10 Best Online Associates in Social Work Degree Programs

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Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: March 23, 2024, Reading time: 21 minutes

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Everyone would love to have a positive impact on society. One of the best ways is to help improve people’s lives. Fortunately, this can be done easily by going into social work. 

It leads to an entry-level job in the social work practice, as graduates emerge with the crucial soft skills of problem-solving, patience, empathy, and listening.

Social workers challenge society’s barriers, injustices, and inequalities. They also help people obtain resources and services in their communities by providing assistance and education. There will be an ever-increasing need for social workers through the years, in particular with an increase in veterans and the continuously rising number of drug offenders. Federal data show a 7% job growth for social work graduates in the next decade. 

Social Work Online Associates Degree - fact

Begin Your Journey to a Career in Social Work

A Social Work associate’s degree online gives access to numerous career options, with graduates being able to immediately apply the skills to the workplace. You can expect to finish an associate degree in social work after two years if you study it full-time. 

As part of this program, you will gain the skills to prepare for a future in social work. Aside from theoretical practice, you will gain hands-on experience to apply everything you learned online. Some of the crucial soft skills that you can hone in this line of profession are communication, analytical, problem-solving, empathy, and listening skills.  

Finding the best associate degree in social work online is the first step toward obtaining all these results. Make sure the program you choose is accredited and includes all the coursework you require as a social worker. Choosing an associate program that will help you succeed is the best way to begin planning your future in this industry.

The Lowdown

Prepare yourself for a career in social work by earning an associate’s degree online. It is possible to pursue a variety of careers. You can extend your social work services to everyone in need, which includes groups, individuals, communities, and families. There are opportunities to specialize as well and focus on helping children or older adults. Eventually, you can easily proceed to a bachelor’s degree through this associate degree. 


Many online universities and colleges now offer an online associate degree in social work program. When choosing an associate program in social work, it’s important to maximize your learning experience.

Each of the Associates in Social Work programs on our list meets the following criteria:

See our Methodology section to learn about our program ranking process.

10 Best Online Associates in Social Work

Seminole State College

Seminole State College

Seminole State College offers an online Associate in Arts Pathway in Social Work. The US society needs genuine people who can help people make their lives better.  After graduating from this two-year program, you can support foster children to find loving homes, work in addiction counseling, and ensure that the mentally challenged can feel accepted and valued. It is here that your career in giving back begins, regardless of which channel works best for you.

This degree has been designed for transfer to a public college or university in the state of Florida with an upper-division program. Online students will complete general education courses as well as prerequisites for their chosen programs.

For admission to the major, several colleges have certain supplementary criteria. To ensure that prerequisite courses are taken, and admission criteria are satisfied for the college or university program of their choosing, students must engage with advisers and school counselors. Fortunately, these resources are provided by Seminole State College. 

Here are some sample courses required for this online Social Work associate degree:

Northampton Community College

Northampton Community College

Help improve individuals and communities by earning an Associate in Arts in Social Work at Northampton Community College. By combining social work foundations with liberal arts courses at Northampton Community College, you’ll be able to incorporate values like social justice, human dignity, and service to others into your education.

This associate degree program can be taken fully online and is also available on their campuses. By earning an associate’s degree in Social Work, you will be prepared to work in diverse and change-oriented environments designed to benefit individuals and society as a whole.

Whether you plan to work right away after graduation or proceed to a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree in social work will help you save thousands of dollars. Social justice and positively affecting other people’s lives are at the core of the NCC’s mission.

You will get a comprehensive foundation in human behavior, society, and the viewpoints that influence social communities through this liberal arts associate program. You get fresh perspectives on the principles and methods used in social work practice in the United States and across the world by taking psychology, history, English, and biology courses. 

The majority of social work occupations call for a bachelor’s degree. However, before transferring to a four-year college to finish your bachelor’s degree, you may build the necessary core skills in this time and money-saving program.

Here are the courses expected in this online associate degree in Social Work:

Georgia Military College

Georgia Military College

Georgia Military College offers a Social Work Associate Degree that equips students with the competency for entry-level positions in social service agencies. It also aims to offer students a solid grasp of what goes into becoming a social worker.

Students who complete this program will have a holistic understanding of what social workers perform, enabling them to decide early on in their academic careers whether this field is a good match for them. With an associate’s degree in social work, graduates might find work as eligibility determination experts and mental health technicians.

