While a bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for social workers, students may begin their schooling by earning an associate's degree in pre-social work. Applicants to these two-year associate's programs usually need to be high school graduates. This degree could allow students to pursue entry-level careers in human services, or graduates may transfer credits towards a bachelor's program in social work.
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Associate Degree in Social Work
The pre-social work program offers students introductory college courses, as well as sociology core classes. Sample courses include:
- English composition
- Cultural anthropology
- Human behavior and development
- Child development
Continuing Education Information
Associate of Arts graduates with pre-social work degrees often go on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at 4-year universities in order to qualify them for social worker positions.
Salary Info and Employment Outlook
Healthcare social workers earned a mean annual salary of $54,020 as of May 2015, while mental health and substance abuse social workers made $45,820 per year on average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. Child, family, and school social workers made an average of $46,610 the same year. Demand for social workers overall should increase by 12% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS, but will vary by specialty. Demand for social workers in healthcare should increase by 19%, for those in mental health and substance abuse by 19%, and for those in the child, family, and school specialty by 6%.
The associate's degree in social work is most always followed by the bachelor's degree in social work in order to qualify for the job as a social worker. There are many different branches that a social worker can work in when choosing their career path.