Online coursework offers flexibility to those who have family and work responsibilities that make it challenging for them to attend classes on a traditional campus. Studying online offers students the same types of coursework as traditional brick and mortar colleges and universities and requires that they perform clinical practice in the community. However, because much of the coursework can be completed online, the hours that are devoted to study are reduced by eliminating the need to drive to and from campus.
Topics studied in a typical master of social work program include theory, social work application, research and policy. In addition, any program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education must require its participants to successfully perform clinical practice before they can receive their degree. Sometimes, people who are working in the field of social work as they earn their degrees can use their workplace as the site of their clinical practice. This is not always true, but in some cases, it can be done.
A master of social work degree that is earned online opens doors to practitioners in the field who can then to enter private psychological practice or join the public sector and work at a government job. By 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting that demand for social workers will increase by 25 percent. For health care social workers, the growth is expected to be even more dramatic due to changes in health care law and the aging population.
Coursework for a master’s degree in social work can include courses on families and children, planning, administration, mental health, health, community organization, and clinical social work. Once they have completed an online masters degree in social work and fulfilled their clinical requirement, individuals will be eligible to take the licensing or certification examination that is required in the state where they live and wish to practice. Most states require such an examination before a license is issued and practice can be legally begun.
The possibilities to touch the lives of others and help make them better are plentiful for someone who has earned this degree. This is one of the many reasons why people choose this as their profession. You may choose to become a senior social worker, a therapist, substance abuse social worker, a school counselor, or a case manager.
Pursuing a masters in social work online allows flexibility for students who have busy lives. It eliminates the need to drive to campus and sit through classes. At some schools, students are not required to be online at specific times, so they can tailor their learning to their schedules and preferences.
Many schools do require that the students schedule a face to face meeting on campus at regular intervals during the program, but these are done to be sure that the student is on track and is making satisfactory progress and they are usually done at the student’s convenience. Other schools require students to be online at specific times. It is important to know the requirements of your program before enrolling.
The amount of field work hours that are required for programs varies widely. The average number of hours is typically around 900. The time it takes to complete the master’s degree in social work varies by the college’s requirements. Some offer a program that can be completed in as little as two and one-half years, while others may take as many as five years. The typical program takes between three and one-half and four years to complete as a part-time student.
For most master of social work degree programs, applicants typically are required to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Specific colleges may also have prerequisites that are required and often a specific grade point average must have been achieved. If this requirement is not met, the student may be required to successfully complete the Graduate Record Examination before being accepted.
There are numerous accrediting bodies, but for individuals looking to complete an online program, a CSWE accreditation from the Council on Social Work Accreditation is the most relevant.