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Why taking a BSW is the best step forward for your social worker career

16th March 2021 Print

Social work is a diverse and growing field that offers plenty of benefits to job seekers. Working as a social worker can be extremely rewarding, and you will get a sense of satisfaction from helping others and making a positive impact. If you are hoping to become a social worker, then the traditional route to qualification is to earn a Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) and then apply for a state license. Fortunately, earning certified status is now easier than ever, thanks to BSW online courses. Earning your BSW online means that you can fit learning around your existing schedule and commitments. Distance learning has made social worker qualifications much more accessible and convenient. Below, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about social work and why studying a BSW online is the best step forward for your social worker career. 

What do social workers do?

If you are considering a career in social work, then you must know what a social worker does daily. The role can be highly rewarding, but it can also be challenging. This is why you must do research and gain a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a social worker. According to “Social workers help families, children, and individuals access programs and services that improve their lives.” They help people overcome problems and achieve a better quality of life. The role of a social worker is diverse, and the duties vary depending on the sector or social work chosen. Qualified social workers can choose to work in a broad range of settings, including schools, hospitals, outreach centers, family services, and other community settings. 

When you are studying for a social worker qualification, you will have the opportunity to specialize in your chosen area of social work. Some of the most popular social work specializations include mental health, substance abuse, family services, and school social work. You can learn more about the different fields of social work by doing career research online or completing placements while studying for a BSW online. This will help you determine which field of social work is best for you, based on your skills and interests. 

What are the benefits of a career in social work?

A career in social work can offer dozens of potential job benefits. We are going to discuss the key benefits of a career in social work below: 

Job satisfaction 

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This saying is thrown around a lot and is one of the most important pieces of career advice. Studies show that the average person spends one-third of their life at work. A lot of your time is going to be spent at work, so you must enjoy your job role and do something that you are passionate about. One of the biggest advantages of social work is that it offers high job satisfaction. Becoming a social worker allows you to help people and make a positive impact on society. This gives social workers a sense of purpose and leads to high job satisfaction. 

Diverse work

As mentioned, social work is a diverse field, and qualified social workers can choose to specialize in a wide variety of areas. This allows social workers to choose a sector that is well matched to their skills, interests, and work preferences. Social workers may also have the opportunity to switch their field of specialism later in their careers. 

Career progression

There are plenty of opportunities for social workers to advance in their careers. A BSW online qualification can provide advancement opportunities and help social workers progress into more senior positions. Earning a Masters in Social Work (MSW) can also give social workers a competitive edge and help them secure the top positions. 

Job security 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that job opportunities in social work will grow by 13% by 2029. This is higher than the average across all other job industries.  Some sectors, including substance abuse and family social work, are expected to grow by more than 20% in the next 10 years. There is a high demand for qualified social workers, especially those with a BSW online qualification and additional certifications like an MSW. For that reason, social workers enjoy excellent job security, and graduates rarely struggle to find employment once qualified. 

Attractive salary package 

A social worker’s salary is above the national average, and the top 10% of social workers earn over $82,000 a year according to The yearly salary of a social worker depends on the area they work in, and social workers can increase their earning potential by gaining qualifications such as an MSW or a BSW online. Most social workers also enjoy other employment perks like retirement benefits or private healthcare insurance. 

How do I become a qualified social worker? 

Becoming a licensed social worker requires time and money and the training typically takes several years to complete. You must understand what will be involved and be prepared to put in the hard work to achieve licensed status. Here are the key steps to become a qualified social worker:

Step 1: Earn a BSW online 

If you have decided that you want to pursue a career in social work, then you will need to complete a BSW. You can choose to study this via a traditional classroom-based course or by completing a BSW online qualification. Studying for a BSW online offers far more flexibility, and you will have the freedom to fit learning around your existing commitments. Enrolling on a BSW online program is the most convenient option for students who are already working or have a family to take care of. In most cases, it takes around four years to earn a BSW online qualification, although this timescale will be longer if you choose to study part-time. It is sometimes possible to complete an accelerated BSW online program that allows you to earn the qualification faster. 

