If you’re wanting a career that’s committed to helping other people, there are a number of online associates degrees in social work that could help you start your journey.
You can learn invaluable skills for entry-level jobs in social and community service. The knowledge you acquire could prove useful in a variety of fields, or it could serve as the foundation for additional college studies.
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Earning an AA degree in social work could be the first step toward a career that’s focused on serving your community and the people around you.
Online Associate’s Degrees in Social Work
The need for social work professionals is great. Professionals in this field provide essential support for others. Their involvement can connect people to programs and services to meet their needs.
If you’re caring and empathetic, then this might be a good field for you. You will likely work with people from many different backgrounds. It’s also helpful for workers in this field to be engaged listeners and clear communicators. They typically need to be detail-oriented, organized, and able to juggle multiple projects at once.
One way to get started in the social services field is to earn an associate degree in social work. In this program, you’d study topics like:
- Childhood development
- Family dynamics
- Multiculturalism and diversity
Some programs also emphasize addiction studies so that graduates are prepared to work with people who have alcohol or drug dependencies. With this degree, you might be a promising candidate for entry-level roles in organizations that focus on helping others.
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Possible job titles in this field include social services assistant, human services aide, and caseworker aide. Other service professionals might work as residential counselors, personal care aides, or community health workers. Some graduates also guide children as childcare workers or preschool teachers.
An associate degree will often transfer into a bachelors degree program. If you go that route, you might have your lower-level coursework already completed and be halfway to a social work bachelor’s degree.
With a bachelors degree, you could qualify to become a social worker. There are specialization opportunities in the field as well, such as healthcare social work or substance abuse social work.
Social Work Careers and Salaries
A social work associate degree could help you develop foundational skills for entry-level roles. Often, people with this degree have jobs that involve providing care or support for others.
A common career path for graduates is to work as a social or human services assistant. These assistants work alongside social workers or human service specialists. They may provide services for populations like children, elderly people, veterans, or people with disabilities.
A passion for helping others can make social work graduates well suited for other assisting roles as well. For example, in a psychiatric facility, professionals with an associate could work as aides. In healthcare settings, they could be orderlies. Community health worker is an entry-level job option in public health.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for jobs in the community and social service sector is $47,520.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Preschool or Childcare Center Directors||$49,160|
|Community Health Workers||$42,000|
|Secretaries and Administrative Assistants||$40,990|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||$35,960|
|Home Healthcare and Personal Care Aides||$27,080|
Some graduates choose to provide direct care to people in their homes. As personal care aides, they could offer housekeeping services or transportation for the elderly or people with disabilities. Home healthcare may be another possibility, but additional training may be required.
Those who’d prefer to work in group homes could look for jobs as residential advisors. Sometimes, these professionals are known as residential counselors instead. Either way, they may offer supervision and support for people in residential facilities, such as homes for disabled individuals.
Some social work graduates may want to work with young children. Potential career paths could include childcare provider or preschool teacher. There may be opportunities for director roles, but some states do require a bachelor’s degree for that type of position.
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An associate degree in social work could also qualify professionals to work in administrative or secretarial roles in community service agencies. The above list is only a sampling of job possibilities. There may be a variety of other entry-level or assisting roles available for those with a social work associate degree.
Social Work Associate’s Curriculum & Courses
Students in social work associate degree programs typically earn around 60 credits before graduation. That’s usually about 20 classes. The curriculum for associate in social work programs online often includes courses like those listed below.
- Communication Strategies for Social Work: You’ll study interviewing techniques and other strategies for speaking with clients and coworkers.
- Ethics for Social Service: Through this class, you can evaluate your own ethics and develop an ethical approach to helping others.
- Family Relationships: A course on families may cover the role of marriage and family in society and explore ways that family dynamics influence people’s development and behavior.
- Fundamentals of Social Work: One of the first social work classes you take may be an introductory course that provides a broad overview of the field.
- Group Strategies: By covering topics like leadership, communication, and interpersonal relationships, this class can develop your ability to facilitate groups.
