Top 10 Ranked Online Degree Programs In Social Work for 2013
The field of Social Work offers substantial rewards to the professionals who choose it as a career. Though challenging, social work professionals are able to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable and in need populations. Social workers are employed by a range of human service agencies identifying individuals, families and groups in need, determining appropriate intervention actions and providing support services. Social workers practice in hospitals, schools, nursing homes and government agencies in all states – Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, etc. Some specialize in specific populations such as pediatrics, families or geriatrics or in a specific at-risk group such as abused children, drug or alcohol addicted individuals or providing counseling for pregnant teens. The need for qualified, educated social workers is great and exists in all urban, suburban and even rural areas across the country. Professionals are needed in most regions of the country.
Education in the field of Social Work is essential and salary ranges increase with advanced studies. Professionals with advanced degrees receive much higher salaries than those with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Individuals trying to pursue additional educational accomplishments while working face significant challenges and difficulties. Online degree options provide students with the flexibility necessary to allow them to successfully complete their educational goals without interfering with other responsibilities. Below is a list of the top ranked online programs, offering the highest quality educational programs at a range of degree levels from undergraduate to graduate programs and post graduate certificate programs. All of these programs will increase the skills and knowledge of the students while providing the education necessary to advance their careers and salary range.
Kaplan University was initially established as a center of education focused on standardized tests. The founder was a pioneer who created preparation courses to help students attain higher scores on tests such as the college entry SAT exam when most experts believed test preparation programs would not be effective. Continuing along this pioneering path, Kaplan University expanded its services to include high school education programs, undergraduate programs, graduate programs and certificate and continuing education courses. The degree programs are developed by industry and educational experts and regularly updated to incorporate the most recent advancements in the various fields of study. Flexible course schedules allow busy, working students to tailor the programs to meet their own needs; providing access 24/7. Faculty members teaching the courses are experienced instructors from around the world, familiar with the requirements and expectations required of professionals within the fields.
Kaplan University’s Bachelor of Science in Human Services provides students with a fundamental understanding of the field of study. The curriculum develops the skills necessary to assess the needs of and advocate for clients and the knowledge for matching clients with the appropriate community resources. Students learn to identify at risk and vulnerable populations and to develop appropriate and effective intervention strategies. The program includes study of theories and practices, explores public and private policies of human service agencies, historical perspectives and evaluates and analyzes current trends. Diversity studies emphasize the importance of respecting and understanding gender and cultural differences. Students enrolled in the program can select an area of focus from the three offered; human services administration, gerontology and child and family welfare. Courses included in the curriculum include general education courses in social science, communication, arts and humanities, physical science and mathematics.
Ashford University, founded in 1918, boasts a long history of providing quality distance degree programs to the working population. The degree programs are designed to accommodate the scheduling constraints of motivated working adults. Students have access to their courses 24/7 and are able to contact their instructors through email and message boards. Programs can be completed on a part time or full time basis. Ashford University also offers degree programs which require as little as twelve month’s time to complete. Students have the option of completing degree programs at campus locations which offer evening and weekend schedules. The courses are generally taken one at a time and can be taken continuously throughout the year to ensure students have the time to dedicate to each subject without lengthening the time necessary for completing the program. Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Ashford University offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science with an emphasis in Social Services which provides a comprehensive understanding of the demands of the challenging field. The curriculum provides a foundational knowledge of society from the perspective of families, communities, cultures, individuals and even governments. The students will study the core areas of history, psychology and sociology, examine cultural diversity and develop research skills. The multidisciplinary approach of the program is designed to develop the students’ skills in communication, critical and analytical thinking and problem solving. Students have the opportunity to select an additional are of concentration from the 20 accepted at Ashford University to enhance their credentials and increase their understanding of the field.
