If you’ve put off going back to school for social work due to financial, work or family commitments, you’ll likely be happy to discover that there are a plethora of online masters in Social Work Degree available online.
An online degree may offer you lower tuition rates, and save you a lot of money from not having to commute to school. What’s more, many online social work programs will allow you to study when it’s convenient for you, allowing for plenty of flexibility if you have to both work and study.
Choosing to complete an online masters can be a great chance to improve your education, save you money and provide the chance to hold down a full-time job as you study. But it’s important to know that not all social work degrees are created equal. In fact some are substantially better than others so it’s important that you choose a degree that will benefit your education goals rather than halt them.
If you need help finding a top social work degree, here are our 5 tips for choosing your ideal degree program:
1. Check for Accreditation
To qualify for many social work jobs, it’s imperative that you have obtained a degree from an accredited university or school. When you research masters of social work, make sure that each program you are considering has been accredited by a recognized educational board or association to ensure that you are getting a qualification from a trusted and reliable educational source. Also be aware that there are some online degree scams out there, so always check that the school you are considering is legitimate, offering genuine qualifications and is accredited by a real academic association or board.
2. Choose One that is Affordable
The truth is, people don’t go into social work to get rich, they go into it to make a positive difference in the lives of others and to improve their community, so don’t make the mistake of shelling out the big bucks for a social worker degree online. Although you’ll want to complete a program that is from a respectable institution, don’t choose an overly expensive program, as it may take you many years (perhaps even decades) to pay off your student loans. As you embark on your exciting career you don’t want to be constantly worrying about repaying student loans, so try to pick an institution that is respectable but affordable.
3. Look for Schools that Provide Internship Opportunities
There’s no doubt about it, completing your social work master’s online is very convenient, but you also need to get some real world experience under your belt prior to graduation in order to really impress potential employers. Some entry level social work degrees even require that you have completed so many hours out in the field to qualify, so don’t miss out on this one. Look for graduate programs that either have internship opportunities already arranged or that will be willing to help you find one during your time of study there. Internships will always look great on your resume, and if you can fit one into your schedule you should definitely try and complete one.
4. Check Each School’s Rankings
An online program may look amazing but if it doesn’t rank well (or at all) in your state or nationally then this could be a problem. You should ideally attend an online graduate program that has a good reputation, and that ranks fairly well on official and well respected academic rankings. This way you will know that you are gaining a quality education, and one that employers will be impressed by.
5. Explore What Alumni are Doing Now
At the end of the day you are getting your social work degree so that you can qualify for this career, which makes it vital that you attend an online program that has a solid track record for getting grads hired relatively quickly after graduation. You don’t want to graduate with a useless qualification, so be sure to check the alumni section of each school you consider to see what recent grads are up to now. You may also want to do some further investigation work by looking at career networking sites such as LinkedIn and BranchOut to see where grads are working now and how many have decent jobs in the social work field. You can use your findings as an estimation of what you can expect to get out of the program career wise (or at least in terms of your first job out of school).
Use our tips to help you find a program that is affordable, genuine and that will help you land your ideal social work job once you graduate. Good luck!