21 Cheapest online degrees in social work from $260 Tuition Per Credit Hour


Social work is a rewarding career, but it’s also one of the most important professions in the world. Whether you want to provide direct care or advocate for government agencies and nonprofits, an online social work degree is a great way to start your path.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of social work is expected to expand by 12% between 2022 and 2029. The median annual pay for these professionals is $51,760.

Additionally, related fields have even greater expected growth rates and salaries, including marriage and family therapists, school and career counselors, and rehabilitation counselors.

Several universities offer online degrees in social work, but not all are reputable and accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

This is why we’ve searched through the Internet to find some of the best online schools with social work degrees.

Online social work degrees from accredited schools are a great way to earn your degree without sacrificing the quality of your education. Here are the top 21 online social work degrees you can earn for an affordable price.

What is Social Work?

Social work is a profession that builds on knowledge and understanding of human behavior, feelings, beliefs, values, and social institutions in order to help individuals, families, and groups in need. Social workers apply their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of people with disabilities, children and families in distress, individuals with mental illnesses, and other vulnerable populations.

Can I Earn a Social Work Degree Online?

Absolutely. Online social work degrees are becoming more prevalent. According to a 2019 survey from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), 84.6% of Bachelor’s degree programs in the United States provide at least some of their necessary courses online.

The flexibility of online degrees is even more appealing because MWS  students are sometimes older than undergraduates and may be more likely to have full-time employment and family commitments.

However, there are some things you need to consider before enrolling in an online program, including:

How We Rank Schools At Us Degrees

Methodology for Our School Rankings We began with a master list of all the colleges and universities in the United States that offer online degree programs. We then narrowed our scope to only those schools that are regionally accredited, and their programs have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

 From there, we compared the schools based on their reported rankings from US News & World Report, their cost of attendance, student satisfaction, student-teacher ratio, school size, career development resources and the number and variety of online programs available.

 Once these schools were compared and ranked, we applied our ranking methodology then selected the top-rated most affordable 21 degrees.

Types of Social Work Degrees

Social Work degrees are available at different degree levels. These levels range from Associate to Ph.D., the highest Social Work Degree available.

Additionally, the length of time it takes to earn a Social Work Degree also varies depending on the type of degree you choose, as shown below.

DegreeCredit RequirementsTypical Program Length
Associate Degree60-90 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120-127 credits4 years
Master’s Degree30-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateThe program required coursework, including a thesis or dissertationAt least 4 years


What Are the Entry Requirements for a Social Work Degree?

The entry requirements for a social work degree vary depending on the institution and the program. However, most social work degree programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may also require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores.

Online Associates Degree in Social Work

An associate’s degree in social work earned online can be used as a stepping stone toward earning a bachelor’s degree in social work or as a qualification for some positions in the profession.

An associate’s degree holder in social work is typically qualified to work as a community outreach specialist, case management assistant, or social work assistant.

1. Purdue University Global

Program: Associate of Applied Science in Human Services

Tuition: $371

Credits: 90 credit hours

One of the top online associate’s degrees in social work is the Associate of Applied Science in Human Services offered by Purdue University Global. The associate’s degree equips students with the information and abilities necessary to evaluate the conditions of some of society’s most vulnerable people. The course gives students a strong foundation in human service principles, including mental health, social services, rehab centers, and hospitals.

The Higher Learning Commission accredits Purdue University Global, and the online human services associate program is a member of the Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE).

2.   Brescia University

Program: Associate of Arts degree (AA) in Human Services

Tuition$425/credit hour

Credits: 63 credit hours

The Associate of Arts (AA) in Human Services program at Brescia University Online focuses on theory, case management, crisis counseling and intervention, and information systems. The extensive human services associates online program will teach students how to work with individuals. Additionally, they receive training to work with groups from various ethnic, cultural, and racial backgrounds.  Students can also transfer up to 42 credits from any institution with regional accreditation.

This associate degree in social work online program from Brescia University is accredited by SACS-COC. 

