University Social Work Courses Available Online
Those interested in social work typically have a strong desire to help improve the lives of others and are passionate about tackling prevalent social injustices. While social work is a specialized field, the classes that these students take are found in several different academic departments. For example, students will take courses primarily within the areas of psychology and sociology, but will also explore topics within business, economics, medicine, philosophy, political science, and speech.
Students pursuing a degree in social work will learn about specific social issues plaguing our society, such as physical abuse, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, and other violations of human rights that occur. Online courses in social work provide the skills and knowledge needed to assist people struggling with one or more of these social issues. Some social work courses may include abnormal psychology, anatomy and physiology, interpersonal communication, introduction to social problems, and behavior modification. Some of the courses that are covered within the social work concentration may also be covered by degree programs concerned with counseling, ethics, education, and public health.
Before enrolling in online courses in social work, you should ensure that the program or classes you are interested in are accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation agency. The Council on Social Work Education provides a comprehensive database of accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in social work. This database ensures that students find social work degree programs and classes that will properly prepare them for a satisfying career in social work. You can also crosscheck the results from the CSWE database with the U.S. Department of Education accreditation database for schools and degree programs.
Social Work and Your Career
Students who earn a degree in social work can enter several different areas of employment. While most go on to become social workers for the state or local government, many enter research fields, advocacy programs, or policy development organizations. Also, many social workers choose to specialize in a specific population or specific work setting. You can take specialized certification courses to work with children or family issues, medical or public health issues, mental health or substance abuse issues, or to be placed directly within a school setting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment in social work is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations in U.S. between 2008 and 2018. This is partly because as the elderly population continues to grow, more and more social workers with a concentration in the field of senior citizen care will be needed.
While most people completing online courses in social work end up with careers directly related to the field in some way, the skills gained from these classes can be used in several different areas outside of social work. Students will learn aspects of interpersonal communication that can be beneficial for any position that requires working with or around other people, such as management positions, retail, and human resources. Other occupations that are related to social work and that online courses in social work can benefit include clergy, health educators, probation officers, correctional treatment specialists, and human service assistants.
Free Online Social Work Courses:
- Understanding Societies: Social Class and Inequality – University of Notre Dame OpenCoursesWare
- Health and Social Care – The Open University OpenCourseWare
- Social Psychology – MIT OpenCourseWare
- Substance Abuse and the Family – UMass Boston OpenCourseWare