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The 15 Best International Social Work Degree Programs

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Social workers interested in broadening career opportunities beyond U.S. borders accomplish their goal within accredited MSW programs for international social work. Not all social workers utilize their problem-solving skills to protect communities from social injustices globally so the international social degree workers offer specialized skills to a variety of people within distinct aspects of society. International social workers play pivotal parts in addressing these issues along with natural disasters, sex trafficking, slavery, violence, and racial inequality. Studying from a global perspective positions graduates for opportunities with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the International Justice Mission and World Health Organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for social workers will spike faster-than-average by 12 percent through 2024. Additionally, according to recent data collected via UNICEF, 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty and 750 million people lack adequate drinking water.

This means the world needs international social work degree graduates more than ever before. Therefore, we’ve put together the 15 Best International Social Work Degree Programs based in the United States with strong foreign components. We began by searching the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) accreditation directory. We selected “International” for the concentration to filter the 793 total schools down to 21. Next, we consulted the U.S. News and World Report to determine which MSW programs were ranked nationally. We double checked each degree’s website to ensure specialization pathways were available for fieldwork and internships abroad. Other factors we considered in our ordering were curriculum length, class size, graduation rate, academic rigor, faculty credentials, and research opportunity.

And the results are here with our selections of the 15 Best International Social Work Degree Programs:

1. University of Chicago

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Founded by the American Baptist Education Society in 1890, the University of Chicago is a private, co-educational RU/VH institution with over 15,700 Maroons studying in Hyde Park and abroad. The U.S. News ranked UChicago the third best university with the country’s third best social work education. Within the CSWE-accredited School of Social Service Administration, the AM program offers an International Social Welfare sequence. The two-year, full-time program features a study abroad requirement at 600+ partner agencies, such as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. There’s also a Global Health Certificate available.

Tuition: $15,321 per quarter

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Chicago here.

2. Columbia University

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Affiliated with 100 Nobel laureates like Theodore Roosevelt, Columbia University belongs to the Ivy League as a private, non-sectarian RU/VH institution with 27,900 Lions in Upper Manhattan. According to the USNWR, Columbia is America’s fifth top college with the sixth best MSW program. Master of Social Work students choose from seven CSWE-accredited practice options, including International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees. The 60-credit curriculum can be completed face-to-face in 16 months, two years, or four years. The 1,200 fieldwork hours are fulfilled with top-notch agencies, including United Nations.

Tuition: $43,432 per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Columbia University here.

3. Washington University in St. Louis

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Acclaimed for the Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis is a private, nonprofit RU/VH institution near Forest Park that’s educating over 14,800 Bears. The U.S. News ranked WashU as the 19th top university with the second best social work degrees. Holding CSWE accreditation, the Brown School of Social Work confers a MSW concentration in International Social and Economic Development (SED). For global context, 960 fieldwork hours are completed abroad from Ecuador to Tanzania. The two-year, 60-credit degree could be partnered with the Master of Urban Design too.

Tuition: $19,984 per semester

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs here.

4. University of Michigan

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Attracting over 44,700 Wolverines from 100+ countries, the University of Michigan is a public, space-grant AAU member endowed for $9.7 billion in Ann Arbor near the Ontario border. UMich stands as America’s 27th best college with the #1 social work programs according to the U.S. News. Meeting CSWE guidelines, the 60-credit MSW grants a Global Social Work specialization for Regular and Advanced Standing. International field placements are arranged by Madras Christian College in India, the University of Hong Kong, and more. There’s also a 27-month Peace Corps Master’s International MSW offered.

Tuition: $50,873 per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Michigan here.

5. Boston College

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Participating in the 568 Group, Boston College is a prestigious private, Catholic RU/VH institution rooted in Jesuit values to educate over 14,100 Eagles from Chestnut Hill. The U.S. News crowned Boston College the 31st best university with the 10th top MSW program nationwide. Clinical and Macro cohorts for the Master of Social Work can pursue a Global Practice Concentration. The 60-credit curriculum confronts international social issues with a study abroad semester in South America, Europe, or Africa. Spanish speakers may join the Latino Leadership Initiative, which was deemed a “Model Program” by the CSWE.

Tuition: $1,138 per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Boston College here.

6. Tulane University

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Established by the Medical College of Louisiana in 1834, Tulane University is a private, non-sectarian ORAU member located in New Orleans to educate over 13,400 Green Wave. The U.S. News distinguished Tulane as America’s 39th top college with the 32nd best social work education. The Master’s Degree in Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited, “clinical-community” approach with an optional Global Disaster Mental Health certificate. Finishing the problem-based, 60-credit curriculum includes 990 fieldwork hours, which can be completed abroad from Haifa to Sydney. Some pair the MSW with a Master of Public Health for 89 credits.

Tuition: $15,696 per semester

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Tulane University here.

7. University of Connecticut

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Occupying 4,400 rural acres in Storrs, the University of Connecticut is a “Public Ivy,” sea-grant RU/VH institution endowed for $377.2 million to enroll over 32,000 Huskies. UConn sits as America’s 60th best university with the 47th best graduate social work programs according to the USNWR. The CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work offers seven focused study areas, including International Issues in Social Work. Completing the methods-based, 60-credit degree involves two 560-hour practica from Guatemala to India. The Global Affairs Department also offers the Armenia Social Work Project.

Tuition: $12,202 (in-state) or $31,674 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Connecticut here.

8. University of Denver

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Formerly the Colorado Seminary until 1880, the University of Denver is the Rockies’ oldest private, non-sectarian RU/H institution in “Mile-High City” with over 11,700 Pioneers. The U.S. News placed DU as the 86th best university with the 17th top MSW program nationally. With CSWE approval, the Two-Year Master of Social Work awards a Sustainable Development & Global Practice concentration. At least 15 credits in the 90-credit (60-credit Advanced Standing) program are devoted to internships with organizations like Educo Africa. Students can also conduct unique research with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection.

Tuition: $47,520 per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Denver here.

9. University of South Carolina

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Endowed for $655.4 million, the University of South Carolina is a flagship public, sea-grant SECU member that’s educating over 49,200 Gamecocks in Columbia and abroad. According to the U.S. News, USC is America’s 107th top university with the 47th best social work education. The CSWE-accredited College of Social Work confers a 60-credit MSW based in Seoul, Korea, with Sungkyunkwan University for international experience. Students can still join the Phi Alpha Honor Society, complete 900+ fieldwork hours in countries like Thailand, and take LMSW licensure preparation workshops.

Tuition: $533 (in-state) or $1,142 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of South Carolina here.

10. University of Utah

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Classified as a “selective” public, space-grant RU/VH institution, the University of Utah confers 190+ degrees for 31,500 Utes studying in Salt Lake City and around the globe. The U.S. News ranked Utah the 111th best university with the 53rd best social work school nationally. Within the two-year, CSWE-accredited MSW, there’s a Global Social Work Concentration focused on international well-being. Students can complete their 1,050 practicum hours abroad, contribute to the Center for Research on Migration & Refugee Integration, and join the Voices of Diversity (VOD) Project.

Tuition: $4,091 (in-state) or $11,663 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Utah here.

11. Andrews University

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Following the motto “Body, Mind, Spirit,” Andrews University is the oldest private, Seventh-day Adventist higher learning institution with over 3,300 Cardinals in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Andrews as the 183rd best university with the 198th best social work degrees nationwide. The School of Graduate Studies confers a MSW with an International Social Work emphasis. Students with a bachelor’s from CSWE-accredited schools cut the 56-credit curriculum to 33 credits. Portfolios are developed with 600+ fieldwork hours, including through Adventist Colleges Abroad from Sao Paulo to Hong Kong.

Tuition: $1,047 per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Andrews University here.

12. University of Texas – El Paso

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Across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the University of Texas-El Paso is a public, Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) founded in 1914 that’s grown to over 23,300 Miners. The U.S. News placed the University of Texas – El Paso in the second tier with America’s 123rd best social work degrees. The bicultural community fosters a CSWE-accredited MSW program concentrated for “Social Work in the Border Region.” Aspiring international social workers complete 60 credits full-time or part-time with 960 fieldwork hours unless Advanced Standing is achieved. Electives in Chicano Studies could be added.

Tuition: $6,933 (in-state) or $16,441 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Texas – El Paso here.

13. Monmouth University

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Belonging to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), Monmouth University is a private, co-educational teaching institution enrolling over 6,300 Hawks with a 14:1 student-faculty ratio in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Monmouth is ranked the North’s 38th best college with the 64th best MSW degree nationwide by the USNWR. Master of Social Work students can customize the 60-credit, full- or part-time curriculum with the International Community Development Concentration. Global-centric courses are supplemented with two 10-week internships abroad in Bangladesh, Chile, Italy, and more. Volunteers could also join the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows Program.

Tuition: $1,098 per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Monmouth University here.

14. CUNY Hunter College

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Based on Manhattan’s famed Park Avenue, Hunter College is the CUNY system’s second-oldest public, co-educational institution educating over 21,200 Hawks from 150 countries. The U.S. News placed Hunter as the North’s 42nd best school and 11th top public college. With CSWE accreditation, the Silberman School of Social Work awards an MSW for five practice specialties, including Global Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees. The 60-credit Regular and 36-credit Advanced Standing curricula integrate at least 600 fieldwork hours from New York City to Ethiopia. Students could obtain the $1,500 Harold Lewis Scholarship too.

Tuition: $6,720 per semester

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at CUNY Hunter College here.

15. California State University – San Bernardino

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Opened in 1960, California State University-San Bernardino is a public, space-grant institution endowed for $23.3 million that’s educating over 20,000 Coyotes within the Inland Empire. The U.S. News applauded CSUSB as the West’s 61st best college with America’s 141st best MSW. Within an “Advanced Generalist” framework, the CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work offers 10 field practice emphases, including International Social Work. The 60-credit curriculum can be completed in two or three years via the off-campus Pathway Program. At least 1,080 fieldwork hours are accumulated from Jamaica to Australia.

Tuition: $6,738 (in-state) or $15,666 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs here.

Related Links:

International Social Work Careers: An Overview

The 10 Best International Social Work Job Opportunities

What Is Child Welfare Social Work?

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Social work is a diverse helping profession full of individuals seeking to enhance the lives of the vulnerable and neglected. Children are particularly defenseless in avoiding negative living situations without an adult advocate. That’s why child welfare social work has been an important and growing niche since the Child Welfare and Adoption Assistance Act of 1980 was passed. According to the NASW, 8 percent of their 90,000 members identify child welfare as their primary specialty. These child welfare social workers devote themselves to protecting children from harm. Practicing child welfare requires doing one’s best to build safe, loving environments with responsible parents for optimal child well-being. Determine if your skills are suited for child welfare social work by reviewing the following job profile.