Capella University is a well regarded institution of higher learning which focuses on providing online degree programs tailored to meet the needs of working adults. Working adult students are provided with respected, challenging online degree programs within a range of disciplines which facilitate career advancement, career changes and entry level career opportunities. Students enrolled at Capella University have the opportunity to pursue degree programs in business management, higher education, information technology, public safety and health care. The extensive resources and support services provide students with the added assistance necessary to ensure their educational and career success. Faculty members forge personal relationships with their students which further enhances the experience at Capella University. Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and schools.
The School of Public Service Leadership at Capella University provides a range of graduate degree programs relevant to social work. Programs offered in the field of social work or related areas include social work, counseling, emergency management, school counseling, psychology and a PhD in human services. The 48 credit Master degree program in the Social and Community Services specialization requires students to complete courses such as philosophy of social work, history of social welfare, scope of human services, utilization of community resources, ethnic and cultural awareness and survey of research in human development and behavior. The Master of Social and Behavioral Sciences specialization focuses on public health issues and the administrative systems. Students study the areas of social and behavioral theories, program planning and evaluation, international public health and public health information for diverse populations. The 60 credit program requires students to complete courses such as psychological, behavioral, and social issues in public health, principles of epidemiology, environmental health concepts in public health and theories of social and behavioral sciences.
Walden University is a student centered institution dedicated to the success of working students. Since its founding in 1970, Walden University has evolved into a highly regarded institution offering a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificate programs tailored to meet the scheduling needs of their working students while providing a challenging and industry current curriculum. The degree programs are intended to provide students with the tools needed to advance their careers and produce positive social change through the application of research and the discovery of new knowledge. The programs at Walden University are enhanced through the shared insights of instructors and peers who are experienced in the professional setting. Walden University provides a supportive environment with the latest technology in online learning and various educational services in research and writing. Students are offered a range of career assistance and advising and lifelong learning opportunities to ensure they remain abreast of advancements in their fields of study.
Students enrolled at Walden University have the opportunity to pursue a range of degree options with relevance to the field of social work. Walden University offers a 63 credit Master of Science in Psychology with a specialization in social psychology. The program provides a comprehensive understanding of the various social, environmental and situational factors which impact the development of social and behavioral interaction in humans. The curriculum includes the analysis and evaluation of psychological theories, research, social and cultural factors, psychological concepts and principles and contemporary and global issues influencing social change. Walden University offers a 132 credit doctoral program in clinical social work which focuses on the models and theories of clinical practice for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. The program requires students to complete 42 credits in core knowledge areas, 42 credits in specialized knowledge areas, 12 credits in research and a 30 credit dissertation sequence. The program is intended for students with a solid foundation in qualitative and quantitative methods of study and inquiry.
Grand Canyon University is a private Christian college established in the mid 1940’s for the purpose of providing a quality distance learning education. Grand Canyon University is considered a leading provider of online education; boasting an enrollment of 25,000 students. Students have the opportunity to attend courses on campus or to select the time flexible, online degree programs instead. The university endeavors to prepare graduates to become ethical and socially aware leaders with a global perspective. The programs are taught by practitioner faculty who provide advanced knowledge which can be immediately applied within any field. Student success is a priority of the institution which offers individualized attention and support.
Grand Canyon University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree program. The Sociology program provides students with an understanding of the impact of social structures on human behavior and develops students’ skills in analytical and critical thinking. The 120 credit program includes up to 40 credits in general education courses, 44 credits in sociology courses and up to 42 credits in elective courses. Courses include sociological theory, social inequality and stratification, social psychology American Minority Peoples, Social Problems and Marriage and Family. The psychology program provides perspective of human actions and utilizes this understanding to evaluate similar behaviors in others. This program is intended to prepare students for a career in human service agencies providing assistance to individuals and groups in need. Also a 120 credit program, courses are concentrated in the various areas of psychology, counseling and guidance.
