Online bachelor’s degree programs in social work are ideal for returning adults who need the flexibility of a virtual classroom instead of a college campus. Earning a BSW is the minimum licensing threshold for many social work specialties, including mental health, oncology, military, community, and hospice. Transferring into an online BSW can improve your marketability for the in-demand human services field from high-tech eLearning platforms like Blackboard. Social work graduates, whether on-campus or online, are welcomed into a job market expected to grow by 12 percent through 2024 for 74,800 new positions according to the BLS. PayScale reports that BSW specialties provide average salaries from $30,656 to $63,342.
Therefore, we’ve used the following article to outline the Top 20 Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs for tomorrow’s “helping” professionals. We began searching for distance education options that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for high-quality, generalist training. BSW programs had to be at least two-thirds online with flexible locations for field practice. We arranged the qualifying degrees according to rankings in Washington Monthly. This magazine orders colleges based on social mobility, service, and research for “contribution to the public good.” Our other checking points were tuition, transferability, online technology, class size, faculty interaction, supervised experience, and LBSW pass rates.
1. California State University – Chico
Opened on General John Bidwell’s land north of Sacramento in 1887, California State University-Chico joined the 23-campus public, co-educational system to educate around 16,488 undergrad Wildcats with a $54 million endowment. Washington Monthly ranked CSU-Chico as America’s 30th best master’s-level university. Available 67 percent online for $3,513 per semester, the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is a CSWE-accredited, hybrid degree completion program for California residents who transfer 60+ college credits.
2. University of Utah
Endowed for $1.07 billion, the University of Utah is a public, doctoral-granting APLU member of the Pac-12 Conference that’s educating around 23,700 undergrad Utes from 1,534 urban acres in Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front and online. According to Washington Monthly, Utah is the 39th best national university. Charging $3,841 per full-time semester, the CSWE-accredited College of Social Work’s Online BSW is conducted via Canvas with a field internship and thesis project.
3. Humboldt State University
Established by Governor Hiram Johnson and named for the German scientist in 1913, Humboldt State University is the northernmost public, land-grant CSU institution endowed for $27 million to educate over 7,900 undergrad Lumberjacks in Arcata and online. HSU was placed 53rd nationally among master’s-level universities by Washington Monthly. Maintaining CSWE accreditation, the Department of Social Work welcomes online BASW students with 60+ transfer units for courses like human behavior and field preparation outside Humboldt County.
4. Briar Cliff University
Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City, Briar Cliff University is a private, nonprofit Franciscan AACU institution that’s enrolling around 1,200 undergrad Chargers in Iowa’s fourth-largest city and online. According to Washington Monthly, Briar Cliff is America’s 82nd best baccalaureate-level university. Starting each quarter for $399 per credit, the 47-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work is an online degree completion option with regular Skype sessions and at least 450 fieldwork hours.
5. Huntington University
Headquartered on a 160-acre lakeside campus adjacent to the Thornhill Nature Preserve, Huntington University is a private, nonprofit CCCU member affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ to educate over 1,200 on-site and online Foresters. Washington Monthly crowned Huntington the 88th best baccalaureate-level institution. With CSWE approval, the Bachelor of Social Work is delivered online for adults build 120 credits, Protestant values, LBSW licensing eligibility, and 600+ field experience hours.
6. Saint Louis University
Belonging to the 28-member AJCU, Saint Louis University is a private, nonprofit Jesuit research institution led by President Fred Pestello with a $1.02 billion endowment to educate 8,600 undergrad Billikens in Missouri’s largest metropolitan and online. Washington Monthly distinguished SLU as the 125th best national university. For $630 per credit, the School for Professional Studies confers a hybrid, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Science in Social Work partly online with practicum at 400+ partnering agencies.
7. Salisbury University
Attracting nearly 8,000 undergrad Sea Gulls from 62 countries, Salisbury University is a public, co-educational teaching institution holding a $45.7 million endowment in the University System of Maryland to educate from its 173-acre campus in Wicomico County and beyond. Salisbury was deemed America’s 152nd best master’s-level university by the Washington Monthly. The CSWE-accredited Social Work Department expanded in 2006 to provide the 60-credit BASW with live video and online instruction for associate degree holders.
8. Northern Arizona University
Featuring over 160,000 alumni, including human rights activist Kayla Mueller, Northern Arizona University is a public, co-educational research institution in the Big Sky Conference that’s serving around 26,500 undergrad Lumberjacks in Flagstaff and online. According to Washington Monthly, NAU stands as the 201st best national university. Since January 2016, the Extended Campuses have granted the 120-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work online with elective tracks like Case Management, Child and Youth Services, and Disability Services.
9. University of Alaska – Fairbanks
Founded as the Alaska Agricultural College on Troth Yeddha in 1917, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks has diversified as a public, sea-grant RU/H research hub that’s educating over 9,000 undergrad Nanooks in 120 disciplines from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian Islands and online. UAF is deemed America’s 202nd best university by Washington Monthly. Rural Alaskans can pursue the 123-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work with an optional Gerontology Specialization online or face-to-face in their home communities.
