The advanced generalist social work degree program includes components that focus on practice with individuals and families and the community. Advanced generalist programs are available at the Bachelor's (BSW) and Master's (MSW) levels.

BSW and MSW Advanced Generalist Programs

Advanced Generalist social work programs are a good start for social workers wanting broad experience within the field. Some of the most advanced components within an Advanced Generalist degree program outline the laws and regulations present in the field of social work, as well as the theoretical foundations for the field as it stands today. Some of the common topics included within advanced generalist degree programs are those that apply general social work theories and practical guidelines to all groups within society with focus on widespread community improvement. Through diverse course work and practical experience, students in any Generalist program can learn to apply their skills in knowledge in a wide variety of society-based careers.

Are There Online Advanced Generalist MSW Degree Programs?

Yes, there are a number of online MSW programs that have an Advanced Generalist track. One of the best ways to set yourself up for success within your career is to pair your education with a plethora of practical work experience. Since all social work programs that lead to licensure include an internship component, student exiting this program should have a minimum amount of field experience once completing their degree program. Many students have found an alternative method for gaining the required experience while enrolled in their degree program.

The combination of full-time employment with online degree programs in advanced generalist social work can be a great way for you to balance your time between experience and learning for the optimum career experience in your future.

Online Format of Advanced Generalist MSW Programs

Online advanced generalist degree programs by appearance look strikingly similar to traditional on-campus programs. The online version of these degree program was created as a flexible alternative to traditional programs in order to attract a new population of college students. In online programs, you can log in to your courses from your own home and complete assignments within week-long time-frames that are established on the first day of class. Most online courses provide students with their entire course schedule at the onset of the class, making it easier to plan for future due dates and examinations.

If you are one of the many students that will enroll in online advanced generalist degree programs for your education, you can take advantage of the convenience and reliability that is currently being offered by colleges all over the country. These programs consist of the same accreditation standards and practical requirements, meaning they can also be used to obtain a license within your state. Our team of experts has reviewed some of the programs currently being offered in the online setting in order to provide you with more information about what you can expect along the way.

An Overview of the Advanced Generalist Program Area

Advanced generalist social work encompasses an array of skills that can be used in many different settings. If you are the type of student that has the desire to help people receive the services they need, but no urge to work with specific groups in society - this could be the right degree specialization for you. Colleges offering this degree program often spotlight the capabilities of graduates in this field as those that take the reigns in social services, healthcare, mental health, and even education.

What skills can you obtain with an Advanced Generalist degree?

The advanced generalist program can provide you with skills in assessment, treatment planning, and intervention that can be used to help people within your community receive what they need to live happy and healthy lives. This can be implemented when helping families work through drug abuse issues or neglect, or even with adults that are seeking long-term treatment for addiction. In some areas, advanced generalist social work professionals can even work at the government level in the improvement of policies and their direct implementation.

Who should consider this program?

Whether you have an interest in working directly with people in your community or having a voice at the government level, this could be a degree program to prepare you for both paths. Students that have a broad understanding of the field of social work and the ability to apply their skills in a number of settings can be beneficial members of many different social work teams. The key to success in the advanced generalist degree program is to have the willingness to see all perspectives in the field of social work and a desire to utilize the services around you to improve the quality of life for others. The field of social work can contain many different specializations as well as groups to accommodate depending on which groups you would like to influence the most.

Some students may choose to pursue degree programs that focus on the practice of social work with individuals, while others may have an interest in affecting the field of social work as a whole throughout their careers. For the people in-between these two major fields of social work, there may be options to consider to help blend these areas into an ideal degree program.

Micro, Mezzo, and Macro MSW Programs

Micro, Mezzo, and Macro social work degree programs can be created through combining general social work programs with specializations. There are benefits to choosing a specialized path for your degree, as well as shortcomings.

Having a specialized degree program may not make you the best option for a career that consists of individual and widespread ideas and theories in social work. Graduates that have generalized knowledge of the field may be more fitting for these types of careers, while specialized learners may be more fitting for practical social work positions with specific groups.

The advanced generalist social work degree program can help you qualify for a broader set of careers after graduating from your program.

Advanced Generalist Bachelor’s Degrees

New entrants into the collegiate environment may look towards advanced generalist social work programs as a way to fulfill their desire to help others. Online BSW programs are available. An interesting fact about the field of social work is that graduates at the bachelors level can become licensed as Bachelor’s Level Social Workers (LBSW).

This can be a way for new graduates to begin gaining experience within their field before pursuing higher level degree programs and licensure within their field. Online bachelors programs in this field may consist of classes that cover the general education requirements for all programs as well as an introduction and follow-up course work in social work-specific topics. Take a look at some of the programs currently accepting applicants at the bachelors level.

