Policy Planning and Development can be a hugely influential field in social work. Social programs and services may be required to operate under certain standards, consist of qualification requirements that are inclusive, and be subject to internal audits that can measure their quality of service. The people responsible for implementing these policies and reviewing them for efficiency may be holders of degrees in Policy Planning and Development.

Social Work Policy Planning & Development Programs

Social work agencies may be driven by the dedication and passion of their employees. These organizations may work under a common goal of helping others obtain needed services and resources, but under slightly different circumstances. Some agencies may focus on individuals and families, while others may provide assistance to a certain group of individuals with common ailments.

Regardless of which subfield of social work you plan to work for, they all have a few things in common. The most common similarity between these agencies is the implementation of relevant laws and policies that guide their services.

Policy Planning and Development Degree

If you are a person that is interested in quality improvement and program enhancement, this could be a great option for you. Some professionals that have worked in the social work domain may also move into this type of specialization in order to pinpoint specific issues that they have identified for change.

Others may simply wish to positively influence the development of new policies that can be more inclusive to diverse populations, provide better services, and widen the qualification standards for groups that may not receive enough attention from social work agencies.

Online Policy Planning and Development Programs

People that find this degree program attractive may be interested in learning about the different methods available for achieving it. In current society, prospective students may have several different options for pursuing a degree, including those that are both traditional and innovative in nature.

Technology may have played a large role in the development of convenient and widely-accessible degree options for busy adults or professionals seeking higher degrees for better opportunities. Online degree programs in Policy Planning and Development can be a remarkably convenient choice for those interested.

Online CSWE Accredited Programs

Online degree programs in Policy Planning and Development can be found at traditional and online universities throughout the U.S.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is an organization that you should familiarize yourself with, since it is the leading accreditation agency for degree programs in social work in America today. Online universities have gained the attention of the CSWE through reliable and reputable degree programs focusing on the most important aspects of social work available.

If you want to ensure that your degree program has what it takes to lead to licensure, you should always verify the program's accreditation status through your university's website.

In an effort to ease your transition into higher education, our team of experts has put together this guide to help you learn more about this specialized field of social work and how to pursue it. Beginning in this section, our team can show you a few accredited and online degree programs that can help you learn more about this field and what may be required from professionals within it.

The short list below consists of a few examples of online programs that are open for enrollment.

More Online BSW and MSW Programs:

  • The University of Texas at ArlingtonOnline Bachelors in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Part-Time Options Available
  • The University of New HampshireOnline Masters in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Advanced Standing Options Available

Since Policy Planning and Development can be such a highly influential subfield of social work, students may be likely to see many different degree specialization directly or loosely related to it. If you were to review the CSWE website, you may find that there are accredited degree programs related to this field that are currently open for enrollment. Some of the most common specializations related to this degree field are listed below for you to review. See if any of these options might be closer to what you are looking for in your program.

  • Community Development
  • Policy Research
  • Policy, Planning, and Administration

Bachelor’s in Policy Planning and Development Degrees

The path to career success almost always begins at the bachelors level. It is at this level that students can learn the basics of their career field and gain helpful generalized information to help build a strong foundation of knowledge. Bachelors in Social Work degree programs may be some of the most popular throughout the U.S., since the need for educated and licensed social work professionals is often high in different areas in society. If you have yet to obtain a bachelors degree, our team recommends that you begin your degree acquisition process in social work programs.

The inner workings of a BSW program may consist of courses that can outline sociology, social psychology, and general service delivery. Different bachelors programs can also teach you about working with specific groups of people and different populations. As you move through this program, you may slowly move into courses that are more focused on the laws, policies, and ethics of working in the field of social work, which can be helpful as you transition into Policy Planning and Development programs at the masters level. Take a look at a few accredited online BSW programs currently available to prospective students.

  • The University of Arkansas at Little RockOnline Bachelors in Social Work – Online Part-Time Option Available
  • Brescia UniversityOnline Bachelors in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Part-Time Options Available

Master’s in Policy Planning and Development Degrees

Completing a Bachelors in Social Work online can be an overwhelmingly positive experience. If you were able to complete a supervised internship experience during and after your degree, you may have obtained licensure and are working in the field. The next step towards a fulfilling career in Policy Planning and Development may be to enroll in a masters programs that can help you learn more about your chosen specialized field. These programs can also be completed online and consist of elements to help strengthen your knowledge of social policies overall.

