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2023 Social Work Degree Guide

Social Work Degrees On The Rise

#9 Most Popular Major
57.4k Degrees Awarded
1.1% Increase in Graduates

Social Work was the 9th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 57,401 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 1.1% increase in social work degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 56,762.

Our 2023 Best Social Work Schools ranking analyzes 442 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for social work students. Explore this or one of our many other custom social work rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Social Work
2023 Overall Best Social Work Colleges >

Best Social Work Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Social Work
Bachelor's Degrees in Social Work
Master's Degrees in Social Work
Doctorate Degrees in Social Work

Social Work Degree Requirements

A major in social work prepares you for careers in which giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times is crucial. Required skills include talking to others to convey information effectively and being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Prior Education for a Social Work Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most social work degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific social work careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Social Work Degree Types

There are many different social work degree levels. Social Work programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest social work degree you can get. Different social work degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A master's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to social work, with approximately 41.1% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for social work workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Master’s Degree 39.3%
Bachelor’s Degree 36.1%
Post-Master’s Certificate 8.4%
Doctoral Degree 7.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.4%

Most workers in social work have at least a master's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in social work have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which social work career you choose.

Social Work Careers

Average Number of Jobs
58.9k Avg. Related Jobs Salary
16% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

High Growth Projected for Social Work Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your social work degree? Social Work careers are expected to grow 15.6% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to social work.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 362,600 14.2%
Healthcare Social Workers 212,000 20.1%
Social and Community Service Managers 173,800 18.0%
Substance Abuse Social Workers 147,900 19.4%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists 96,500 5.7%

Social Work Degree Salary Potential

As you might expect, salaries for social work graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

High Paying Careers for Social Work Majors

Salaries for social work graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers social work grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Social Work Professors $77,520
Social and Community Service Managers $71,670
Social Workers $62,660
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $58,790
Healthcare Social Workers $58,470

Getting Your Social Work Degree

With over 1,334 different social work degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased social work school rankings to help you with this.

Social Work is one of 2 different types of Social Work programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Child Advocacy & Policy 485
Other Social Work 440

View All Social Work Related Majors >


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