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Human and Social Services 2

INTRODUCTION

Social workers are just about everywhere—in schools, hospitals, private practices, and government agencies. They provide services to help children succeed in school, enable individuals and families to cope with trauma, and keep communities healthy and safe.

As the gateway to a social work career, the Bachelor of Social Work degree provides the coursework and practical field experience necessary for eventual state licensure. Read more to get answers to some commonly-asked questions about the BSW degree. You’ll learn what a BSW degree can do for you, how it supports your career, and why earning your social work degree online may be the best fit for you.

A young happy man with Down syndrome and his tutor studying indoors at school.

Chapter 1

Why Pursue a Bachelor of Social Work Degree?

If you’re interested in building a career that enables you to serve the community and help others manage their life and mental health challenges, then pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is a great place to start. When you earn your BSW degree, you’ll open the door to several diverse career and educational opportunities.Here are three reasons to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work Degree:

You’ll gain relevant knowledge

A Bachelor of Social Work degree provides a comprehensive education in the principles of social work practice, including advocacy, working with groups and families, and the impact of social policy. Additionally, it includes core coursework to help students understand the relationship between human physiology, psychology, and behavior.

You’ll be able to pursue your passions

As the National Association of Social Workers describes, “Social work is a profession for those with a strong desire to help improve people’s lives.” Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work can help you follow your passion to improve people’s lives, whether you want to help individuals with disabilities or you want to follow your calling to help people manage relationship struggles, addictions, or learning challenges.

You’ll be prepared to pursue licensure and graduate work

Because the BSW degree is designed to prepare students to pursue state licensure and, if desired, graduate study, it offers an ideal balance of practical skills and conceptual knowledge. With the social work expertise you gain from a BSW degree, you can pursue state designations such as Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW). You can also choose to continue your education with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree or an MBA in Human and Social Services Leadership.

Cropped shot of a female nurse showing her patient something on a digital tablet

Chapter 2

What are the Advantages of an Online Bachelor of Social Work Degree?

Like many other roles with a clinical component, pursuing a career in social work doesn’t take a lifetime to achieve. Even if you’ve already started a career in another field or have coursework in another major, you can make the switch to social work at any time. Whether you’re a teacher who wants to become a Child Services Advocate, an HR professional interested in becoming a Job Skills Coach in your community, or an Associate’s degree holder, the BSW degree can be an excellent complement to your existing education and work experience, and can prepare you to become a licensed social work professional.

MVNU Online’s Bachelor of Social Work degree program makes it easy for individuals with other coursework and job experience to complete an education in social work. Though the program is designed for students who already have an Associate degree in human services or social work, you can apply to the program if you have earned a minimum of 56 transferable semester hours from an accredited university and have completed the necessary social work foundation and cognate requirements. If you haven’t completed those requirements, no problem! You have the option of enrolling in the Associate of Arts in General Studies program at MVNU to complete the remaining credit requirements before you begin the BSW program.

Once you make the switch and begin the MVNU Online BSW program, you can begin making progress on your goals, whether you want to grow your career, find your true calling, or increase your earning potential.

Cropped shot of a female nurse showing her patient something on a digital tablet

Chapter 3

How Will a BSW Degree Support My Career?

Earning your Bachelor of Social Work degree makes it possible to become part of an exciting and growing profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers in the US is projected to grow nine percent through 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

Not all social worker positions are the same, but depending on the career path you take, your duties and responsibilities as a social worker may include the following:

  • Providing support for individuals struggling with addiction
  • Offering assessment and psychotherapy services in community centers
  • Delivering advocacy services to support school children and their families
  • Participating in social change and community improvement events
  • Connecting previously incarcerated individuals to career and housing resources
  • Providing child welfare services

Additionally, a degree in social work is highly versatile, as it provides many of the transferable skills today’s employers seek in job candidates, including research, problem-solving, planning, and communication. As a result, earning your BSW makes it possible to work in a variety of settings, either as a manager or individual contributor. Whether you work with individuals, groups, or families, you can work as a social worker in the following settings:

  • Schools
  • Healthcare Organizations
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Community Centers
  • Government Organizations

Available Career Paths

When you have a BSW degree, you qualify for professional social work licensure in many states. Even if your functional title is “social worker,” you can hold diverse roles like the following:

  • Child Services Advocate
  • Outpatient Health Liaison
  • Human Services Representative
  • Job or Life Skills Coach
  • Case Manager
  • Probation Officer
  • Policy Planning Specialist
  • Juvenile Court Advocate
  • Victim Support Liaison
  • Behavioral Management Specialist

Earning a degree in social work doesn’t mean your career options are limited to clinical or traditional community support roles. You can use your advocacy, communication, and planning skills in careers not typically associated with social work, such as Human Resources and teaching roles.

Cropped shot of a female nurse showing her patient something on a digital tablet

Chapter 4

What is a Social Worker's Earning Potential?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers earned a median annual wage of $50,390 in 2021. However, like other roles, your earning potential as a social worker depends upon several factors, including:

  • Experience level
  • Licensure
  • Geographic location
  • Industry
  • Area of specialty

As an example of how different your earning potential can be, depending on where you work, look at the 2021 mean social worker pay by industry, as reported by the BLS:

  • Federal government: $83,020
  • Local government, excluding schools and hospitals: $62,450
  • State government, excluding schools and hospitals: $50,390
  • Individual and family services: $48,510
  • Social advocacy organizations: $47,060
  • Vocational rehabilitation services: $42,060
  • Community food/housing and emergency services: $40,760

Furthermore, since earnings tend to rise with education, you can expect to enjoy higher compensation with each level of education you pursue after your BSW. According to a National Association of Social Workers (NASW) survey, earning a Master of Social Work after your BSW can increase your earnings potential by more than $13,000 per year.

 

 

Cropped shot of a female nurse showing her patient something on a digital tablet

Chapter 5

Is it Possible to Make a Career Change to Social Work?

Like many other roles with a clinical component, pursuing a career in social work doesn’t take a lifetime to achieve. Even if you’ve already started a career in another field or have coursework in another major, you can make the switch to social work at any time. Whether you’re a teacher who wants to become a Child Services Advocate, an HR professional interested in becoming a Job Skills Coach in your community, or an Associate’s degree holder, the BSW degree can be an excellent complement to your existing education and work experience, and can prepare you to become a licensed social work professional.

MVNU Online’s Bachelor of Social Work degree program makes it easy for individuals with other coursework and job experience to complete an education in social work. Though the program is designed for students who already have an Associate degree in human services or social work, you can apply to the program if you have earned a minimum of 56 transferable semester hours from an accredited university and have completed the necessary social work foundation and cognate requirements. If you haven’t completed those requirements, no problem! You have the option of enrolling in the Associate of Arts in General Studies program at MVNU to complete the remaining credit requirements before you begin the BSW program.

Once you make the switch and begin the MVNU Online BSW program, you can begin making progress on your goals, whether you want to grow your career, find your true calling, or increase your earning potential.

Cropped shot of a female nurse showing her patient something on a digital tablet

Chapter 6

Take the Next Step in Your Educational Journey

Perhaps you’ve always known you wanted a career serving others, but you weren’t sure how to get started. Pursuing an online Bachelor of Social Work degree is the perfect way to launch your social work career, whether you're switching careers or starting fresh. The flexibility of online classes combined with real-world field experience makes it easier to get your degree on a schedule that works for you, so you can begin a career making a difference in the lives of others.

To learn more about earning your BSW through MVNU Online’s CSWE-accredited online program, download your copy of our e-book, Earning Your Accredited Online Social Work Degree.

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