Goals of Child Welfare Services

Annually, over 3.6 million referrals are made to child welfare agencies in the United States for abuse and neglect. One out of every 30 youth (nearly 2.5 million) are living homeless in shelters or on the streets. More than 415,000 children are in the foster care system for an average of 19.5 months. Child welfare social work focuses on assessing children’s living conditions and these problems to find resolutions for their best interests. Social workers in child welfare strive to provide actionable advice and resources for parents and guardians to positively improve kids’ safety. Every effort is made to ensure children’s physical and emotional well-being. Child welfare sometimes involves removing youth from dysfunctional, dangerous families and re-establishing better adult relationships.

What Child Welfare Social Workers Do

Child welfare social workers are responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and maltreatment to locate children with poor living conditions. They look for warning signs when interviewing guardians, teachers, and school psychologists and inspecting the child’s home. For youth at low risk, social workers will work closely with the family to remedy problems with a detailed intervention plan. For example, the child welfare social worker may refer a struggling single parent to government assistance programs. They’ll continue making periodic home visits to ascertain whether progress is occurring. Efforts are made to keep children with their natural parents, but social workers may file for protective custody in high-risk situations. Child welfare social workers then help place youth in foster care and sometimes coordinate adoptions.

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Career Opportunities in Child Welfare

Making a difference on the front lines of child welfare is possible in several different social work roles. Child protective specialists will primarily respond to mandated reports of child abuse and neglect. Juvenile counselors protect the well-being of youth in custody of the family or criminal court system. Foster care specialists offer day-to-day direction for individuals who’ve volunteered as foster parents. Family case managers will oversee the entire process of successfully placing children in healthy, happy homes. Child abuse prevention specialists work to protect kids by giving positive parenting workshops to at-risk families. Social service assistants also help guardians connect to resources, such as food stamps and drug rehab.

Child Welfare Social Work Job Prospects

Child welfare social work jobs are often based in county, state, or federal government agencies like the Children’s Bureau . You could also search at nonprofit family service organizations, schools, group homes, adoption agencies, and even churches. New child welfare social workers are needed to intervene when children are living in deplorable situations, but budgets are tight. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts hiring will increase by 6 percent through 2024, which will spark 19,000 positions nationwide. The 294,080 child and family social workers already employed report a mean annual wage of $46,610, or $22.41 per hour. California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Michigan have the highest employment level.

Training Requirements for Child Welfare Positions

Becoming a child welfare social worker will mandate holding at least a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or similar bachelor’s degree, such as psychology or sociology. Programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education have earned the acclaim of employers. Participating in specializing training like the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program is suggested. An appropriate balance of coursework and field practicum is essential to fulfill initial LBSW qualifications. Many child welfare agencies are giving preference to social workers holding a Master of Social Work (MSW) though. This graduate training will satisfy states’ licensing requirements for becoming a LMSW for advancement. Clinical licensure also includes two years of post-master’s supervised experience.

The U.S. News and World Report recognized child welfare social work as the #8 best social services job, but there are pros and cons. The in-demand specialty allows altruistic individuals to alleviate children’s suffering and develop secure living environments where their needs are met. However, child welfare social workers work long hours juggling several emotionally draining cases for below-average pay. Child welfare social work is truly a vocational calling for perceptive professionals with good judgment, strong communication skills, complex problem-solving ability, and hefty doses of compassion. If this service-oriented career path fits your passions, consider applying to CSWE-accredited programs for child welfare social work.

Related Links

The Top 15 MSW Programs For Child Welfare Careers

Top 15 MSW Programs For Child Welfare Careers

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Attending graduate school for a MSW is an excellent way for practitioners to advance into child welfare social work. The child welfare specialty is focused on protecting our nation’s youngest citizens from abuse, neglect, homelessness, and other deplorable conditions. Child welfare specialists often work for the government or nonprofit organizations to place children in the best possible living environment for health and happiness. Now’s an excellent time to consider child welfare careers because prospects are bright with faster-than-average growth of 12 percent through 2024. According to PayScale, median salaries for child welfare services range from $35,836 to $61,042.

We’ve meticulously researched the Top 15 MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers. We used the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) directory to narrow down the 90 accredited programs in the United States with Children, Youth and Families concentrations. Next, we consulted with the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for top graduate schools in social work. We looked for universities appearing on both resources for high-quality child welfare preparation. Each program had to fulfill LMSW and/or LCSW licensing requirements with extensive fieldwork in youth-related settings. Other important factors were specialized electives, financial aid, exam pass rates, class size, curriculum flexibility, and faculty credentials. That said, here are our selections for the Top 15 MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers:

1. University of Michigan

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Established as the Catholepistemiad in 1817, the University of Michigan occupies 3,177 acres in Ann Arbor on the Huron River to educate over 44,700 scholars as a premier public, sea-grant AAU member with “very high research activity.” The Institute of International Education ranked UMich fifth nationally for students studying abroad. Within the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work, Wolverines earn America’s #1 MSW according to the U.S. News and World Report. The 60-credit degree offers a practice concentration for Children and Youth in Families and Society. The 16-month or 12-month Advanced Standing track can be supplemented with a Certificate in Child Welfare. Students could also serve in the SSW Peace Corps.

Tuition: $25,756 (in-state) or $41,272 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Michigan’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careeers here.

2. Washington University in St. Louis

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Attracting over 14,800 learners from 120 countries, Washington University in St. Louis is named for the United States’ first President as a private, nonprofit RU/VH institution on 346 urban acres off Forest Park Parkway in Missouri’s second-largest city. The Wall Street Journal honored Washington University in St. Louis as the 11th Best National University. The Brown School of Social Work stands out for America’s second best MSW on the U.S. News. Eight MSW concentrations are available, including Children, Youth and Families. Child welfare education in the two-year, 60-credit curriculum holds CSWE accreditation. Students benefit from over 300 practicum sites, research experience in the Kathryn M. Buden Center, and the Urban Education Initiative (UEI).

Tuition: $19,786 per semester

Learn more about Washington University in St. Louis’ MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

3. University of California – Berkeley

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Founded from the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in 1868, the University of California-Berkeley is the Golden State’s flagship public, land-grant RU/VH institution with 38,200 Bears on its 1,232 urban acres in Alameda County. The Obama Scorecard Colleges report placed UC-Berkeley #1 for value and affordability. The CSWE-accredited Master of Social Welfare is also ranked third by the U.S. News. MSW students can declare the Direct Practice in Child and Family Services concentration through the Title IV-E Child Welfare program. The full-time, two-year program spans 54 units, including 400 first-year and 720 second-year fieldwork hours. Aspiring LCSWs choose from over 350 placements across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tuition: $11,113 (in-state) or $17,235 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of California – Berkeley’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

4. University of Chicago

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Historically tied to the American Baptist Education Society, the University of Chicago is a private, non-denominational research institution founded in 1890 that’s educating 15,700 Maroons from 217 urban acres in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Forbes magazine graded UChicago A+ for America’s 22nd most grateful graduates. The School of Social Service Administration’s Master of Arts also tied for #3 nationally by the U.S. News. This two-year, CSWE-accredited program offers a self-designed sequence in Family and Child Welfare. Students complete 1,120 fieldwork hours working directly with vulnerable youth. The SSA also offers study abroad trips to Mumbai, a Contextual Behavior Therapy Fellowship, and teaching assistantships in the Pozen Family Center.

Tuition: $15,321 per quarter

Learn more about the University of Chicago’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

5. Columbia University

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Affiliated with over 100 Nobel laureates, Columbia University is a prestigious, private Ivy League member operating since 1754 from a 299-acre urban campus in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood. The Princeton Review placed Columbia 12th nationally for “Great Financial Aid.” According to the U.S. News, the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work also provides the sixth best MSW. Master’s students can customize the 60-credit curriculum and its 1,200 practicum hours in seven fields, including Family, Youth, & Children’s Services. Columbia produces licensed clinical social workers as “agents of change” with 16-month, two-year, Advanced Standing, and Reduced Residency tracks. Dual MSW degrees also exist with the Bank Street College of Education.

Tuition: $1,446 per credit

Learn more about Columbia University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

6. Case Western Reserve University

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Described as “Cleveland’s Big-Leaguer,” Case Western Reserve University is a private, doctoral RU/VH research institution endowed for $1.76 billion to educate over 10,200 Spartans from 155 urban acres in northeastern Ohio. According to Washington Monthly, CWRU ranks 12th nationally for contribution to the public good. The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandal School of Applied Social Sciences also houses America’s ninth best social work preparation. The CSWE-accredited MSSA has produced 7,800 practitioners in seven concentrations, including Children, Youth and Families. Students can follow the 60-credit curriculum’s Daytime, Advanced Standing, or Intensive Weekend format. At least 900 field practicum hours are collected with paid stipends. Graduates could continue for CWRU’s Ph.D. in Social Welfare.

Tuition: $21,285 per semester

Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

7. Boston College

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Devoted to Jesuit values, Boston College is a private, nonprofit RU/VH research powerhouse educating over 14,100 students, including 21 Fulbright Scholars, on a $2.2 billion endowment from 332 suburban acres in Chestnut Hill. With A+ academics, BC was named America’s #4 “Best Catholic College” on Niche. The U.S. News distinguished the School of Social Work for awarding the 10th best MSW nationwide. Clinical MSW students can declare a CSWE-accredited concentration in Children, Youth & Families and finish the Child Welfare Certificate. The 60-credit, evidence-based curriculum includes three days of applied fieldwork each week. Social workers may participate in BC’s famed Latino Leadership Initiative for cultural awareness and Spanish fluency.

Tuition: $1,138 per credit

Learn more about Boston College’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

8. University of Pittsburgh

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Surrounding the Cathedral of Learning with a 132-acre urban campus in the Oakland neighborhood, the University of Pittsburgh is a public, PASSHE research institution tracing back to 1787 that’s enrolling over 28,600 Panthers. Forbes magazine crowned Pittsburgh as America’s 160th best value college. According to the USNWR, Pitt’s Master of Social Work ties for 10th place nationally too. Graduates can pursue the MSW in Children, Youth and Families while participating in the Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL) project. The CSWE-accredited curriculum includes 42 class credits and 18 field credits at placements like Pennsylvania DHS. Act 31 Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training is included online.

Tuition: $17,688 (in-state) or $28,828 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Pittsburgh’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

9. University of Pennsylvania

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As a private, nonprofit Ivy Leaguer established by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania enrolls 24,800 students and employs 4,650 faculty on its 1,094-acre urban campus in Philadelphia’s University City district. The Princeton Review placed UPenn 17th for “Colleges That Pay You Back.” Maintaining CSWE accreditation, the School of Social Policy & Practice has the 10th best MSW according to the U.S. News. Full-time cohorts complete 16 units and two field internships over four semesters. Practicum placements include Montgomery County Youth Center and Berks County CYS. For individualized learning, there’s a Child Well-Being and Child Welfare Specialization. Students working at Pennsylvania child welfare agencies could earn CWEL stipends.

