Founder's Hall on the campus of Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif. Photo taken by John Baker

There is always a demand for college-educated and well-trained social workers. And Humboldt State University (HSU) is doing its part to increase the number of social workers with college degrees in its region. The university is now offering students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work online. The online degree program was created to assist those interested in pursuing a degree in social work but live far from HSU’s campus and/or working full-time.

Pamela Brown, a professor of social work at HSU, made a presentation on Thursday for those interested in the program and will make another presentation today. Click here to get information on the time and location of the presentation.

“We want to let as many people as possible know if this is something they’re interested in, we’re here for them,” Brown said.

The Need For More Social Workers With Degrees

Brown added that the push to create an online social work degree program started after the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) at UC Berkeley found that of California’s smallest counties few social workers had college degrees. HSU then looked at the region it serves in particular — Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties — and found that there was a need for social work degrees and that people wanted the convenience of getting their education online, she explained.

The program is available to everyone, regardless of whether they have already been working in the field as a social worker. And Brown pointed out that social work doesn’t solely mean working in child welfare services, as it is often associated. A social work degree could lead to work in a variety of areas, including mental health, the elderly, hospitals, medical clinics, crisis, outreach services, probation and parole, as well in schools and tribes. And those with a master’s degree in social work could get a clinical license to be a therapist or counselor.

There are two- and three-year online bachelor’s degree programs available, and classes begin in the fall. The master’s program is four years and starts spring 2012.

The pilot program through HSU’s Social Work Department and CalSWEC will offer master’s students financial aid to work in child welfare in rural areas and has already put 10 graduates to work in Del Norte and for the Yurok Tribe. This project was funded by Title IV-E, federal funding for child welfare services.

About Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University was established in 1913 and is located in Arcata within Humboldt County, California, on the rural north coast of California, 275 miles north of San Francisco. HSU is the northernmost of the 23 California State University campuses. The university focuses on combining classroom learning with hands-on experience to ensure that students gain the critical skills necessary to thrive in the workplace upon graduation. There are approximately 7,500 students enrolled at HSU, which offers 47 undergraduate majors, 80 undergraduate minor degrees, 82 options/concentrations, 12 graduate programs, 14 credential programs and several certificates of study. The university’s most popular disciplines include Art, Biology, Business Administration, Elementary Education, English, Kinesiology, Psychology and Wildlife.

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