An online program from a leader in distance education, our Bachelor of Social Work program helps you build the skills and knowledge to work toward social justice in your community.

Begin a rewarding career improving the lives of others in Walden’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. Through this program, you will acquire the hands-on training and evidence-based practices needed to provide compassionate mentoring, supervision, advocacy, and collaboration within varied populations across an array of settings. Coursework is designed to empower you to become a generalist scholar-practitioner, helping individuals and families overcome difficult life challenges.

Why Earn Your BSW From Walden?

  • Gain a degree that will allow you to apply for licensure in some states*.
  • Explore the social work profession and engage in decision-making scenarios through Walden's documentary-style video series.
  • Benefit from a face-to-face interaction through Social Work Skills Lab to help you prepare for the real world and state licensure exam*.
  • Choose from five optional focus areas, allowing you to tailor your program to the community you wish to serve.
  • Gain real-world acumen through supervised field experience and assignments that inspire you to interact with your community.
  • Enjoy the flexibility of online coursework, which enables you to balance your studies with work and family commitments.

Lifelong Learning Ladder

With more than 45 years of experience in distance education, Walden offers a lifelong learning ladder that includes our Master of Social Work (CSWE-accredited), PhD in Social Work, and Doctor of Social Work programs. BSW graduates with a 3.0 GPA or better at graduation are eligible to enter our MSW program in the Advanced Standing option, which may reduce the credits required for completion of the program. This allows you to earn your MSW faster and at a lower overall cost.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a professional orientation and identity as a social worker.
  • Apply legal and ethical standards in the administration of social work.
  • Demonstrate skills in applying principles of advocacy toward promoting cultural understanding and positive social change in individuals, communities, and society.
  • Use evidence-based research and critical thinking skills to inform practice in meeting the needs of diverse clientele.
  • Synthesize and apply theories of human growth and development to develop culturally responsive social work practices.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in the areas of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Career Impact

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for social work professionals is expected to increase by 12% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the national average for all occupations.*

An online Bachelor of Social Work degree from Walden can prepare you to pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Case worker
  • Case manager
  • Family service worker
  • Social worker
  • Habilitation specialist
  • Mental health assistant
  • Group home worker
  • Residential counselor
  • Program coordinator
  • Activity director
  • Workshop director

Learn more about the career outlook for graduates with a Bachelor of Social Work.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016–2017 Edition, on the internet at (viewed online March 23, 2017). National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this program.

Find detailed information for this program, including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt.

Read our Bachelor of Social Work Program Outcome Report.


BSW Program Status in the CSWE Accreditation Process

This chart is based on the current CSWE accreditation process found at All future milestone dates are estimates and subject to change.

Accreditation Candidacy Status

Walden's Bachelor of Social Work has achieved candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation. Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. A program that has attained candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards but has not yet demonstrated full compliance.

Students who enter programs that attain candidacy in or after the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains initial accreditation. Candidacy is typically a 3-year process, and attaining candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain initial accreditation. Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

*Note on Licensure
Licensure for BSW prepared social workers varies greatly from state-to-state. Each state licensing board responsible for regulating the practice of social work has its own academic, licensure, and certification requirements and issues its own license to practice as a social worker. In many states the minimum academic credential required to obtain licensure to practice as a social worker is a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Currently, Walden University’s BSW program is not accredited by CSWE but has achieved candidacy status which is the last step before achieving initial programmatic accreditation.

Because no program can guarantee licensure upon graduation, Walden recommends students consult the appropriate social work licensing board in the state in which they plan to practice to determine the specific academic requirements for licensure. Walden enrollment advisors can provide information relating to the state-by-state requirements for BSW licensure. However, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all licensing requirements for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of its coursework or programs will permit an individual to achieve state licensure, authorization, endorsement, or other state credential as a social worker.

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