Step 2: Gain industry experience 

If you want to become a social worker, then you must start building your industry experience as early as possible. Gaining work experience will enhance your resume and help you stand out from your peers. It will also give you a real insight into social work and help you make connections with professionals in the industry. When you are studying for your BSW online, you will likely be required to complete several placements as part of the course syllabus. That said, you should start building your experience as early as possible, ideally before you start your BSW online program. Experts at Social Work License Map explain that volunteering is one of the most effective ways to gain hands-on social work experience. You might also be able to apply for internship placements with social work agencies before or during your BSW online course. 

Step 3: Meet the requirements for licensure 

Once you have completed your BSW online program, you should be in a position to apply for a license. This will allow you to practice as a social worker in your chosen field. Some states don’t require a license, although social workers without a license may struggle to find employment, especially in complex fields like substance abuse or clinical social work. The criteria for licensure differ between states, so you must check that you meet the minimum requirements. In most cases, you will need a bachelor’s degree, sufficient work experience, and must pass an examination before being granted a license. 

Step 4: Apply for entry-level positions 

Once you have gained the necessary qualifications and been granted a state license, you will be able to start looking for employment in social work. Some entry-level positions include group home workers, social work program coordinators, and mental health workers. Finding the right entry-level position after graduation will help you start a successful career and excel in your chosen field. You should draw on your professional connections when you start searching for your first job after graduation. For instance, your mentor during a work placement may be able to recommend you for job openings within their organization or help you find other job opportunities. This is why you must focus on building meaningful connections while studying or completing work placements. 

Tips for studying a BSW online 

Studying a BSW online is a popular option for students hoping to find employment in the field of social work. Earning your social worker qualification online offers several great benefits, but online qualifications are not easier than traditional classroom-based programs. Earning your BSW online requires determination, and you must plan your time well to be successful. With that in mind, here are some tips for studying a BSW online:

Organize your study schedule 

A major advantage of studying a BSW online is that you will have more freedom and flexibility around your study schedule. You can choose to complete learning assignments and coursework at a time that is convenient for you. This is a massive benefit of distance learning, but it can also present some challenges. To be successful, you must be extremely organized and follow a consistent study schedule. Note key deadlines and assessments and then allocate time towards your learning. Avoid leaving things to the last minute, and try to be as proactive and organized as possible when it comes to your learning. 

Create a productive learning space 

Another challenge of studying remotely is that you might find it more difficult to remain focused on your learning tasks. You might find yourself becoming distracted by social media, TV, or housemates, for example. When you start a BSW online course, you must find a productive learning space. Make sure that you have all of the tools and equipment needed to support your learning activities. This should include a desk and comfortable chair, a laptop or computer monitor, and a high-speed internet connection. Avoid potential distractions like your mobile phone to help boost your productivity while studying. If you struggle to concentrate at home, then consider studying in another location like your local library or a quiet cafe. Take a look at this article for tips on how to create your ideal study space at home. 

Connect with other learners 

Studying for a BSW online can be lonely, and you will miss out on the connections and physical support that comes with classroom-based programs. The good news is, most online courses offer plenty of resources designed to connect learnings with their peers and teachers. For example, you might be able to join Facebook groups to discuss learning tasks and meet other students on your course. Take advantage of these platforms and make an effort to connect with other learners online. This will help you feel more positive and supportive while studying for your BSW online. 

Strike a healthy balance 

Earning a BSW online is hard work, especially if you are trying to balance other commitments such as work or childcare. You are likely to be busy, but you must still make time for yourself and strike a healthy balance between study and your personal life. If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, then take a step back and give yourself time to relax and unwind. You should find ways to relieve feelings of stress and take care of your health and wellbeing. Becoming organized and planning your study time well will help you avoid stress and feel more in control of your learning and lifestyle. You must also try to maintain healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, being active, and getting enough sleep. 


Pursuing a career in social work can offer a variety of great job benefits, including high job satisfaction, job security, and the chance to help people and make a positive impact. If you wish to become a social worker, then completing a BSW is a key step in achieving qualified status. Earning a BSW takes time and effort, but it can lead to a long and rewarding career. Fortunately, BSW online courses have made it far more convenient to earn the required qualifications to become a licensed social worker.