Tuition: $46,532 per year

Learn more about the University of Pennsylvania’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

10. University of Southern California

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Endowed for $4.6 billion, the University of Southern California is a private, RU/VH institution holding sea-grant and space-grant status to educate 42,400 Trojans from 308 urban acres in Los Angeles. Graded A+, USC was deemed the #1 “College with the Best Student Life” on Niche. The U.S. News also applauded the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work for America’s 12th top MSW. This CSWE-accredited program offers a Children, Youth and Families specialization with a Public Child Welfare option. Over two to four years, the 60-credit curriculum will integrate at least 1,000 field internship hours. Graduates can earn the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) for working in California schools.

Tuition: $1,733 per unit

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

11. University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Labeled a “Public Ivy,” the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a flagship land-grant and sea-grant research hub with enrollment surpassing 43,300 and expenditures over $1.1 billion upon its 936-acre urban campus just 122 miles northwest of Chicago. On Forbes, UW-Madison stands as America’s 10th best public university. The U.S. News also recognizes the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work as tying for the 12th best MSW. After the Generalist Practice year, students select from four emphases, including Child, Youth and Family Welfare. Those already holding a BSW can immediately begin the advanced specialization. Both the Madison and Eau Claire campuses host the Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Training.

Tuition: $11,942 (in-state) or $25,269 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

12. Ohio State University

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Based on 1,765 urban acres in Columbus with extensions from Marion to Wooster, The Ohio State University is a prestigious public, land-grant and space-grant AAU member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance with over 101,200 total Buckeyes. On Niche, Ohio State is recognized for America’s 14th “Best College Campus.” The College of Social Work was ranked 17th nationally for its CSWE-accredited MSW by the U.S. News. Within the 63-credit curriculum, full- or part-time students can declare the Child and Youth Services Specialization. Future child welfare specialists fulfill LMSW requirements with at least 912 fieldwork hours. Advanced Standing students could even pursue the Online MSW asynchronously.

Tuition: $449 (in-state) or $1,088 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Ohio State University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

13. University of Denver

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Belonging to the NAICU, the University of Denver is a private, co-educational institution carrying a $607 million endowment to serve around 11,700 Pioneers upon a 125-acre urban campus in the Rocky Mountains’ foothills. The Princeton Review honored DU as America’s 19th “Best Impact School.” The Graduate School of Social Work is also acclaimed for the nation’s 17th best Master of Social Work. Holding CSWE approval, the two-year, 90-quarter credit MSW offers concentrations for Child Welfare or Children & Youth: Risks and Healthy Development. Students attend classes on Thursdays and Fridays while completing 16 hours of fieldwork weekly. Since 2002, the Four Corners MSW has been delivered via ITV too.

Tuition: $45,288 per year

Learn more about the University of Denver’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

14. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

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With 94 percent retention, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign educates over 44,000 Fighting Illini as a public, land-grant and sea-grant RU/VH institution with a vast 4,552-acre urban campus just 124 miles west of Indianapolis. The Times Higher Education picked UIUC seventh among American public schools. According to the U.S. News, the CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work is also tied for 17th best nationally. Advanced Clinical students may customize the 12-course curriculum with the Children, Youth, and Family Studies Concentration. Two consecutive semesters of field internship are included for 930 hours minimum. Students with a minimum 3.0 GPA could add the Illinois Professional Educator Licensure (PEL).

Tuition: $13,266 (in-state) or $28,664 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Illinois at Urbana’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

15. Rutgers University

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Named after Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers in 1766, Rutgers University is a public, multi-site RU/VH research institution approved by the New Jersey Legislature to educate over 67,000 Scarlet Knights in New Brunswick and beyond. Money magazine included Rutgers within the “20 Public Colleges Most Likely to Pay Off Financially.” The U.S. also distinguished the School of Social Work for the 22nd top MSW countrywide. Holding CSWE approval, the traditional, on-campus program offers emphasis in Children, Youth and Families. Along with 1,125 field hours, the 60-credit curriculum includes courses like child welfare and human diversity. Rutgers also has a Violence Against Women and Children Certificate.

Tuition: $689 (in-state) or $1,172 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Rutgers University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

Social Worker Spotlight: Interviews

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Social work is an incredibly diverse occupation, but a rewarding one. The field is wide open: the National Association of Social Workers breaks down the profession into two distinct categories, direct service and clinical or “licensed” social worker. Within these two areas of practice, there are positions that target specific populations. For example, beginning social workers might focus their training on working with the elderly (gerontological social workers), while others may specialize in child welfare or in drug and alcohol addictions.

As a social worker, your clients will likely be either individuals, families or small groups, helping them deal with problems like poverty, abuse, addiction, and mental illness through counseling, connecting clients with service providers, and empowering clients to meet their own needs.

Education: The minimum educational requirement for starting a career is usually a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Entry-level positions may also accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, or other related fields.

Undergraduate Social Work Education: States require that social workers hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a school approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Graduate Social Work Education: States often require that social workers obtain a Masters in Social Work or a relevant doctoral degree before applying for advanced social work licensure.

Salaries and job prospects: According to the latest figures posted by payscale.com (2015), the average salary of a social worker is $43,209. The pay range, according to the same site, is about $30,000 to $62,000.
The job growth outlook as projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is “faster than average.” The BLS projects more than 74,000 jobs will be created by 2024, a worker increase of 12%.

Life as a social worker: We asked three social workers to talk about the relevance of their educational choices and to share some of their on-the-job experiences. Their responses were as follows:

Interviewee #1

Age: 43
Gender: Female
Location: Rural Upstate New York County, Public Health, Upstate N.Y.
Job Title: Service coordinator for children, 0-3 years of age

Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in human services, and a concentration in disability studies. While in the human services program, I considered switching to teaching midway because of boredom. As I got into my junior year, things in the major program began to get more interesting so I stayed put.

What is your current position at work?
I work with families with children, from birth to 3 years of age. We provide family-based and (centered) services. Much of the work has to do with service coordination (for early intervention), which comprises overseeing all therapies that a child has. It also entails finding providers to offer the services and being able to find new providers when original ones move on or need to be discontinued.

The work I do requires a ton of paperwork and constant note taking. It involves being able to work with many different agency personnel throughout a child’s time within the program. And although it’s a voluntary program, a service coordinator really needs to be able to “sell” it to a family.

Why did you choose this profession? Why did you get into social work?
I chose this work because I am drawn to situations that involve people who were experiencing inequality, especially financial. And I have a varied background with working with people with disabilities.

Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
In general, my education was a good fit for my personality. I graduated with a basic degree, with not much specialization. My current role at work is a pretty good fit for my personality in that I care about what I do, the people I work with, and the overall outcomes that families achieve within this program. The job has a purpose.

My education did not prepare me for this job at all. Maybe it did in that I knew all programs have a process to go through in order to get what you want out of it. I came prepared by holding many other jobs in the field of disability services and I just seemed to be able to get along well with families. There are exceptions, of course.

What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
One of my strengths is I am very organized. If I wasn’t so well organized, I would have been asked to leave this job long ago. It is a program with constant deadlines. For example, you might have 2 days to act on a new referral, a 45 days limit to having therapy in place for a child, 30 days for a provider to start actual services, 6 and 12 month updates, referral to preschool by 2 years-8 months, and a transition plan for child by the day they are 3 years old. It’s a lot of counting down from the start of a new referral. The job involves data collection and statistics. If I were not so tenacious, I would let the ball drop all the time and that would not work for this kind of job. I am in the position of having to hound providers, (some) parents and school districts to do what they are supposed to do, all the time.

What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt were challenges you had to overcome in order to do successful social work?
Here are the weak points of my personality that present a challenge to me in this job: I am temperamental. I get impatient very easily, especially with other agency personnel that I have to work with, who do not care about the job as much as I do. I also take things too personally, in this job and in life.

Interviewee: #2

Age: 26
Gender: Female
Location: New York
Job Title: Social worker at children/family services

Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
I have a bachelor’s degree in social work and am currently in school working on my masters in social work. Besides that, I have had about three years of trainings for my current job.

What is your current position at work?
Preventive services caseworker in a specialized unit, specifically working with children who have been sexually abused.

Why did you choose this profession?
I find the dynamics of families very interesting. Working with law enforcement and other service providers for the better of the people we serve is rewarding. Children need people to support them against all odds.

Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
No question, yes. And I strive to learn more each day. The more education I have, the more knowledgeable and suited I am to help and support the families and children I work with.

Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
My current position is incredibly challenging; it takes a lot of dedication and resilience to maintain this position for a long period of time. So the answer is, yes.

What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
Being strength-based, sometimes, when I’m surrounded by a lot of negativity and systems that don’t always work well together it can be easy to succumb to that negativity. But I maintain, and help others to see strength in each individual I work with.

Two of my other strengths are transparency and communication. Even when I have hard-hitting conversations, or have faced serious challenges and unsafe behavior, such as when I have to take families into court, I have those conversations very openly with the families. It can be a real challenge when they are angry and yelling at you, kicking you out of their house, but in the end they will be thankful that you were able to do that.

What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt were challenges you had to overcome in order to do successful social work?
One of the challenges I have is when there is a system failure. What I mean is, when things are running smoothly, there are a number of systems working well together—judicial, law enforcement, mental health, social services, and other service providers. But too often they don’t work together for the better of a child because everyone has different views about what is best. This can lead to a situation that fails a child and his or her family, and puts barriers in place of their success. As a social worker you do the best you can with what you’ve got and never stop trying. Also, sometimes individuals are their own worst enemies and that puts a barrier on service providers being able to help them.

Interviewee #3

Age: 62
Gender: Male
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
Job Title: Intake caseworker

Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in philosophy; 21 hours (of 30) towards Master’s Degree in English literature. I also took a number of sociology and psychology courses.

What is your current position at work?
Intake Caseworker. This is a position in Child Protective Services that requires the worker to respond to calls that come into the agency about children being abused or neglected.

Why did you choose this profession? Why did you get into social work?
I thought helping others was worthwhile endeavor and that the more fortunate in society had an obligation to try to assist the less fortunate.

Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
It was. Studying works of someone like Shakespeare lent itself well to understanding the human condition. That was one of my personal interests.

Do you feel like your role at work was a good fit for your personality?
Yes. I would say my personality or interest in “people work” rather than seeking monetary success is a good match for this particular work. The job requires sensitivity, understanding, communication skills, investigative initiative, the ability to make decisions that seriously impact lives and an open mind. It also requires being able to maintain some distance from becoming too entangled in every client’s problems as this is a sure way to be ineffective and to experience the so-called “burnout” that ends many a social work career.

