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date: 27 January 2021

Social Work Education: Overviewlocked

  • Kay S. HoffmanKay S. HoffmanUniversity of Kentucky


Education in social work has seen considerable growth over the course of the 20th century. Social work education in the United States began with only a few training programs established in partnership with charitable organizations at the end of the 19th century (Austin, 1997), and has grown to 641 accredited baccalaureate and master's programs at of the February, 2007 Commission on Accreditation meeting, and over 70 doctoral programs (Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education, 2007). These programs represent over 7,000 faculty and administrators and over 60,000 students at the baccalaureate and master's level (Council on Social Education, 2007). Social work education is available at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral level with at least one level of program represented in each of the states, as well as in the United States' Territories of Puerto Rico and Guam. Concentrations and specializations are offered in programs in many areas from practice levels (for example, direct practice, policy analysis) or areas of interest (for example, child welfare, medical social work, housing policy). Current trends in social work education include the use of distance education, the call for more accountability from accrediting bodies and social work programs (Watkins & Pierce 2005), and work toward unification in social work professional organizations (Hoffman, 2006).

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