a job in the meantime. Luckily, there are plenty of social work positions available to holders of bachelor’s in social work degrees. A few examples are below.
Social and Human Service Assistant
With employment opportunities found in non-profit organizations, service agencies, and state and local governments, it is an understatement to say it is easy to find an available social and human service assistant position. Whether you choose to work in psychology or rehabilitation, you are guaranteed a great start and valuable work experience by choosing one of these positions for your career.
Social and human service assistants are often hired with as little as a high school diploma or GED, so having a bachelor’s degree before applying for these jobs will give you an advantage over other applicants. Not to mention, you will likely be paid more than the average annual salary of $35,000. Instead, you can expect to bring in around $54,000 per year.
When you think of a social worker, you likely correlate the job with child welfare services or mental health clinics. While these are popular areas for social workers, it is also quite common to find positions available in schools, hospitals, and settlement houses. Many social workers are required to have a master’s degree prior to getting a job, but there are quite a few positions open to those with only a bachelor’s degree.
Though having a bachelor’s instead of a master’s may make finding a social worker job more difficult, you can still earn a decent salary. The national average pay is $50,500 per year and many social workers make upwards of $80,000 per year.
Health education may not be typically considered a job in social work, but for those who have graduated with a bachelor’s in social work, this is a viable alternate career option in social work. Working as a healthcare educator, graduates will spend their days teaching people about behaviors that help prevent illnesses, collecting data, and discussing health concerns with a specific community.
You may need to become certified as a health educator for some jobs, but other than that, a bachelor’s degree is likely all you will need. As a health educator, you can expect to earn around $40,600 per year, though many earn as much as $68,000 per year. This is a great start to a career in social work or simply a great career to pursue altogether.
Is a Bachelor’s in Social Work Worth It?
If your dream is to work in social work and help others in your community, a bachelor’s in social work is definitely worth it. There are many viable careers you can pursue with nothing more than this degree, and if you choose to pursue a master’s degree, many more doors open up to you.
Social work is a broad field with every job having the same underlying goal of helping people. By earning a bachelor’s in social work, you can achieve your dream of improving people’s lives.
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