Community Development is a degree program that zeros in on issues that can affect a community as a whole. Some common issues that may be of interest to professionals in this field may include poverty, drug abuse, homelessness, or career availability.
Social workers in this domain can work with planning committees to determine solutions to some of the issues that may be holding people back from meeting their full potential. Degree programs that can prepare and educate students about Community Development can be found in universities all over the country.
What is Community Development?
Social work fields that are focused on the needs of large groups of people, communities, and even the entire nation are typically categorized as macro social work careers. People interested in working positions that can influence large quantities of citizens can be useful to cities or state departments concerned with the status of their population or are in need of specialized research into specific issues. If you are entering the field of social work with the urge to help a lot of people rather than just individuals, programs in Community Development should be some that you consider.
As you enter into a Community Development degree program, you may find that the curriculum is designed to help you see societal progress from an outside perspective. While it can be easy to focus on individuals when you develop helpful solutions, Community Development can teach you how to work for the greater good within your designated area. Some of the key components that may be covered in this program can include statistics review, program development, and progress observation. Students enrolled in these programs can learn the correlation between each stage and the community improvement process.
Online Community Development Degree Programs
Some students preparing to enter degree programs in America may wonder what online programs can provide them that traditional programs cannot. Most people may be accustomed to traditional programs, since they have been the leading source for college degrees for centuries.
In recent years, online social work degrees have emerged, improved, and gained a reputable status among higher education providers in the U.S. Online degree programs can be a great resource for college students that desire continuous employment while enrolled, as well as individuals that have a lack of interest in attending classes in person.
What you should have to study online coursework
Online degree programs consist of course work that can be completed entirely online.
- Students interested in partaking in online Community Development programs should have access to the internet and a reliable computer in which they can use to complete their course work.
- Most classes require that students log on at least 1 or 2 times per week, participate in classroom discussions, and submit homework and exams by particular due dates.
- One advantage to online programs is that students can log on whenever they want during the day – making this a great choice for busy adults that are only available at small increments of time throughout the day.
Examples of Several Online BSW and MSW Programs:
- North Arizona University: Online Bachelors in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Part-Time Programs Available
- New Mexico State University: Online Masters in Social Work – Online Full-Time Program Available
Specific Areas of Study Within Community Development
Within the wide field of Community Development, students may find degree specializations that are more suitable for their present goals. Degree specializations may be found in areas that focus on urban development, community healthcare, and even education.
These concentrations can assist you in meeting your goals of helping your community improve and maintain stability for the people within. The degree options listed below can be great additions to your portfolio and promote your success in Community Development.
- Community Practice
- Community Leadership
- Community, Management, and Policy Practice
Bachelor’s in Community Development Degrees
Where do you begin on your journey to becoming a Community Development professional? Most students interested in this line of work begin with a bachelors program that is closely related to their anticipated career. For social work-minded individuals, the most plausible option is to pursue the Bachelors in Social Work. Undergraduate programs in social work can be an excellent choice for upcoming students that have the desire to learn the most possible about their abilities, tools, and options for committing to Community Development.
If you are interested in finding online BSW programs to enroll in, you should begin your search with a visit to the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) website. This agency is the leading provider of accreditation for social work degree programs at both the bachelors and masters level. On this website, students can browse through many available online programs that can provide reliable and reputable degree programs in social work. Bachelors programs can be found all over the country, making them a great option for masters-level preparation. Take a look at a few example CSWE-accredited online bachelors programs.
- Metropolitan State University of Denver: Online Bachelors in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Part-Time Options Available
- Malone University: Online Bachelors in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Part-Time Options Available
Master’s in Community Development Degrees
You know that you want to work in a career that can positively influence you community. There are several different paths that can potentially result in the same successful goal in the end.
Students that have already completed a bachelors degree in other disciplines may have the option to pursue a Masters in Social Work with a Community Development specialization through transitional MSW degree programs. These degree programs were designed for undergraduate degree holders that may be interested in a switch to this amazing field.
BSW holders that have already received their licensure in social work and have some work experience in the field could take advantage of advanced standing MSW programs in Community Development completely online. Advanced standing degree programs may be shorter in duration than standard MSW programs and can help students to build upon their previous education and experience when gaining new skills and abilities. Each of these programs can have their independent advantages depending on your degree and career history.
