Online Associates Degree in Social Work

An online associates degree in social work teaches students psychology and public policy to better serve people in need. Course work often addresses this goal in a two-prong format. First, classes teach students how to identify the issues of children, adolescents, adults, and families.

This could include anything from mental illnesses, to substance abuse, to general adoption proceedings. Then, courses shift their teaching focus to the systems currently in place to fix these problems. Topics could include things like basic counseling methods and crisis intervention.

In short, an online associates in social work could make sure you’re able to help people!

Online Associates Degree in Social Work: Basics

At its foundation, an online associates in social work is designed to teach students how to help others. This could include working to ease the process in the following situations.

  • Adoption
  • Geriatric Care
  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation
  • Unemployment

This is just a sample of social work fields. To aid in these situation, courses teach methods to work alongside current public systems. Things like welfare, foster care, or other assistance programs may be addressed in class discussion and lecture.  By being aware of both sides of the coin, students may be equipped to better assist those in dire social circumstances.

Potential Curriculum in an Associates Degree in Social Work Online

Core online associates degree in social work curriculum helps students identifying and competently address the needs of people in duress. This could include things situations involving foster care, nursing, mental illness, and rehabilitation services. To do this, schools split their time between teaching current systems in place to help these populations and human psychology. This way, students could understand not only the root cause of the issues, but also the services designed to address them. Students could potentially engage with some of the following courses.

  • Healthcare Information Systems
  • Public Health Issues
  • Intro to Counseling
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Family Studies
  • Child & Adult Development
  • Basic Psychology

Online Associates Degree in Social Work courses may vary by school. Ask potential schools about any questions you may have.

Internship during an Associates Degree in Social Work Online

Additionally, online associates in social work may require students to complete an internship as part of their curriculum. These programs place students directly in the social services field. Typically, students are placed in their preferred area (children, adults, etc.) under the guidance of a current professional. During this time, students may be asked to complete social work tasks to support their mentor. Thereby, they could get a glimpse into the working world of social work.

This could be a great practical test of the theoretical knowledge students have been working with thus-far. Also, the real-world application might be a great chance to develop techniques that may not be discussed in class. For example, working alongside actual patients could be a perfect opportunity to work on your bedside manner. These skills and knowledge could be help you out of the textbook and into the real world of social work.

Schools may have different internship opportunities depending on their degree. Be sure to ask them about any questions you might have.

Did you know?

Social workers spend the majority of their time providing direct client services (96%).

Potential Degrees

When searching for online associates in social work, you may see it listed as either and associates of science (AS) or an associate of applied science (AAS). You could find several of the following degrees during your search.

  • Associates in Science in Human Development and Family Issues
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Human and Social Services
  • Associate of Science in Social Work

These are only a few types of degrees you could earn. While names differ, each of these programs focuses on similar course material.

Degrees may differ in their available concentrations. Schools might offer specialized classes focused on certain aspects of social work. If you continue your social work education, this could later effects which bachelor’s or master’s degree you pursue. This could include some of the following topics.

  • Adult & Aging Development
  • Infant & Childhood Development
  • Family Intervention
  • Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation

This could be a great way to direct your studies towards a specific facet of social work. Concentrations may vary by school, so be sure to check before applying.

Did you know?

Social workers frequently practice in the fields of mental health (37%), child welfare & family (13%), health (13%), and aging (9%).


Students should be on the lookout for online associates in social work that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This association sets national standards for social work education programs from the associate to the graduate level. The accrediting body provides training and education for faculty to help improve their teaching methods and topics. By attending an accredited program, students could have access to current research and practices as part of their education.


Admissions for many online associate in social work degrees are made accessible for recently graduated high school seniors. Typically, schools require students to submit a high school diploma or GED equivalent. No specific GPA may be requested.

Also, schools might require letters of recommendation, in-person interviews, and additional SAT and ACT scores for application. Admissions requirements may differ by institution. Check with your institution for more details.


The online associates degree in social work tends to cover social work basics making it shorter than other undergraduate programs. Students could potentially earn an associates in social work in 2 to 3 years depending on enrollment. This translates to completing anywhere from 33 to 67 credit hours. Program length may vary by institution.

Did you know?

More than 600,000 in the U.S. have earned a social work degree.

What Can I Do with an Associates Degree in Social Work?

Many students who earn an associates degree in social work do so to pursue a career as a social worker. These positions work with clients to help fix and cope with issues in their everyday lives.i Social workers could address some of the following situations.ii

  • Unemployment
  • Healthcare
  • Psychotherapy
  • Adoption
  • Disability Advocacy

Employers generally require entry-level applicants to hold bachelor’s degree or higher.iii Earning an online associates in social work might be a stepping stone to jumpstart this career path! Many bachelor’s in social work accept associate credits towards their degree. This way, you could potentially earn a bachelor’s degree in less time. Check out the bachelors of social work page for more information.

Additionally, states may require practitioners to earn specific social work licensure. Requirements vary by state. As of 2015, social workers could potentially earn a median salary of $45,900. The amount of available occupations is projected to possibly grow 12% from 2014 to 2024.

Find an Online Associates in Social Work

An online associates degree in social work could be a great first step into the world of social service. To continue your search, browse the list of programs provided on this page. Click a school’s link to read a short description about that degree. While you’re there, feel free to request more information. This could provide you with helpful details like admissions deadlines, course guides, and program lengths.

Ready to apply? Then head over to the school’s official site to fill out an application. Good luck finding a perfect online associates degree in social work!

i ii iii


Related Articles