  • Reading Area Community College

Program: Associate of Arts degree in Social Work

Tuition$386/credit hour

Credits: 60 credit hours

The Associate of Arts degree (AA) in Social Work program at Reading Area Community College (RACC Human Services Division) is one of the top entry-level programs in Pennsylvania. The two-year program includes coursework in social work theory and practice and electives in psychology and sociology.

The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level social work positions in a variety of settings, including human service agencies, hospitals, and schools. The program also emphasizes the development of professional values, ethical principles, and knowledge of social work practice. There is also a fieldwork component, which gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real-world setting.

RACC is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the Pennsylvania State Board approves the Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors program. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for licensure as social workers in Pennsylvania.

  • Shorter University

Program: AS in Human Services

Tuition375/credit hour

Credits: 60 credit hours

The online AS in Human Services from Shorter University enables students to improve people’s and communities lives. Through their curriculum, students will gain the information and skills required to pursue a rewarding career in human services. The online human services associates program has a strong history of professional competence, excellent professors, and an expedited pace.

The institution provides a range of benefits and financial aid options for veterans. According to Princeton Review, it is one of the best colleges in the southeast and ranked #80 in Regional Universities South. 

  • Monroe College

Program: Associate of Applied Science in Social Work

Tuition$7,716/per 15-week semester

Credits: 62 credit hours

The online social work associate’s degree (AS) program at Monroe College School of Criminal & Social Justice can be completed entirely online, partially online, or both online and in-person.  Sociology, the foundations of communication, counseling theory, and the psychology of abnormal behavior are just a few of the featured classes.

Monroe College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and ranked #62 in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges among North Regional Universities.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

Bachelor degree gives students a practical understanding of the field and aids in the development of a wide range of transferrable skills, which are highly sought after by employers.

Getting a bachelor’s degree in social work will prepare you for all kinds of jobs within the field. It will also give you an advantage when applying for those positions that require a bachelor degree or higher education level than what was offered through community college courses.

  • University of North Dakota

Program: Bachelor of social work

Tuition390.73/credit hour

Credits: 120 credit hours

Students who earn a Bachelor of Science in Social Work online from the University of North Dakota are ready for entry-level jobs in a range of professions. Through this curriculum, students are prepared to sit for the social work licensing exam. Studies will be conducted on a range of subjects, including:

  • Generalist social work practice
  • Human behavior
  • Social policy

UND is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and the Department of Social Work was re-accredited by the Council on Social Work Education( CSWE) in 2014.

  • Eastern New Mexico University

Program: Bachelor of Social Work

Tuition275/credit hour

Credits: 120 credit hours

With a focus on distance learning, Eastern New Mexico University has built a solid reputation for providing affordable educational options to everyone, including its cost-effective online Bachelor of Social work degree program. Students who complete ENMU’s online Bachelor of social work program are prepared to work as social workers in the nonprofit, criminal justice, healthcare, and human services sectors.

The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits Eastern New Mexico University (HLC and the University’s online BSW program is CSWE accredited.

  • University of Utah

Program: Bachelor of Social Work

Tuition$260 /credit hour

Credits: 120 credit hours

The University of Utah, founded in 1850, offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The University offers courses online at the Sandy and St. George campuses and at its main campus in Salt Lake City. The Bachelor of social work degree offered online by Utah can be completed in three to four semesters.

Students complete 48 credits of core coursework in subjects such as social welfare policies and services, social diversity and cultural awareness, and applied social work statistics.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities regionally accredits the University of Utah (NWCCU), and the online BSW program at the University of Utah is CSWE accredited.

  • Troy University

Program:  Bachelor of Science in Social Work

Tuition$388/credit hour

Credits: 120 credit hours

Troy University is one of the largest universities in the state of Alabama and offers a variety of degree programs at its main campus and through its network of regional campuses. The University’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work program prepares students for a career in social work and provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to help individuals, families, and groups in need.

The program offers a variety of field placements and internships, which give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of social work.

 The CSWE has accredited the online BSW program at Troy University, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has granted the University regional accreditation (SACS).

  1. Northern Arizona University

Program: Bachelor of Social Work

Tuition$11,160/Tuition per year

Credits: 120 credit hours

Northern Arizona University offers an online Bachelor in Social Work that allows graduates to become licensed generalist social workers in many states. The curriculum addresses poverty, racism, and oppression, specifically in relation to rural and indigenous populations of the Southwest US. Graduates will be equipped to provide leadership in promoting human rights and social and economic justice.

