If you are looking for a career that allows you to make a real difference to the world, then you may want to consider becoming a social worker. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field will see unprecedented growth between now and 2020. Indeed, a growth of 19% is expected, which is well above most other industries. Generally speaking, you will need to hold at least a master’s degree to practice as a social worker, although requirements vary on a state by state basis. However, this does mean you will need to start by earning a bachelor’s degree first. Both degrees can be completed online, but why should you consider doing this? There are actually nine different reasons, five of which pertain specifically to studying online. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Demand for Social Workers Is Rising
The demographics of our country is changing, with an older population. Indeed, some 88.5 million of our countrymen and women will be above the age of 65 by 2050. Yet, gerontology is a specialization for just 5% of social workers.
Another reason for a change in demographics is due to immigration. According to the United Nations some 2 million people will move into our country each year. By 2050, half of the population will be made up of minorities.
Finally, there is a huge drive to recruit male social workers, since 83% of the current workforce is made up of women. Many clients are male and they feel more comfortable speaking to someone of their own gender. Hence, if you are a man, becoming a social worker is an even better idea.
2. Service Delivery Is Changing
The approaches used to address societal issues are changing thanks to advances in technology. Additionally, the field of healthcare is changing, with social workers being used more frequently to offer services in the home. This is combined with new technology, allowing for better health and quality of life outcomes. Services are now often delivered through PPPs (Public Private Partnerships), which means that you can take part in new programs to help communities.
3. Career Options Are Highly Flexible
Usually, a social worker will focus on a certain demographic. You can change this as and when you see fit, without having to completely change your career. With minimal training, you can move from working in child protection to servicing senior citizens. As such, the career will always continue to challenge you.
4. You Can Make a True Difference to the World
As a social worker, you will be under significant stress and you will have to deal with truly difficult situations. However, the work that you do will be able to truly make a positive difference to the lives of the people you work with. It takes a special kind of person to become a social worker and if you believe you are that person, an interesting career awaits you.
5. Studying Online Is Possible No Matter Where You Live
Looking specifically now at why you should study online, the biggest benefit is the geographical flexibility. Oftentimes, you don’t even have to reside in this country to take part in classes. As such, you could take a gap year traveling in Australia while at the same time studying towards your bachelor’s. Do be aware that some classes are run synchronously, meaning you have to be online at set times.
6. Online Studying Is Flexible
By studying online, you are learning independently. This allows you to meet your other responsibilities, such as your job and family life, while still studying at the same time. Often, the courses are designed to fit your personal needs specifically.
7. Studying Online Offers Choices
Online education is becoming increasingly commonplace. This means that you can choose the college or university that best meets your needs. Additionally, it means you can choose from a variety of programs.
8. It Is Easy to Access
Obviously, you can access your course material wherever you are, so long as you have an internet-ready device.
9. You Get Great Support
Even though you are studying independently, you are not alone. Online universities have fantastic opportunities to contact faculty and other support staff. Additionally, they often have full online communities where you can contact peers and fellow students.
Clearly, opting to obtain a degree in social work online is a wonderful idea. It gives you the flexibility you need to obtain a degree without having to change your life. Do bear in mind, however, that most social work degree programs will require at least some degree of practicum experience. However, this is generally organized in a location convenient to your own home or place of employment. Some schools will also require you to attend an on-campus residency for a few days in order to graduate.