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, 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 as also does it involve 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 conduct 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 obtain a license for working in most of the states.
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.
Some of the top ranked schools and universities in the US offering degrees in social work include:
- University of Chicago
- Columbia University
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
- University of Wisconsin
- University of Pennsylvania
- Case Western Reserve University
- Brandeis University
- University of Pittsburgh
- Washington University
- University of Minnesota
In the US, both the undergraduate as well as the 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 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.
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:
- Master's in Social Work Counseling: $49,500
- Master's in Social Work Case Management: $54,200
- Master's in Social Work Geriatrics: $41,000
- Master's in Psychiatric Social Work: $51,000
- Master's in Social Work Operations Management: $65,000
- Master's in Social Work Fundraising: $49,500
- Master's in Social Work Program Management: $57,250
These are only a few of the many disciplines that an individual can graduate in with social work degrees in the US. The employee growth in the US for social workers is expected to grow at almost 25%, which is much faster than most other occupations.
Some of the top careers that are related to social work degrees include:
- School, child and family social workers
- Social counselors
- Healthcare social workers
- Family and marriage social therapists
- Substance abuse and mental health social workers
- Correctional treatment experts and probationary officers
On an undergraduate level, a four-year degree in social work is estimated to cost $54,000 from a public college and $145,000 from a private college in the US.