What You Should Know About This Degree
When choosing a career path focused on helping others, you should also consider pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology. While both programs focus on human behavior and well-being, the field of psychology focuses closely on mental health. Social workers provide counseling and work with individuals and groups to identify and implement solutions that help them deal with problems. Psychologists work most frequently with individuals and use diagnostic testing to uncover and treat specific issues. Both social work and psychology require students to complete a master’s degree and licensure to practice and treat patients legally. Licensing for social workers is provided by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) offers certifications that provide graduates with specialized training in different social work areas. Certifications also help graduates demonstrate their expertise for potential employers. Students should consider obtaining certifications such as Certified Social Work Case Manager, Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager, and Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs Social Worker. Certain credentials such as the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) and Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (DCSW) certifications require NASW membership.
The job outlook for social workers over the next decade is positive. The demand for mental health and substance abuse social workers is projected to grow by 17%, which is significantly higher than the predicted job growth for all other occupations.
Ask yourself these questions when researching degree programs in social work:
- Am I eligible for this program? Students from all educational backgrounds can pursue an undergraduate degree in social work. Most programs require students to hold a high school diploma or GED. Some programs may also require a minimum GPA and standardized test score.
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? Undergraduate programs in social work take four years of full-time study. Many aspiring professionals will also pursue a two-year master’s degree program. The programs on our list require 120 credits to graduate.
Entry requirements and application deadlines vary for each program. Visit the school’s website or contact the admissions department for detailed information about the program to which you’re applying.
Consider how you’ll cover the cost of your education. Funding opportunities include scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. You might also be eligible for federal funds; submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out.