Why Go Online? The Benefits of Distance Learning for Social Work Students

Woman studying online social work degree program on home computer
Woman studying online social work degree program on home computer

There is no single path to becoming a social worker, but it is perhaps fair to say that those who are drawn to the profession often come to it with more life experience than is common in other fields.

As a discipline, it requires practitioners to have an understanding of people from all walks of life, and that understanding tends to come from actually spending time with people from different classes and backgrounds. As a result, many future social workers take a more roundabout path to their degree.

Whether you are coming straight from high school or are already working, Spring Arbor University’s fully online BSW degree program is a means of breaking into the profession on your own terms.

What Can You Do With a Social Work Degree?

Your decision to become a social worker will change many lives — the first of which is your own.

Take for example an article posted by SocialWorker.com’s Kryss Shane, detailing how her dreams of writing and pedagogy gradually evolved into a role of helping people as “a different kind of teacher.”[i] She was well into her first placement at an inner city school before she realized she was more engaged by helping her charges learn to manage their lives than master figures: “What I really wanted was to be the kind of teacher who sat and listened to students and helped them figure out what to do to get from where they were to the goals and dreams they had. I was months from earning my [teaching] diploma before I knew that they called these teachers ‘social workers’.”

Her experience is very common, as many people know very little about the services social workers actually offer, or the variety of places people with BSW degrees practice such as:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Community centers
  • Churches
  • Prisons

It’s not until you work with vulnerable populations in some capacity that you see how much social workers help, and some feel called to pursue the same course. As Kryss learned, however, many of the habits she had developed in her training as a teacher actually worked against her becoming an effective social worker. It was not until she had begun a social work degree that she was able to let go of these tendencies while recognizing her “unique educational background as a piece of what [would] make her a better social worker.”

Earning Your Online Social Work Degree

Online social work courses allow you to continue working in your current profession while you study. If you have already gone through college or university once, it may not be feasible for you to take months or years off at a time. At Spring Arbor University, you can schedule your schoolwork around your life: the lectures and course materials are all 100 percent online and can be accessed 24/7. There is also, obviously, no commute.

The BSW degree you earn is identical to one achieved through traditional on-campus work, and you still enjoy direct attention and interactions with your professors and fellow students through the SAU portal. Social workers thrive when they are out in the world. An online BSW program facilitates this in a unique fashion.

We have many students report that they are often able to take the lessons they have learned in class and apply them directly to the volunteer or missionary work they already perform. We are proud that our programs are able to contribute to the immediate health of communities throughout Michigan and the United States, and to the long-term well-being of our graduates as they continue to rise within the profession.

Contact us to find out more about the online BSW program.