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The Benefits of Earning a PhD in Social Work

You pursued a career in social work because you wanted to change lives and make a difference. The work has been rewarding, and now you’re ready to expand your impact and career. It might be time to start thinking about furthering your college education by earning a PhD in Social Work online.

There are two types of doctoral degrees in social work that you can earn: a PhD and a Doctor of Social Work (DSW). Each degree program offers certain advantages and can position you to practice social work at a higher level. But if you want a doctoral program that prepares you for a future centered around research and teaching, it is a good idea to go with the PhD program.


A doctoral degree is a big investment that can pay you back in many ways. Let’s explore some of the benefits of earning a PhD in Social Work online.

Grow Your Career Opportunities

A PhD in Social Work is a highly respected credential that can help you shine in the job market and rise to the top of your field. The doctoral program can open high-level professional opportunities in social work administration, policymaking, and agency leadership. Some social work PhD degree holders become researchers at a university or research think tank. And many social work PhD degree holders go on to successful careers in higher education as college professors.

“I knew I wanted to attain a PhD so that I could teach at the university level, and I have a passion for forming competent and informed social workers,” said Warren Miller, a graduate of the PhD in Social Work online degree program at Walden University.

Plus, earning a doctorate online could lead to a bigger paycheck. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, holders of a doctoral degree made over 21% more in median weekly earnings in 2021 than those with a master’s degree.1

Do What You Love

In some PhD degree programs, you can tailor your doctoral studies to your interests and take online courses that fit best with your career goals. For instance, in Walden’s PhD in Social Work online degree program, you can choose from three specializations including Advanced Clinical Practice and Supervision, Impact Leadership Social Work Administration, and Social Work Education.

As a doctoral student, you’ll do in-depth research and complete a dissertation in an area of social work that you choose. Doctoral research is an excellent opportunity to delve deep into a subject that fascinates you and to explore real solutions that could potentially change the social work field.

Whether you want to build your expertise as a clinical social worker or you’re passionate about improving social work policy or administration processes, earning a doctoral degree can help you gain the research skills and specialized knowledge needed to make a difference in area of social work that matters to you.

Elevate Your Impact

A PhD in Social Work is an elite credential that can bring you respect and recognition as a top expert in the field by peers, employers, public officials, policymakers, clients, and students. With a doctoral degree, you’ll be equipped with the expertise and credibility to address complex social work issues and effect systems-wide change.

“I decided to earn my PhD in Social Work because I want to make an impact at all levels—agency, community, county, and state,” said Adrian Green, a child protective services social worker and online doctoral student. “With my advanced degree from Walden, I’ll have the skill set to be a change agent within the agency and beyond, because I’ll not only feel confident and comfortable, but others will trust my recommendations for improving child welfare because it will be supported by research.”

Earning a PhD can grow your influence as a thought leader in social work. You’ll be ready to make significant contributions to the field and have an even greater impact on the profession, people, and communities. Walden University is an accredited institution offering PhD in Social Work and Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,