Students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work are encouraged to pursue their education in this field since more job opportunities are available to those with advanced degrees. Social work online associate degree students will be familiar with how social services have evolved historically in the nation, be able to see warning signs of treatment, be aware of the available services, and comprehend the value of inter-agency collaboration.

Graduates gain a solid awareness of what social work is and its function in contemporary society based on the standards that the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and Council on Social Work Education uphold. An in-depth understanding of social work settings, levels of practice, and fields of practice are expected of graduates who are ready to become generalist practitioners.

The following courses are offered in this associate degree in Social Work:

Carroll Community College

Carroll Community College

An online Associate degree in Social Work program is offered at Carroll Community College. This associate degree prepares students for a smooth transition into a 4-year institution’s bachelor’s degree in social work. This field is a helpful profession designed to provide individuals with the knowledge, tools, encouragement, and opportunity they need to get over structural obstacles to achievement.

Students learn about how people behave, interact, and shape their communities as they are introduced to a range of techniques for gathering, examining, and using data in relation to social phenomena, such as interpersonal issues and human behavior. To empower online learners to make responsible and informed decisions, a global perspective is stressed in this curriculum.

This associate degree is geared towards achieving social workers’ primary goal, which is to help people in need and to address social problems. They must learn to challenge social injustice. An individual’s inherent worth and dignity should be respected as a social worker. Human relationships must be recognized as central to their success.

Here are the core courses in this associate degree in Social Work:

Georgia State University

Georgia State University

Georgia State University offers an online Associate of Science in Social Work pathway. 

Social workers are licensed professionals tasked with assisting those with social and personal difficulties in their daily lives. This associate program can fulfill that. Social workers assist clients with a variety of needs, including impairments, marriage troubles, health issues, family issues, mental problems, delinquency, drug misuse, and unemployment.

Students learn about resource development and community relationships at the advanced level. People who are passionate about social justice, interested in social policy, and like interacting with people from all walks of life might consider a career in social work.

By getting enrolled in this associate degree in social work, students can develop their critical thinking skills, their comprehension of how society functions in their lives, and their capacity to put theory into practice. 

The information, values, and abilities required to change people’s lives will be developed in the students. Apply what you learn in the classroom by working with others via Service-Learning opportunities with nearby organizations. With Perimeter’s route in social work degree, you may begin your journey toward a career in helping others.

The following are some courses required in this Social Work associate program:

Nashville State Community College

Nashville State Community College

Enroll in the Social Work Associate of Arts degree offered at Nashville State Community College if you intend to transfer to a four-year university later on. As a social worker, you may assist people, families, and communities in developing their potential to better their lives and address their issues by pursuing a career in social work. To help you discover a schedule that works for you, Nashville State offers a choice of course delivery methods. Earn a social work degree on-campus or online.

This is the best pathway to a bachelor’s degree. They promise that you will successfully transfer to finish your bachelor’s degree at a public university in Tennessee as long as you complete every course on the social work associate degree list.

After graduation, you can assist clients with problems they face on a daily basis, diagnose mental and behavioral symptoms, and help assist those experiencing substance abuse, poverty, abuse, mental issues, or domestic violence problems. 

Here are the courses to take in this Social Work associate degree:

Ozarks Technical Community College

Ozarks Technical Community College

Ozarks Technical Community College offers an online Associate of Arts in Social Work, which is intended for students wishing to continue their education at a four-year institution and earn a bachelor’s degree. 

Foundational concepts in psychology, sociology, social work, and economics are covered in the compulsory courses. Students will talk about social welfare laws and research how social work impacts both individual and societal health.

Graduates with an associate’s degree in social work are also eligible for several entry-level positions in the human services sector. Certain jobs, such as clinical social work, could need specialized training and licenses. To make sure their education aligns with their professional aspirations, interested students can get in touch with their adviser.

After graduating from this program, you can provide mental health and behavioral assistance to others and make a positive impact in different communities. Some of the jobs that await you are counseling jobs, social work, probation officer jobs, and rehabilitation casework. 

The following are some courses to expect in this associate degree:

South Texas College

South Texas College

The South Texas College Associate of Arts in Social Work program produces graduates who excel in public and private settings, such as schools, hospitals, juvenile detention centers, and crisis centers. They also pursue work in hospices, daycare facilities, employee assistance organizations, nursing homes, and home health agencies. They assist and contribute to organizations and agencies that assist children and their families with counseling.

