The good news is that there are a ton of social work degree programs available. The bad news is that there are so many social work degree options available that it will take some time and research to find the right fit.
Social work is a broad field, and so the training offered to social workers is important not only in preparing students to enter the workforce, but also preparing them for future career path trajectory.
Find your social work degree program
To make things a little bit easier, we have broken down social work degree options into three main categories that align with the type of degree being offered. There is more information about bachelor’s of social work (BSW), master’s of social work (MSW), and Ph.D. of social work (DSW).
If you are interested in online versions of these social work degree programs be sure to check out our online hub. LEARN MORE.
Bachelor’s degree in social work
A bachelor’s degree in social work is widely acknowledged as a must-have for people wanting to get started in the field. Sometimes, depending on the position and the social work area, people can launch their careers with a related degree.
A bachelor’s in social work, or a BSW, trains students in the fundamentals of the social work profession, including giving a foundation in mental health and counseling, case management, and exposure to the different kinds of social work.
All social work degree options include some component of fieldwork or hands-on experience. So BSW students should be prepared to gain practical experience.
Master’s degree in social work
A master’s degree in social work, or an MSW, is a really important degree for social workers interested in providing direct service and support to the people they serve. Many kinds of social work require the additional training that an MSW provides.
MSW programs are designed to help students gain more practical experience. They also train students to work within the social welfare system and hold positions of responsibility, management, and supervision. Many MSWs will continue to accrue hours in a structured mentorship in order to obtain the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) designation.
Ph.D. in social work
A doctorate degree in social work prepares students to advance the research and/or management of the social welfare field. Often the people doctorate of social work, or DSW, degrees are not so much on the front lines managing cases or dealing directly with people.
Instead, they are researching the methods and effectiveness of social welfare practices. Or they are designing and advising on the future of social work policy. Or they are running and managing social work-related organizations and agencies.
Looking for more? Be sure to check out our career profile section, which contains information about how these degrees prepare people for various social work careers. LEARN MORE