You want to get an accelerated social work degree online so you can help people, right?
Social work is a profession that grew out of a need to try and correct the ills of society. If we’re honest, society needs a lot of help right now!
From working with individuals to working with organizations, social work puts you at the forefront of social change.
You could be helping people with:
- mental illness
- family issues
- child welfare
Your career could take you from an elementary school, to a hospital, to a private clinic to a government agency.
Don’t sign up for a social work program if you like boring! Because social work is a fast-moving career. Social work also has a high likelihood of employment.
Because no matter how much you want to help people, you still need to pay your bills. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 102,100 NEW jobs by 2026.
There is a desperate need for change makers. For people who are dedicated to working with those who need help.
You know that.
Nobody searches for “social work degree” unless they want to help drive change.
But is the reality of your own life holding you back?
You’ve seen the facts. A bachelor’s degree in social work can take you 4 years and cost you at least $75,000.
You can’t go after a degree in social work and end up putting your family into poverty while you attend school full time.
It’ll be okay. There is light in the world. You can get your bachelor’s degree in social work in 18-24 months and end up paying just over $31,000.
Do you see the hope?
Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs Overview
A degree in social work can prepare you to dive headfirst into your career. A bachelor’s degree is considered the starting point for a career in social work. Whether or not you decide to continue on to the master’s level, you will be set with classes like:
- Ethics in Professional Helping
- Human Behavior and the Social Environment
- Social Welfare and Policy
- Practice with Individuals and Families
- Social Work Practice with Groups
- Social Work Macro Practice
- Practice with Diverse Populations
- Chemical Dependency
- Health of the Social Work
As you can see, there is a lot of practice in social work! Most programs will also include field experience and student practicums.
Your degree in social work prepares you to hit the world running, equipped with skills to work with families, individuals, groups and diverse populations.
Careers with an Accelerated Social Work Degree
Your next move will be to decide what area of social work you want to focus on. Because the field is wide!
You can start out in case management (and stay there) with an annual salary of $44,410. Case management typically involves connecting people with the resources they need whether leaving the hospital or navigating family life.
Are you wanting to pursue more clinical social work, where you are involved in the diagnosing and treatment of mental disorders? Or become a higher level administrator? You will most likely be looking at also doing a master’s degree in social work. Followed by your salary jumping up to an average of $66,369.
|Healthcare social workers||$53,760|
|Child, family and school social workers||$43,250|
|Mental health and Substance Abuse social workers||$42,700|
|Hospital social workers||$57,650|
|Government social workers||$52,370|
|Ambulatory Healthcare social workers||$47,130|
|Individual and Family services||$39,260|
|Elementary school social worker||$58,010|
|Social and Community Service Manager||$64,680|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||$49,170|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
A degree in social work can be both a launching point for your career or the focus of your career. Famous actor Samuel L. Jackson majored in social work and worked in Los Angeles for 2 years as a social worker in the early 1970s.
Although he moved into an acting career he is still a champion for supporting the disadvantaged to pursue education, as well as civil rights and helping those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Once a social worker, always a social worker!
Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs Offer Year-Round Admissions
Are you thinking of changing the world as a social worker? Well, the first thing you can change is the idea that you need to wait until September to start your degree.
Most universities will offer variable start dates. You could sign up and start your first class this weekend. Yes it could be that fast.
Do you have children still at home? September is often the craziest time of year for families!
You don’t need to buy into that craziness by shipping yourself off to school too. Instead you can start in November. Once everybody has gotten into their bedtime and lunch routines.
Then you can throw in a little extra crazy without going over the edge. Or take off December for holiday celebrations and start in January when you just want to stay in.
Today, you are the one who decides when your school year starts. Welcome to being an adult!
Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs Online – Accelerated Classes vs. Self-Paced Classes
Not only are you in charge of when you want to start your degree but you can also choose how to complete your classes.
How you complete your classes will drastically impact how quickly you finish your degree. You don’t have to sit in class for 16 weeks to complete one class.
Your 2 options to look into for online classes are accelerated online classes or self-paced classes.
Which one appeals to you more?
Do you like to complete a class at super fast speeds but with clear expectations for when to start and when to finish? Then an accelerated online class is your best bet.
Are you more of an individual go-getter? Nothing challenges you more than your own self? You will want to look at self-paced classes. You set the pace completing classes at your own speed.
Option 1: Accelerated Online Social Work Classes
Accelerated means fast. That’s exactly what accelerated classes are about. Less time in the classroom and a quicker path to completing your degree.
The usual path for an Intro to Social Work class is 16 weeks of classroom work. But the beauty of an accelerated online class is that it goes twice as fast.
Instead of 16 weeks you could be done in 6-8 weeks. The same class material. The same assignments. But at double the speed. Which allows you to take….you guessed it! Twice as many classes in the same amount of time.
Option 2: Self-Paced Online Social Work Classes
If working independently is what drives you, you need to consider self-paced online classes. You get to decide, through your hardwork, how many classes you complete in a term. Nothing holds you back.
One option is Capella University where you can set up to pay a single fee of $2300 for a 12 week term. Once you are on board, how many classes you complete is all on you.
