How to advance your social work career with an online degree

Social workers learn to stay calm and build relationships with people in sometimes stressful situations, to quickly understand new circumstances – which may include legal and financial information – and to help people live as happy a life as possible. As a social worker, you will possess many critical skills through education and work experience. However, if you want to further your career – whether advancing your position or simply being a better version of yourself – then an online master’s degree is undoubtedly the way to go.

Enrolling in a master’s program may appear intimidating though. Studying can be exhausting, especially when you’re juggling a busy work and personal life, and it can also be expensive. Furthermore, if you have never studied via distance learning, then enrolling in an online course can seem like a big step into the unknown.

Online degrees may have a shorter track record than traditional campus-based university studies. That being said, distance learning’s history predates computers. The Boston Gazette offered correspondence classes on shorthand and note-taking in 1728. The concept of e-learning as we know it today evolved from this format. 

Once thought to be targeted toward older students, online education is now widely renowned as a viable option for students of all backgrounds and ages. As online education courses such as the Spalding online MSW program gain popularity among social workers, they are increasingly recognized as being as valuable as their traditional campus counterparts. Programs such as these help social workers evaluate their careers, and many often turn to education roles themselves to help influence the next generation of students.

Why online?

While online education is only for some, there are multiple benefits for social workers thinking about further education to consider e-learning. Here are a few.

More cost-effective

Learning online is generally most cost-effective than traditional methods. This is because you don’t have to pay for on-campus amenities. You also save money on the costs of commuting back and forth from college.

Greater flexibility 

Online education allows social workers to continue working while pursuing a degree. Some people prefer to work from home, while others find that going to a library or coffee shop is more convenient for their needs. You can study whenever you want and choose how much time you want to devote to learning. Another advantage of online education in terms of flexibility is the geographic location of prospective students. Many of the nation’s top colleges and universities offer online degrees and certificates, allowing students to attend a top school without having to relocate.

Learning to multitask

By completing your master’s degree online, you’re demonstrating that you can manage your time and are self-motivated – two of the top 10 employability skills that employers look for in new hires. In addition, earning an online degree demonstrates your ability to handle multiple tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing work conditions. So, if you’re looking to further your social work career, then this is certainly something to add to your resume.

Develop communication and collaboration skills

Virtual collaboration is essential in today’s digitally connected world. Learners who enroll in online degree programs become adept at communicating with their peers, instructors and mentors via online channels. While studying, this helps to develop communication, presentation and collaboration skills. Furthermore, some universities have global industry leaders who deliver some classes, allowing students to build a global network and gain a global perspective.

Customized learning experience

We’ve already discussed how flexibility can help you set your own study pace. However, online education is adaptable to each student’s unique needs and ability level. Online classes are typically smaller than standard class sizes. Most online learning platforms only allow one student at a time, which allows for more interaction and feedback between you and your tutor in almost all cases. Online, there is frequent access to a wide range of materials, such as videos, photos and eBooks, and tutors can also incorporate other formats, such as forums or discussions, to improve their lessons. This additional content is accessible at any time and from any location, providing you with a more dynamic and tailored education.

Final thoughts

The truth is that each student will benefit differently from online learning. However, you’ll reap many benefits from online college courses if you commit to the coursework, stick to a schedule, and keep your eyes on the prize.

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