What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
As an introverted but feeling type personality I am able to see past the immediate crises in people’s lives and possible ways to ease their current situations and movement to a more ideal life-path.

What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt were challenges you had to overcome in order to do successful social work?
The workplace necessarily has many rules, guidelines, directives and policies that sometimes clash with the immediate and often significant needs of the people it is trying to serve. The paperwork burden, despite technology advances and the constant requirement to justify each thing done by a frontline worker (sometimes for political reasons) is also a distracting and never-ending challenge. School presented more theory than hands-on which was not necessarily a weakness as one should learn from those who went before, but there is little as valuable as listening to an experienced worker who has the ability to communicate and teach from what they have personally learned in the field.

Related Links:

Becoming A Social Worker
Looking For Leaders: The Crisis In Social Work
The History of Social Work

15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

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Entering the rewarding social work profession is virtually impossible without holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Meeting state licensing requirements doesn’t necessarily require living on a college campus though. Although they’re fairly sparse, online colleges do offer Bachelor of Social Work programs for non-traditional students needing flexibility. Investing in an Online BSW will sharpen your advocacy skills to improve the lives of underprivileged people. The degree can facilitate entry into the U.S. News and World Report’s #8 Best Social Services Job at a time when job growth is pushing 12 percent. Social work graduates receive above-average satisfaction and a median annual salary of $46,610. For this article, we’ve done the homework to pinpoint the 15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs.

Our methodology behind this list began by reviewing the 524 programs nationwide holding baccalaureate approval from the Council on Social Work Education. Our results were narrowed based on the availability of online learning. Each prospective BSW had to be predominantly online with limited campus meetings, excluding field practicum. Next, we organized the list according to well-respected online publications like Forbes and the U.S. News. Other vital factors were affordability, student engagement, job placement, Web technology, retention, faculty strength, cohort size, and specializations. All of this combined led to the following list of The 15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs:

1. University of Utah

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Classified as a flagship public, doctoral space-grant institution with RU/VH research status, the University of Utah serves a mammoth student population over 31,500 in Salt Lake City and online. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Utah is America’s 111th Best National University and 51st Top Public School. Holding CSWE accreditation, the College of Social Work confers its Bachelor of Social Work asynchronously online. Interactive group projects and discussion threads nurture students’ ability to support marginalized communities, especially in rural Utah. The 51-credit major culminates with a field internship. BSW students could add the Online Gerontology Certificate.

Online Tuition: $3,841 (in-state) or $10,817 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the University of Utah’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

2. University of North Dakota

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Endowed for $230.5 million, the University of North Dakota is a public, space-grant research powerhouse enrolling more than 14,900 students on its physical campus in Grand Forks and online. The University of North Dakota was crowned the 202nd Best University and 110th Top Public College nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. Every August, cohorts are admitted into the CSWE-accredited Bachelor’s in Social Work program with guaranteed in-state tuition. The two-year degree completion program engages transfers in live Web classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening. BSSW students transform into “change agents” with one 450-hour placement in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, or Manitoba.

Online Tuition: $339 per credit

Learn more about the University of North Dakota’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

3. University of Alaska – Fairbanks

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Overlooking the Chena River Valley from Interior Alaska’s largest city, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public, sun-grant research institution endowed for $143 million to educate over 10,200 learners on-campus and online. The U.S. News and World Report tied the University of Alaska – Fairbanks as America’s 202nd Best University and 110th Best Public School. Within the CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work, the B.A. in Social Work serves rural Alaskans committed to human rights. Courses are primarily conducted online with one three-day conference each semester. The 120-credit program includes at least 400 practicum hours in social service agencies.

Online Tuition: $192 (100-200 Level) and $232 (300-400 Level) per credit

Learn more about the University of Alaska – Fairbanks’ CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

4. Brandman University

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Established in 1958, Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution serving over 11,000 working adults yearly from Irvine, California, 26 extension centers, and online. Selected for the Leadership 500 Excellence Award twice, Brandman has America’s 47th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees according to the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Arts & Sciences meets CSWE standards for the Online Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. The 48-credit major offers electives from domestic violence to military social work and drug addiction treatment. After the 400 practice hours, graduates qualify for BASW-level state licensing and MSW Advanced Standing.

Online Tuition: $500 per credit ($250 for active-duty military)

Learn more about Brandman University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

5. Wayne State University

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Located in Midtown Detroit since 1868, Wayne State University is Michigan’s third-largest public, research institution with a $313 million endowment and over 27,200 students. Named the nation’s 202nd Best Public College on Forbes, Wayne State University is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for the 79th Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees. One such offering is the BSW Where Online Works! program. This upper-division, CSWE-accredited degree admits transfers with 60+ credits who are committed to alleviating social strife. Seniors complete a full-time practicum in their final semester. A Certificate in Addiction, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies is also available.

Online Tuition: $360 (in-state) or $825 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Wayne State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

6. Huntington University

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Affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is a private, nonprofit CCCU member educating over 1,260 students in “Lime City” and online. Declared America’s 85th Best Christian College on Niche, Huntington is the Midwest’s 11th Top Value according to the U.S. News and World Report. Boasting a 100 percent placement rate, the Online Bachelor’s in Social Work program maintains CSWE accreditation. Huntington students are trained as entry-level generalists for licensure in 50 states from a 120-credit curriculum. Over 600 practice hours are accumulated with placements like YWCA Domestic Violence and Lutheran Hospital.

Online Tuition: $375 per credit ($100 technology fee each semester)

Learn more about Huntington University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

7. Northwestern State University

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Belonging to the University of Louisiana system, Northwestern State University enrolls over 9,100 students from its rural headquarters in Natchitoches, Shreveport, Alexandria, Leesville, and online. Ranked #4 nationally by Affordable Online Colleges, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for the 143rd Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Through the Global Campus, a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work is available for immediate entry into human services jobs. The 120-credit program covers aging, child welfare, mental illness, criminal justice, disabilities, and more with optional Phi Alpha Honor Society induction. Seniors devote 16 to 32 hours weekly for directed field practice education.

Online Tuition: $375 per credit

Learn more about Northwestern State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

8. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Founded in 1912 as Marion Normal Institute, Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, nonprofit Christian liberal arts school tied to the Wesleyan Church and educating over 15,800 students. As the Midwest’s 27th Best University according to the U.S. News and World Report, Indiana Wesleyan University placed #1 on Niche’s “Best Colleges with No Application Fee in Indiana.” Accredited by the CSWE for 25 years, Indiana Wesleyan offers an Online Bachelor of Social Work for working adults. Cohorts strive to enhance human well-being through a 20-course major, service learning, and 400 hours of field practicum. There’s also a Hybrid BSW for partnering Ivy Tech colleges.

Online Tuition: $383 per credit

Learn more about Indiana Wesleyan University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

9. Northern Arizona University

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Surrounded by the continent’s largest ponderosa pine forest adjacent to Mount Elden, Northern Arizona University is a public, high-elevation institution serving over 30,350. Crowned the country’s 215th Top Research University on Forbes, Northern Arizona University is acclaimed for the 159th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees by the U.S. News and World Report. With a 74 percent retention rate, the CSWE-accredited BSW Program is offered in Flagstaff and online. Featuring 480 practicum hours, the four-year curriculum develops the professional knowledge to help people overcome obstacles like abuse and homelessness. NAU also offers a BSW Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project.

Online Tuition: $419 (in-state) or $865 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Northern Arizona University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

10. Brescia University

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Grounded in the Ursuline Sisters’ tradition, Brescia University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic liberal arts institution with around 875 students studying on its campus in Owensboro, Kentucky, and online. Graded B+ for value on Niche, Brescia is distinguished as the South’s 32nd Best Regional College by the U.S. News and World Report. The Bachelor of Social Work Degree Completion program meets CSWE competencies to educate adults with 45+ credits. Online courses can be finished in 24 months as an accelerated pathway to social services careers. Selective admission every January, March, May, August, and October accepts 48 percent of applicants.

Online Tuition: $415 per credit

Learn more about Brescia University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

11. Humboldt State University

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Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the coastal redwoods of Arcata, Humboldt State University is the northernmost public school in the 23-site CSU system with over 8,700 students. Ranked within Washington Monthly’s top 7 percent, Humblodt State University is named the West’s 52nd Best University by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Professional Studies holds CSWE accreditation for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Online students complete the three-year program with live Thursday night sessions. Campus visits are only required for an August orientation and January practice intensive. Admission mandates a minimum 2.0 GPA in 60 college credits.

Online Tuition: $2,736 each semester (+$372 per unit for non-residents)

Learn more about Humboldt State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

12. Briar Cliff University

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Opened in 1929 by Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Briar Cliff University is a private, nonprofit liberal arts institution applying Franciscan values to educate over 1,150 from Sioux City, Iowa, and online. Honored as the Midwest’s 30th Top School by the U.S. News and World Report, Briar Cliff University is named America’s 134th Best Catholic College on Niche. The CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work welcomes online learners with at least 77 post-secondary credits. One-on-one faculty mentoring guides students through the 47-credit major. Field experience is also fostered with a 450-hour community internship. State authorization doesn’t currently extend to Utah, Kentucky, Wisconsin, or New York.

Online Tuition: $434 per credit

Learn more about Briar Cliff University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

13. Campbellsville University

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Enrolling over 3,200 students, Campbellsville University is a private, nonprofit institution with a covenant agreement to the Kentucky Baptist Convention for education in Campbellsville, Jeffersontown, Hodgenville, and online. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Campbellsville University is the South’s 98th Best College with the 66th Best Online Graduate Degrees. Bachelor’s students can pursue the 120-credit BSW online for the fundamental skills to assist vulnerable communities. Online courses explore social policy, human rights, lifespan development, familial relations, research methods, and more. The 450 hours of supervised practice can be completed anywhere, except North Carolina. Graduates often continue into the Campbellsville MSW online.

Online Tuition: $399 per credit

Learn more about Campbellsville University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

14. Bemidji State University

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The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system includes Bemidji State University as a four-year public institution educating over 6,300 students along Lake Bemidji’s shoreline and beyond. Graded B for professors on Niche, Bemidji State University is named the Midwest’s 115th Top School and 35th Best Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. The CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work offers the Online SWIM program for a Bachelor of Social Work. Cohorts already holding an A.A. degree tackle the 69-credit major with just one monthly campus trip. Students may tailor the social services curriculum with the Chemical Dependency Minor for LADC credentialing.

Online Tuition: $305 per credit

Learn more about Bemidji State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

15. Union Institute and University

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Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, with satellites from Vermont and California to online, Union Institute and University is a private, doctoral-granting nonprofit founded in 1964 that’s enrolling nearly 1,650 students. Featuring a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, Union Institute and University was distinguished as America’s 18th Best Online College by Niche. Proudly CSWE accredited, the Online Bachelor’s in Social Work provides in-depth understanding on community-based interventions. With emphasis on strengths-based practice, the 120-credit curriculum is available full-time or part-time. Classes conveniently begin every eight weeks through CampusWeb. Two semesters of field practicum are necessary for the graduation capstone.

