A bachelor of social work (BSW) is a degree that shows an individual has gained the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field of social work. BSW programs provide a broad foundation for general social work.
Those who earn the degree learn how to serve families, communities, groups, and individuals. The social work program teaches individuals how to deal with those who are underserved or who are part of an oppressed population.
A social worker provides support to those who are dealing with complex challenges. This work may involve helping families who struggle with addiction, displacement, and much more. A social worker has to earn a state license in order to work in the field and most states require a minimum of a BSW in order to start working.
There are multiple types of social work and career paths for you to choose from with your degree. These paths are broken down into micro, mezzo, and macro levels.
A micro social worker is considered one of the most popular forks of social work out there. These professionals provide direct service to individuals and families.
On the other hand, a mezzo social worker fits right between the micro and macro levels. These social workers work with smaller institutions or groups.
A macro social worker places focus on large-scale work, helping communities as opposed to aiding the individual.
Before choosing a career path in social work, consider the scope that intrigues you the most. Examine whether you wish to work with individuals or help transform entire communities.
In order to reach your goal, you’ll first have to earn your BSW and doing so online offers many benefits as we’ll explore below.
Benefits of an Online BSW Degree Program
There’s a great deal you can do with a bachelor’s of social work degree. However, it’s important to find an efficient way to earn the degree, which is why there are many universities that offer BSW online programs. These programs allow students to earn their degree from the comfort of their own home and also offer many other benefits.
A Convenient Way to Earn Your Degree
One of the more significant benefits of earning your BSW online is the convenience. Your instruction is received online. There’s no need to go to campus. Students must complete their homework within a certain time constraint, which is based on their instruction.
Study at Your Own Pace
Most online courses do not teach through traditional lectures. Students are tasked with reviewing and analyzing the content of the courses on their own time. These programs are particularly helpful to those who are self-motivated and want to make changes in their career by earning their degree. Online studies also allow students to take advantage of their own individual learning styles.
Access to Information
Another benefit of earning your degree online is the significant resources available to you. These resources allow students to use course material in the best way that works for them. With the Internet being a convenient source of information, students have a higher chance of taking advantage of various resources of information.
Studying online is no longer as far-fetched or difficult as it once was. While there are situations where it is convenient to be on campus, online students still have the ability to communicate with their peers and their professors to get any help they may need throughout the program.
There are also multiple colleges and universities that go beyond the classroom. Several universities also offer mentoring programs, career counseling services, resume reviews, and much more to aid students in finding success in their careers.
Online BSW Program Structure
An online social work degree program typically lasts for 120 credit hours. Schools typically provide assignments that have scheduled due dates. Those who excel in self-discipline and time management will find success in online programs as they are able to stay up to date on their assignments.
A significant benefit of online BSW programs is that there are many universities and colleges offering accelerated programs. Accelerated programs allow students to graduate a semester or two earlier than others.
What You’re Expected to Learn
Throughout a BSW program, students learn all about social work and its various types. Students explore concepts of diverse populations, research, and policy, and much more. In addition to courses related to social work, students also take courses in general education, such as history or English.
There are specializations in the macro-, mezzo-, and micro-levels of social work. Depending on a student’s concentration, they may learn about individuals, small groups, or how to deal with the needs of their community as a whole. Students may also take electives for a stronger understanding of their specific concentration in the program.
In addition to coursework, students may participate in internships to gain hands-on experience throughout their degree program. These internships may serve as a course in the program or could be based on student interest. Many colleges and universities work hard toward helping students successfully find an internship program.
Online BSW Degree Career Prospects
Once you’ve earned your online bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited university, there are several entry-level positions available to you.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the social work field is expected to experience 11 percent job growth by 2028.
It should be noted that before you’re able to work as a social worker, you must earn your license in the field. A social work license is used to verify the experience and education of a social worker. While having a license isn’t required by every state, it is difficult for those without one to get hired in the industry.
There are multiple types of licensure that social workers can pursue. Typically, those that aspire to work in the industry can pursue a certification as a licensed social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed independent social worker, or a licensed independent clinical social worker.
Each license level you choose requires additional training and education, with a licensed social worker requiring the least amount of work and a licensed independent clinical social worker requiring the most amount of work.
Let’s now go over some of the career paths you could take once you earn your online BSW degree and secure your license.
A social worker could be employed by various industries, such as federal agencies, state governments, local governments, or service organizations offering community relief. In order to work as a social worker, individuals must earn their state license. BSW programs help prepare students to earn their license.
In this position, assistants help social workers, counselors, therapists, and others who provide care to clients. Working in this position also involves helping organize resources and developing plans to aid clients in overcoming certain challenges. People with this job title often work in schools, residential care facilities, or individual service organizations.
Social workers with clinical training may work as a mental health and substance abuse counselor. This work involves helping clients overcome emotional disturbances, mental illness, or addiction. Social workers can help provide clinical services while also addressing any of the needs a client may have. Some of these needs could include education, housing, and access to healthcare.
An environmental health worker focuses on promoting environmental health and safety in various communities. These professionals work in public education and policy. Most professionals who work in this position hold a bachelor’s degree, but there are others who continue their education and earn their master’s degree.
A social science research assistant is a professional who aids in social scientist surveys, laboratory work, and other forms of research in social science. These assistants are also tasked with compiling research and findings to help promote data management, laboratory analysis, and quality control.
A child welfare specialist places children within suitable environments, supervising them through home visits to make sure they receive all of the medical care and schooling they need. These specialists must make difficult decisions for children, such as whether they’ll remove them from their homes. It is a very difficult position, but it ensures the safety of children when they are in an unhealthy environment.
A school and career counselor helps students with their academic and social skills to help make them more successful in school. As a career counselor, professionals are tasked with developing an individual’s skills to help them achieve their career goals. These counselors may also aid people in exploring various career paths.
These instructors teach others how to become social workers and find success in their careers. As an educator, social work teachers create assignments and lesson plans to help students get a better understanding of what it means to become a social worker.
Being a social worker is a fulfilling position because you’re tasked with helping individuals and communities find success, health, and safety. The first step toward becoming a social worker is earning your degree. By earning your BSW online, you can start your career path in social work from the convenience of your own home.
Whether social work or another career path, Career Karma is here to help. Download the app today and make changes in your career for the better.