Online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) DegreeOnline Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) DegreeOnline Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Degree

Learn to create a world of good from wherever you are — with our online BSW program

Social workers advocate for the underrepresented. They teach resilience, and they help people persevere and grow through the most challenging circumstances. They dedicate their lives to serving those in need — children, aging adults, victims of crime or trauma, people suffering from addiction and those facing challenges related to any dimension of diversity. They act as advocates for social justice, and they give a voice to marginalized individuals, families, organizations and communities.

As an aspiring social worker, you’re pursuing more than a career. You’re pursuing a passion.

When you earn your online Bachelor of Social Work from Maryville, you’ll have the opportunity to enhance your skill set and knowledge base to build a meaningful career. Your passion can be your life’s work as you commit yourself to the wellbeing of others and the greater community good. We’ll help.

View our program guide for more information including accreditation and student learning outcomes.

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Apply with no fee and no SAT/ACT required.

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Explore financial aid and transfer credit friendly admission.

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Access coursework 100% online.

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Experience a CSWE-accredited program aligned with the nine CSWE competencies.

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Learn from industry professionals and experienced practitioners.

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Get field-ready with experiential learning and practicum opportunities.

Why earn your Bachelor of Social Work online?

Social work isn’t just a rewarding field. It’s a growing field. Factors like increased school enrollment, aging and retiring populations and better diagnosis of mental illness mean more people than ever need qualified, caring professionals to help them through challenging times and circumstances.

When you earn your BSW online from Maryville, you can work with our virtual community of like-minded students and experienced professionals, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers, as you learn to serve your own community. When you study online, you have the flexibility to do it all on your schedule.

Our BSW focuses on diversity, generalist practice, self-care and social justice, experiential projects and real-world scenarios, so you can graduate ready for whatever comes your way.

Our program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and designed to align with the nine CSWE competencies and prepare you for leadership in this field. We built the curriculum to follow the educational policy standards that define nine critical competencies forming the foundation of your education, which are fundamental to becoming a professionally competent social worker.

You have the drive to change the world around you. Now, get the education to back it up.

What are the nine CSWE competencies?

The CSWE has outlined a series of crucial skills and learning outcomes for social workers. We designed our online BSW to align with these nine competencies to ensure that our students get the best education possible so they can graduate ready for professional practice. The nine competencies are:*

  • 1. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
  • 2. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  • 3. Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice.
  • 4. Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
  • 5. Engage in policy practice.
  • 6. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
  • 7. Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
  • 8. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
  • 9 . Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  1. *

Earn a flexible, affordable and highly personalized social service degree at Maryville online

Study on your schedule with 100% online coursework, and apply with no fees or entrance exams.

Benefit from transfer credit friendly admission and explore financial aid options.

Build your modern social work foundation with an emphasis on self-care, social justice and diversity.

Prepare for the ASWB social work licensing exam.*

Blend theory and real-world training through in-class projects and an immersive experiential practicum.

Join our virtual community and learn from top social work experts, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs).

*While a master’s degree may be required for advanced clinical practice, your bachelor’s degree can help you pursue licensure in your state or start your generalist social work practice. Licensure may not be required in all states to practice at the BSW level, as licensure requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Please check with your local licensing/certification board for details.

What can you do with your online Bachelor of Social Work?

When you pursue a social work career, you can find yourself uniquely positioned to make an immediate and much-needed impact. With your BSW, you can help serve those in need, regardless of and with consideration of age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation and tribal sovereign status.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there’s a chronic shortage of qualified professionals in the United States, with roughly 63,800 openings for social workers projected each year, on average, over the decade. The need for social workers is on the rise and the number of careers in the field is projected to grow by 7% between 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.1

The need is so stark in some places that advocacy groups and state governments are working to enact legislative solutions. These proposals are aimed at streamlining licensing processes, easing recruitment of qualified professionals and even helping prospective social work experts with tuition and other costs.*

That means there’s plenty of opportunity for people who seek a rewarding career in almost any setting. Whether you practice in a city or rural community, you can pursue work in hospitals, schools, military settings and correctional facilities, just to name a few. Earn your BSW and begin making a positive difference for individuals and communities. We can help you get there.

*The Herald Bulletin, “Indiana, other states ponder solutions to growing shortage of social workers”

What types of careers can you pursue in social services?

While a master’s degree may be required for advanced clinical practice, your bachelor’s degree can help you pursue licensure in your state or start your generalist social work practice. Licensure may not be required in all states to practice at the BSW level, as licensure requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Please check with your local licensing/certification board for details.

Put your BSW to work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Schools and children’s services
  • Hospitals, clinics, and assisted living facilities
  • State and local governments
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Substance abuse facilities
  • Correctional facilities
  • Military locations and VA offices
  • Private practice and individual/family services
  • In-home/virtual care

Career opportunities for BSW grads include:

  • General social worker
  • Behavioral management aide
  • Child, family, and school social worker
  • Healthcare social worker
  • Social or human services manager
  • Mental health/substance abuse social worker
  • Community outreach worker
  • Case manager/case worker
  • Probation officer
  • Correctional treatment specialist
  • Youth advocate/counselor

What’s the market outlook for online BSW graduates?