The Higher Learning Commission fully accredits AU, and Northern Arizona University’s online BSW program is CSWE accredited.

  1. Touro University Worldwide

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Social Work

Tuition400/credit hour

Credits: 120 credit hours

TUW’s online Bachelor of arts in social work emphasizes the knowledge and skills needed to serve diverse populations. The degree at TUW embraces the case study method, familiarizing students with human behavior as it relates to the social environment, social welfare policy and services, and social and economic justice.

The curriculum is designed to integrate online courses with field training for real-world learning and experience. Students also explore social work ethical standards and learn valuable social work research competencies.

Touro University Worldwide is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and the degree program is accreditated by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.

Online Master’s Degree in Social work

Students who pursue a social work master’s degree online are better equipped to assist their communities in difficult circumstances. While some social workers use their knowledge to counsel single people and couples, those with master’s degrees utilize it to push for systemic reform in the social welfare sector.

Aside from these opportunities, social workers can pursue research projects that promote equality for all people or postsecondary teaching roles.

  1. University of West Florida

Program: MS in Social Work

Tuition: $450/credit hour

Credits: 60 credit hours

University of West Florida Online Master of Social Work (MSW) program is designed for working professionals who want to advance their careers in social work. The program offers a flexible, online format that allows students to complete their degrees on their own schedule. The program offers a curriculum that covers a broad range of social work topics, including human behavior, social welfare policy, and research.

The MSW program at the University of West Florida is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

  1. Boston University

Program: MS in Social Work

Tuition$910/credit hour

Credits: 65 credit hours

The Boston University MSW program is worth looking at if you’re looking for a part-time, online MSW program. You can choose to major in Macro Practice or Clinical Practice based on your personal preferences.

The school’s Online Campus Platform provides self-paced and lives classroom instruction for its courses. There are academic tracks available in the Advanced Standing Track, Traditional Track, and Advanced Standing and distinct entry standards for each track. This program can be finished in six to nine consecutive semesters of seven-week sessions.

Boston University School of Social Work is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NECHE).

  1. University of Central Florida

Program: Master’s in Social Work

Tuition: $369.65/credit hour In-state and $1194.05/credit hour

Credits: 62 credit hours

UCF, one of the biggest online institutions in the US, offers an online MSW program with traditional and advanced standing options. The degree trains advanced clinical social workers as well as generalists.

Students acquire the abilities needed to function as licensed practitioners. A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is required to enroll in the advanced-standing program. Their transferable credits determine a student’s course load.

The Council on Social Work Education has certified the UCF MSW program, and the program is designed to give you everything you need to become licensed in Florida.

  1. Northcentral University

Program: Master of Social Work Degree

Total Tuition: $739/credit hour

Credits: 60 credit hours

 The online master’s in a social work program at NCU has tracks for both inexperienced and seasoned students. This generalist track gives students a solid foundation in social work principles and interpersonal skills. Students with Bachelor’s degrees in social work (BSW) enroll in advanced generalist track courses.

An on-site practicum is added to the program’s online coursework as a compliment. During the practicum, students gain experience working with individuals, groups, and communities. A BSW or a bachelor’s degree in a related subject, such as psychology, is required for admission.

Northcentral University is regionally accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and the MSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

  1. University of Houston

Program: Master’s in Social Work

Tuition and Consolidated Fees: $376.00 – $474.76/credit hour

Credits: 36 credit hours

The online MSW program offered by the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Houston may be ideal for you if you’re seeking a flexible MSW degree that fits your schedule.

This degree focuses on leadership, fundamental ideas, evidence-based techniques, theories, and practice foundations while offering specializations in clinical or macro practices using the cohort approach. The cornerstone of this program is laid by political justice courses, including economic and social ones, which promote critical thinking abilities. You will get individualized attention and support from the full-time and adjunct GSSW instructors teaching your classes, which have a low student-teacher ratio.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the University of Houston accredit the University of Houston’s online Master of Social Work program. The program comes in at #176 for best national universities and #106 for best value colleges.