Online Tuition: $510 per credit ($88 full-time technology fee)

Learn more about Union Institute and University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs

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Clinical social work is an advanced practice specialty that’s focused on diagnosing and treating mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders. All 50 states require professionals in clinical social work to be licensed. Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) gives individuals the field’s highest credential for designing therapeutic interventions that improve clients’ well-being. State social work boards mandate that LCSW candidates hold an accredited master’s degree and two years of clinical experience. Investing in graduate school can pay off because LCSW is America’s #5 best social service job. Employment statistics show that demand in clinical social work will skyrocket by 19 percent through 2024 and offer some of the highest salaries in the field of social work.

Online education is perhaps the most convenient method for finishing your master’s degree and entering this in-demand field. Therefore, this article is devoted to outlining the 15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs nationwide. We began by searching for online graduate degrees accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Programs had to be primarily online with minimal campus trips, excluding field practicum. Next, we looked for clinical social work concentrations that satisfied at least in-state LCSW requirements. We consulted with the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for narrowing down to top-tier universities. Other factors we considered were tuition, curriculum flexibility, fieldwork, class size, LCSW exam pass rate, Advanced Standing options, and student support.

Here are the 15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs:

1. Columbia University

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Affiliated with 104 Nobel laureates, Columbia University is a premier private, nonprofit research institution delivering Ivy League education to approximately 19,500 post-graduates. The founding Association of American Universities (AAU) member occupies 32 acres in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City’s Manhattan borough. Columbia also has an Online Campus with an impressive 99 percent retention rate. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Columbia University is America’s fourth Best University and sixth Top Value with the sixth Best Social Work Degrees. The Times Higher Education places Columbia among the world’s 15 Best Universities.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited School of Social Work at Columbia University allows students to complete the Master’s of Social Work (MSW) Program fully online with an Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice concentration. Online learners further specialize in Family, Youth & Children’s Services or Health, Mental Health & Disabilities for their Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) career. Courses are synchronous for live, virtual sessions with peers and faculty. Students could follow the standard two-year, Advanced Standing one-year, or extended three-year format from anywhere. Even the MSW’s orientation and capstone project are accessible via computer linkup.

Online Tuition: $1,390 per credit hour

Learn more about Columbia University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

2. University of Southern California
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With post-graduate enrollment surpassing 23,700, the University of Southern California is one of the world’s preeminent private, nonprofit RU/VH research institutions on the Pacific Rim. The $4.7 billion endowment gifts generous financial aid packages to study upon the 308-acre urban campus in the University Park district of Los Angeles or online. Ranked 12th for Graduate Social Work Education, the University of Southern California (USC) is the 23rd Best National University and 39th Top Value in the U.S. News and World Report. The University of Southern California also lands among the Academic Ranking of World Universities’ (ARWU’s) Top 50 Global Universities.

Meeting the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE’s) guidelines, the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work established the Online Master of Social Work program via its Virtual Academic Center. Designed for clinical social workers, the curriculum offers 21st century concentrations in Mental Health, Health, or Families and Children. There’s an additional sub-concentration in Military Social Work too. Online, seminar-style courses foster intimate discussion with live conferencing sessions. Students learn to implement evidence-informed interventions with the 60-credit Traditional or 37-credit Advanced Standing track. Offline, students spend 1,000+ hours completing supervised field education.

Online Tuition: $1,666 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s Online LCSW Programs here.

3. Case Western Reserve University

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Founded as northern Ohio’s first college in 1826, Case Western Reserve University has a distinguished history as a private, doctoral-granting RU/VH research institution. Endowed for $1.76 billion, Case Western Reserve University educates more than 5,600 post-graduates from its 155-acre urban campus in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. The Online Learning Division participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) to deliver six online master’s degrees in 49 states, excluding Kentucky. The U.S. News and World Report named Case the 37th Best University and 42nd Top Value with America’s ninth Best Graduate Social Work Education Programs.

The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences gives Case Western Reserve University students the option to earn the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) online. This Master of Social Work (MSW) alternative offers two Direct Clinical Practice concentrations for Children, Youth & Families or Adult Mental Health. Traditional non-Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students complete 60 credits over eight online semesters, but there’s a 45-credit Advanced Standing track too. Field experience is integrated into online education to develop students’ competence treating mental illness. Admission to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program requires a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA.

Online Tuition: $1,419 per credit hour

Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

4. Boston University

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Initially established in 1839 by Methodist ministers as the Newbury Biblical Institute, Boston University has dramatically evolved into a private, non-sectarian RU/VH research center with a $1.6 million endowment. Enrolling over 13,650 post-graduates, the Boston Consortium member is located on 135 urban acres in Massachusetts’ capital near Fenway Park. According to the U.S News and World Report, Boston University is the 41st Best College and 33rd Top School for Veterans nationally. With 23 online master’s degrees, Boston also won the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) 21st Century Gold Award for Distance Learning Programming.

Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the School of Social Work confers an outstanding Online Master of Social Work program with a Clinical Social Work Concentration. Online learners gain the therapeutic skills for LCSW licensure via one of three available tracks. The 65-credit Traditional Master’s of Social Work (MSW) takes three years with live online sessions and two internships. Working professionals with Human Service Experience (HSE) can complete 65 credits and one 1,000-hour internship. The Advanced Standing option for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) holders requires 40 credits and one field experience. The Field Education Department has placements in 44 states.

Online Tuition: $750 per credit hour

Learn more about Boston University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

5. Fordham University

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Firmly grounded in Jesuit tradition, Fordham University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution split into 10 constituent colleges to educate over 6,400 post-graduates on-site and online. Claiming over 120 urban acres, Fordham occupies three physical campuses across New York in the Bronx, Manhattan, and West Harrison within Westchester County. Named among Kaplan’s “25 Hottest Schools in America,” Fordham is ranked the 66th Best National University and 55th Best College for Veterans by the U.S. News and World Report. In particular, Fordham University has the 22nd Best Master’s of Social Work program nationwide.

Fulfilling LCSW licensure qualifications is possible through Fordham’s Clinical Concentration for the online Master of Social Work program. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Graduate School of Social Service offers full-time or part-time asynchronous online courses for residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. There’s also a hybrid option with Molloy College on Long Island. Clinical social workers could add the Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor-Trainee (CASAC-T) Certificate. Online learners with an accredited BSW receive Advanced Standing for one less year. Supervised field placements across the Tri-State make gaining clinical experience convenient.

Online Tuition: $894 per credit hour

Learn more about Fordham University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

6. Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

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Named for Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers in 1766, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey is a public, multi-campus land-grant research institution with nearly 20,000 post-graduates enrolled. Belonging to the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Rutgers has a $3.6 billion budget to operate its 2,688 acres of campuses in Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden as well as the eCollege. Placed 17th on PayScale’s Salary Report, Rutgers is ranked the 72nd Best University and 28th Top Public School with the 22nd Best Social Work Degree Programs by the U.S. News and World Report.

Using the Pearson Learning Studio, Rutgers’ School of Social Work produces LCSW candidates online with the Master’s of Social Work in Clinical Social Work program. The self-directed degree is completed part-time in three years or two years Advanced Standing. Small cohorts begin every Fall, Spring, and Summer for flexibility. Without taking the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), social workers can enter the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited curriculum and perhaps add the Violence Against Women and Children Certificate. Online courses culminate in an internship anywhere in the United States. Other benefits include free tutoring and job placement assistance.

Online Tuition: $900 per credit hour

Learn more about Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

7. Michigan State University

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Endowed for $2.2 billion, Michigan State University is a flagship public, land-grant and sea-grant institution with “very high research activity” to train over 11,400 post-graduates. In addition to its vast 5,192-acre suburban campus in East Lansing, Michigan State University offers 100+ online and hybrid courses through the Kellogg Conference Center. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Michigan State as America’s 75th Best University and 29th Top Public College with the 32nd Best Graduate Social Work education. Washington Monthly also crowned the Public Ivy the Midwest’s 11th Best Bang for the Buck.

Holding Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation, the School of Social Work grants a 57-credit Statewide Blended Master of Social Work program for Michigan State University students living 50+ miles from East Lansing. Online courses are taken from anywhere with face-to-face meetings only one Saturday per month. Regional locations exist from Grand Rapids to Marquette. Part-time students can complete the Clinical Track in three years to earn LCSW licensure. Since 2006, the program has uniquely linked cohorts through ITV video conferencing. Over four semesters, Master’s of Social Work students also complete 960 clock hours of clinical experience.

Online Tuition: $698 per credit hour

Learn more about Michigan State University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

8. University of Denver

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As the Rockies’ oldest private, co-educational research institution with a legacy tracing back to 1864, the University of Denver is an NAICU member endowed for $607 million to serve over 6,000 post-graduates. Seven miles south of the “Mile High City,” DU operates a 125-acre urban campus in the University Park neighborhood. The College of Professional and Continuing Studies also awards over 45 master’s programs online via Canvas. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Denver is the 86th Best College with the 17th Best Master’s of Social Work (MSW) programs.

The Graduate School of Social Work has extended beyond its three Colorado locations to launch an Online MSW with a concentration in Mental Health and Trauma. This Council on Social Work Education (CWSWE) accredited program prepares Licensed Clinical Social Workers for creating positive change by treating individuals, families, and groups. Online lectures are viewed asynchronously before the collaborative learning session each Thursday. The Online Master of Social Work’s first cohort in January 2017 will have 20 students for close-knit, intervention-oriented education. Nine quarters of coursework culminates in a concentration field internship for 15+ hours per week.

Online Tuition: $628 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Denver’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

9. University of Tennessee

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Belonging to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Academic Consortium, the University of Tennessee is the state’s flagship public, land-grant and sun-grant RU/VH research institution with over 5,900 post-graduates. With one of East Tennessee’s Level I trauma centers, UTK is nestled in the Great Appalachian Valley with a 560-acre urban campus in Knoxville. Vols Online has won the TACHE Innovative Credit Programming Award for 14 online master’s programs. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Tennessee as America’s 103rd Best University and 47th Top Public College with the 32nd Best Social Work training.

The College of Social Work’s same, highly qualified professors deliver the Master of Social Work program online for aspiring LCSWs. Continuously Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited since 1945, the University of Tennessee Knoxville has a clinical Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice concentration. Students can further specialize in Aging, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Substance Abuse, Hospital Social Work, and Trauma. The 60-credit program can be completed full-time or part-time with asynchronous and synchronous online courses. Students’ 672-hour clinical internships are arranged within reasonable commutes from their hometowns.

