Online Social Work PhD Programs – 5+ No GRE DSW Degrees!


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Most professionals who begin to work in social work have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is fine for beginning your career, but if you want to move into roles with greater responsibility and a higher paycheck, you should strongly consider earning your doctoral degree in social work.

Earning an advanced degree in social work is a wise choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of social workers is expected to go up by 12% by 2024, which is faster than average when compared with other fields.

BLS data indicates that growth in the social work field will be because of serious increases in the demand for both social services and health care.

Also, there will be a much greater demand for child, family and school social workers – as much as a 6% increase by 2024. This is happening because there is a greater need to investigate reported cases of child abuse, and also a need for more children in foster care. Those potential foster families need to be investigated by state social services agencies.

Also, there is a major amount of growth in social work in the healthcare field. BLS states that the growth for health care social workers will increase by a huge 19%. It also is believed that the need for social works in substance abuse and mental health centers is going up by 19% by 2024.

Another reason to consider a doctorate in social work is the pay. BLS states that the median pay for social workers was $46,890 in May 2016. However, the highest paid social workers are those who have the most advanced degrees. Social workers at the higher end of the pay scale earn over $78,000 per year. Most of those who are at the high end of the pay scale have a doctorate in social work. Earning your doctorate is also the best path if you want to find a position at a university as a professor of social work.

By earning your online social work PhD in this growing field, you will have the best chances as far as job demand and salary. The recommended online DSW programs to earn your doctorate in social work include these:

  • Doctor of Social Work(DSW): If you’re a licensed social worker seeking to advance your practice or teach, consider Capella University‘s online DSW. Designed around national doctoral social work education guidelines, this program prepares you to harness technology and expand the reach and effectiveness of social service programs. Capella is featured in our top 100 online PhD programs report for 2017.
  • D. in Human Services – Clinical Social Work: This doctoral degree from Walden University will allow you to advance your knowledge in social work theory, policy and practice. You will study the leadership skills that you need to fully design and implement strong policies that provide the most needed services to people in the most need of help. You will gain many valuable experiences as you conduct research from macro and micro perspectives in an attempt to inform you about the best practices in your profession. You can complete this program in about four years.

Online Doctorate in Social Work Degree Options

By earning your Online social work PhD in this growing field, you will have the best chances as far as job demand and salary. The recommended online DSW programs to earn your doctorate in social work include these:

  • Doctor of Social Work(DSW): With a Capella University online DSW degree, you can prepare to be a leader, advanced practitioner, or educator. You’ll start working on your dissertation early to fuel momentum, make progress, and build confidence in your journey. With ongoing support from expert faculty, mentors, and advisors, your dissertation is partially complete before you finish coursework.
  • Ph.D. in Human Services – Clinical Social Work: This doctoral degree from Walden University will allow you to advance your knowledge in social work theory, policy and practice. You will study the leadership skills that you need to fully design and implement strong policies that provide the most needed services to people in the most need of help. You will gain many valuable experiences as you conduct research from macro and micro perspectives in an attempt to inform you about the best practices in your profession. You can complete this program in about four years.

Professionals who want to earn their doctoral degree in social work have a number of quality options available. Some of these degree options are even available online. This allows you to continue to work at least on a part time basis while you earn your doctoral degree.

Capella University

With Capella University’s DSW program, you’ll harness technology to expand the reach and effectiveness of social service programs, build awareness of important social issues, and enhance professional development. Plus, you’ll start working on your dissertation early to fuel momentum, make progress, and build confidence in your journey. With ongoing support from expert faculty, mentors, and advisors, your dissertation is partially complete before you finish coursework.

University of Tennessee-Knoxville

The University of Tennessee College of Social Work offers a Doctor of Social Work in the specialty of clinical practice and leadership. This full time, online program will prepare you to practice in advanced clinical leadership and practice. It is designed for busy working professionals, and will enable most students to satisfy all degree requirements within three years.

This is a clinical practice in social work program that has been made for those who want to boost their level of clinical knowledge and become strong leaders in clinical practice. As an advanced practitioner in social work, you will be highly literate in research, reflective and a dynamic leader in the advancement of cutting edge thought in social work practice. You will be trained to draw upon a broad range of theoretical, empirical and professional sources of knowledge and take the lead on modern social work policy and interventions.

This doctoral degree is different from some other social work doctoral degrees because it is focused heavily upon practice. It is designed for you to work not primarily in academia and research but in a real social work practice environment.

The curriculum in this accredited DSW program is focused upon the most advanced forms of social work practice, clinical research and advanced practice leadership. At the end of this program, you will be able to do the following:

  • Integrate social and behavioral science in social work with many other disciplines as the basis for the highest level of social work practice evidence
  • Demonstrate advocacy, professionalism, ethical principles and scientific integrity in the advancement of social work practice
  • Provide leadership of a collaborative nature to develop social work, evidence based models of practice and effective standards of care for all populations.
  • Create system, client and outcomes research and analyze evidence to guide practice improvements.

Required courses in this program will include the following:

  • Neuroscience for Clinical Practice
  • Epistemology and Clinical EBP Methods
  • Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology
  • Clinical Research and Applied Statistics
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

University of Southern California

The Doctor of Social Work at USC has been crafted for the working social work professional, and will prepare you to become an innovative leader in social work in a period of rapid change.

This program is made for experienced social work practitioners who want to have opportunities to advance the social work profession, and to lead social work conversations, and find new solutions to create social change.

One of the major focal points of this DSW program is the global initiative of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare called the 12 Grand Challenges. Each of the challenges is centered upon a specific social issue. Some of them include social justice, child welfare, homelessness and mass incarceration.

During this four year program, each student will choose a grand challenge to focus on through their coursework, residency and capstone. At the end of the program, you will present a proposed solution to the grand challenge. This must include both a plan and budget and is presented to a group of social work thought leaders. Topics that are usually explored in this curriculum are:

  • Organizational leadership: The understanding of how complex organizations work, and how change in these organizations can occur
  • Data driven decision making: Developing, implementing and managing change via data collection and analysis.
  • Innovation and change: Studying transformative thinking and research in change management to predict both community and client needs

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