10. Brescia University
Since becoming co-educational in 1951, Brescia University has remained a close-knit private, Catholic liberal arts NAICU school that’s enlightening under 1,000 undergrad Bearcats in the Urusline Sisters’ tradition from Kentucky’s fourth-largest city and online. Washington Monthly placed Brescia as America’s 215th best baccalaureate-level university. With CSWE accreditation, the two-year Online BSW Degree Completion program is available with five term dates for transferring adults who hold 86 transferable credits and meet the minimum GER.
11. Appalachian State University
Formerly a TIME “College of the Year,” Appalachian State University is a public, co-educational ORAU institution in the UNC system that’s endowed for $94.6 million to serve around 18,000 undergrad Mountaineers from its Boone headquarters. ASU is crowned America’s 216th best master’s-level university by Washington Monthly. Charging just $160 per credit for North Carolinians, the 52-credit Social Work BSW is a hybrid, CSWE-accredited degree completion program with off-campus courses in Burke or Hickory and online.
12. University of North Dakota
Chartered in 1883 after publisher George H. Walsh’s determination, the University of North Dakota is the Roughrider State’s oldest public, space-grant RU/H institution endowed for $230.5 million to educate 11,500 undergrad Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks and online. UND was deemed the 246th best national university by Washington Monthly. Featuring live online courses on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the two-year, CSWE-accredited Online Bachelor of Science in Social Work costs transfers just $339 per credit.
13. Wayne State University
Sitting upon a 203-acre campus in Detroit’s Cultural Center Historic District, Wayne State University is Michigan’s third most popular public, co-educational institution split into 13 colleges to educate 17,600 undergrad Warriors online or on-site in 380 programs. Washington Monthly ranked WSU the 266th best national university. Celebrating its 81st anniversary, the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work offers the 60-credit BSW Where Online Works! Option for transfers to become ethical generalists with LLBSW credentialing.
14. Campbellsville University
Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Campbellsville University is a private, nonprofit Christian teaching institution tracing back to 1906 that’s employing 315 staff and educating 3,200 undergrad Tigers from Kentucky campus near Clay Hill Memorial Forest and online. In 2016, Campbellsville was the Washington Monthly’s 267th best master’s-level university. For 120 credits, the CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work is delivered online with courses like conflict resolution or crisis intervention and 450 practicum hours.
15. Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University is the United States’ largest private, nonprofit Methodist CCCU member endowed for $146.8 million to educate around 10,800 undergrad Wildcats in Marion, at 15 regional centers, and online. Washington Monthly declared IWU the 282nd best master’s-level university for 2016. The College of Adult and Professional Studies has seen enrollment skyrocket by 900 percent in programs like the 64-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work, which integrates 400 practicum hours with vulnerable populations.
16. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Led by President Dr. Chris Maggio, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public, co-educational teaching college in the NASA’s Joint Venture Program that’s enrolling around 8,000 undergrad Demons for the UL system in Natchitoches and online. NSU was ranked the 355th best national university by Washington Monthly. The Global Campus confers a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work online for $375 per credit to satisfy Advanced Standing MSW and LBSW requirements.
17. Washburn University
Enrolling over 6,700 Ichabods on 160 acres in Topeka and online, Washburn University is a public, co-educational CNAHEC institution established in 1865 as Lincoln College that’s grown with a $156.48 million endowment. According to Washington Monthly, Washburn is ranked the 366th best master’s-level university nationwide. Along with 480 practicum hours, online courses are arranged to finish the CSWE-accredited School of Applied Studies’ BSW program for transfers with 36+ credits and a minimum 2.5 GPA overall.
18. Brandman University
Built to offer adult-friendly, flexible education in 1958, Brandman University is a private, nonprofit distance learning institution led by Chairman David A. Janes to educate around 4,000 undergrads at 26 California campuses or online. Given the ACE Institutional Transformation Award in 2017, Brandman is the 412th best master’s-level university according to Washington Monthly. The 120-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is offered wholly online with eight-week sessions and a supervised, 400-hour internship.
19. Bemidji State University
Originally called Bemidji State Teachers College until 1975, Bemidji State University is a public, co-educational land-grant institution in the MNSCU system that’s attracting 5,900 undergrad Beavers into online and face-to-face programs in Minnesota. Washington Monthly placed Bemidji State as America’s 455th best master’s-level institution. Boasting a 96 percent LBSW pass rate, the Hybrid Social Work BSW admits cohorts each Fall to take CSWE-accredited courses online, meet on-campus three times per term, and finish 480 practicum hours.
20. Metropolitan State University Denver
Nestled on Cherry Creek in the Auraria district, Metropolitan State University Denver is a public, urban-grant “opportunity school” endowed for $8.6 million that’s educating over 23,900 undergrad Roadrunners. Washington Monthly lauded MSU Denver as the 607th best master’s-level institution nationally. Via Blackboard, the CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work launched a Fully Online BSSW Option in Fall 2016 for Colorado residents to finish the 55-credit social justice major for $312 per credit with some synchronous courses.