Social Work

At its broadest, social work is an academic discipline and profession centered around helping people and communities. Social workers often see people who are at the lowest points in their lives or struggling with long-term challenges, including emotion or physical abuse, death, illness, and more. On top of earning at least a bachelor’s degree in social work, each state has its own licensure process to become an official social worker. Ideal candidates for this field are compassionate and stable, mature and able to handle stress well.

There are several different avenues to focus on within the social work field. Child, family, and school social work is the archetypal social worker that’s often depicted on television, but there are also social workers that focus on medical, mental health, and substance abuse, as well as military and community social workers. The field also encompasses administrations, researchers, planner and policymakers.

Baccalaureate

A Bachelor’s in Social Work, or BSW, is a 4-year program that provides the knowledge and skills needed to enter the world of social work. Coursework typically includes an introduction to the field, human behavior, cultural diversity, case management, welfare policy, research methods, and an opportunity for real-life experience. Many programs will require field work to graduate. To practice, most states require that graduates pass the Social Work Boards’ (ASWB) Bachelor’s Exam. To renew that license every year, taking Continuing Education (CE) courses is required. The entry-level salary is around $42,000 in this field.  

Career opportunities for those who graduate with a BSW include: Case Manager, Health Educator, Recreational Therapist, Social/Community Service Manager, Adoption Agency Administrator, Group Home Worker, Habilitation Specialist, Mental Health Assistant, Juvenile Court Liaison, Residential Counselor.

Graduate Education

For certain areas of the social work field, a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) is required, notably, anything involving clinical study. Masters programs typically take 1-2 years, with the first year tackling the general topics of the social work. The second year drills down on the focus for the graduate program, which vary based on institution. Common subject areas include Children, Youth, and Families, Mental Health, and Aging Societies. Master’s curriculums tend to include courses on research, as well as clinical and macro practice. Graduates will also need to check their state requirements for licensure and pass the Association of Social Work Boards’ exam. To become a Clinical Social Worker, 2-3 years of field work under a licensed professional is required before licensure.

Careers for MSW graduates include: Clinical Group Worker, Social Work Supervisor, Medical Social Worker, Clinical Social Worker, Substance Abuse Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist. The average salary for an individual with an MSW is around $56,000.

Doctoral programs for social work are designed to guide candidates through the toughest cases, and often focus on research and analysis in clinical settings. There are two types of degrees, a Doctor in Social Work and a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work. The first, the DSW, indicates the intention to practice, while a PhD often leads to a position in academia or research. The focus narrows extremely during a doctoral degree, so a focus or specialization is required. Doctoral degree holders often go on to executive positions or to teach collegiate courses.

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Colleges

“…ucla has a great student atmosphere: it includes great school spirit, rich history, excellent academics and research programs, and a well-rounded student body. it is also situated in west la, which is a great environment in itself to explore social...” – Kevin

“…The environment is incredibly welcoming and you'll always find a place to fit in. It's definitely challenging, but incredibly rewarding. Personally, I adore it.” – Whitney from Berkeley, CA

“…The University of Chicago is known more for its academic rigor and all-encompassing intellectualism than its campus life or party scene. This is far from true, however! If you're looking for hard-hitting academics, a picture-perfect campus, top-notch...” – Chris from Houston, TX

“…Between the Common Core and the city of New York, it is difficult to conceive of an education more intellectually stimulating than that which Columbia provides. The Core allows students to engage with the great thinkers of the past, while New York...” – Nathan from Cincinnati, OH

“…A 360 degree experience. You get rigorous academics, competitive sports powerhouse, and lively social scene. A place to grow and explore.” – Kelly from New Hudson, MI

“…UCF is a very high quality university that is more affordable than most. The university has an abundance of ways to help you get through your college expenses through book and work study programs. The campus is great! All the essential necessities a...” – M from Winter Garden, FL

“…it is a great school because of the atmosphere, teachers, and everything that has to do with austin. it is at an awesome location. i feel welcomed and happily plan to live and get a job here.” – Emile from Dallas, TX

“…Boston University is an elite university that is constantly improving. It is a very expensive college but has a lot of resources for its students. Students who wish to attend should be somewhat independent and not afraid to take full advantage of the...” – Daniel from Staten Island, NY

“…NYU isn't for everybody, but if you want to become more independent, meet lots of interesting and diverse people, and eat a variety of food NYU is the perfect place for you. Even though sometimes it can feel like only wealthy people belong here, you...” – India from Bryn Mawr, PA

“…UNC Chapel Hill is an outstanding school with outstanding people. The school work is challenging, but it is rewarding. The university introduces you to people from all walks of life and exposes you to some of the most gifted professors and students...” – Rebecca