Online Tuition: $6,417 (in-state) or $15,626 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the University of Tennessee’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

10. Temple University

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Enrolling over 9,500 post-graduates, Temple University is a public, doctoral-granting research institution with an international presence since its founding in 1884 by Baptist minister Russell Conwell. From its main 115-acre urban campus in Philadelphia’s Center City district, Temple offers classes in Harrisburg, Tokyo, Rome, London, and online from anywhere. Noted for the country’s 64th Best Social Work Education, Temple is ranked the 115th Best University and 55th Top Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. Kiplinger’s lauded Temple University as the 95th Best Public Value too.

Launching in Fall 2017, Temple’s College of Public Health is now accepting applications for its CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work program. Online students can complete the Clinical Practice Concentration while specializing in Children and Families, Health and Mental Health, or an Individualized Option. The 60-credit curriculum blends perfectly with the Online Military Counseling Certificate too. Learners engaged full-time or part-time will complete two field practica at approved agencies from Pennsylvania to Maryland. Temple proudly has one of the United States’ highest LCSW exam pass rates.

Online Tuition: $877 (in-state) or $1,202 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about Temple University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

11. The Catholic University of America

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Following the motto “God is My Light,” The Catholic University of America is a private, pontifical teaching institution of the Roman Catholic Church that’s educating over 3,000 post-graduates. Closely tied with the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic University of America is located on a 176-acre urban campus in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Catholic University of America is the 123th Best National University with the 47th Top Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program. The Princeton Review also recognized the Catholic University of America for the 13th “Most Religious Students” countrywide.

Online learners can select from four graduate programs, including the National Catholic School of Social Service’s Clinical Master of Social Work. This rigorous, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited degree trains students to provide much-needed mental health services with LCSW designation. At least 18 online courses are required for 54 credits. Advanced Standing is reserved for social work majors presenting a minimum 3.5 GPA. The Catholic University of America’s “signature pedagogy” emphasizes Christian service backed by biblical principles. Online courses are supplemented by two days of field experience per week.

Online Tuition: $1,035 per credit hour

Learn more about the Catholic University of America’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

12. Virginia Commonwealth University

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Originally created in 1838 by Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia Commonwealth University has gained independence as a senior, public RU/VH research institution with nearly 7,200 post-graduates. Online@VCU makes education accessible away from its 144-acre urban campus in Richmond’s Monroe Park neighborhood. As the 156th Best National University and 84th Top Public School, Virginia Commonwealth University grants the 22nd Best Graduate Social Work Education according to the U.S. News and World Report. Virginia Commonwealth University was also crowned the 16th best non-HBCU for minorities by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work has created an online Master of Social Work degree with a Clinical Social Work Concentration to satisfy LCSW requirements. Whether full-time or part-time, online students spend up to four years completing the 60-credit curriculum. Emphasis is placed on the ethnical integrity required to restore optimal functioning to individuals of multicultural backgrounds. In addition to a first-year orientation, online MSW students must attend two Saturday seminars in Richmond each semester. Social workers could add the Certificate in Aging Studies or Gender Violence Intervention.

Online Tuition: $605 (in-state) or $1,244 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about Virginia Commonwealth University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

13. University of Louisville

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Known for founding the world’s first trauma center in 1911, the University of Louisville is a city-owned, public RU/VH research institution that’s endowed for $1.2 billion and educating over 6,400 post-graduates. The University of Louisville operates a 345-acre urban Belknap Campus in Old Louisville, Health Sciences Campus in downtown, and Online Learning Campus virtually. The U.S. News and World Report lauded Louisville for being America’s 168th Best University and 91st Best Public College with the 32nd Best Social Work Programs. The University of Louisville is also the South’s 114th Top University in Forbes magazine.

The Kent School of Social Work confers a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited, “Best Buy” Master of Science in Social Work program 100 percent online. Future licensed clinical social workers can benefit from the Psychosocial Oncology, Mental Health, Gerontology, or Alcohol and Drug Counseling concentrations. Online students with a non-social work major enter the standard 60-credit MSSW, but there’s a 30-credit Advanced Standing option too. Award-winning courses draw from Bruner’s Spiral format for high performance standards. Placements for the 450-hour supervised internship are offered in most states, excluding Texas and Iowa.

Online Tuition: $714 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Louisville’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

14. Widener University

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Given Carnegie’s prized “Community Engagement” classification, Widener University is a private, co-educational research institution with a $73 million endowment to enlighten over 3,200 post-graduates. Featuring satellites in Harrisburg, Exton, Wilmington, and online, Widener is situated upon a 108-acre urban campus in Chester, Pennsylvania. Widener has the 55th “Highest Proportion of Classes Under 20 Students” as America’s 187th Best University and 149th Best College for Veterans according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Presidential Community Service Honor Roll recipient also has the 123rd Top Social Work Programs.

Online learners pursuing the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam can select Widener’s 64-credit Master of Social Work for advanced practice. The Council of Social Work Education (CSWE)accredited School of Social Work focuses on examining mental health and social-emotional issues based on past trauma. Curriculum flexibility allows online students to commit anywhere from three to 10 semesters part-time. Two supervised field placements for 480 and 720 clock hours apiece expand students’ professional perspective. There’s also a Hybrid MSW/M.Ed. in Human Sexualities program. No GRE score is required, but applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Online Tuition: $811 per credit hour

Learn more about Widener University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

15. University of Houston

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Opened as Houston Junior College in 1927, the University of Houston has expanded into a public, multi-site system of research institutions endowed for $716 million to serve over 7,800 post-graduate students. Along with its flagship 667-acre urban campus on Space City’s Calhoun Road, the University of Houston operates locations in Sugar Land, Clear Lake, Victoria, and online for “Education Without Limits.” Placed 31st on the Social Mobility Index, Houston is ranked the 187th Best National University and 105th Top Public School with the 38th Best Graduate College of Social Work by the U.S. News and World Report.

Offering the lowest in-state tuition, the Online Master of Social Work (MSW) gives UH students the opportunity to develop skills for clinical mental health services. Although it’s primarily online, advanced concentration courses often require meeting in Houston once monthly. Aspiring LCSWs study social welfare policies, human behavior, clinical assessment, DSM diagnoses, and more. The Clinical Practice Concentration places emphasis on cognitive-behavioral interventions. Online students must complete at least 900 clock hours of fieldwork. Some placements are available with UH’s unique Child Trauma Project.

Online Tuition: $410 (in-state) or $918 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Houston’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

10 Places to Volunteer If You’re Interested in a Career in Social Work

volunteerSocial work is a gratifying career choice that allows you to alleviate suffering and injustice in the world’s most vulnerable communities. Having a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is crucial for entry-level positions. However, employers also look for actual field experience and initiative to better the world. Volunteering is one of the best ways to learn about social work and develop your resume for a successful job hunt. If you’re called to this helping profession, here are 10 Places To Volunteer If You’re Interested In A Career In Social Work:

1. Big Brothers Big Sisters

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Started in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters is America’s premier youth mentoring organization serving children aged six to 18. Across the country, there are over 21,000 boys and 10,000 girls waiting to be matched with big siblings. Aspiring social workers can volunteer a few hours each week to help youth overcome adversity. From playing sports to watching movies and hiking, volunteers become inspiring role models for their “Littles” through fun activities.

Learn more about volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters here.

2. United Nations

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Active in 193 member states, the United Nations is a leading international organization devoted to protecting human rights since 1945. The UN mobilizes nearly 8,000 volunteers on short-term assignments of three months or less abroad. Social work majors are ideal fits for carrying out projects that promote international peace, humanitarian aid, and sustainable development. In-demand volunteer centers include Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, and Geneva.

Learn more about volunteering for the United Nations here.

3. Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) For Children

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The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) For Children is a national effort founded in 1977 to ensure abused and neglected children aren’t lost in the system. More than 76,000 volunteers are appointed to help youth find safe, permanent home environments. Advocates inform judges on the best placements where vulnerable children can thrive. Social work students must complete 30 hours of pre-service training to begin volunteering.

Learn more about volunteering for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children here.

4. Department of Veterans Affairs

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Those interested in military social work will find ample volunteer opportunities with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Since 1946, the VA has been one of the largest federal volunteer programs with over 760 million service hours. VA Medical Centers need volunteers for social work, counseling, nutrition, patient advocacy, physical therapy, and more. Students could even receive the James J. Parke Memorial Youth Scholarship for their BSW degree.

Learn more about volunteering for the Department of Veteran Affairs here.

5. RAINN Crisis Centers

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The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the country’s largest nonprofit organization helping victims of sexual assault. Although headquartered in Washington, DC, RAINN has over 1,100 partnerships nationwide and a 24/7 Online Hotline. Young social workers could provide essential support to survivors of sexual violence, including counseling, medical, legal, and education services. Students can also participate in RAINN Day in September to raise on-campus awareness.

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN Crisis Centers here.

6. American Red Cross

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Around 90 percent of humanitarian aid from the American Red Cross, a notable nonprofit disaster relief organization, is provided by volunteers. Established by Clara Barton in 1881, ARC responds to 65,000+ disasters each year. Individuals can follow their social work passion by bringing comfort and support to displaced families after floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and more. Volunteers must pass a background check and First Aid certification.

Learn more about volunteering for the American Red Cross here.

7. Global Vision International

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Global Vision International is a family-run, respected volunteering organization featured in The New York Times for award-winning service trips. Each year, over 2,000 individuals volunteer abroad from Africa to Latin America and Australasia. Social work majors can join expeditions for community development, wildlife conservation, youth mentoring, women’s health, and more. Volunteer projects range from one to 24 weeks and can qualify for academic credit.

Learn more about volunteering for Global Vision International here.

8. American Cancer Society

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For oncology social work experience, consider volunteering with the American Cancer Society. This national nonprofit has devoted over 100 years to supporting millions of people diagnosed with and affected by cancer. Volunteers can participate in countless programs, such as Relay for Life, Hope Lodge, and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. There’s a particularly urgent need in the Road to Recovery program. Interested volunteers can sign up online for local training workshops.

Learn more about volunteering for the American Cancer Society here.

9. Meals on Wheels

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One in six senior citizens doesn’t know where their next meal will come from. Meals on Wheels America has over 2 million volunteers looking to resolve this. Those interested in geriatric social work could volunteer with the approximately 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs nationwide. Along with delivering meals, volunteers nourish seniors’ lives by providing safety checks, friendly talks, and community resources.

Learn more about volunteering for Meals on Wheels here.

10. The YMCA

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Strengthening communities has been the goal of The YMCA since its inception in 1844 in London, England. In the United States, around 10,000 neighborhoods have YMCA centers to nurture potential in people of all ages. Community service initiatives centered on youth mentoring, developmental disabilities, and healthy living are perfect for social work majors. During summers, students could also lead camp programs for wilderness recreation.

