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Online Social Work Degree Programs

An Online Degree in Social Work Lets You Make a Real Impact and Contribute Positively to Your Community

With an online social work degree, you can help your community deal with some of the biggest problems facing the world today, including poverty, child abuse, depression, substance abuse, disability and addiction.

Social workers offer guidance, advice and counseling to people suffering from various social, emotional and mental issues and help them to conquer these problems. They address these issues by working directly with those who need help, getting them the services that can provide assistance.

Online social worker degree programs offer intensive courses in social work services, social justice, and diversity and multiculturalism. Most of the social work degree programs also provide internship and hand-on experience you will need to be successful in the field of social work.

You can earn an accredited online social work degree on your own time. These programs are structured to allow flexibility so that you can study when your schedule allows, letting you work around a job or other obligations.

When you take courses toward an online social worker degree, you receive instruction from skilled professors, as well as experienced clinical and direct service social workers who relate classroom theory to actual practice.


What Will You Learn with an Online Degree in Social Work?

There are two main types of social workers, and what you learn while pursuing an online degree will have a great deal to do with your practice area. Whichever area you chose, you will work with people, families and communities to help improve the state of people lives and meet their basic needs.

Direct service social workers deal with clients who are trying to adjust to changes in their lives, such as disease, divorce, job loss or mental illness. In an online social work degree program, you will learn to help individuals identify their issues and develop a plan to help with the problem. They may also help clients make contact with agencies that can help them further, and sign up for programs like Medicare or Medicaid.

Clinical social workers help with diagnosing and treating mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression. They also help clients deal with drug or alcohol addiction. In an online program, you will learn to diagnose these illnesses and help people create treatment plans they can follow.

Online social work degree programs emphasize on human behavior in social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work ethics, diversity, populations at risk, social and economic justice, research, community leadership and administration. Many programs also offer hands-on training at a nearby hospital, school, government agency, community center or social services unit.

The theoretical skills and practical training gained in social work degree program also prepare you for certification and licensing examination required in most of the states.

Career Outlook for Professionals in the Social Work Field

As issues of addiction, mental illness, depression and poverty become better understood and societies develop new and superior ways to treat them, there is an increased demand for social workers who can evaluate and diagnose clients. These professionals are very important, as they help people get back on their feet.

Well-trained and committed social workers are in high demand in schools, hospitals, healthcare centers, community care centers, mental health support organizations, and various government and non-profit agencies.

Depending on your degree level, specialization and past experience, you can work as a social worker, counselor, therapist, teacher, researcher, administrator or community leader.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth projections in the field of social work will be higher than average between now and 2020:

Child, Family, and School Social Workers
+19.7%
Healthcare Social Workers
+33.5%
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Workers
+31.3%
Mental Health Counselors
+36.3%
Social and Community Service Managers
+26.7%
Substance Abuse Counselors
+27.3%

Salary Expectations for Social Workers

The field of social work can be difficult, but ultimately very rewarding for those who pursue it. Helping people who have real problems find the assistance they need is gratifying, and seeing someone succeed in escaping a mental illness, years of addition or a life of homelessness can be its own reward.

That being said, pay for those in the social work field is solid, according to the BLS. The following is 2010 salary information:

Child, Family, and School Social Workers
$45,300
Healthcare Social Workers
$51,460
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Workers
$43,340
Mental Health Counselors
$43,290
Social and Community Service Managers
$64,460
Substance Abuse Counselors
$40,920

Which Trends are Likely to Affect Social Work in the Coming Years?

Recent societal and generational shifts are having a significant impact on the social safety net and the field of social work generally. Those seeking an online degree in social work might want to consider these trends before making a decision:

  • An aging population is increasingly in need of services, ranging from physical health to addiction treatment services.
  • Many people seeking treatment for mental illnesses have been medicating themselves with illegal drugs, creating a dual diagnosis in which the person needs treatment for both drug addiction and mental health.
  • The sluggish economy and resulting layoffs and unemployment have left many people in need of social services who may never have previously needed to call on them.
  • Trauma and depression have become an everyday part of some people‚Äôs lives due to military conflicts, domestic violence and social discrimination.

Social workers need to be tough, as the issues they assist people with can be very sensitive and sometimes tragic. However, the sense of fulfillment experience by these professionals is unlike any other field. If you have a true passion for helping others, you might want to pursue an online social work degree.


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