Are you the type of person that desires to help individuals, families, and groups of people cope with problems they’re facing to improve their lives? Would you love to learn the skills and mechanisms for assisting clients to better their lives and experiences? If so, an Associate of Arts in Social Work may be just what you are looking for.
Social Work (Associate of Arts)
The Associate of Arts in Social Work degree provides skills required for an entry-level position as a social work assistant and human services assistant. The program provides students with a foundation in competency-based education as outlined by the Council on Social Work Education and combines theory including the historical development of social work with contemporary practice through classroom, on-line, and experiential labs and field experiences. A bachelor’s degree in social work is the minimum educational requirement for an entry-level social worker.
Required Courses & Learning Outcomes
See a list of required courses and learning outcomes for this program in the college catalog.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is social work?
The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilizing theories of human behavior and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.
What are the differences between social work and psychology?
Psychologists and social workers are both dedicated to helping others. Although the end goal is the same, there are significant differences between the two fields. In social work, professionals work within the social service system to find solutions to problems such as poverty and emotional or mental health. Psychologists are more likely to use their training and education related to the human mind and human behavior to diagnose mental health issues and provide psychotherapy and other treatment.
What can I do with an associate degree in social work?
An associate’s degree in social work is a great way to get your foot in the door and gain valuable real-world experience, before furthering education for a bachelor’s or master’s in the field. Even though an associate’s degree in social work is the first step in finding employment within the field of social work, there are still many open doors for entry-level positions in human services. Below are some of those areas:
- Residential Counselor
- Residential counselors can find employment opportunities in a multitude of settings, including group homes for developmentally disabled or mentally ill individuals and runaway shelters. Residential counselors are typically responsible for providing direct care to the clients, assisting with daily living activities, performing housekeeping tasks, tracking client progress, and supervising recreational trips. In addition to training and an associate’s degree, residential counselors must also possess a valid driver’s license for providing transportation to clients.
- Social Services Assistant
- Social services assistants work side by side with other healthcare professionals, including social workers, psychologists, and nurses, in order to assist them with a range of different duties. Social services assistants are needed to fill positions in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, and community organizations. Assistants are responsible for helping with direct patient care, maintaining patient records, greeting clients, providing referrals, and performing other administrative tasks. Social services assistants can specialize in working with a certain population, such as children or the elderly, depending on personal preferences.
- Preschool Teacher
- Graduates with an associate’s degree in social work can also become preschool teachers or other day care providers for children under 5. Preschool teachers are generally responsible for taking care of and educating small children while their parents or guardians are at work. These teachers create lesson plans in basic reading, science, writing, and math subjects. They also prepare meals or snacks for healthy nutrition, supervise educational or recreational activities, and monitor children for any warning signs of mental or developmental problems. Preschool teachers can find employment in public or private schools, day care centers, and community childcare organizations.
- Case Manager Assistant
- Even though entry-level case manager positions usually require a bachelor’s degree, those with an associate’s degree can become case manager assistants to gain valuable experience in the career. Case manager assistants provide vital help to the case manager for obtaining services for patients and monitoring their progress with the treatment. Case managers work with a range of individuals, including substance abusers, hospice patients, mentally ill patients, and the homeless. Within hospitals and community based agencies, case manager assistants provide advocacy for clients and help them to receive their basic needs.
Overall, these jobs can provide necessary experience for an impressive resume or school application later on to further your education. So, start searching for a position that suits your interests and aligns with your future goals in the social work field. All of the mentioned job opportunities are tremendous pathways to lead graduates with an associate’s degree along the road towards a successful and rewarding career.
Admissions & Advising
Cecil College is an open enrollment institution. Get more information, find out how to apply, or meet with an advisor.
Whether transferring coursework to Cecil College or transferring your completed degree or certificate to a four-year institution, transfer is a viable option to help meet your educational goals.
4-year on-site partner: Cecil College has a strong partnership with Salisbury University allowing students to seamlessly continue their path toward BSW and MSW degrees. Graduates of the Cecil College program who have completed the associate degree in Social Work with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher will be granted admission to Salisbury University as a social work major. Once accepted, students can earn their bachelor’s degree on the Cecil College campus. Selection to the Salisbury University Social Work Professional program is determined by the academic competitiveness of each applicant.
In compliance with the Council on Social Work Education's accreditation requirements, a student's admission to the social work professional program occurs during the fall of the student's junior year and requires an overall 2.5 cumulative GPA and a 2.7 cumulative GPA in social work. Only matriculated Salisbury University students in good academic standing can be considered for program acceptance. Specific information regarding requirements for the program can be found at salisbury.edu.
Transfer information for Maryland colleges and universities is available through the Articulation System of Maryland (ARTSYS) website at www.artsys.usmd.edu. Additional transfer information can be found on the Transfer Agreements page.
Associate Professor of Social Work
M.S.W., University of Chicago
Ed.D., Morgan State University
Cecil College's adjunct social work faculty are professionals and hold advanced degrees.