Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work Online

bachelor's degree in social work
A Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW) can open you up to a rewarding career in helping others. The field of social work is made up of professionals who have committed themselves to the betterment of the community and its residents by helping them to overcome life challenges. There are also many settings where a social worker practices and involves advocating for those in need so that lives can be improved.

More than 60% of the services involving mental health are provided by social workers.

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW degree) is a step in the process to becoming a social worker.

10 Online Bachelor of Social Work Degrees That Work with Any Schedule

Going to school online is a great way to balance work and school life. We selected ten bachelor’s degree in social work online programs, so you can attend school while attending to your other responsibilities.

BSW Degrees Available Online

Attending school online is a great way to balance work and school. Since BSW programs do not have the same clinical component that a Master in Social Work has, it is possible to earn these degrees 100% online.

1. The University of South Dakota – B.S. in Social Work; B.S. in Social Work: Child Welfare

At the University of South Dakota, the degrees in social work can be fully obtained online. The majors offered include a traditional B.S. as well as a specialization in Child Welfare. There are also courses in Health Sciences and Addiction and include Addiction Studies certifications. Students can conduct all their coursework online through the support services portal, and enjoy the vast amount of IT support, tutoring, and library resources online.

2. Pennsylvania State University – B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies

At Pennsylvania State University, they provide a fully online World Campus that offers students a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. The university also offers certifications in Adult Development and Aging Services or Children, Youth, and Family Services. This degree can be a steppingstone to a Master’s in Social Work.
All students pursuing a Human Development and Family Studies degree are required to complete an internship in a local organization to gain experience in the field.

3. Walden University – B.S. in Social Work

The online Bachelor of Social Work degree is designed to provide skills that are valuable for advocacy, crisis, case management, community collaboration, and trauma response. The university is flexible in offering its concentrations that allow students to reach professional levels.

4. University of Maryland – University College – B.S. in Social Science

Through the University College campus of the University of Maryland, an online B.S. specializing in Social Science. The degree involves a concentration in either Sociology, Gerontology, or Psychology. The degree is designed to prepare the student for a career in either community service, health services, elder care, or human resources.

5. Saint Louis University – Social Work, B.S.

The degree in Social Work offered by Saint Louis University is an accelerated program and consists of a concentration in social justice and a concentration in skilled practitioner. The programs require a few online courses to be completed.

Saint Louis University also offers a program that combines both the bachelor and master program so that the program can be accelerated. Saint Louis University offers a great social work degree that can be attributed to its great reputation.

6. Appalachian State University – Social Work (BSW)

The social worker degree offered through Appalachian State University is taught online and allows the student to take full-time classes or part-time classes. The students are prepared to practice on an entry-level basis through a multitude of community agencies. The university permits a maximum transfer of 70 hours.

7. Eastern New Mexico University – Bachelor of Social Work

At Eastern New Mexico University, the social work program is mostly conducted online, although the student will need to make occasional in-person visits to the university. Throughout the program, students are provided with necessary values, knowledge, and skills to become competent in the work environment.

8. Humboldt State University – Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

At Humboldt State University, its bachelor’s in Social Work degree is offered online and helps prepare the student for a practice as a generalist. Students concentrate on preparing for work within California’s northern coastal region, although it allows the student to become a nationwide generalist.

The course holds live meetings on Mondays, and all students who are accepted to the program must attend the orientation held on campus once the semester begins.

9. Utah State University – B.A. or B.S. in Social Work

There are two social worker degrees offered by Utah State University, which is either a B.S. or B.A. Both will have students prepared to work in corrections, child welfare, public welfare, family services, or school social work. Other online degrees involving social work involve Consumer, Family, Human Development, and Family Life Studies. The tuition for the bachelor’s degree is around $18,500 if students are out-of-state.

10. UMass Global University (formerly called Brandman University) – BA in Social Work

The B.A. in Social Work is fully online through UMass Global and is available for students who want to gain much needed experience and knowledge for careers that are entry-level and pertain to criminal justice, community mental health, child welfare, and developmental disabilities.

Other related degrees available online include the B.A. in Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Social Science.

CWSE Accreditation for BSW Degrees

There are 536 accredited baccalaureate (bachelor’s) programs in social work. The Council on Social Work Education has been in place since 1952, and is a national association that represents social workers, member institutions and agencies that are all focused on providing quality social work education to help a diverse population. While a program does not need to be accredited by the CWSE to run, it is a good basis by which to pick a program since you know the program and the contents of the coursework are held to a specific standard.

BSW Degree Accreditation Chart

CWSE Accreditation
University of South Dakota, BSW
$354.75 per credit hour, $250.00 per credit hour for active duty
Pennsylvania State University, B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies
$620 per credit hour
Walden University, BSW
$333 per quarter hour, 182 quarter hours needed total
University of Maryland – University College, B.S. in Social Science
$312 per credit hour for in-state, $99 per credit hour for out-of-state
Saint Louis University, Social Work, B.S.
$1,740 per credit hour
Appalachian State University, Social Work (BSW)
$5,416 per academic year, in-state; $22,412 per academic year, out-of-state
Eastern New Mexico University, Bachelor of Social Work
$174.75 per credit hour, in-state; $257.27 per credit hour, out-of-state
Humboldt State University, BSW
$2,871 per semester, full-time attendance
Utah State University, B.A. or B.S. in Social Work
$3,422 per semester in-state, 10,786 per semester out-of-state, full-time attendance
UMass Global, Bachelor of Arts in Social Work
$500 per credit hour

Social Worker Job and Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for social workers looks good and is expected to see a 9% growth within the next 10 years. This growth is a lot faster as compared to many other occupations.

