Accredited Online Social Work Schools and Degree Programs

A career in social work should not be taken lightly. Students eager to pursue such a path must have a genuine desire to both help the less fortunate with their struggles and to help those same people make the transition into becoming contributors to society. Such work is as demanding as it is rewarding. Social work also has a reputation for below average pay when compared to fields with comparable education requirements. But even after all that, there are few careers that offer people the opportunity to make such a positive and long-lasting difference in the lives of others.

This resource is meant to help you begin your research into online social work degree programs. While this resource is a handy jumping point, it is highly recommended you commit additional time to researching the field in order to determine what sort of program suits you best.

  • Accreditation Agencies
  • Career Options
  • Notable Schools

Accreditation Agencies

Currently there is one national agency that confers accreditation status to schools of social work and schools that offer degree programs in the field of social work. The Council on Social Work Education relies on the informed opinion of a highly-qualified board of directors in order to determine which schools and programs receive the council’s valued seal of approval.

Career Options

Given the importance of social work in our world today, many graduates in the field may not have much trouble locating a fulfilling career shortly after graduation. While the careers out there aren’t the highest paying, or even the easiest when it comes to workload and stress, the fulfillment many graduates receive when helping the less fortunate simply cannot be quantified. Below is a list of careers pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that are especially suited for professionals with a degree in social work.

Job Title National Employment Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage
Social Workers 58,430 $26.38 $54,870
Rehabilitation Counsellors 104,070 $17.95 $37,330
Mental Health Counsellors 115,080 $20.81 $43,290
School and Career Counselors 237,480 $27.00 $56,170
Social and Community Service Managers 115,360 $30.99 $64,460

Figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

Notable Schools

Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of accredited colleges there are across the nation. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific program. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable online and campus-based schools offering degrees in this subject to help you begin your school search.


Individuals who wish to pursue a career in social work may not have the time or the resources needed to enroll in a full-time, campus-based program in social work. Below is a list of notable online programs that anyone with a desire to start a formal education in social work can complete from the comfort of their own home.

Humboldt University

Arcata, California / Online

Humboldt University offers a bachelor’s degree and a master’s program in social work, both of which can be completed entirely online. The master’s degree offers two options for incoming social work grad students, a 3.5 year part-time online program and a more intensive two-year advanced standing Master of Social Work online program. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs in social work at Humboldt are accredited and focus on instilling the values of social justice, empowerment and multiculturalism.

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California / Online

The online Master of Social Work program at USC highlights the fact that their program “mirrors the stringent curriculum and academic rigor of the on-campus program delivered by our regular, full-time faculty.” This should put any worries to rest that online degree earners will receive a less comprehensive education than their on-campus counterparts. In addition to offering state-of-the-art online course content, the school ensures that online students receive necessary hands-on training in their local communities, supervised by local field instructors.

McKinley College

Fort Collins, Colorado / Online

McKinley College prides itself on offering incoming students in the field of social work a more flexible and cost-effective alternative to the traditional social work programs. This online degree gives students access to an experienced faculty of social work professors and active professionals at the grassroots and governmental levels. The coursework is also designed to give students a particular area of expertise in social work so they can land a stable career shortly after earning their degree.

Campus Only

For many students who possess both the time and resources to pursue an on-campus degree in social work, the one-on-one attention and hands-on training they will receive can be invaluable. Below is a selection of schools that have been ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report for the strength and value of their social work programs.

University of Michigan–​Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ranked number one by U.S. News and World Report for its graduate program in social work, the University of Michigan should be high on any student’s list of potential schools of social work to enroll in. The university’s School of Social Work touts the fact that “for more than 90 years, we have led the profession in teaching, research, innovation, collaboration and service.” Students who enroll in UM’s renowned social work program should expect to commit themselves to several years of hard work and training in social work with the promise of an outstanding career in the field following graduation.

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington

In the Pacific Northwest, the University of Washington’s School of Social Work is a paragon throughout the region for providing a world-class education in the field. This commitment to holding the highest standards has also earned them one of the top spots on U.S. News and World Report‘s ranking of the best social work graduate schools in the nation. The school takes a three pronged approach to instilling the values of social work among its students: local leadership, smart partnerships, and global health. As a result, the education students receive at UW should prepare them for the challenges and rewards faced by people entering the social work field this century.

Columbia University

New York, New York

For students seeking an East Coast Ivy League education in social work, Columbia University definitely warrants some serious consideration. Like most private schools, choosing to enroll in Columbia’s social work program can be costly, but the rewards it offers to its graduates cannot be ignored. The School of Social Work at Columbia University sets itself apart from other schools of social work by providing a multidisciplinary approach to educating students in the field. This allows students to master and put into practice the necessary knowledge in the field of social work and augment this knowledge with skills learned across other relevant fields.