6. Florida State University
Florida State University is a highly regarded traditional institution, offering a 150 year history, which is offering a few of their exceptional, award winning degree programs entirely through online courses. The research institution is credited with significant academic achievements and continues to make important contributions to the academic world. Florida State University boasts 15 colleges with more than 275 majors offered in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. Students have the opportunity to complete their degree programs entirely through online courses and are afforded the same level of support as the traditional students enrolled at the institution. Florida State University endeavors to meet the individualized needs of each student to ensure success both academically and professionally. The online degree programs offered at Florida State University include undergraduate and graduate and also include certificate programs as well. Students also have the option of pursuing a degree completion program.
Florida State University offers an online degree completion program for students who already possess an associate’s degree and are interested in pursuing the bachelor degree. The 42 credit Bachelor of Science offered in Interdisciplinary Social Science provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the social science discipline and develop skills in problem solving and adapting to rapidly changing circumstances and situations. The curriculum also includes a liberal arts study of core courses required by Florida State University for the purpose of providing students with an understanding of the social environment and the evolution of the world in which they live along with the history and development of man. The ten semester program permits students to select an area of concentration including economics, public administration, geography, sociology, and political science. Students are required to complete 18 credits in their areas of concentration, 12 credits in a secondary concentration and 12 credits in other departments within the College of Social Sciences.
7. Michigan State University
Michigan State University, established 1855, is considered one of the leading international research universities. It has earned recognition for its superior quality degree programs, social engagement and success in research. The high ranking Michigan State University is regarded as a top public university and considered one of the top 100 universities in the world and is also recognized for their efforts in sustainability and exceptional study abroad programs. Michigan State University is a traditional institution which offers a number of its degree programs online for the students who require more flexibility in their educational programs. The degree programs offered at Michigan State University prepare graduates to become leaders in their industry equipped with the knowledge and skills to be successful in a diverse global economy and community. Michigan State University strives to facilitate and be a catalyst for positive change and advance knowledge through research and innovative, academic endeavors.
The School of Social Work within the College of Social Science at Michigan State University offers a rigorous and challenging Master of Social Work degree program as well as a series of graduate level courses in Social Work for individuals working within the field. The Master of Social Work degree can be completed on a part time basis, permitting working professionals to continue working while earning their advanced degree through online courses. The online program utilizes face to face video conferencing and online instruction. Students are offered a series of competency developing programs which advance the students skills in defining, identifying and meeting the needs of children. The programs focus on learning to communicate with children of all ages and working within a collaborative, educational setting. Students enrolled in the program will be required to complete general seminar courses such as school social workers continuing professional development seminar, social work in school settings, children with special needs and school social work assessment: integrating psychological and educational testing.
8. Bellevue University
Bellevue University, established in 1965, is a private, regionally accredited institution which offers challenging and innovative degree programs through online or traditional classroom courses. Home to more than 11,000 students and 12 locations throughout five states, Bellevue has become an award winning university and a leader in distance learning education. Bellevue University has earned the distance learning associations 21st century best practice award and ranked as one of the top 20 schools in the country in developing leaders by Leadership Excellence Magazine. The flexible degree programs can be completed on a part time or full time basis and some programs are offered at an accelerated pace. Bellevue University emphasizes active learning. Students apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom through practical application requirements and workplace projects. Bellevue University offers extensive support and resources to their students including an electronic library, educational advising and career placement assistance. Courses are taught by experienced educators through interactive online lectures.
Bellevue University offers a 127 credit Bachelor of Science in Human and Social Services administration. Students are able to complete the program at an accelerated pace; requiring the courses to be taken in a specific order. The program provides a comprehensive and challenging curriculum intended to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful leaders in the field of human and social services administration. Students develop skills in problem solving, communication, collaboration and leadership. Areas of study include finance, strategic planning, human resource management, general management and focuses on issues related to agencies which administer human services. Required courses include essential management skills for human and social services, human resource management in human and social services, managing change in a social service system, grant writing and funding for non-profit organizations, ethical and legal issues in human and social services and research methods for human and social service practitioners.