- Human Development: You can learn how people change and grow during childhood, adolescence, and beyond.
- Introduction to Psychology: In this class, you will study how people think—both normally and abnormally—and the ways that thoughts influence behaviors.
- Introduction to Sociology: Through this course, you’ll become more familiar with the science of human relationships and culture.
- Multicultural Diversity: Taking a diversity class will help you examine your own biases and prepare to work with clients who may be quite different from you.
- Systems for Helping: This course will provide an overview of social and human service systems and the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches.
During your classes, you may have opportunities for hands-on practicums in your local area.
Some associate degree programs only require you to fill out an online form requesting admission to the school. There may be a small fee to pay as well.
Other colleges are more selective about their admissions process. They may ask for additional documents, such as those listed below.
- High school transcripts
- Reference letters
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
After being admitted to a school, you may be asked to take placement tests to determine what your first college classes should be.
Regional accreditation is a distinction that’s granted to quality colleges. If you want to make sure that you’re earning a reputable social work degree, it’s strategic to choose a regionally accredited school for your studies.
Other colleges look for this seal of approval as well, so unaccredited social work courses may not transfer to other schools. Even if you earn a degree, it may not count toward future bachelor’s degree studies unless it’s from an accredited institution.
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In addition, a degree from an accredited school is often preferred by employers. It can reassure them that they’re hiring someone with a solid education. You can learn more about regional accrediting agencies and accredited colleges from the US Department of Education.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Maybe you’re asking, “Can I afford to go to college?” Before you decide, it’s helpful to understand your financial aid options. Both government and private organizations have programs that can help qualifying students pay for an associate degree in social work.
To find out about your eligibility for federal assistance, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This document could also help you secure funding from your state. Government aid often comes in the form of grants and loans.
There are scholarship programs that help students afford tuition, too. You can apply for scholarships with community organizations and industry associations. Colleges often provide scholarships funds directly to students. You may qualify based on need, merit, or a combination of the two. Some workplaces also have tuition benefits for qualifying employees.
Can I Take Online Classes to Become a Social Worker?
Yes, there are colleges that offer online social work degree programs so that you can earn your degrees from home.
Online courses provide the same content as on-campus classes. You could complete similar assignments and learn the same types of things. There may even be opportunities to get to know your classmates and exchange ideas.
Sometimes, going to school online means that you may finish your degree sooner. Many online schools have accelerated calendars with year-round classes.
What Is an ASW Degree?
An associate degree in social work (ASW) is a 2 year college program that provides an introduction to the field of social work.
Students in an ASW program take courses that cover topics like US social systems, child development, abnormal psychology, and social work ethics. After completing a social work associate program, students may pursue work as social or human service assistants. Others may become aides to caseworkers or other service professionals.
An ASW could also prepare graduates to get bachelors degrees in social work. An associate degree is roughly equivalent to the first 2 years of a bachelors degree program.
Can You Be a Social Worker with an Associates Degree?
A bachelor’s degree is often required for you to qualify as an entry-level social worker. Although you can’t be a full-fledged social worker with an associate degree, a two year degree can still benefit you in this field.
With an associate degree in social work, you might be a qualified candidate for assistant roles in human and social services agencies. As someone who has taken several classes in social work, your job applications may stand out to hiring committees.
An entry-level role in a community organization might lead to advancement down the road. You can gain experience that might help you work toward promotions or prepare you for higher-level studies in this field.
What Can I Do with an Associate Degree in Social Work?
Working as a social or human services assistant is a common role for ASW graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions are often found in family services organizations, nursing homes, government departments, or rehabilitation agencies.
Another job possibility is being a personal care aide. These professionals may provide companionship, housekeeping, or transportation for elderly individuals or people with other needs. Some graduates become community health workers. They can serve as liaisons between community members and public health educators.
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Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that community health workers often work for hospitals, family service agencies, or the government.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Associates Degree in Social Work?