“…USC is the place for opportunities. You are not only paying for a great education, but also connections and resume builders that will help you get where you want in life. USC is a school for leaders and overachievers. ” – Madison from Los Angeles, CA

“…This school is inclusive, and has a great sense of community. I love visiting my friends here. The education is amazing.” – Peyton from Ellensburg, WA

“…I rate UPenn at a 10 out of 10, I love my school and everything about it. I think what really makes us great is the oppurtunity to have a well rounded education so critical thinking is put at the center of all classes. In addition it is a beautiful...” – Ami from Philadelphia, PA

“…The campus, food, organizations, people, academics, and nightlife of Michigan State University are unlike any other. MSU is full of down-to-earth, nice people who want to have fun but also focus on their academics. Though it is a big campus, it is...” – Lauren from Westland, MI

“…There is no other place I would have chosen to pursue my higher education. Ohio State offers rigorous academics as well as plenty of organizations for students to participate in! In short, Ohio State offers everything you could ever want.” – Cherieanne from Chattanooga, TN

“…The Campus is basically a miniature city within Syracuse. There are always activities to attend and ways to get involved. The classes are tough, but very rewarding if you put in the effort.” – Catherine from North Sutton, NH

“…Great friendly campus in the middle of cornfield, USA. Classes are theoretical and challenging in the engineering dept. However, it's easy to take a variety of other classes (art, history, dance, etc), regardless of your major.” – Alleycats from Urbana, IL

“…UGA offers an ivy league education, for a public school price. Situated in Athens, GA: ranked the #1 College Town that Rocks by Rolling Stones magazine in 2007 and one of 29 Must Visit places by LA Times magazine in 2009, there are plenty of things...” – Darien from Senoia, GA

“…FSU is an immense college with a beautiful campus and diverse student body. The college boasts hundreds of extracurricular programs and clubs, so there is something for everyone. Florida State is a leader in many disciplines and builds leaders.” – Carla from Tallahassee, FL

“…San Diego State University provides an amazing academic experience for all students who enroll here. There is always something happening on campus no matter what time of day. The environment is so welcoming, and everyone you meet is so nice and...” – Anonymous

“…The perfect place for stars looking to shine. Our stars do not only show up at night. They shine during the good times of our country, contributing to society in a positive way. They also shine during the bad times of our country, standing up for...” – Khiana from Newark, NJ

“…The atmosphere of Baylor is very relaxing. The people on campus are really friendly. It is easy to make friends on a campus this size.” – Chalice from Pflugerville, TX

“…WSU has become my home away from home. The people are great and you truly feel like you're part of a family (I recommend going to the football games if you don't feel this way). The only bad part is the cold weather, so be prepared!” – Isabella from Hoquiam, WA

“…in my opinion, this school is underrated. it is an excellent university with excellent professors and spectacular school spirit. it can definitely compete with other texas universities. ” – Christopher from Houston, TX

“…Central Michigan University has the best professors for the Recreation Department! Everyone here is a family and the people really do care about your well being and future. This college has made me a better person through it's programs.” – Jelina from Mt. Pleasant, MI

“…It is a beautiful campus and will make you proud to be a bull. There is always stuff going on around campus and a lot of fun ways to get involved. Academics are taken seriously and managable with work. ” – Brenna from St. Petersburg, FL

“…I transferred to OU from Marietta College and I believe it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. I had much anxiety being a minority student on a campus with about 30,000 students but OU offers so many organizations that cater to the...” – Proud Bobkitty

“…Pitt literally has something for everyone. There are majors/minors/certificates in nearly anything you could think of, over 400 clubs, and Pittsburgh is a city that offers a wide variety of living arrangements, tons of restaurants, and entertainment...” – Angelica from Pittsburgh, PA

Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA

“…bc is a great university that is geared for all types of students. it is a liberal arts university with schools in business, nursings, arts and sciences, and education. everyone at bc is friendly and outgoing, and it is a great choice for a college...” – Anonymous from Chestnut Hill, MA

Auburn University
Auburn University, AL

“…auburn has something special about it that i cannot quite put into words. you have to experience it to understand what people mean by the auburn family, and after you are there, you will never be the same. i have learned the value of being an auburn...” – Sara from Auburn, AL

“…Great school for adventurous students. If you want to start a career, this is your first step. You get to enjoy the city while getting a great education.” – Katie Rose from Northampton, PA

“…texas state is a picturesque school full of life, diverse, with a river that runs through it, and also full of people that are willing to help you on anything from personal problems, to math homework. ” – Genesis from Houston, TX

