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Last Updated: August 11, 2021

Social Work Degree

Social work refers to an academic as well as a professional discipline that serves to improve the overall quality of life as well as the subjective well-being of members of the society, including individuals, groups, communities, children, couples, and families. Social work also involves education for disadvantaged individuals suffering from poverty, physical or mental illnesses, social injustices, violations of human rights, and violation of civil liberties. The profession of social work involves both the protection of the rights and well-being of individuals and communities that have been marginalized along with the overall pursuit of social justice.

A professional social worker is a worker who is licensed and registered and also holds a professional degree in the field of social work. As such, to be able to practice in the US, a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or a doctoral degree in social work from an accredited program is mandatory. To start working as a social worker in most of the states, a license is also necessary.

There are over 600 colleges spread across the US which offer various degrees in social work including certifications, associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, graduate-level certifications, doctoral degrees, and also first professional degrees.

Social Work Degree Programs

Top Colleges for Social Work Programs

Some of the top ranked schools and universities in the US offering degrees in social work include: In the US, both the undergraduate as well as master's programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The largest organization of professional social workers in the US is the National Association of Social Workers.

Professional social work is considered to be of multiple disciplines and draws itself from many areas including sociology, psychology, politics, economics, law, health, philosophy, anthropology, ecology, and also criminology, among many others. Social work is considered to work on a continuous model of development and requires study as well as experience to apply for social work professionally.

Specializations and Estimated Salaries in Social Work

Social Work degrees can include a number of specializations. Some of the top ranked specializations in social work, as well as their average estimated median salaries, are listed below:

Career Options for Undergraduates

With an undergraduate degree in social work or even an associate degree, one can get into entry-level job positions. The popular career options are:

Career Options for Graduates

Graduates having an online MSW degree from an accredited university meet the educational qualifications for most social work careers. They can work in a variety of environments, including but not limited to schools, hospitals, and community organizations. They can be employed as the following:

Places of Employment for Social Workers

Other Career Options

It takes great responsibility, dedication, patience, and discipline to pursue a career as a social worker. Like most fields of work, social work has also got diverse areas of focus but may not be as lucrative in the initial stages. With advanced educational qualifications and experience, it will be advantageous for candidates to get jobs in high-paying positions. Other career options with an MSW degree include School and Career Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Substance Abuse Counselors, Health Reform Advocates, Behavior Analysts, and so on. With a doctorate in social work, one can also work as a Professor of Social Work, Human Services Administrator, Child Welfare Researcher, etc. According to the chosen area of focus during graduation, a license is a must to start a career as a social worker. The rules and requirements are different for every state. Enumerated below are the several types of social work licensure as mandated by The Association of Social Work Boards -

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