Online PhD Degree in Social Work

Here is a list of cheap online Ph.D. degrees in Social Work:



SchoolDegree ProgramAccreditationTuition
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville  Doctor of Social Work Degree in Clinical Practice & Leadership Program  CSWE and Member of Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) in Social Work.$700.00  per credit hour
Our Lady of the Lake University’s Worden School of Social Work      Online Ph.D. in Social Work  OLLU’s Ph.D. program has followed the GADE guidelines and maintained GADE membership since its inception in 2019  $1,033 per credit hour
University of Southern CaliforniaDoctorate of Social Work onlineCSWE31,734 per 15–18 units
Florida Atlantic UniversityDoctor of Social WorkCSWE$303.71 Per Credit Hour
Arizona State University    PhD in Social Work   $607 per credit hour  

Job outlook for people with a Degree In Social Work

The job outlook for people with a degree in social work is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of social workers will grow 12 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

There will be a growing need for social workers in healthcare and social assistance settings as the baby-boom population ages and needs more medical and long-term care.

 In addition, the increasing incidence of mental and behavioral health issues, such as substance abuse and depression, will also drive the demand for social workers. Job prospects should be best for those who have a master’s degree in social work and who are licensed.

The occupations listed below are some of the most in-demand in the field of Social Work:

Salary outlook for people with a Social Work Degree

As you may expect, the salary that graduates of Social Work programs get depends on their education level.

According to BLS, the average yearly pay for social workers was $50,390 in May 2021.

 Following is a list of the highest-paying jobs for graduates in Social Work in 2022.

Occupation NameMedian Average Salary
Social workers, all other$61,190
Healthcare social workers$60,840
Child, family, and school social workers$49,150
Mental health and substance abuse social workers$49,130

The median annual wages for social workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Occupation NameMedian Average Salary
Local government, excluding education and hospitals$61,190
Ambulatory healthcare services$58,700
State government, excluding education and hospitals$48,090
Individual and family services$46,640

Is a Social Work Degree Worth It?

Social work is one of the noblest careers out there, and it can be rewarding both professionally and personally. Your job will consist of helping people from all walks of life.

A degree in Social Work is often one of the most difficult majors, and the pay is not nearly as high as other majors. However, those who have obtained their degrees have found a greater sense of fulfillment and pride than they would have with any other degree.

Social Work degree is a great way to get into the field. It opens many job opportunities, including positions that pay well and offer benefits like health insurance or pension plans.

You will undoubtedly face some challenges, but your efforts will really make a difference in people’s lives. A social work degree is worth it when you consider how much you will learn in school and how far your career in social work can take you.

The degree will equip you with everything you need to know to be a great social worker. Education and training is the most important thing that you can have as a social worker. Social work degrees teach you the ins and outs of the profession. You will learn about all of the different approaches to social work practice. You will also learn about the various approaches that are currently being used in various countries across the world.

Social Work Licensure and certification

Social Work Licensure and certification are two different things. While a license is the most basic level of certification, a license does not give you any type of education or experience in Social Work. A certificate credential may be more valuable than a license because it shows that you have the skills, knowledge and experience.

Social workers must complete a CSWE-accredited program and pass a licensing exam in order to work in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, the additional criteria differ significantly by state.

Similar to certification in Social Work, licensing operates in a similar manner. Depending on the applicant’s area and the career path they are pursuing, a Social Work license may be required. Since there is no simple assurance, candidates must make sure they find information on individual state licensure board requirements on the Association of Social Work Boards website of certification or license when pursuing specific career trajectories.

Although requirements vary by state, students should anticipate passing an examination and completing a predetermined number of clinical or practical hours. After earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, students may be eligible for a variety of professional licenses, depending on the state.


Pursuing an online social work degree can save you a lot, but it could cost you extra in other ways. When evaluating these online programs, consider the total program length and cost per credit hour. For some programs, an online degree may be the right choice above all other options, but not always. That is why we considered these programs’ ranking, reputation, accreditation, and cost rating. Ensure to do your due diligence and find the course that best fits for you!




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