Some common courses in this associate degree are:

Phoenix College

Phoenix College - A Maricopa Community College

Phoenix College offers an online Associate Degree in Social Work with a curriculum that prepares students for careers as counselors, caregivers, and social workers. In terms of natural science, Phoenix College offers courses that satisfy certificate requirements or electives for Associate in Science degrees.

The field of social work can lead to careers in human services, mental and behavioral health, criminal justice, and social work, among others. To establish a community that is safer and more equal, social workers assist people, families, and special groups. For individuals who want to truly improve the lives of vulnerable people, a profession in social work would be great.

Social work courses educate students for careers as aids in the fields of mental health and human services. In order to explain the effects of institutional racism, sexism, and ageism, as well as the effects of mental health, you will also learn to distinguish between facts and assumptions. 

The courses in this associate degree in Social Work include the following:

Durham Technical Community College

Durham Technical Community College

Durham Technical Community College offers an online Associate of Arts in Social Work, which is designed for students who plan to complete a four-year baccalaureate degree. In particular, commerce, English, the fine arts, foreign languages, history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology are among the subjects that students in this program learn the basics of.

In order to provide qualified students who successfully finish a Durham Tech university transfer degree with a smooth transition into their baccalaureate programs, Durham Tech has worked with several institutions to provide assured admissions paths. Application for admission to these programs is required.

Here are the required courses in this social work associate program:

10 Entry-Level Opportunities for Online Associate in Social Work Graduates

1. Social Worker

Social workers assist people, families, and communities in coping with chronic, acute, or terminal diseases by providing the psychosocial support they require. There are multiple roles and tasks as a social worker. For instance, you need to give patients advice and counseling and direct them to alternative resources. 

You may also offer case management, care coordination, or activities aimed at preventing illness, promoting health, and removing obstacles to receiving medical treatment.

2. Assistant Counselor

Counselor assistants offer administrative and clerical assistance to mental health counselors. They schedule appointments, set up treatment areas, respond to client inquiries, give directions for intake paperwork, and hand out instructional materials. A counselor assistant could look for resources for patients, file insurance claims, and give patients follow-up emails.

3. Case Management Specialist

Case managers collaborate with their clients to achieve care, recovery, and personal development objectives. They could handle problems including drug misuse, child custody arrangements, medical conditions, or legal difficulties.

Evaluation of client needs, record review, treatment documentation, verification of adherence to a care plan, provision of the client with accessible resources, and progress monitoring are all part of the case manager’s responsibilities.

4. Mental Health Counseling Guide/Specialist

With a focus on prevention, mental health counselors provide guidance and direction to individuals and groups to encourage optimal mental and emotional health. People may benefit from their counseling services if they are struggling with mental health challenges related to addiction, marriage, monetary stress, substance abuse, or low self-esteem. 

5. Patient Advocate

Patient advocates assist patients in getting the care they require in hospitals, mental health and rehabilitation centers, or social service providers. Patients are communicated with in order to evaluate their symptoms and pinpoint any problems in getting care.

By locating physicians, scheduling appointments, reporting problems, and educating individuals about healthcare, patient advocates serve as a bridge between patients and healthcare providers.

6. Rehabilitation Specialist

A rehabilitation assistant helps physical therapists, mental health specialists, and counselors carry out rehabilitation programs. Their duties include putting up therapeutic equipment in treatment rooms, updating paperwork, and watching over patients. They keep calendars, take calls, and educate patients on fundamental recovery techniques.

7. Social Services Assistant

Social services assistants are responsible for finding the right social services for vulnerable groups. Social workers could directly assist clients when they meet and create treatment plans. Social workers assist clients in finding mental health care, medical attention, transportation, job placement, in-home care, and financial assistance. They also fill out government or philanthropic applications.

8. Residential Counseling Specialist

Another social work job is to be a residential counselor. They help and assist developmentally handicapped shelters and those who are mentally ill. They provide clients with direct care, such as assisting them with daily tasks and housework, monitoring and reporting on progress, and supervising leisure activities.

9. Kindergarten Teaching Staff

Social Work associate degree graduates can work as kindergarten instructors. Preschool instructors monitor pupils and oversee instructional activities in the classroom using their understanding of child development.