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Discover great opportunities

When you pursue a career in social work, your main motivation is to serve those in need with compassion and dignity while still having the opportunity to earn a competitive salary.

Salaries vary based on factors like location, continued education, licensure and experience level, but the annual median pay for all social workers is around $55,350.2 Some specific careers you might pursue include mental health/substance abuse worker ($51,240)3 and probation officer/correctional treatment specialist ($59,860).4

Your BSW can also help you earn your graduate-level degree quicker through advanced standing. (Note that participation and specifics on advanced standing vary by master’s program.) With a master’s in social work, you can pursue higher-paying careers like healthcare social work ($60,280).5 You can also aim for higher salaries across the board. Learn more about advanced standing in the curriculum section below.

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Benefit from high demand

The combination of high growth in the field and a shortage of qualified workers means demand is high for compassionate, dedicated people like you. By earning your BSW, you can build the proper foundation to help address this need and join a high-growth field.6

In our program, we focus on generalist social work. That means our graduates are qualified to work across a number of specialties and settings. Social workers are in demand across many locations and types of communities, and our program can help prepare you to address needs in dense cities, rural areas and everywhere in between. Our flexible online format means you can study and complete coursework from wherever you are.

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Prepare for a rewarding career

You want to pursue a career where you can make a difference in the world, and feel good about what you’ve accomplished. Few careers give you that opportunity like social work.

Whether you’re starting in an entry-level position or moving up in the field through experience and education, you stand to make a lasting impact on individuals’ lives and community wellbeing. That’s why many social workers consider their job to be both meaningful and rewarding.

This field features prominently on lists of the most fulfilling work, with several positions being cited on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Social Services Jobs”7 and indeed’s “40 of the Most Meaningful Jobs to Pursue” lists.8  

When you earn your online BSW from Maryville, you join a program designed around collaboration and experience. Our goal is to provide a top-tier learning environment where a diverse community can practice and grow into tomorrow’s social work leaders.

Here, we help you build your generalist foundation as a social worker, so you can pursue a rewarding career — or further education through graduate school. And we’re with you every step of the way — from application through graduation and beyond.Why Maryville?

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Join our supportive virtual community

We designed our BSW to serve you — so you can better serve others. That’s why our program is centered around a virtual community model. Here, you’ll find support and camaraderie from future social work professionals just like you, as well as our faculty of experienced practitioners and experts in the field.

We emphasize self-care so you can learn to practice at your highest level in this challenging field. In addition, as a social worker it’s important for you to know how to approach your work with empathy and sympathy. We’ll help you build your emotional intelligence, so you can serve your community with care and compassion while addressing your own personal and professional needs.

Not only that, but we also provide you with a number of resources to promote your success as a student. These include dedicated support from application through graduation, access to life coaches who can help you with academic and career success, 24/7 technical assistance from our Help Desk and access to your professors during virtual office hours.

Social work is all about real-world experience. So is our degree.

When you earn your BSW from Maryville, you have the opportunity to build your theoretical and practical knowledge. And that’s not just because you’re learning from top experts in the field.

In our program, you can benefit from innovative coursework that focuses on collaboration, engagement and experience. Every social work course is designed to immerse you in practice through experiential components or projects based on real-world scenarios. What you learn in your courses can help you take on real-world challenges and opportunities in your practice.

You’ll also have the chance to build your understanding of the field through a practicum in your chosen setting, and create a portfolio or accomplish your own project through a capstone experience. It’s all aimed at helping you prepare for your career.

Put our reputation to work

Maryville University was founded in 1872 and has been helping brave, motivated professionals launch or enhance their careers with industry expertise ever since.

Our BSW program is taught by experienced practitioners and experts in the field. We’re proud of our reputation for quality academics, accelerated growth, and affordability, because it demonstrates our commitment to excellence.

We’re recognized for excellence. So you can be, too.

When you earn your online BSW from Maryville, you graduate from a respected university. As a student of this online degree, you get the opportunity to learn from a social work program designed to the highest standards of quality.

Our BSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and aligns with the CSWE’s nine competencies. That means the educational experience and quality meet or exceed the standard of excellence set by this respected accrediting body. We aim to provide the best possible education for you, so you can pursue further study or find a fulfilling career in social work.

Bachelor of Social Work faculty spotlight

Dr. Ellie S. Wideman, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Program Director of the Social Work Program, Assistant Professor of Social Work, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker

When you earn your online BSW at Maryville, you can learn from top professionals of this area like Dr. Ellie S. Wideman who brings over 25 years of experience to the program.

Wideman has been sharing her passion for social work and educating the next generation of social workers since 2010. She has taught a variety of on-campus and online courses at Maryville and helped develop the Introduction to Social Work, Professionalism & Ethics course as well as the Practice courses.