There are expected to be more than 74,500 social worker jobs available on a yearly basis throughout the next 10 years. Most of these new positions will be from the result of replacing current social workers who have decided to retire or change career paths.

The BLS breaks social workers into four categories:

  1. Child, family, and school social workers
  2. Healthcare social workers
  3. Mental health and substance abuse social workers
  4. Social workers, all other

Salary Breakdown by Specialty and State

Annual Mean Wage
New York

States with the highest employment of healthcare workers

Annual Mean Wage
New York

States with the highest employment of mental health and substance abuse workers

Annual Mean Wage
New York

5 Steps to Become a Social Worker

In the field of social work, there will be a significant number of choices available for students to pursue to help those who are vulnerable and to promote health. The social worker can connect with others on a deeper level so that others can feel empowered.

Regardless of which specialty you feel like working in, there will be plenty of challenges that will come your way in each. A few examples include veteran’s services, family and youth, homelessness, mental health, refugees, or the elderly. Below are the 5 quick steps to become a social worker.

1. Complete Your Bachelor’s Degree Social Work Online

When you have an idea that you want to become a social worker, you need to focus your studies towards a BSW degree. When you begin your program, you may take courses such as Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Social Welfare Policy, Social Work Practice, and Intro to Social Work. Taking these courses will help prepare you for a Master of Social Work later on.

There are many benefits of a BSW degree and one of those is enrolling for other programs that are more advanced if you decide to advance your education. With the advanced programs, they will normally be completed a lot quicker than a normal program for social workers.

Although there are plenty of job opportunities with a BSW degree, the Master of Social Work will provide the stability and flexibility that you are ultimately after.

2. Obtain your MSW through an MSW Program

Now that you have completed your bachelor’s degree social work online, it is time to think about continuing your education towards your MSW. Normally, a social worker’s license will require a master’s degree in social work. Many master’s programs can be completed for your degree to be obtained. You will be learning a lot more through your internship because of the hands-on experience you obtain.

3. Accomplish Necessary Social Work Fieldwork

As a social worker, you will be required to accomplish fieldwork (Internship). This will provide you with hands-on experience and provide you with in-person interaction that you will never learn from the classroom. You may also apply what you learned from school and be able to help solve social issues and provide resources to those in need. You will be able to have a greater understanding of how the field works. It is important to be in contact with your mentor so that you know what is expected and how things are conducted.

In most cases, a program for a MSW will need a minimum of 900 hours accomplished during the internship. Be sure to have a clear idea of what the requirement is with your program so that you have no problem when it comes time to get licensed.

4. Take the Required Examination Through ASWB

Prior to becoming licensed as a social worker, your state will likely require you to test through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Besides the mandated examination, your state may require you to obtain approval from the state board that oversees social workers for examination to be taken. Make sure that you have the most current information.

There is more than one examination for social workers. These examinations will be determined by degree level and specialty. Each exam also has a minimum requirement for education as well as the exam having 170 questions that are multiple choice. The difficulty of each question also rises depending on the exam level. Basically, your practice as a social worker will be determined by your license type.

5. Obtaining Your State License to Become A Social Worker

When you have passed your state exam, you can then apply for your license and pay the required fee. When you have your license, it is a way to say that you have the necessary education and that you have shown and proven yourself as a social worker. Although not all social workers need licensing, the jobs that provide direct support will need it.

When you are looking for a job as a social worker, it is good that they are able to provide you with support and give you the supervision and experience to practice. When you can obtain service hours through a supervisor is a great way to become a social worker, as well as once you pass the required examination.

While each state will have different requirements, the standards will also vary, the eligibility for the exam, the path taken, and what your background is. To know that a social worker career is perfect for you, it is important to know all about it first.

Frequently Asked Questions about the BSW Degree

Is a BSW Degree enough to be a social worker?

To work in the field of social work, a BSW degree from an accredited institution will be enough to work in the field, but you may not be able to have the job title “Social Worker,” depending on your location and responsibilites.

However, if you want a clinical or supervisory role, be able to take on your own clients or start your own practice, you will need to be licensed, and that licensure varies from state to state.

Do I need a BSW to earn an MSW?

The short answer to this is no – but you may need to take extra coursework to meet the admissions requirements for an MSW if your bachelor’s was in something completely unrelated. If you are one of the lucky ones who is sure of their career path all along, it is easiest to get an MSW if you have already earned a BSW since you will have the foundational principles and coursework already done.

If you want to go even further, there are Ph.D. programs in Social Work if your desire is to research or write.

Next Steps

A Bachelor’s in Social Work Online or BSW, as they are sometimes called, is a great first step to becoming a social worker. Inquire with a few programs to see which one is the best fit and get started on your path to helping others today!