Can I Get an Associate’s Degree in Social Work?

Individuals interested in careers in social work often wonder if they can get an associate’s degree in social work. The good news is that not only can they get an associate’s degree in social work, but this degree will also prepare them for various jobs in that field. Although the social work associate’s degree will not qualify candidates to work as licensed social workers, it does prepare them for entry-level work in the field, which can provide the candidate with valuable hands-on training working with and around social workers. Here are a few interesting facts about the associate’s degrees in social work.

What Does an Associate’s in Social Work Entail?

The associate’s degree, which takes two years to complete, gives students a solid foundation of social work practice. The curriculum includes general education courses and core social classes. In addition to coursework, students may be required to complete an internship to satisfy the capstone requirements. The internship has the student working in a social work office to obtain hands-on training in a real workplace. Students can expect to take courses such as introduction to psychology, research writing, principles of sociology.

Associate degrees in social work programs are offered at many community colleges and technical schools and may also be offered as online programs. Many states allow graduates of this program to work in social work support positions.

What Jobs are Available to Graduates?

Earning the social work associate’s degree provides students with a solid foundation of social work and what it all entails. It also prepares them to work in entry-level and support positions in social work. Graduates of an associate’s in social work degree program may find employment in positions such as: social work assistant, case management aide, residential counselor, victim’s advocate associate, community outreach worker, preschool teacher, intake specialist, substance abuse counselor, gerontology aide, and social services assistant.

Some states allow graduates of this program the chance to obtain the credential of licensed social work associate/assistant. In most cases, this involves passing a certification exam.

Benefits of Associate’s in Social Work

Despite the social work associate’s degree program not qualifying the candidate to work as a social worker, there are several benefits to completing the associate’s degree program.

• Cost – Since tuition at most colleges is charged on a per-credit basis, the associate’s degree program will cost less because it requires fewer credits.

• Time – The associate degree program takes two years rather than four or more.

• Knowledge – The knowledge gained in the associate’s degree program will prove beneficial to students who pursue the bachelor’s degree.

• Experience – Graduates of the associate’s degree program can find entry-level work in social work, which provides the individual with experience that will be beneficial when pursuing higher-level employment or an advanced degree in social work.

• Education – Many of the courses completed in the associate’s degree program can be used to meet course or prerequisite requirements in the bachelor’s degree program.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that social and human service assistants should experience a job growth of 16% during the 2016-2026 decade. Earning an associate’s degree in social work is the ideal way to gain valuable experience working in social work without spending many years in college.