Distance learning programs are available for those seeking training in social services. Candidates interested in this field most commonly pursue a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), but other degree programs also offer a social services emphasis, including sociology and psychology. Degrees in human services can also prepare students for careers in social services fields.
In order to complete group social work components - in which students gain knowledge of therapies and interpersonal communication - online students may participate in real-time class sessions. In addition, they access bulletin board systems, audio files and video sharing technologies. Microsoft Office software is often required to complete assignments, which may be deadline-driven. Programs often incorporate fieldwork or practicums as well.
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Bachelor of Social Work
Social work bachelor's degree programs incorporate elements of therapy, sociology and public services applicable to a variety of careers in social services.
In an online BSW program, course topics may include:
- Social welfare policies
- Social policy analysis
- Human behavior
- Social environments
- Social issues
- Professional ethics
- Politics and the government
- Multicultural and minority topics in social work
- Research and statistics for social sciences
Some online BSW programs may incorporate a fieldwork experience in a social services setting. Areas in which a practicum may be completed include:
- Child welfare
- Juvenile justice
- Long-term care
- Health care
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that competition in the industry seems keen, with more social workers earning their master's degree; however, employment in the field is expected to grow as much as 12% from 2014-2024. This social services growth is going to be particularly rapid in the areas of healthcare.
Bachelor's degree holders can enter a variety of social services positions, including:
- Substance Abuse Counseling
- Child Services
- Hospital Social Services
Continuing Education Information
Every state in the U.S. has individual licensing and registration practices for careers in social work. However, other social services careers can differ in their licensing requirements. Graduates of a bachelor's program interested in clinical social work careers may be required to pursue a master's degree before achieving licensure in their state. Candidates holding master's degree in the field may pursue careers in additional fields:
- School Guidance Counseling
- Local or State Social Work
- Probation or Parole Case Work
- Community Organization
- Clinical Social Work
Online social work degree programs can be completed by individuals seeking an education in social services. Students learn about a variety of topics, including economics, politics, human behavior and social welfare policies, through a combination of online coursework and in-person field experiences.