In order to provide a dynamic atmosphere for all students, their responsibilities also include class preparation, teaching kids life skills, and monitoring student conduct. To assist youngsters in developing healthy social skills and personal habits, preschool instructors use constructive redirection.

10. Personal Care Aide

A personal care assistant manages a client’s calendar, performs errands, ensures that the customer is active in their community, and provides general company.

Difference Between an Associate in Social Work and a Bachelor’s in Social Work

Each student makes a unique decision on whether to pursue an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree based on a variety of variables. The time required to get the two degrees is one of the most important distinctions between them. First and foremost, you should start by evaluating and assessing your objectives and goals in your career. 

A student may typically complete an associate’s degree in two years or a bachelor’s in four. While obtaining an associate’s degree will be quicker than a bachelor’s, part-time students will require longer to complete their degrees.

Transfer credits from an associate’s degree can be applied to a bachelor’s degree. Check with your school’s credit transfer procedures to find out if you can expedite your bachelor’s degree and finish your social work studies sooner.

Being enrolled in a college or vocational school can help students prepare for a job in a particular sector. They can obtain entry-level positions as social workers with this training. In order to obtain an associate’s degree and transferable credits, they might also choose a general studies strategy. Depending on their preferences, they can select a major or not. 

A bachelor’s degree program, on the other hand, enables students to select a major and complete a final project. Before beginning classes in their major, pupils must finish around two years of general education.

In a bachelor’s program, students might pursue optional courses that can serve as a minor to go along with their major. The Labor Statistics Bureau reveals that those with bachelor’s degrees make more money and have access to more employment opportunities.

4 Benefits of an Associate Degree in Social Work

1. Develops Social Skills

Along with the employment and financial advantages, an associate degree in social work can help you develop some important social skills. The program aims to teach students how to comprehend others and react either individually or in groups to their needs.

You could learn how to interact and relate to individuals from various backgrounds through the two-year ASW curriculum. These are abilities that your former education might not have taught you but which are useful in daily encounters.

2. Opens Pathways for a Bachelor’s Degree

Students can choose between on-campus and online learning options at the majority of universities that offer associate degrees in social work. If you are currently registered for a bachelor’s degree, you can continue in the ASW program online without affecting your other classes. Your institution may also apply the credits you’ve accrued for the ASW program toward your degree.

3. Offers Many Job Opportunities

The ability to work in a variety of organizations with an associate’s degree in social sciences makes it possible for graduates to find employment in virtually every sector of the economy that deals with human needs. For instance, some of the jobs graduates can find are in healthcare, counseling, schools, orphanages, and charity organizations. 

4. Presents Financial Assistance

One of the best perks of online social work associate programs is that they offer financial assistance. You could be eligible for financial aid from your employer, particularly if you already work in the human, social, or healthcare sectors.

You may also need to earn particular grades in your classes in order to receive a perk like this. Another alternative is that some schools offer payment plans for tuition. You can use this method to spread out the cost of tuition for the year instead of paying it all at once.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online Associate’s in Social Work?

The foundations of human services and sociology are covered in a two-year associate degree in social work. As a first step toward a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree and ultimately becoming a registered social worker, many aspiring social work professionals pursue an associate degree in the field.

If you want to work in the social services industry but don’t need a license, an associate’s degree in social work might be a good place to start. An associate’s degree in social work is an excellent way to start your career in sociology, whether you want to continue your studies or go straight into the job.

What skills are required to excel in social work environments?

Jobs requiring an associate’s degree in Human Services or Social Work often include interacting with individuals on a more personal and intimate level. These associate degrees in human services careers also translate to being personally satisfying, especially when they make a difference in the lives of others. Some other skills you’ll need are patience, empathy, good communication, and problem-solving skills.  

What are the basic associate degree in Social Work requirements?

Most colleges or universities want transcripts from high school, as well as any previous colleges or universities you may have attended. You may be required to take a placement test in math or English. The admissions office of the college determines a student’s eligibility for an ASW program, frequently mostly based on GPA and application materials.

Although most community colleges have open admissions and don’t take GPA into account when admitting program candidates, some programs could have a minimum GPA requirement. Research any fees or documentation required for the particular social work programs you intend to attend before applying.


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