As you search for the right program for your needs, our team of educational experts recommends that you seek out programs that have current accreditation through the CSWE. Each state requires that applicants for licensure submit proof of completion of an accredited masters degree in order to qualify for further testing and licensure within their field. Look through some of the CSWE-accredited masters programs found online.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Online Masters in Social Work – Community, Management, and Policy Practice – Online 3-year and Advanced Standing Options Available
- The University of Texas of the Rio Grande Valley: Online Masters in Social Work – Community and Administrative Practice
Typical Master’s Coursework to Expect
There are several different components included in a MSW – Community Development program. Students enrolled in this degree curriculum may have the opportunity to learn more about city and state government services, communication methods that are effective in the public domain, and laws and regulations that pertain to work with the public. Another part of this program that may be of interest to upcoming students is the supervised internship requirement. Most MSW programs contain a requirement that involves working for a real-world organization within your degree field. This can allow you to gain experience while satisfying the requirements for graduation.
Reviewing these requirements can be a smart step to ensuring that you are prepared for this requirement when the time arises. The schools that offer the MSW – Community Development program may have different types of supervised experiences for you to choose from, making your research important before making an ultimate decision. The courses in the list below were taken from some degree programs available to you online. If you would like to read more about what may be involved in this MSW program, read about these courses below.
- Community-Based Research: Social work research can be an important component in the improvement of social systems throughout the U.S. This course can be helpful in teaching students to how develop a research question, gather data regarding their topic, test theories, and submit their information to agencies responsible for developing community-change plans. This course may also include opportunities for students to engage in their own research projects to help test their abilities within this area.
- Advanced Rural Practice with Communities and Organizations: Practical skills for social workers can help to increase the quality of service provided to the communities being served. This course may focus on practical guidelines for working with individuals – specifically those located in rural areas. This course may spotlight common issues in the rural environment, such as poverty or vocational availability, as well as methods for connecting members of communities with services to assist with these issues.
- Community Leadership: Community leadership professionals may have a wide range of responsibilities during their career. While taking this class, students may be introduced to management tactics such as budgeting, personnel management, and community involvement. Students may also investigate common issues within a community that may mark the need for additional services or programs. During this course, students may have the opportunity to engage in large-scale research to help strengthen their skills in social analysis.
An Overview of the Community Development Program Area
Social workers that decide on working in Community Development can be helpful supporters of positive change. The purpose of social work within this domain is to assist communities in identifying areas that are putting up a blockade to positive change and developing programs that can shift progress. Part of the reason that Community Development specialists can be so important to society as a whole is that these professionals are dedicated to researching the needs of the community specifically rather than going by average national data.
If you are interested in being a part of teams responsible for great social change, Community Development can be a great degree option. This field can help you to obtain positions within city government or even non-profit agencies interested in improving communities with various techniques and focuses. Specialists in Community Development can also play a role in the development of educational programs that can reach children of school age, which can add to progressive improvement in the future. More roles and responsibilities of professionals in this field are listed below.
- Assessing Community Needs
- Proposing Policy Change
- Management – Social Work Agencies
- Reviewing Educational, Health Prevention Services, and Vocational Services
- Developing Improvement Plans
What Types of Jobs or Careers?
Deciding what you want for your career is not always an easy task. Coming into a degree program, students often know what type of work they want to do, the group of people they wish to work with, or the amount of money they would like to earn after graduation. Earning a degree in Community Development can help you learn skills that can be helpful in many different career fields in the social setting, especially those that are centered on planning and development. Some graduates in this field may choose to work for city offices or even local government agencies responsible for addressing change within the communities. Other professionals may work for education research parties that are seeking reform in local schools.
Other agencies that could benefit from the services of Community Development specialists may include mental heath agencies, healthcare organizations, and children and family services. Each of these areas within a community can have a dramatic effect on the quality of care received by people in society, making them great targets for change in the future. Take a look below at some of the most popular career options for this degree.
- Social Researcher: Before any relevant changes can be made to communities in need, there may need to be data suggesting a change is needed. Social researchers can gather data from the community from interviews and statistics, compare this information to other similar area of the United States, and share this information with community specialists seeking new programs and services for the people they serve. Social researchers can work for agencies responsible for community change or even for government agencies supporting social service agencies all over the country.
- Program Analyst: It is not unusual in the social work field for there to be many different layers of management and quality assurance. Program analysts may be responsible for reviewing particular programs to determine if the program is meeting its goals of improving certain social issues. As an analyst in this position, you may be required to audit services provided by social service agencies, review feedback from clients, and suggest areas of change if any are found throughout the process.
- Social Service Manager: A degree in Community Development could be helpful when pursuing careers at the macro level. Management positions in the social service field can allow you to propose community improvement plans to your employees, analyze the quality of service provided to your clients, and make improvements based on the needs of your community. This career may require professionals to be fully involved in reviewing the quality of their workers while creating deadlines and expectations that can ensure fair client treatment. Some financial and personnel management requirements may also be required in this career field.