An associate degree program usually takes 2 years to complete with full-time study. At most on-campus schools, you’ll take classes over four semesters. If you want to finish your associate degree more quickly, going to college online might be the answer.
Instead of traditional 16 week semesters, some online schools have shorter 8 week terms. Students take only one or two courses at a time. As soon as one session ends, the next one begins. With a fast-track schedule, you may earn an online associate degree in social work in less time.
What’s the Difference Between a Human Services vs. Social Work Associate Degree?
The fields of human services and social work are both concerned with making a difference for others. Understanding how these fields compare may help you figure out which type of associate degree to get.
|Human Services||Social Work|
At the associate degree level, these two programs may have several similar courses.
Is an Associate’s Degree in Social Work Worth It?
Yes, an associate’s degree in social work is worth it for many professionals. Earning this degree could help you enter the field of social and community service.
The number of social work positions is expected to increase over the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for social and human services assistants are expected to grow at a 17% rate over the next ten years.
An associate degree could also help you continue on to get a bachelor’s degree. A bachelors is a common entry-level requirement for social workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 13% job growth for social workers over the next ten years.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Social Work Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Bergen Community College offers an Associate of Science in Social Work that is designed to be easily transferable to a 4 year bachelor’s degree program. Bergen provides career coaching services to help students make education and career plans. The program provides studies in individual, group, community, and societal relationships.
Bergen Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Bryant and Stratton College offers a Human and Social Services Associate degree program that is available on campus and online. It covers the ethical and legal standards of human and social service settings, crisis intervention, and case management. Bryant and Stratton College strives to make sure its online students receive the same personal support as those on campus.
Bryant & Stratton College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The Associate in Arts in Social Work program at Delaware Community College is designed to provide introductory social work knowledge. It covers the history, theories, policies, and applied practices of social work. The program can help prepare students for transferring into a 4 year program, and students in the program can work with transfer counselors for guidance in choosing their electives.
Delaware County Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Georgia Military College offers an online program for an Associate in Social Work. The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in social work agencies. One goal of the program is to help students develop a good understanding of the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics. The program also encourages students to identify and eliminate personal biases.
Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Northhampton Community College offers an Associate in Art in Social Work program. It can prepare students for careers that help individuals and society. The program is partially online. Service learning opportunities are available, and Northampton has a Social Work Club and other campus activities that students can participate in.
Northampton Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Pueblo Community College offers an Associate of Arts in Social Work. The program includes both general education requirements and specific social work courses. Courses are available during the day, evening, and online. The program is designed to help students prepare for applying to a bachelor’s degree program.
Pueblo Community College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Seminole State College of Florida offers a Social Work Pathway Associate in Arts. Class sizes include no more than thirty students each, and options are currently available in on-campus, online, remote, and hybrid formats. Remote courses have set virtual meeting times, while online courses provide more flexibility.
Seminole State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
South Texas College offers an Associate in Social Work. Courses include Introduction to Social Work, Social Welfare: Legislation, Programs, and Services, and an academic cooperative. The program is also designed to help students receive a strong foundation in general education. The curriculum parallels that of the first two years of a typical 4 year social work degree program.
South Texas College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tyler Junior College offers an Associate’s in Social Work online program. It provides opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in the profession before continuing their education. Courses include Social Problems, Introduction to Social Work, Social Welfare as a Social Institution, and an academic cooperative.
Tyler Junior College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
At the University of North Georgia, the Social Work Pathway (A.A.) is available both on campus and online. UNG has a variety of resources to support both types of students. Students are required to take Introduction to Social Work and also have opportunities to take electives in subjects such as anthropology, economics, and human services.
UNG is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Social Work Associate’s Degree Online
Social work is an invaluable field. Through social work services, people in need can connect with programs and support organizations in their communities.
By earning an associate degree in social work, you can play a role in helping people find the assistance that they need. You may be plenty busy already. If so, it could be difficult to think about adding commuting and in-person classes to your schedule. Online courses in social work could be the answer.
Through online college classes, you can earn an accredited associate degree in social work. You can start exploring your college options for social work study today.