It could be 1 class or it could be 8 classes. 8 classes are obviously a better deal for $2300.
You could make a list of all the “easy” classes you need for your degree and tick them off over a 12 week term. Then you can focus your brain power on the classes you really need.
Types of Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs
In order to become a licensed social worker you will need to start with a Bachelor’s of Social Work. Once you have completed your degree you can apply for a license through your state’s licensing board.
Although there is only one social work degree, you can become a social worker with a degree in a different field. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in social work you will need to get your master’s in social work before you can become a licensed social worker.
Areas that your social work degree might focus on are:
- Administration, Policy and Research
- Child, Family and School
- Medical and Health
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse
- Military and Veterans
- Palliative and Hospice
Which one jumps out as you as who you would want to help?
3 Ways to Accelerate Your Social Work Degree Even More
Now that you are fired up and ready to go, don’t slow down. You can get your social work degree quicker than you think.
Theses 3 ideas are not magical but they are not well known. So try them out and spread the word. A bachelor degree does not need to take 4 years!
1. Test out of college classes (up to 1 year)
Don’t take classes when you can get the credit by taking the exam instead. Genius, right? This is a real thing.
Instead of attending a 16 week class for $2000 and suffering through lectures, assignments and exams. You can register with the College Level Examination Program to take 1 exam, usually 90 multiple choice questions for $85. If you pass with at least 50% you get full credit for that class. Most exams are worth 3-6 credits.
Don’t waste your time. Most universities will allow up to 30 credits through credit by exam. That’s a full year of classes you don’t need to take. This can work for anybody. Fresh out of high school or if you have been working for years.
2. Get college credit for your life and work experience
If you have been working for years, this one is your ticket. You can apply with your school to earn credit for prior learning.
This could be:
- a course you have taken through work
- on the job training
- volunteer or even overseas work
Any of these experiences can often be pulled together in a portfolio and submitted to your school’s advisor.
You’ve already done the work. You just need to put it together in the format your school wants. Then Voila! You can earn up to 15 credits, a full semester, for your previous learning.
3. Stay continuously enrolled with max courseload
Sometimes the secret to completing your degree quickly is just to work hard. Honest truth.
If you decide to complete your courses by taking an average courseload, you are looking at 15 credits a semester. 30 credits a year. In 4 years you will be done your degree.
But most universities will allow you to take almost double the credits in an year. You can take 18 credits a semester. You can also take classes fall, winter and summer. That gives you 3 semesters a year and 54 credits.
Transferring Your Existing College Credits
Do you have college credit from attending classes before? A degree in social work works well for transferring your existing college credit.
For the college credit to be valuable to you, you need to check that you:
- have credit from an accredited college
- earned at least a C in the class
- the class fits in with your social work degree
But here’s the clincher. Even if that previous class doesn’t fit into your social work degree, you will still want to transfer it. The credit that you already earned can be used for your elective classes. Any credit that you already have will save you both time and money in completing your degree.
Lower Tuition Costs
Tuition is the biggest expense of your degree. The quickest way to reduce your tuition is to reduce the number of classes you take.
A social work degree will still require you to earn 120 credits. You can’t change that number. If you are living in Wisconsin and wanted to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison you COULD get a degree for $41,808. A non-resident is looking at $155,128 though!
Is your only option to attend a school in state?
No matter where you attend school you can lower your tuition cost by not paying full price for classes.
Earn as many credits as you can through credit by exam and credit for prior learning. This will save you big bucks! Credit by exam gives you 3-6 credits for $85. You will not find a cheaper option.
Cost Of Social Work Degree
|Ways To Ean Credit||Number Of Credits||Total Cost|
|Attend University of Wisconsin-Madison||120|| |
Wisconsin Resident $41,808
Non-Wisconsin Resident $155,128
|Attend University of Pittsburgh||120|| |
Pennsylvania Resident $75,520
Non-Pennsylvania Resident $118,768
|Attend Liberty University||120||$46,800|
|College Level Examination Program |
Credit for Prior Learning
Remaining classes at Liberty University
Be smart! Don’t pay big money when you can get the same credit for 95% less
Social Work Degree Accreditation
Social work will often involve being familiar with policies and rules. The first rule you need to follow is to make sure your degree is from an accredited school.
Whether this accreditation is regional or national does not matter. But accreditation is what gives your degree proof of validity. You can not become a licensed social worker if your bachelor’s degree is not valid.
You can’t enter a master’s program without a valid bachelor’s degree. Don’t waste your time and money. Check to make sure your degree is accredited! These are some of the big names for accrediting U.S. social work programs.
- Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
- CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA)
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Also check out The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for more information on what it will take to become licensed in your state.
Are you ready to engage and change the world?
An online accelerated social work degree can prepare you to be an agent of change in society.
Are you sitting here, wishing there was something you could do to make the world a better place? Maybe a degree in social work could do that. Maybe you won’t save the world but you can change the life of one person at a time.
But you won’t know unless you start. If you use some or all of these ideas you don’t have to wait through 4 years of school and rack with $40-120,000 in student debt.
18 months is all it could take to have you at the forefront of working for social change. The world needs good people to make a difference. Will you be that person?