Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work
According to the National Association of Social Workers, licensed social workers are the United States’ most prominent sect of mental health service providers. Both federal law and the National Institute of Health recognize it as a core mental health profession. Social work is also a growing profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of social workers is expected to grow by 16 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the average for all other professions. Additionally, the median starting salary for social workers is $47,980 per year.
Many bachelor’s level social workers work in advocacy, case management, and group work. These individuals work in healthcare and other social services organizations. Jobs at this level include titles like client education specialist, community advocate, program manager, mental health aide, and case manager. If students wish to continue toward the clinical side of social work, they can complete a Master of Social Work. Having an undergraduate degree in social work often allows students to have advanced standing in a graduate program for this degree, meaning that they can complete it in a shorter period. The Council on Social Work Education is the accrediting body for programs in this field, and students should be mindful of that as they consider programs.
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#1 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN SOCIAL WELFARE
The University of Washington at Seattle is on a three-quarter schedule, so students must complete 180 quarter credits to earn a Bachelor Arts in Social Welfare. The most affordable on this list, the University of Washington has placed its numerous Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social work students at over 600 field sites for their practicum experience. This means that students have access to a wide variety of choices and can work somewhere in an area of social work that they are particularly interested in while earning credit for this real-world experience. The Council on Social Work Education also accredits this program. Courses in it include Intergroup Dialogue, Advances in Prevention Science: Bridging the Gap from Science to Service, Cultural Diversity and Justice, Chemical Dependency: Assessment and Treatment, and International Responses to Human Needs: Social Welfare Policies and Services.
Net Price: $9,443
#2 CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LONG BEACH
LONG BEACH, CA
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN SOCIAL WORK
California State University at Long Beach has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. There is also the California Social Work Education Center, which offers financial support to students in the program in return for a commitment to work in a public child welfare agency once they earn their degree. The program requires 42 credits of study within the major. Courses include Social Policy: Formulation and Analysis, Law, Court Decisions, and Policy Practice, and Human Behavior and Social Environment. U.S. News and World Report ranked California State University at Long Beach as #3 on its Top Public Schools list and #26 on Regional Universities West.
Net Price: $9,654
#3 APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY
BACHELOR OF SOCIAL WORK
Appalachian State University offers scholarships for their Bachelor of Social Work program through the department. The social work department at Appalachian State also is home to a departmental honors program, Phi Alpha Honor Society, and the Student Association for Social Work. It also provides training on Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment. In the course of their 122-credit degree, students can also earn their School Social Work certification, which includes a course on the subject and completing their required placement at a public school. Appalachian State also has the North Carolina Child Welfare Collaborative, which provides opportunities for students interested in working in the child welfare field. Students can also study abroad in Costa Rica, Germany, India, and Uganda.
Net Price: $10,473
#4 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
BACHELOR OF SOCIAL WORK
The University of South Florida combines fieldwork with research through its Bachelor of Social Work program. Students can both take advantage of research opportunities offered by the department and must complete field instruction during their senior year as well as the integrative paper at the end. This assignment ensures that students can connect their classwork with the field experience outside of the classroom. This comes along with the 41 credits required by the Bachelor of Social Work curriculum. Additionally, students can work at the BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, which provides medical care for uninsured individuals in the area. Students are also able to take part in the National Association of Social Work – Florida annual Legislative Education and Advocacy Days in Tallahassee.
Net Price: $11,766
#5 RUTGERS UNIVERSITY – NEWARK
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN SOCIAL WORK
Rutgers University ensures that its students have access to opportunities that will increase their marketability for jobs in its Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Students can take part in study abroad opportunities in Mexico, Romania, Israel, and China. They can also earn advanced standing in the Master of Social Work program. The major is offered both full- and part-time, with a limited number of Saturday and evening courses. Students also must complete 420 hours at a field placement over two semesters, and they typically go to this placement two days per week while doing so. The program requires 59 credits in the major.
Net Price: $12,020