Bachelor of Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree program provides the education and experience necessary for a career in social work.

Bachelor of Social Work


The Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree program provides the education and experience necessary for a career in social work. It prepares graduates for beginning generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. (The University of Kansas)

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is most suited for entry-level positions in areas such as family services, child welfare, public health, and substance abuse. However, individuals interested in clinical social work often continue their education and obtain a Master of Social Work (MSW). 

Job Options

There are three social work specializations that individuals who graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) can pursue, and it can be helpful for aspiring social workers to learn about the job duties and outlook for each. A BSW program prepares graduates for a variety of entry-level social worker jobs. Through field experience and coursework in psychology, sociology, social work practice, and research methods, BSW graduates gain the skills needed to work as a child, family, and school social workers; mental health and substance abuse social workers; or healthcare social workers.

It is important to note that a BSW does not prepare graduates for work in all social work specialty areas. For instance, it doesn't prepare graduates to become clinical social workers, which requires licensure, experience, and a master's degree.​

Child, Family, School Social Work

Social workers who specialize in child, family, and school social work often deal with issues related to child welfare and protective services as well as other family-related issues. They may work directly with individuals or host workshops for groups. Some of the issues that they address may include:

  • Adoption
  • Foster care
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Truancy
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Stress and homelessness
  • Conflict resolution

Employment is often found in schools and individual and family services agencies as well as state or local government agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these social workers are expected to experience job growth of 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average. This is due to a need for social workers who can provide support at schools and to families who are having, problems. While the mean wage for child, family, and school social workers was $47,510 in May 2016, those working exclusively in elementary and secondary schools earned an average annual wage of $62,170, according to the BLS.

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