Several universities with an online BSW

  • Eastern Kentucky University – Online Bachelor of Social Work: EKU’s online Bachelor of Social Work degree program can be an excellent first stop for upcoming social work professionals. This program requires no campus visits and has courses that last 8 weeks each. Like most bachelors programs, students can expect to spend between 3-4 years completing their program at a full-time rate. This degree program can lead to licensure after a required supervised experience and completion of the bachelor’s level social work examination.
  • Western New Mexico University – Online Bachelor of Social Work: The online BSW program through WNMU seeks to prepare learners for careers in some of the top hiring fields in the country. Healthcare, business, social services, and education are just a few of the fields that are highlighted for graduates of this accredited degree program. The estimated completion time for students in this program is 4 years, which is right on track for average bachelors degree programs online and on-campus.

Advanced Generalist Master’s Degrees

Once you have worked hard and completed your bachelors degree, you can search for advanced options to help you qualify for better paying positions in the field. A large number of leaders in the field of social work hold a minimum of a master’s degree, making this a degree level for you to pursue for the best type of positions in the field.

At the masters level, students can begin seeking specializations with their degree program to help customize their future. Advanced generalist learners can gain expertise that is relevant to all fields of social work, making it a great option for students that are interested in diverse work experiences in the field. There are quite a few options for an online msw program.

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Within masters programs in the online setting, students can dive deeper into the aspect of micro social work – which concerns services to individuals and families, macro social work – which views social work from a broader perspective, and mezzo social work – which blends aspects of both micro and macro social work into its curriculum.

Several universities with an online MSW

  • The University of Southern California – Online Master of Social Work: USC currently offers students different types of paths to their MSW depending on what type of bachelors degree they achieved during their undergraduate program. BSW earners can fast-track their education through advanced standing MSW programs that can be completed in as little as 1 year. Traditional path learners can work towards their MSW online through fast-paced programs that can be completed in 2 years or less. The traditional program is open to graduates from related bachelors degree programs and BSW programs alike.
  • Arizona State University – Online Master of Social Work: Arizona State University’s online MSW with Advanced Generalist specialization was designed specifically for upcoming social work professionals interested in influencing a wide range of social entities throughout their career. This program can be a great choice for students with the desire to implement their skills and expertise on an individual level, while still considering improvements for the field of social work overall. Most students in this program can complete it within 2 years online.

Common Advanced Generalist MSW Course Work

The advanced generalist social work program at the master’s level can contain various aspects of the social work experience that may be required in positions in the professional field. Since a lot of these topics consider different levels of service and responsibility, students should be prepared to engage in multiple stages of learning during their degree experience.

In order to give you the best outlook on what to expect while enrolled in the online Masters in Advanced Generalist Social Work, our team of educational experts has pulled together some information from common classes in this program. Take a look at the courses below to get a general idea of what to expect during your learning experience.

  • Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice: This course contains many elements that can help to increase your efficiency as a social work professional in general practice. Some of the topics that might be covered during this course includes those focusing on human rights, the evaluation of need, adherence to policy, and social justice. The purpose of this course is to educate well-rounded social work professionals for a wide range of potential career opportunities in human services.
  • Social Welfare History and Practice: In order to comprehend the changing social welfare system, students should have the opportunity to explore how it has changed from its implementation. Students enrolled in this course can learn more about how the social welfare system was created, its initial flaws and shortcomings, and the many ways in which it has changed since its development. The translation of policy to practice may also be a large portion of this course, so that students can effectively apply their skills and knowledge in a professional setting after graduation.
  • Social Policy and Planning: This course was designed in an effort to educate social work students on their future role in the social environment. Students can look at the methods and government-involvement in social policy, as well as steps to take to enact new programs within their field of choice. This course can also provide students with the opportunity to practice their skills through mock scenarios, so that they can effectively implement program plans while employed in the field of social work.

Common Career Options for the Advanced Generalist MSW Graduate

One of the most interesting tidbits of knowledge about the advanced generalist program is that it can lead you into many different facets of the social environment during your career. Some graduates may choose to pursue careers in social services after receiving their license, which could put them in touch with children and their families, the aging population, or even people with disabilities. Others may choose specialty fields such as healthcare or education, which can result in partnering with people to receive the services that they need.

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The ultimate goal of the social work program is to prepare you for advocating, supporting, and leading your clients through difficult milestones within their lifetime. Take a look below at a few of the potential careers available with this degree and their respective salaries.

  • Social Workers – all, other: $63,010 on average per year. 
  • Child, Family and School Social Workers: $54,880 on average per year. 
  • Social and Community Service Managers: $76,790 on average per year. 

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Social Workers (All, other; and Child, Family, and School) and Social and Community Service Managers reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2023.