If you are considering attaining an online social work degree, know that it is a fairly broad field of study. There are social workers who will engage one-on-one with people as counselors, and those who will work to develop policy and help to plan and organize for communities on a larger scale.
A social work degree may even allow you to pivot to any number of related fields. Those credentials can be a big help in attaining work in human relations, management, even marketing. Even if you are not specifically pursuing a career as a “social worker,” a degree in this field lets employers know that you are qualified to help people deal with personal and social issues,
There is quite a bit to recommend social work. Even before we add in the jobs that do not necessarily have “social work” in the title, we’re looking at 707,400 jobs on the market right now with an 11% growth expected over the next eight years, and social workers typically make about $50,470 a year at $24.26, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, if you’re considering a career in this field, the appeal of the job is the human element. In social work, you’re not simply filling out boxes on a checklist, you’re helping real people deal with real problems, and that’s hard to put a price on.
The 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs
1. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University, also known as EKU, boasts 687 full-time teachers and 1,554 full-time administrators for 15,816 students. The school frequently ranks in the top one hundred on US News & World Report rankings, tying for 28th place in Regional Universities South – Top Public Schools in 2019, and tying for 76th place overall that same year. The school features more than 230 student organizations on campus and online, including a Kendo Club and even an Anime Club. If you’re looking for a good student-teacher ratio, a low price, and a strong sense of community, Eastern Kentucky University may be the perfect crossroads for these three qualifications.
- Tuition: $9,669
- Total enrollment: 15,816
2. University of Toledo
The University of Toledo boasts a student teacher ratio of twenty to one, with a median class size of around twenty-five students. This means that even studying online you won’t have to fight to get some feedback from your professors. The school is known in Ohio for their strong sense of community and school pride, with over three hundred student organizations, many of which are represented online.
This is one of the best schools for the price, and one of the best schools overall. The University of Toledo may not have quite the same name brand recognition as some universities, but it is a respected school and offers excellent support for those studying social work.
- Tuition: $9,360
- Total enrollment: 19,782
3. Troy University
Troy University has a 91% acceptance rate and was ranked fourteenth most innovative school by US News & World Report in 2020. Forbes, meanwhile, ranks the school at 640 nationally. The school’s ranking is somewhat controversial, but positive reviews are glowing, with Princeton Review frequently naming the school Best in the Southeast.
- Tuition: $16,708
- Total enrollment: 18,086
4. Indiana Wesleyan University
It is difficult to rank Indiana Wesleyan University on tuition, as they do not make the cost readily available through their website. Rather, you’ll have to get in touch with them by phone or online to see precisely what you can expect to pay for a year of online courses. Note that this is generally a good sign. If they are setting tuition on a student-to-student basis, that typically means that they’re going to charge you based on your income and socioeconomic background. If you’re looking for a good price, you should get in touch with Indiana Wesleyan University to see what they have to say.
- Tuition: Varies
- Total enrollment: 13,802
5. Wichita State University
Wichita State University boasts some interesting alumni, including Bob Peak, the painter known for essentially having invented the modern movie poster, and Paul Wight, who you may know as the WWE professional wrestler, The Big Show.
The school was ranked in the top 100 by the Social Mobility Index college rankings. This is worth noting because these ratings are intended to rank schools by their ability to give people a leg up. In short, if you’re looking for a school that will help you to improve your socioeconomic standing, Wichita is an excellent choice.
- Tuition: $17,452
- Total enrollment:16,058
6. Limestone College
With just over 2,000 students, Limestone College is one of the smaller universities on this list, and that number includes their online students. This isn’t the easiest college to get into, but it is one of the best, if you can make the cut.
This college boasts one of the most impressive staffs on this list, with at least 80% of the professors holding the terminal degree in their chosen fields, meaning that they generally hold the highest possible degrees. They have a student: teacher ratio of fourteen to one.
- Tuition: $24,900
- Total enrollment: 2,101
7. Aurora University
Aurora University is one of the smaller schools on this list, with an estimated 5,500 total enrollment. This means small class sizes, which means more one-on-one time with your professors and administrative staff. The Council for Social Work Education accredits Aurora’s School of Social Work, and boasts a very good testing record, at 70% total, with 79% for first-time ASWB exam-takers, and 42% for repeat exam takers.
Aurora University earns high marks in the area of actually teaching social workers the skills that they are going to need. The aim for any university should be not simply to pass as many students as possible, or to produce high-profile alumni who will look good in their hall of fame, but to actually equip students with the skills needed for the job. In this regard, Aurora University is an excellent school
- Tuition: $24,260
- Total enrollment: 5,500
8. Purdue University
Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana hosts over forty thousand students across in-person and online classes, with 3,055 members on the academic staff. Famous alumni of the school include twenty-three astronauts, and one of those was none other than Neil Armstrong, the first person to ever step foot on the moon. Another was Eugene Cernan, the last person to ever step on the moon. Around one-third of all NASA missions have included a Purdue University graduate.
Purdue’s tuition is a little higher than some schools on this list, but it’s a school that looks great on a resume. In the social work field, the name is often spoken with the same reverence as a name like Harvard or Cornell.
- Tuition: $28,794
- Total enrollment: 43,411
9. University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati is the second largest university in Ohio with 44,000 students. Academic staff and administrative staff combined number around 6,500, so you don’t need to worry about large class sizes or not having your needs met by your professors. They have a lot of students, but they also have the staff to handle such a large student body.
The university covers fourteen colleges and schools, with the School of Social Work being housed within the College of Allied Health Sciences. The school practices an integrated approach to teaching, meaning that you’ll learn how to work with medical professionals and others whose careers revolve around public wellbeing.
- Tuition: $27,334
- Total enrollment: 44,000
10. Liberty University
Liberty University, a private evangelical Christian school founded by Jerry Falwell Sr., is one of the world’s largest Christian academies. The school is perhaps most well known for their schools of medicine and law, but have also been noted for hosting over 94,000 online students. The academic staff number 2,500.
Liberty University is a good school with tremendous resources, but the extremely disproportionate teacher: student ratio may be a turn-off for some students. Likewise, a faith-based university might not be the best choice for everyone. But their social work department earns high marks, all the same.
- Tuition: $22,584
- Total enrollment: 110,000
The list above has been compiled and ranked by a number of factors, primarily tuition and total enrollment. Unless otherwise stated, the tuition cited refers to non-resident tuition for a single year. Because of the nature of online schooling, it should be stated that your mileage will vary in this regard. The credit hours you need might not add up to the numbers listed, many online colleges will adjust tuition to the student’s socioeconomic background, and resident and international students will both be paying tuition that differs from the prices listed. The costs listed are before aid. In many cases, tuition may wind up being half of the listed cost, or less. Because in-state students typically pay less, it may be worth seeking out a school in your home state, even if you plan to attend online.
We hope to provide the most accurate information available on these schools. If you see your school represented here and you have some more information to add, get in touch and we’ll amend the list. If you do not see your school reviewed here, but would like to, let us know.