She’s a Maryville graduate herself, having earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Science with an emphasis in biology, Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, and minors in chemistry and sociology. She later went on to Washington University where she earned her master’s in social work with a concentration in children, youth and family and double specialization in family therapy in research along with her PhD in social work.

Wideman’s work has involved the most severe child maltreatment cases in the state, adults living with persistent mental health diagnoses, victims of domestic abuse and juvenile male sex offenders. Since going into private practice in 2008, she has worked with the family courts as well as child protective services, and continues to provide family therapy, couples work and treatment for children and adults experiencing trauma, anxiety, depression and bi-polar disorder.

What Wideman says she loves most about social work is the variety of experiences she’s had: “We work with diverse people through the micro, mezzo and macro levels to combat social injustice, oppression and bring light to the darker elements of the human experience. I look forward to being a part of your educational journey as you become a social worker.”

Online Bachelor of Social Work Curriculum

The coursework in our online BSW degree was created based on the nine CSWE competencies, so you can prepare to perform at the highest level and with best practices in your social work career. We focus on emerging trends — giving special attention to topics like self-care and emotional literacy — and we work with the most up-to-date tools and tech in the field.

Maryville features coursework that emphasizes important topics like advocacy, social justice, financial literacy and evidence-based practices. We also incorporate extensive experiential learning in the form of class projects, a practicum and a capstone.

When you choose Maryville, you choose an online BSW that adheres to the highest standards of social work education. This prepares you to take what you learn and make an immediate impact in the world.

Our program combines core coursework specific to social work, as well as a number of electives that let you tailor your degree to your interests or career aspirations. The program comprises 128 credit hours and includes core social work courses, electives and general education requirements. Review our Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes to learn more about the skills our graduates leave with.

Build your foundation in social work

Learn to be the best advocate you can be. Complete core courses in integral areas like social work theory, ethics in social work, research methods, statistics, human behavior, social justice and more.

Specialize your social work knowledge through your choice of electives

Want a deeper dive into specific areas of this field? Maryville features a robust list of possible electives to help you. Choose from courses in sociology of healthcare, human sexuality, mental health in society, juvenile delinquency and more.

Put your knowledge to work

Work on your schedule to complete a practicum in your preferred local setting, and apply what you learn — in the classroom and in the field — to your capstone project. This type of hands-on experience lets you get a feel for how what you learn here can help you serve people and communities in the real world.

Professional licensure and certification regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Students are encouraged to visit the Association of Social Work Boards for the state in which they intend to practice to verify specific licensure requirements which include ensuring the program of interest meets the licensure requirements prior to enrolling. Students may visit the professional licensure page or reach out to our team of enrollment advisors for guidance.

All Bachelor’s degree in Social Work students will need to purchase and obtain Tevera as it’s essential in a majority of courses and a requirement for program completion.

The Bachelor’s in Social Work degree is not available to students living in American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico or the U.S Virgin Islands. Completion of all required coursework is not possible, which will prevent graduation and earning of the degree. This applies to all students regardless of address when they began the online Social Work program. Graduation with the Maryville’s BSW degree is not possible after moving to, relocating to or while living in the above locations.

The online Social Work program does not grant course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Master of Social Work (MSW): Want to take your education further?

If you want to reach the highest levels of this profession, you may need your Master of Social Work (MSW). With your BSW from Maryville, you may be able to earn it in significantly less time.

Many MSW programs offer an advanced standing track for students who hold a BSW. Requirements and total credits awarded vary by institution, but if you choose an MSW program that offers an advanced standing track, you should be able to use your BSW to finish your graduate degree considerably faster.

Learn more about the online Bachelor of Social Work at Maryville University

Frequently asked questions

  • Social workers usually require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education

  • Aside from a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you may need to obtain a license, with specific requirements varying by state. Please check with your local licensing/certification board for details.

  • Social workers operate across a spectrum of service areas including community development, child protection, family welfare, youth programs, disability support, healthcare, education, workplace initiatives and social policy development.

  • Becoming a social worker typically requires four to six years. Most start with a four-year bachelor’s degree, then pursue a master’s for licensing and clinical work. While many take six years for both degrees, some finish sooner through extra credits or accelerated programs.

  • The median annual wage for social workers is roughly $55,350. The highest 10 percent earned more than $87,300. Social workers in hospitals, whether that’s state, local or private, have the highest median wage at $66,300.9

Be Brave

Bring us your ambition and we’ll guide you along a personalized path to a quality education that’s designed to change your life.

1Occupational Outlook Handbook: Social Workers (2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

2Occupational Outlook Handbook: Social Workers (2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

3Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers (2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

4Occupational Outlook Handbook: Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists (2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

5Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics: Healthcare Social Workers (2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

6Occupational Outlook Handbook: Social Workers (2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

7Best Social Services Jobs. (2024). U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

840 of the Most Meaningful Jobs to Pursue. (2024). indeed. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

9Occupational Outlook Handbook: Social Workers (2023). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 7, 2024.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference