A certificate in social work can be a quick and convenient way to enter the field without investing the time and money needed for a four-year degree. With just a certificate, it’s possible to work as either an aide or an assistant to a social worker in a variety of settings. This includes government agencies, healthcare facilities, mental health clinics, and schools. A certificate program might also be a good stepping stone for non- human service professionals who are interested in making a career change.
What follows is our list of the top ten affordable social work certificate programs. The list began with a list of 35 school of social work programs with a yearly tuition of under $8,000 (based on tuition reported to collegenavigator.gov). These programs were then ranked according to the quality of the offering (based on graduation rate and student-to-teacher ratio).
The top 10 affordable social work certificate programs are:
- Athens Technical College
- Georgia Northwestern Technical College
- Carl Albert State College
- Sinclair Community College
- Oakton Community College
- College of Lake County
- Elgin Community College
- Pima Community College
- Community College of Rhode Island
- Capital Community College
10. Capital Community College
Human Services Certificate
Capital Community College offers a 25-credit program. The program is designed for human service professionals interested in social work practice. It prepares students for immediate employment under the supervision of a social worker. The curriculum includes biology, sociology, social welfare, and relevant cultural courses. All courses offered through this school of social work can be applied to an associate’s degree. Upon graduation, students will be prepared for employment under social workers with various jobs. Examples include group residence workers, neighborhood outreach workers, or social casework assistants. They may also pursue advanced coursework in a bachelor’s or online MSW program.
9. Community College of Rhode Island
Warwick, Rhode Island
The Community College of Rhode Island offers a condensed, 16-credit social services certificate program. Though brief, this social work program equips students with the necessary skills to enter the field as social workers. The five required courses are conveniently offered during both day and evening hours. The curriculum for this school of social work program is designed to assist two different kinds of students. This includes those already employed in the field and those with interest in acquiring an entry level job in social work practice. Eligible students are encouraged to apply for financial aid. The program is #9 on our list of social work certification programs.
8. Pima Community College
Pima Community College offers an affordable, 18-credit social work certificate program. The program prepares students for entry level jobs as social workers. It teaches the values and ethics of the social services profession. It also promotes the skills needed to work effectively with individuals, small groups, families, and communities. The school of social work curriculum consists of basic social work courses. It also places an emphasis on understanding diversity as it relates to social services. Graduates may apply their learning to further study in a bachelor’s social work degree or MSW program.
7. Elgin Community College
Human Services Generalist Certificate
Elgin Community College’s human services certificate program is accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Services Education. This affordable 33-credit-hour program prepares students for employment as social workers in various settings. These include nonprofit and government agencies, healthcare facilities, or community social service agencies. The comprehensive school of social work curriculum includes substance abuse training and family violence counseling training.
6. College of Lake County
Human Services General Certificate
The human services certificate program at College of Lake County is a 31-credit program. Designed to be completed in just two semesters, it’s among the shortest certification programs for social workers. This unique program caters specifically to those with degrees or professional work experience in different roles who are looking to make a career change. The specialized curriculum includes no general education courses. Instead, it focuses only on degree-specific coursework. Many of the required school of social work courses can conveniently be completed online.
5. Oakton Community College
Des Plaines, Illinois
Human Services Certificate
Oakton Community College offers a certificate program for aspiring social workers. It serves as a good option for those wanting entry-level social work jobs without pursuing a degree program. This 34-hour specialized program consists of only career-specific courses in the social work profession. Examples include:
- substance use disorders
- behavioral sciences
Students enrolled at this school of social work have the convenient option of completing many of the required social work courses online.
4. Sinclair Community College
The Social Service certificate program at Sinclair Community College is a short-term program. It is designed to provide the tools needed for employees of human service agencies and nonprofit organizations. The 27-credit-hour curriculum emphasizes skills in:
- investigative techniques
- critical analysis of social problems
It also teaches students pursuing the social work profession to understand public policy as well as the social and legal systems. This school of social work certification can lead to various careers with diverse populations. These may include:
- social work and human services
- public safety
Graduates may also pursue continuing education in a bachelor’s or MSW program. This is #4 on our list of the top social work certificate programs.
3. Carl Albert State College
Carl Albert State College offers a new Social Services Assistant Certificate program. This offering is part of the school’s Workforce Certificate Program. This 16-credit certification takes only one or two semesters to complete. Students have the option of completing the program on-campus or online. The condensed curriculum includes:
- introductory social work courses
- speech and computer courses
- a supervised work experience
This gives school of social work graduates a good foundation of social work skills for entry-level jobs in social work practice.
2. Georgia Northwestern Technical College
At Georgia Northwestern Technical College, students can earn an affordable social work certificate. Time to completion is just 5 semesters. This includes the option of completing the social work program entirely online. This 56-credit program is designed to prepare individuals to gain entry-level employment. Job opportunities may span both public and private social service agencies. Both in-person and online students enrolled in this school of social work have elective course options in a variety of social work related fields. Examples include social policy, psychology, and rehabilitation.
1. Athens Technical College
Athens Technical College has a well-developed social work program with many degree and diploma options. In fact, the school offers the top affordable certificate program in social work. This 59-credit program aims to furnish students with entry-level social work skills, professional competencies, and interpersonal qualities. These are the prerequisites needed to successfully aid social workers in different roles and areas of service. Aside from the general certificate, students enrolled in this school of social work can also choose to study a specialized discipline. As a result, they may earn an Addictions Specialist or Domestic and Family Violence certification. Financial aid may be available to qualified students.
- Social Work Degree Online
- Sociology Degree Online
- Highest Paying Social Work Jobs
- Best Online Colleges
- Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work
This concludes our list of the top ten affordable social work certificate programs.