Society functions as a combination of organizations, corporations, and individuals with significant differences in political and social power. How are the needs or rights of any one group protected in the continuous flux of influence and power? Social work creates a strong foothold for the protection of individuals and organizations to take place, with particular attention to marginalized groups of people or those unable to defend or represent themselves, such as children and some disabled populations. This draws a unique profile of person to social work – a person who typically believes in the power of representation, social justice, and equality for all.
Social work is an academic and professional discipline that draws on experience and knowledge in a variety of different fields including sociology, psychology, counseling, economics, and politics. Because of the nexus-like quality of the field, if you’re seeking an online social work program, you should make sure that it’s accredited.
State Certifications for Social Workers
In many states certification and education are a required part of entering the field of social work, and with good reason. Social work involves interacting with people, organizations, communities, and political spheres and requires extensive training and knowledge in order to be successful. The myriad of challenges present in the day-to-day work of a social worker can only be matched by the satisfaction of having overcome them.
An online program appeals to a variety of people for a variety of reasons, but there is only one universally fundamental consideration: choosing an accredited and quality social work program that will equip graduates with the skill set to be successful and competitive within the niche.
Finding an Accredited Online Social Work Program
Social work programs typically fall under two categories of education:
- Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)
- Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
To begin the search for an accredited online program, a visit to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) will help point you in the right direction with a listing of accredited social work programs.
University of Southern California Masters of Social Work (MSW)
Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, USC’s MSW program is offered online and is in the top ten rated programs for Social Work. Concentrations at this institution include mental health, community organization, families and children, military, and administrative work. As a prominent university within the UC system, students have an opportunity to network and engage with distinguished faculty and university facilities.
Florida State University Masters of Social Work
The first public university to offer an accredited online social work program, Florida State University offers a prestigious experience with direct classroom instruction available online. The program is available to residents in seven states including Nebraska, Montana, North and South Dakota, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The program is designed to be completed in three years, or nine semesters. Its comprehensive social work program also features a Leadership in Executive and Administrative Development (L.E.A.D.) Certificate in Social Work.
Many students pursuing a degree in social work choose to expand their learning base by pursuing certification programs within their specific categories of interest.
The Truth about Social Work
Over 600,000 people in the United States have a social work degree and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to grow at twice the rate of other occupations – especially in the realms of gerontology, home healthcare, school social work, and substance abuse. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity for students to get involved in this expansive network, purely based on necessity.
The most common areas of specialized practice are:
- Mental Health (37%)
- Child Welfare and Family (13%
- Health (13%)
- Aging (9%)
But where can you work if you have a social work degree? Whether in local communities or across the nation, social work is an integral part of a healthy society and crops up in hospital settings, adoption agencies, and hospice care. Approximately 40% of mental health professionals working with the Red Cross Disaster Services are social workers. These professions often find themselves engaged with wide age groups from elderly populations to early childhood.
Why an Online Accredited Social Work Program Could Be Right for You
While the reasons for pursuing an online degree may appear to be self-evident, the truth is that online programs provide students an unsurpassed opportunity to create a flexible program that meets their own needs. As accreditation continues to gain more traction, online degrees continue to be just as competitive as traditional ones and may offer distinct advantages for students already working full-time, changing careers, or managing a family at home.