The National Association of Social Workers defines social workers as "people who care about people, who want to make things better, who want to relieve suffering, who want their work to make a difference.” This is a growing and dynamic field, and the U.S. Department of Labor projects faster than average employment growth.
With Appalachian’s accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree, you will be prepared for social work careers helping individuals, families, groups and communities; providing services; and advocating for human rights and social and economic justice in a variety of human service agencies, as well as other public and non-profit organizations and institutions.
Employment sites include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health departments, mental health centers, child and family service agencies, substance abuse programs, group homes and residential education programs, schools, correctional facilities, departments of social services, housing programs and shelters, domestic violence programs, advocacy agencies and legislative offices, community development and planning organizations, non-governmental/community-based organizations, non-profit/grassroots organizations and international programs.
Employment: Social work employment is available in a variety of practice settings for professional social workers who have earned the BSW. However, some social work practice areas require a graduate degree in social work and/or licensure.
Graduate School: For some careers in social work, a Master of Social Work degree is required. Students often choose to pursue a MSW after graduation, including Appalachian’s Master of Social Work degree.
Students who have earned an undergraduate degree in social work who meet certain requirements may apply for “Advanced Standing” MSW programs and complete the MSW curriculum in just one year. Appalachian’s MSW Program offers a direct practice/clinical concentration (preparation for working with children and adults, individuals, couples, families and small groups) and a macro practice/community concentration (preparation for working with communities and organizations; agency administration and supervision; policy practice and advocacy; community development and planning; and systemic change).
Core courses include:
- Professional Social Work in Contemporary Society
- The American Social Welfare System
- Cultural Competence in the Helping Professions
- Human Behavior and the Social Environment
- Basic Skills for the Social Work Profession
- Social Welfare Policies, Programs, and Issues
- Social Work Research Methods I
- Social Work Research Methods II
- Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
- Social Work Practice with Groups
- Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations
- Social Work Field Instruction
- Senior Seminar: Issues and Ethics for Field and Profession
A minor is optional. Minors that complement the Social Work curriculum include:
- Child Development
- Sustainable Development
- Health Care Management
- Health Promotion
- Leadership Studies
- Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies
- LGBT studies
- Non-Profit Management
- Political Science
- Recreation Management
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Student Association of Social Workers (SASW) – Social Work majors and interested students interact, exchange ideas and participate in campus and community service projects. Organizational members work closely with faculty members and other professionals to facilitate greater understanding of the social work field. Open to any Appalachian student.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society. Social Work students have opportunities to participate in study abroad programs that may count for required course credit. The department has facilitated trips to Costa Rica, Germany, India and Uganda.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
However, students must remain in good academic standing, apply to and be accepted into the Professional Sequence, and successfully complete the BSW curriculum. Social work majors are required to complete a Field Placement internship in their final semester. Students in Field Placement need to have reliable personal transportation.
Students interested in pursuing the BSW through off-campus programs should refer to the Distance Education website for additional admissions criteria and information.
- Appalachian’s BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. It is a professional program designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice.
- Students integrate their curriculum knowledge with real-life experiences in a variety of field practice settings, supervised by experienced social work field instructors.
- BSW majors develop knowledge and skills to work with diverse clients and communities in a variety of human service agencies, providing direct services and advocating for human rights and social and economic justice.
- Appalachian offers both a major and minor in social work. The minor in social work does not prepare students for practice but complements the curriculum in other disciplines.
- This program is housed in the Department of Social Work in the Beaver College of Health Sciences.
Number of Students
Method of Delivery
On campus and via distance education at a number of sites in North Carolina, currently including Burke County (full time) and Catawba County (part time). Depending on the semester, a limited number of courses may be offered as online or hybrid sections, but the majority of courses are taught in the classroom.
BSW graduates have employment opportunities working as a:
- Social worker
- Case manager
- Family social worker
- Medical social worker
- School social worker
- Youth worker
- Prison social worker
- Policy advocate and analyst
*For some advance practice jobs in social work and to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is required.
Dr. Michael Howell