“…The campus is beautiful and not too spread out. All of my classes have been wonderful thus far, and really are shaped to my interests. There are so many study enhancements in this community to make sure that students do succeed. ” – Taelor from Columbia, SC

“…lsu is culturally and socially diverse, making it an exceedingly welcoming place. classes are varied and pander to the interests of many different types of students. every event is culturally rich and provides a fantastic experience.” – Nicholas from Cypress, TX

“…Colorado State University has given me the best college experience I could dream of. There are opportunities for anything you could imagine - and these opportunities are everywhere! Everyone is friendly, and all anyone wants is for each and every...” – Bailey

“…Georgia State is full of diversity! I love how many different people I can meet in just one hour. Many majors, opportunities, clubs, and organizations are offered here.” – Lydia from Lawrenceville, GA

“…Liberty is the most exciting university in the world. I love being able to have professors who care about not only my educational career, but my spiritual life. There are more opportunities than can be counted offered to me here.” – Carrie from Ruckersville, VA

“…U of Iowa is an institution that invites young minds to grow and develop with the help of highly educated leaders. Family values are important within the administration and add value to the environment within the grounds of the university. Service is...” – Eric from Pingrey Grove, IL

“…1. George Mason has a compact campus, but plenty of people. 2. There are a ton of fun unique activities to try out. 3. GMU is definitely diverse!” – Anon.

“…the university is a very beautiful place if you ignore all the construction being done at the moment. everyone at the school are extremely nice people and are there help you. there are tons of opportunities for you to have fun and also be successful...” – adrian from pittsburgh, pa

“…If I were to describe DePaul in three sentences i'd have to say, it's very unique, as in location, religion, as well as culturally. There are so many different kinds of people here, ones you wouldn't expect to have similar interests, and ones that...” – Gina from Edina, MN

“…Rutgers New Brunswick has the prestige of being one of the 8 earliest founded colleges in the nation and is often ranked within the 100 best colleges in the world, for less than half the cost of an Ivy League school. Research opportunities,...” – Joanna

“…University of Denver is an AWESOME school! The small and focused class sizes allow students to get a wonderful education and the professors truly care about the students well being. It also offers a wonderful social life with sororities/fraternities,...” – Tara from Highlands Ranch, CO

“…Lots of walking.Great scenery. Many fun extracurricular and exciting course opportunities.” – Arlandra from Cincinnati, OH

“…An open and beautiful campus with people who also share those qualities. The staff here are amazing and do their jobs here with the goal to educate the students that pass through so that they may carry the wisdom gained throughout their lives....” – Mehigan from King George, VA

“…utsa has a diverse student population, a wide range of student services (including an excellent gym facility, complete with cooking courses, personal trainers, and rock-climbing wall), and a rapidly growing academic program with professors from all...” – Catherine from Helotes, TX

“…The college is in a commuter type of college so most people there do not live on the dorms. However, the people that I have met at this college are really nice and the academic advisers (at least for my major) are extremely helpful. The only con I...” – Jazmin C.

“…i attended girl's state at ku this summer. ku has an absolutely gorgeous campus, a friendly environment, and so many great programs to choose from. i cannot wait to attend ku in the fall of 2017. ” – adrienne from dodge city, ks

“…Beautiful campus, friendly and happy students, excellent academics. Amazing campus life, great school spirit, and great sports. Inviting atmosphere and great amenities!” – Jonna from Chapel Hill, NC

“…NC State is a large school with a small school feel. You can walk around campus and always see a familiar face. There are always new people to meet as well. ” – Shayna from Germantown, MD

“…west virginia university offers an amazing experience that is second to none. not only are there very competitive programs on campus, but the mountaineers have become a staple in the world of college athletics. excitement looms in the classroom and...” – Jonathon from Morgantown, WV

“…Fordham University is a family with open arms waiting for you to walk in. Once you enter into the family, you are embraced and encouraged to tap into all of the family's resources. These resources WILL help your intellectual, moral and...” – Constantine from Randolph, NJ

“…The campus, really nice... The professors, friendly if you know how to network and talk to them... The people here, really friendly and getting to meet/know new people isn't a task at all. The school is very nice, they provide fun activities almost...” – Joe, On Campus, Stony Brook University

“…On a Scale of one to ten I give Florida International University an eight. FIU deserves an eight because they really care about the student and try and help in everyway they can to make sure each and every student is successful. They provide...” – Saxon from Tampa, FL

