Earning a social work degree while working full time is a must for many students. You might find yourself in a position where you have to work and provide for your family, or you might not receive enough financial aid to dedicate yourself full time to your studies. Online programs and other options let you work on your degree and work full time at your current job.
Types of Social Work Degrees
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is the most common type of degree, but some students go to graduate school and earn a Master of Social Work (MSW). Earning your BSW typically takes four years as a full-time student, but as a part-time working student, it might take you five to six years to finish the program. MSW programs often take two years of full-time study, but some accelerated programs let students earn their degrees in as little as one year or 18 months. If you have a BSW and apply for admission to a MSW program, some graduate schools will award you credit for the social work classes you took at the undergraduate level.
Duties of a Social Worker
Getting a social work degree while working full time is possible, but before you commit to the field, make sure that you can handle the duties and tasks that social workers perform on a regular basis. You must be empathetic and compassionate, but you need to understand when to walk away from a situation and how to leave your work behind at the end of the day. Social workers also need strong time management, decision making and organizational skills. Your supervisor might assign you dozens of cases each week that you need follow up on and research.
Can You Earn a Degree While Working?
Social work is just like any other field, which means that earning a social work degree while working full time is more than possible. Thousands of students are enrolled part time in traditional colleges and universities, and those students know that they can take as little as one class each semester. The only problem with attending school on a part time basis is that you often won't receive financial aid or you won't receive as much financial aid if you entered the program as a full-time student.
Online Social Work and Other Programs
If you need to work full time, look for online social work programs and programs designed for busy professionals. Online social work degree programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and these programs let you take your required social work and general education courses online. Some programs do have a residency requirement in place, but those requirements only ask that you live on campus for a weekend or a short week. Social work programs designed for busy professionals are usually available at the graduate level. These programs offer a combination of weekend classes, evening classes and other courses that meet once a week.
With the right program, you won't miss out on time at home or have to leave your full-time job behind. Social work programs today give you the chance to work and fulfill any other obligations that you might have. Earning a social work degree while working full time is easier than you might think.