Learn more about volunteering for the YMCA here

10 Best Accredited Online BSW Programs

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Social work is a gratifying human services profession that requires a bachelor’s degree for entry-level generalist practice. Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs develop the essential skills for promoting social equality and justice in underprivileged communities. All 50 states mandate accredited baccalaureate-level training for fulfilling licensing requirements. Earning a BSW is smart for compassionate students wishing to help society’s marginalized citizens. The United States employs around 649,300 social workers in diverse settings, including hospitals, welfare agencies, clinics, geriatric centers, and military bases. Social work jobs will keep growing faster-than-average by 12 percent through 2024! In this article, we’ll highlight the 10 Best Accredited Online BSW Programs that make training easily accessible.

Finding high-quality online bachelor’s degrees in social work can be tricky. To begin, we sorted through U.S. universities accredited at the baccalaureate level by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Only 13 online BSW programs currently exist nationwide. Next, we narrowed the list to 10 by surveying each degree’s curriculum. Bachelor of Social Work programs had to be primarily online with limited on-campus residency. Using the U.S. News and World Report rankings, we judged the academic rigor of each university. Supervised field practice was a must-have to satisfy experience hours required for licensing. Other factors considered were transfer eligibility, financial aid, student-faculty ratio, pass rates, specializations, and online technology.

Studying social work online is a great alternative for non-traditional students looking to maximize scheduling flexibility while lowering commute times and tuition costs. Although online BSW programs aren’t numerous, there are several accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for excellence. Pursuing any of these 10 Best Accredited Online BSW Programs will lay the foundation for a rewarding, in-demand helping profession with an average yearly salary of $45,900.

1. University of Utah

Located on a sprawling 1,534-acre camutahupus in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah is a flagship public, space-grant research institution founded in 1850 and educating over 31,600 learners. The U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Utah as America’s 115th National University and 55th Top Public School. Within the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited College of Social Work, an online Bachelor of Social Work completion program is available. The 51-credit, five-semester curriculum serves entry-level social work practitioners who already hold an associate degree. Online coursework culminates with an applied field practicum in students’ own communities.

Tuition: $8,197 (in-state) or $26,022 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the University of Utah’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

2. University of Alaska Fairbanks

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Enrolling over 10,200 students, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public, sea-grant research institution based just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Named the West’s 80th Best College by Forbes, the University of Alaska Fairbanks was recognized in the U.S. News and World Report survey for America’s 164th Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees. The Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program offers a distance, cohort-based option for rural residents across the Alaskan bush. Following the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) guidelines, the 120-credit program uses Adobe Connect for online audio-conferences. Seniors must complete a 400-hour practicum in local service agencies.

Tuition: $5,674 (in-state)

Learn more about the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

3. Northern Arizona University

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Endowed for $136 million, Northern Arizona University is a public, state-funded RU/H research institution enrolling over 27,700 students from its 740-acre campus in Flagstaff. Highly rated by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) for educating Native Americans, Northern Arizona University is acclaimed for America’s 159th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the U.S. News. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Bachelor of Social Work equips online learners for resolving societal problems like domestic violence and discrimination. Fourth-year students in the 120-unit program must complete two 240-hour field placements. There’s also a Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project.

Tuition: $10,358 (in-state) or $23,348 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Northern Arizona University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

4. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Affiliated with the Wesleyan Church, Indiana Wesleyan University educates over 15,800 total students as a private, Christian liberal arts institution in Marion along the Mississinewa River. With a student-faculty ratio of 14:1, the U.S. News and World Report crowned Indiana Wesleyan University the 30th Best Midwestern College and 12th Top Value. The College of Adult and Professional Studies grants an online Bachelor of Social Work with Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation. Cohort-based classes on Pearson LearningStudio have flexible start dates every month. Field placement accompanies online coursework on human behavior, social welfare, group relations, and sociology.

Tuition: $24,728

Learn more about Indiana Wesleyan University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

5. California State University – Chico

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Established in 1887, California State University – Chico is the 23-campus system’s second oldest public education institution with over 17,200 students studying in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. The U.S. News and World Report distinguished California State University Chico as the West’s 42nd Best University and ninth Top Public School. Holding Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation, the Bachelor of Social Work program has a “distributed learning” option for Web-based instruction. Online students enroll in the three-year program starting their junior year and attend just two face-to-face intensives each semester. Field practicum in Northern California is included.

Tuition: $7,022 (in-state) or $18,182 (out-of-state)

Learn more about California State University – Chico’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

6. Briar Cliff University

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Grounded in Franciscan values, Briar Cliff University is a private, non-profit Catholic liberal arts institution enlightening around 1,100 students from its 70-acre campus in Sioux City, Iowa. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Briar Cliff is the 38th Best University and 27th Top School for Former Military in the Midwest. Fully Council on Social Work (CSWE) accredited since 1974, the Bachelor of Social Work program has an online degree completion option. Requiring 47 credits, the 24-month curriculum contains a mandatory 450-hour community internship. Online Briar Cliff students benefit from weekly, one-on-one mentorship meetings with advisors.

Tuition: $28,090

Learn more about Briar Cliff University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

7. Humboldt State University

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Among the Redwoods, Humboldt State University stands in Arcata, California, as the northernmost CSU-affiliated public institution with over 8,700 students. Named among the Princeton Review’s “Colleges with a Conscience,” Humboldt is ranked the 57th Best Western University by the U.S. News. To produce entry-level generalists, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program is offered online. Undergraduates participate in live, online course meetings every Thursday evening and attend just one January intensive. The two-year, upper-division Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program includes two semesters of field experience.

Tuition: $7,195 (in-state) or $18,364 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Humboldt State University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

8. Brescia University

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With an acceptance rate of 49 percent, Brescia University is a selective private, Catholic institution educating around 1,000 students in the Ursuline tradition from Owensboro, Kentucky. Honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, Brescia is ranked the South’s 50th Best College by the U.S. News and World Report. Among Brescia’s 15 online programs is the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Bachelor of Social Work Degree Completion. Five start dates are available for transfers holding at least 45 credits from regionally accredited colleges. Online courses integrate social work knowledge, values, and skills with two on-site agency practica.

Tuition: $20,440

Learn more about Brescia University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

9. Bemidji State University

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Founded in 1919, Bemidji State University has grown into a public, co-educational higher learning institution educating over 6,300 students from its headquarters in northwestern Minnesota. With the country’s 187th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, Bemidji State University is the 99th Best Midwestern School according to the U.S. News and World Report. Students with an A.A. degree can join the College of Health Sciences’ Online BSW in Social Work program. Consisting of 69 credits, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited curriculum offers an optional Alcohol & Drug Counseling Certificate. Bemidji graduates have an average licensing exam pass rate of 96 percent.

Tuition: $8,366

Learn more about Bemidji State University’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

10. Metropolitan State University of Denver

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Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Metropolitan State University of Denver is an accredited public, space-grant research institution enrolling over 23,900 students on-site in Denver’s Auraria neighborhood and online. Crowned a “Best for Vets” college, Metro State is recognized for America’s 123rd Best Social Work Ddepartment by the U.S. News and World Report. Starting Fall 2016, the COuncil on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited BSSW program will offer Colorado residents a fully online option. The 55-credit major includes two professional field experiences. Minors in Chicano Studies, Criminal Justice, Human Services, or Native American Studies could be added.

Tuition: $6,420 (in-state)

Learn more about Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Accredited Online BSW Programs here.

10 Best International Social Work Job Opportunities

iswInternational social work is a vast profession with growing demand to address injustices faced across the globe, especially third-world countries. The World Bank reports that 12.7 percent (896 million) of Earth’s population lives at or below $1.90 per day. Poverty, disease, war, natural disaster, trafficking, and forced labor are just a few of the problems international social workers strive to eradicate. They work mostly for non-government organizations (NGOs) to coordinate human service projects across borders. It’s their mission to alleviate suffering for the world’s most vulnerable and oppressed civilians. Working domestically to resolve societal problems in the United States isn’t the only option for Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Social Work graduates. If you’re interested in applying your education and skills outside the U.S., here are 10 Best International Social Work Job Opportunities:

1. United Nations

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Established in 1945, the United Nations is one of the foremost social work organizations striving to maintain international peace and human rights across 193 member countries. In 2001, the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize for their public service. The UN’s global workforce consists of over 41,000 altruistic staff at field offices from Baghdad and Nairobi to Port-au-Prince. Worldwide job opportunities are listed for social workers on political, humanitarian, emergency relief, or peacekeeping missions. Entry-level (P1-P3) positions have base salaries from $37,000 to $80,000. Post adjustments of 65.7 percent are added to cover abroad living costs. The UN looks for proactive, impartial candidates with respect for diversity and language fluency.

Learn more about the United Nation’s International Social Work Job Opportunities here.

2. International Rescue Committee

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In over 40 nations, the International Rescue Committee provides lifesaving assistance to refugees forced to flee from war, natural disaster, or other humanitarian crises. Since 1933, IRC’s passionate post-conflict network has grown to 8,000+ staff. Currently, there are 320 job openings, such as protection coordinator, refugee youth advocate, resettlement manager, and emergency health officer. IRC hires candidates with a bachelor’s degree in social work or similar fields and at least two years of human service experience. Bilingual ability in local languages like Swahili or Urdu is preferred. According to PayScale, the International Rescue Committee’s average salary range is $35,422 to $71,778. Benefits typically include flights, relocation shipping allowances, and temporary housing.

Learn more about the International Rescue Committee’s International Social Work Job Opportunities here.

3. Save the Children

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Rated four stars on Charity Navigator, Save the Children is an international NGO working in 120 nations to protect the welfare of over 55 million youth annually. Recent missions have included delivering hygiene kits to Ebola-stricken Liberia and repairing classrooms destroyed in Typhoon Haiyan. Founded in 1919 by Eglantyne Jebb, Save the Children is located in London, England, with job opportunities worldwide. Social workers could work full-time as child protection managers, migration advisers, nutrition advocates, and more. CVs must include a bachelor’s degree in social work or human services with a minimum of five years of experience. Base salaries from $30,691 to $62,751 are average with full benefits.

Learn more about Save the Children’s International Social Work Job Opportunities here.

4. World Health Organization

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Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Health Organization is a specialized UN agency aiming to help global citizens attain the highest possible level of health. The WHO’s diverse workforce includes over 8,500 professionals working in 147 countries. Job vacancies in clinical social work, mental health, disability rehabilitation, and emergency relief are prevalent. Only smoke-free candidates aged 20 to 62 are considered for WHO positions. Entry-level (P1) jobs require a bachelor’s or equivalent work experience. Advancement to P4 or higher will mandate a master’s degree in social work or public health. Base salaries can range from $31,000 to $90,000 based on service level. There’s also an Internship Programme for college juniors and seniors.

Learn more about the World Health Organization’s International Social Work Job Opportunities here.