“…Florida Atlantic University is a fantastic school. Florida Atlantic University has a beautiful, growing campus in sunny Boca Raton. Florida Atlantic University has excellent professors that are more than happy to help students in all aspects of...” – Andy from Coconut Creek, FL

“…Brigham young stands as a precedent for student education. It is a pinnacle of cleanliness of word and of character. It is a school like no other with the honor code as a standing tradition to be upheld by the students and the faculty. ” – Kaitlyn from Riverton, UT

“…Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, a wonderfully-crafted university, is located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. IUPUI has a vast array of majors and minors; for aspiring business students, the IUPUI Kelley School of Business--...” – Danielle from Indianapolis, IN

“…I don't know what I love more, this school or this city! You get to experience New Orleans, but live in the nicer area! I really feel as though I am receiving a first-rate education!” – Alyssa from Clermont, FL

“…UNLV is a multicultural community. The staff members provides help to students who need or seek them. Also, it creates a welcoming invitation to newcomers. ” – Kim

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

“…The university is a fun place to meet new people. It gives you a great education and the professors are really interested in teaching the topic. The location of the university is also great and has many surroundings to help you enjoy your college...” – Kayla from West Jordan, UT

“…diverse student population, lots of nontraditional students and commuters. lots of options for food on campus. great teachers and class sizes.” – Mia from Dallas, TX

“…Small classrooms and good teachers.” – Garrett from Portland, OR

“…Illinois State University (ISU) is a great way to get a great education and experience different things. You have adults and students that want to get involve with your career and future. It is a fantastic place to meet lots of unique and different...” – Amber from Chicago, IL

“…Miami University is a great mid-sized university for academics and social life. There are various organizations students can join and activities provided by the school to participate in. Big companies are always here recruiting, so there are many...” – Randy from Oxford, OH

“…i'd absolutely recommend this university for the simple fact that it offers a great community of both faculty and students. the campus is absolutely astonishing and the counselors truly care about your future. i found it extremely easy to adjust to...” – juwan from greensboro, nc

“…Uw- Madison is a fantastic school. The academics are strong, there is always something fun to do, the school spirit is remarkable, and on top of it al you live on a beautiful campus. I don't know any one that dislikes their experience here.” – Cordell from Barneveld, WI

“…Everyone here is very accommodating. Resources are easy to come by. The available courses are diverse and interesting.” – TF from Norwich, CT

“…The rustic mountains make calling it home easier than I ever thought possible. The friendly atmosphere creates lasting and loving friendships for a lifetime. Lastly, but not least, the innovative thinkers that enter the classrooms each day give a...” – Camille from China Grove, NC

“…San Jose State University is a beautiful campus where a person could just sit and hang out with their friends or go downtown where all other students are studying or just talking. SJSU provides a variety of activities including sororities...” – Kaela from Fairfield, CA

“…The environment is very open and accepting, it gives everyone the opportunity to create a home. The curriculum is intense, however the instructors are more than equipt to teach college students, and willing to help outside of class. Overall, the...” – Monica from Glendale, AZ

“…UNCC is a great campus filled with a diverse population of cultures from around America and world. It is a medium size, with the full college experience, but not so big as to overwhelm an incoming student. UNCC is a young school that is growing fast,...” – Joshua from Harrisburg, NC

“…the university of missouri is fantastic. i wanted to go to a college that was outside of missouri, perhaps on a coast, but because of financial problems i was not able to do that. however, i consider having gone to university of missouri as one of...” – Martin

“…East Carolina is one of the best universities in North Carolina! It's a hidden gem! It has so much to offer! You will never be bored here and you will find the classes challenging and rewarding!” – Kristyn from Holly Springs, NC

“…SUNY Buffalo , also known as UB , is New York's flagship university. It is highly ranked , in both academics and athletics. 10/10 , would pick buffalo again.” – Mike from New York, NY

“…The University of Illinois at Chicago is a very populated university, mainly consisting of commuters from Chicago and it's surrounding cities and suburbs. Resources here are plentiful and there is always something for everyone. All in all, college is...” – Student from Chicago, IL

“…The University of Oklahoma has a wealth of opportunity to offer. It is a beautiful campus and the classes are kept small to offer individual attention to students. It also offers a lot of ways to get involved and give back to the community as well as...” – Brianna from Frisco, TX

“…San Francisco State University has been a great school so far. I just finished my first year and I had the best time of my academic career. The other students at SFSU are extremely friendly and the sense of happiness that the atmosphere and campus...” – Dru from Oakley, CA

“…Marshall university is an amazing school, and I would recommend it for people who are looking for an in the middle school. The classes are small enough so you can get personal one-on-one contact with professors, but big enough so it doesn't still...” – Margaret from Danville, WV

