Types of Social Work Degrees
When pursuing a social work degree, consider how the type of degree and the number of required credits impacts the overall cost. Different social work degrees allow students to pursue careers in specific areas. Students may need an undergraduate or graduate degree to reach their professional goals, leaving graduate students with higher tuition costs than if they had only wanted, say, an associate degree. Fortunately, social work scholarships can help offset the price of tuition.
When pursuing a certificate or diploma in social work, students may focus on an area such as child welfare or gerontology. Courses introduce students to assessment techniques and intervention planning.
Graduates pursue careers as human resource assistants and social services assistants.
- Associate Degree
Graduates with an associate degree in social work are qualified for entry-level positions in human services. Students explore child and adult development and interventions for families.
Graduates are prepared for careers as intake assessment specialists and case management assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor’s degree requires fieldwork experience and coursework in assessment and interviewing, human behavior, and individual, family, and group intervention strategies.
Graduates pursue careers as case managers and family service workers.
- Master’s Degree
Coursework familiarizes students with social welfare policies, social work ethics, research methods, and assessment and intervention.
Graduates work in clinical and advocacy roles, including psychiatric social worker, crisis social worker, and trauma recovery social worker.
- Doctorate Degree
Students complete a dissertation and advanced coursework in social work theories, data analysis, multiculturalism, and social policies.
A doctorate in social work prepares students to become college professors, supervisors of youth services programs, and research associates.
How Much Does a Social Work Degree Cost?
The type of degree and the type of school influence the cost of a social work degree. Students who pursue a 120-credit bachelor’s degree may pay twice as much as students earning a 60-credit associate degree. Graduate degrees generally cost more per credit and may require additional expenses, such as those associated with internships. Tuition rates at private and for-profit schools are higher than those at public and nonprofit institutions. Public schools have several funding sources and can offer lower tuition rates, whereas private and for-profit schools rely heavily on tuition to operate.
Financing Your Social Work Degree
While the price of higher education continues to climb, financial aid opportunities help lower the cost of social work degrees. Among financial assistance options, social work scholarships and grants are the most desirable; they provide award money that does not require repayment. Scholarships allow students to earn their degrees affordably without the stress of loan repayment. Scholarships for social work focus on areas such as children and families, mental health, and public policy. Along with financial assistance, scholarship recipients earn recognition and distinction.
After pursuing all scholarship and grant opportunities, some students may require loans to further offset the cost of their education. Federal student loans are the best option, as they offer low fixed interest rates and do not have to be repaid while the student is in school. Private loans often have variable interest rates and should be a last resort.
Types of Scholarships
Scholarships for social work majors may be specific to the degree or based on other personal or academic interests. Academic, athletic, and creative scholarships evaluate a student’s performance to determine scholarship eligibility. These scholarships provide the most financial assistance. Other opportunities include minority, niche, community service, and leadership scholarships. Many awards combine requirements of multiple scholarships types, such as a social work scholarship that only targets minority students with leadership experience.