5. International Justice Mission

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Endowed for $47.1 million, the International Justice Mission is a non-profit human rights organization employing over 600 full-time staff at 18 field offices from Guatemala to Rwanda. The IJM combats global issues like sex trafficking, slavery, and assault. In 2010, the U.S. News and World Report named IJM among the top 10 world-changing service groups. Grounded in Christianity, the International Justice Mission requires submitting a statement of faith. Most 10 to 12-month deployments overseas will mandate holding a master’s degree in social work or counseling and experience with trauma victims. Along with healthcare and a 403B, IJM workers report an average salary of $56,480.

Learn more about the International Justice Mission’s International Social Work Job Opportunities here.

6. Danish Refugee Council

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Since the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, the Danish Refugee Council has been a well-known non-profit, aid organization working in conflict zones across 30 countries. Currently, the DRC is providing emergency relief to over 500,000 refugees from Syria every month! From its headquarters in Copenhagen, the DRC organizes housing, food, social rehabilitation, and healthcare missions to internationally displaced peoples. Humanitarian jobs are abundant, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. Interested applicants should have a Bachelor of Social Work or similar degree and 2+ years of experience. Entry-level officers earn a monthly base salary of 7,500 DKK, but management positions garner up to 27,500 DKK.

Learn more about the Danish Refugee Council’s Interntional Social Work Opportunities here.

7. Women for Women International

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As the 2006 Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award winner, Women for Women International is an NGO founded by Zainab Salbi to support female survivors after war’s devastation. Regularly featured on CNN, WfWI is headquartered in New York City with eight field offices from Nigeria and Afghanistan to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 1993, WfWI has provided social work services to empower the Middle East’s marginalized women. Women for Women International employs advocacy coordinators and change agents who hold a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. Preference is given to applicants with five years of experience and local language fluency. Team members receive exceptional benefits packages with yearly salaries from $49K to $75K.

Learn more about Women for Women’s International Social Work Opportunities here.

8. Oxfam International Secretariat

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Led by Director Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International Secretariat is a global confederation of 18 NGOs working across 94 countries to end injustices that cause poverty. Supporting people impacted by conflict to grow food and earn a living has been their duty since 1995. Oxfam affiliates can find job opportunities in Jordan, Hong Kong, Belgium, Ethiopia, and more. Social worker positions will require holding a bachelor’s degree with one to two years of experience and fluency in host languages like Arabic. More advanced positions like development officer and regional director may require 10+ years in social work. In general, Oxfam pays salaries from $42,000 to $81,224 with paid holidays, insurance, and pensions.

Learn more about Oxfam International Secretariat’s International Social Work Opportunities here.

9. HelpAge International

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Geriatric social workers should consider joining HelpAge International, an NGO with 200+ partners serving older adults in over 70 global nations. Since 1983, HelpAge has coordinated community projects to address issues affecting the elderly, including discrimination, health, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and natural disaster. Dedicated staff runs nine regional centers with sponsors like AARP, USAID, and Pfizer. Job vacancies are posted frequently for professionals with at least five years of humanitarian experience. Bachelor’s degrees in social work, nutrition, public health, and nursing are preferred. Current listings provide an average annum salary of £34,031 ($44,070). Opportunities are growing because more than one in five world citizens will be 60+ by 2050.

Learn more about HelpAge’s International Social Work Opoortunities here.

10. Food for the Hungry International

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Founded by Dr. Larry Ward in 1971, Food for the Hungry International is a Christian relief organization based in Phoenix, Arizona, to combat hunger in over 25 countries. In 2005, FH received a $8.3 million grant from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. With over 2,000 staff members, FH provides Christ-centered missions that empower vulnerable communities to overcome poverty. Social workers can find employment and church mission opportunities in the world’s most devastated countries, including Bangladesh, Haiti, Peru, and Mozambique. Salaried jobs generally require a master’s degree in sociology, social work, or international relations. Three years of previous experience is suggested. Salaries range from $33,374 to $60,493 each year.

Learn more about Food For the Hungry’s International Social Work Opportunities here.

These 10 top-notch organizations represent just a smidgen of the service groups making efforts to fight social injustices abroad. For more international social work job opportunities, we suggest visiting the International Federation of Social Workers (IFWS) website.

Related Links:

International Social Work Careers: An Overview

10 Worst Cases of Welfare Fraud Ever (So Far)

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Millions of poor individuals and families rely on welfare to afford their basic living expenses and meet their basic needs. Welfare is any government assistance program that uses taxpayers’ funds to give money to citizens suffering from financial stress. In 2012, 3.3 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico received welfare in the last year. Unfortunately, people in dire straits aren’t the only ones benefiting from public aid. Scammers commit welfare fraud by giving false information and obtaining money they’re ineligible for. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 1.9 percent of welfare payments can be attributed to fraud. Abuses are typically discovered early, but the following are the 10 Worst Cases of Welfare Fraud where criminals reaped big bucks.

1. Linda Taylor

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Nicknamed the “Welfare Queen” by the Chicago Tribune, Linda Taylor swindled over $150,000 each year in tax-free income from the government during the 1970s. The Illinois native used 80 different names and 30 fake home addresses to collect food stamps. She also claimed the Social Security and veterans’ benefits for four deceased husbands who never existed. Linda Taylor became a notorious villain in Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Especially given she drove a shining Cadillac, owned four South Side homes, and frequently vacationed in Hawaii. In 1977, the 47-year-old thief stood trial and was sentenced for two to six years.

2. Wael Ghosheh

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Wael Ghosheh, a 46-year-old eatery owner from Burbank, Illinois, stole nearly $1 million in government welfare funds. The scammer fraudulently used 3,000 Illinois LINK cards to buy immense amounts of energy drinks and candy. He then resold the merchandise to reap big profits. Ghosheh’s large-volume purchasing activity dated back over two years. One of his family members had a valid LINK card that was never used. Karma caught up to Wael Ghosheh in 2015 when he was charged with five felonies, including identity theft. Yet, he was released from Cook County Jail on just $50,000 bail.

3. Dorothy Woods

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One of the longest criminal records for welfare fraud is held by Dorothy Mae Woods. In 1983, the enterprising California crook was convicted for bilking $377,000 in public aid. For a decade, Woods posed as 12 poverty-stricken women and claimed 38 nonexistent children. Phony birth certificates helped her collect payments while living in a Pasadena mansion and driving a Rolls-Royce. Not learning her lesson, Dorothy Mae Woods committed fraud again in 1987. This time she collected aid for a 14-year-old son who didn’t live with her. In 1997, Woods was arrested a third time for filing 135 bogus tax returns for $305,000.

4. Barbara Williams

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Barbara Williams, a 33-year-old woman from Los Angeles County, showed another horrific example of welfare fraud. From 1971 to 1978, Williams collected approximately $250,000 in illegal government assistance payments. She used 10 different aliases to open 10 separate welfare cases under the TANF program. Barbara Williams printed fake birth certificates to claim over 70 children total. She also collected around $50,000 in unwarranted food stamps. Her fraudulent funding helped her afford a luxury Ladera Heights home and four-unit apartment building. Williams even arrived at the courthouse driving a sporty silver Cadillac. In 1978, her four-day trial resulted in an eight-year prison sentence.

5. Donte and Lakisha Muhammad

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The largest welfare fraud case for the Oregon Department of Human Services was perpetrated by husband-and-wife team, Donte and Lakisha Muhammad. Starting in 2001, Lakisha received benefits for disabilities that left her wheelchair-bound. Video was later discovered of her walking into Costco and lifting a five-gallon oil can unassisted. Donte was paid by Oregon to serve as his wife’s full-time caregiver. However, he also worked as an event planner and earned $70,000 a year. The Muhammads were caught using unjustified state payments to buy a gated Las Vegas home worth $330,000. In 2013, Lakisha and Donte earned five-year and three-year sentences respectively.

6. Andrea and Colin Chisholm III

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Colin Chisholm III, a self-proclaimed “Scottish heir,” and his wife Andrea schemed to collect more than $167,000 in welfare payments from 2005 to 2012. The Chisholms lived near Lake Minnetonka when they began falsifying documents for public aid. Investigators eventually found the wealthy couple hid over $3 million in bank accounts. On taxpayers’ dime, Andrea and Colin moved to Florida and bought a $1.2-million yacht. While collecting welfare from both states, the scheming duo set sail from Fort Lauderdale. The Chisholms were eventually discovered and deported from the Bahamas. In 2015, Andrea was sentenced to 12 months and Colin was slapped with 21 months.

7. Deborah Chisom

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Few Pennsylvania welfare fraud causes can hold a candle to Deborah Chisom‘s decade-long scam. From 1989 to 1999, Chisom illegally earned over $140,000 in welfare and food stamps. She claimed to be caring for her six children, who were actually living in Cleveland with her sister. Living alone, Deborah Chisom used the stolen taxpayer’s support to afford her drug addiction. The 41-year-old mother’s swindle was uncovered by the state inspector after finding the children’s aunt also collected welfare in Ohio. By 2000, Chisom plead guilty to welfare fraud and theft by deception. She faced a maximum 14-year prison sentence and $500,000 fine.

8. Fatima and Wasfi Shalhout

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Fatima and Wasfi Shalhout, a married couple from Dearborn, Michigan, committed egregious welfare fraud using their shop Ann’s Market. From 2005 to 2008, the conniving pair defrauded the Food Stamp Benefits Program for nearly $1.2 million. The Shalhouts gave customers 50 percent of their benefits in cash and pocketed the rest. For example, when beneficiaries wanted $30 in cash, they’d charge the food stamp cards $60 for phony food. Investigators found the Shalhouts used stolen funds to buy a vacation home in Israel and lease three luxury vehicles. In 2009, Wasafi was sentenced to three years and his wife served 30 months.

9. James William Smith

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Beginning in 2005, James William Smith became renowned in Minnesota as a leading voice for raising Alzheimer’s awareness. In his mid-40s, Smith had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia and was struggling to care for two twin daughters. A local TV show declared him a “Health Care Hero,” but this hero had a secret. James William Smith faked the medical condition by altering his speech and purposely failing memory tests. He quit his job and schemed over $6,700 each month in Social Security disability and welfare. Smith’s deceit helped him afford an 80-acre hobby farm. In 2013, he plead guilty to stealing over $144,000 in government benefits.

10. Arlene Otis

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Arlene Otis, a 30-year-old graduate student studying criminal justice at the University of Illinois, shockingly committed another welfare fraud scheme. From 1972 to 1979, Otis cheated the system by using at least six aliases to earn public assistance. One name, Marselle Barnes, was used for over $32,000. Investigators concluded that she illegally received $150,839 in welfare checks. In 1979, Arlene Otis was sentenced to four years in prison on six counts of theft and two counts of perjury. Liens were placed on her several properties, and the Chicago woman’s four children became wards of the state.

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What is Welfare Fraud?