“…A great place for people to make new friends but it is hard if you are extremely introverted like I am. Most of the people are from NOVA so you will encounter some rudeness. However, class sizes are great and it is an overall great school. ” – Rachel from Pound, VA

“…Hunter is a great school for everyone. Be aware that as a freshman it may be tricky to get a hold of transitioning to a different grading system. Don't be afraid to ask your professors for help because they do want you to succeed.” – Jhoana from Brooklyn, NY

“…Clark Atlanta University has a great Education program in which gives you the potential to achieve your goals. Has a library in which you can find a quiet place to study. Great Orientation Guide Students who always help you if you need help around...” – Brianna from Millville, NJ

“…The University of Arkansas has exactly what everyone should want from their college experience. It offers a quality education, a lively and beautiful atmosphere, and endless opportunities to get involved, meet new people, and make memories that will...” – Michaela from Fayetteville, AR

“…This university is very large, with approximately 23,000 students. But the instructors, students, and staff are all great, friendly people. Everybody is really nice and will help you if you get lost or just need help on an assignment. ” – Kameron from Walnut Grove, MO

“…Unique. Awesome. Fruitful.” – Folasayo from Baltimore, MD

“…Montclair State University is a beautiful school and i definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a college to attend. The class sizes are good for learning and the professors are very helpful! You learn more at this school than you could...” – Tabish from Bergenfield, NJ

“…A friendly campus nestled in the heart of a city that's small enough to feel comfortable, with home town charm. The instructors know their stuff and deliver lectures of the highest caliber, providing a friendly learning environment that welcomes all...” – Jessica from Fresno, CA

Manchester University
North Manchester, IN

“…Fun quite college, every one is friendly. All your Professors wont's to help you. Classes are small usually about 15 to 20 students.” – Jordan from Indianapolis, IN

“…Chapman is a small school with lots of friendly familiar faces. Chapman has great enthusiastic professors that are very personable. Chapman is really a school that is all about you. ” – so you cant stalk me on facebook

“…Washington University is an incredible school that fosters individual scholastic as well as personal growth. The student body and faculty are diverse an open-minded. Also, the location is ideal due to its proximity to the business opportunities in...” – Nelson from Homewood, IL

“…I have been in the world of education since graduating--21 years ago--and have highly valued my education from Ball State University. I was well-prepared to face the challenges of a career. As an Art Ed major, both schools served me extremely well. ” – Laurie from Cedar Park, TX

“…in just one semester, texas tech has helped me become the person i've always wanted to be. i've learned so much in such a short amount of time, and i can't wait to spend the next three years here. i can honestly say i've had the time of my life...” – Elizabeth from San Antonio, TX

“…Hampton University definitely goes by it's motto which is the Standard of Excellence. This University holds a plethora of opportunities. Any individual can succeed here.” – Naomi from Jamaica

“…loyola has a gorgeous campus,, and is in a quiet, diverse area of a great city. being a relatively expensive, private institution, however, means that the make-up of the university is not nearly as diverse. the small size and great reputation will...” – Jason from Chicago, IL

“…EMU is a wonderful college, they have great professors, with a good staff behind them. If anyone has a problem with something, they can feel free to write a letter to voice their opinion to the source of the problem and something will get done about...” – Victoria from detroit, MI

“…the university of louisville is an outstanding education facility. the teachers are some of the best in the state and offer personal one-on-one assistance to their students. the university strives to excel in technological advancement as well as...” – Samuel from Lexington, KY

“…Case Western is a school that is very focused on academics and research. It is quite academically rigorous, but also very rewarding. Using "Think Beyond the Possible," as their motto, Case Western drives their students to achieve their goals, even...” – Elanda from Fairview Park, OH

“…Wayne state has turned out to be a great opportunity for me and has opened doors in several areas of life. Not only do they offer great curriculum and teachers, the student connections there are potentially limitless. I would recommend Wayne state...” – Reggie from Detroit, MI

“…university of hawaii of manoa is a great school. there are amazing students you will meet but also a very good place to live in because as most people describe it, it's paradise. you will enjoy going to uh manoa, go warriors!” – Marife from Honolulu, HI

“…troy university provides an affordable, enjoyable college experience to students of all walks of life. with its division one athletics and its prestigious international programs, troy offers great opportunities for social networking and future...” – Tyler from Murphy, NC

“…university of wisconsin-milwaukee is enriched with much diversity, and really gives the college experience. with a small college campus you feel like you can really get to know students, but yet there is still many opportunities to succeed...” – Shannon from Sheboygan, WI