A Baccalaureate Social Worker (BSW) is a graduate of a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, holding either a bachelor’s degree in social work or a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in social work.
The undergraduate social work program is much like a nursing degree in that it offers a specialized degree that prepares its graduates for immediate entry into direct human service professional positions. In short, baccalaureate social work is the only undergraduate major that educates students to be professional social workers.
To ensure professional standards, BSW programs must meet rigorous academic standards to gain and maintain accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). For admission to a BSW program, the competition is rigorous and students must meet formal admissions standards.
The following CSWE-mandated social work content areas are basic to the BSW curriculum:
- Values and Ethics
- Populations at Risk and Social and Economic Justice
- Human Behavioral and the Social Environment
- Social Welfare Policies and Services
- Social Work Practice
- Field Education
Field practicums — the placement of students in agency settings — are an integral component of the BSW curriculum. Field practicums engage the student in supervised social work practice and provide opportunities to apply classroom learning in the field. BSW students must have a minimum of 400 supervised hours of field experience. Other undergraduate majors who have a field experience usually don’t have formal, professional supervision.
Taken from Baccalaureate Social Workers (BSWs): The Best Trained Baccalaureate Professionals for Social Services Positions. For more information, visit Council on Social Work Education