What is a BSW Degree?
A BSW represents the equivalent of a four-year degree from an accredited liberal university or college. You may also earn the degree online from an accredited university and take classes on either a full or part-time basis. Many BSW programs exist throughout the United States.
A BSW will provide the knowledge and foundation for many different career paths. It also serves as the beginning part of the process if the individual intends to become a licensed counselor or therapist or achieve their MSW, or Masters of Social Work.
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How to Achieve Your Bachelor of Social Work
Preparing in High School or Community College
If you’re still attending high school or community college and want to pursue a BSW, start preparing as soon as possible for your educational and career goals. Consider implementing these suggestions as you prepare for your BSW:
- Focus on your studies and earning good grades — especially in the areas of public speaking, government or social studies, foreign languages with an emphasis on Spanish, and mathematics, especially statistics.
- Volunteer — Check with your school and guidance counselor for volunteering ideas in which you’ll work with individuals. You may also want to review opportunities with your local YMCA or YWCA and organizations that work with children, seniors, or the disabled.
- Plan ahead — Earning a BSW at a traditional campus or a BSW online degree will go more smoothly if you put a long-range plan into place. Research some of the schools you wish to attend to learn about the admission requirements.
Prerequisites for a BSW Program
Minimally, most universities will require a high school diploma, and some may only consider applicants with a certain GPA. You should also check if an SAT or ACT report needs submission with your application.
If you’re transferring from another institution or community college, you’ll want to determine what credits will transfer. Most institutions will require official, unopened transcripts from your high school or college.
What to Expect from Your Online BSW Program
Online programs work especially well for students who work or take care of children or other family members. With today’s technology, the virtual classroom provides all the learning aspects of a traditional campus with added flexibility. It’s possible to earn your degree from your home, although many programs require you to visit the campus once a year.
Your online BSW program will offer convenience and structure at the same time. Coursework requirements may include mandatory discussion questions, recorded lectures, timed quizzes and tests, and projects. Examples of classes in the program may include:
- Human Behavior
- Social Work Stats
- Substance Abuse Treatment
The median BSW salary is about $51,760, or $24.88 per hour, as of 2020. Approximately 715,000 jobs requiring a BSW existed in 2020, including about 78,000 openings. The social work field continues to grow at 12% higher than the average vocation.
A person with a BSW may find themselves working at a school, senior center, youth facility, or correctional facility, just to name a few. Job opportunities may include child advocate, case manager, community outreach representative, community probation officer, child support officer, youth worker, and many more.
The Skills Needed for a Successful Social Work Career
- To maximize your BSW degree salary, work on developing these skills:
- Emotional intelligence and empathy and the ability to interpret nonverbal skills
- Communication skills that adapt for diverse clientele and include active listening skills
- Critical thinking skills that evaluate facts and then get creative
- Organizational skills
- Advocacy tendencies
- Cultural competencies
- Professional while sensitive
- Time management and the ability to realize a healthy work/life balance
Knowing your skillset and accepting and implementing feedback where you need improvement will help to enhance your performance and boost your BSW degree salary.
We’re Here to Help
Counseling Degrees Online provides a variety of information about Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) online accredited programs, including resources to help you select BSW accredited programs that can help you meet your educational requirements and achieve your goals.
Counseling Degrees Online also provides information about earning your MSW degree and receiving the proper accreditation for certification and licensure for counseling.