The online Masters in Policy Planning and Development can teach students more about how social policies are first created, the people responsible for putting them into place, and the methods for modifying these policies when deemed necessary. Students in this program can also learn more about the laws that dictate social policy development and the levels of government that may be directly involved in this process. Choosing an online program that can help you meet your goals can be achieved through reviewing accredited programs via the CSWE website. Our team of experts has provided a few examples of these programs below. Take a look at what we found through our search.

  • The University of MissouriOnline Masters in Social Work – Policy, Planning, and Administration – Online Full-Time, Part-Time, and Advanced Standing Options Available
  • The University of New EnglandOnline Masters in Social Work – Community Practice (Policy-Based) – Online Full-Time and Advanced Standing Options Available

Typical Master’s Coursework to Expect

In addition to researching the available online programs, our team of experts was also able to explore the curricula of different programs. The curriculum of a degree program may be one of the more important aspects for prospective students to review. It is in this area that students can learn which topics will be covered during their program, which areas may be most important to Policy Planning and Development graduates, and some roles and responsibilities of professionals in this field.

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As you read through some of the course descriptions below, you should consider what types of assignments, discussions, and examinations may be relevant to each subject area. Some courses may require you to engage in independent research, while others may include the need for critical thinking and problem solving. Each and every one of these courses may be able to test your abilities as a future planner and developer. Our team has broken these courses down below in order to help you better comprehend what can be ahead of you in these programs.

  • Social Work Policy in Rural PracticeCourses relating to social work policy can be helpful in leading students to higher knowledge in the review and development of new policies and agendas. This course seeks to help students learn more about how policies are applied in rural settings. Policies that take into consideration poverty, gang rates, and single-parent households may be reviewed in this course, as well as the ramifications present when policies are not reviewing regularly.
  • Sociology TheoryStudents enrolled in this course can look deeper into sociological theories such as structural-functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionism. Gaining further knowledge into these theories can help students to develop a better perspective on social work policy development, change, and methods for improvement over time. In this course, students may also dive deep into some of the most influential figures in sociology, as well as their methods for reaching society through research and determination.
  • Sociology and the LawStudents driven by the desire to change social policy may be interested in learning more about sociology is applied in the legal setting. Laws and regulations may be common factors that can restrict the delivery of services to individuals in the public domain, as well as work to prevent people from illegally gaining access to services. This course may help students discover specific laws that may apply to the field of social work, why they came to be, and policies that have been derived from their existence.

An Overview of Policy Planning and Development

Online Masters in Policy Planning and Development programs may be concerned with helping students learn how to properly assess social environments for needed change. In addition to this skill, these programs may also seek to educate students on the right methods for developing helpful social policies, introducing them for consideration, and submitting them to the proper agencies for review. All of these skills can be achieved through knowing which channels to work through and actively engaging with the population being served.

There are certain skills and responsibilities that may be expected in professionals in this program area. If you know that this field could be a great complement to your personality, you should read through some of the common roles and duties of professionals in this field below. Depending on the agency you work for, your roles could vary depending on what type of assignment you might be given.

  • Conduct Local Needs Assessments
  • Identify Out-Dated Policies or Procedures
  • Develop Plans for New Policies
  • Refer Policy Changes to Relevant Agencies
  • Help to Implement Changing Policies
  • Train Organizations on New Policies

What Types of Jobs or Careers?

Students considering enrollment in Policy Planning and Development degree programs may already have a certain career in mind for their future. Other students might simply be interested in providing needed change to the field of social work through development and planning, which can lead to a wide variety of career options once in the field. There are different career distinctions that can hold different levels of responsibility during the policy planning process, many of which may be seeking educated professionals to fill their positions.

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Our team of educational experts wants to provide you with the most in-depth information possible about this degree program and what it can reward you with after achieving it. They have reviewed some of the common careers for graduates in this field and explored the roles of these professionals in order to share the information with you. In the list below, read more about what each of these career options can provide for you, as well as what type of contribution they can make to the field of social work as a whole.

  • Policy SpecialistAs society changes, the need for changing or advancing policies may arise. Professional policy specialists may for local or state government to assess, modify, or implement policies that are relevant to the needs of society. These professionals may assess certain areas to determine if there are improvements that can be made, administer suggestive referrals for policy change, and advocate for social change at the government level.
  • Program AuditorSocial service agencies and social work organizations may be responsible for operating under certain guidelines constantly. Organizations responsible for ensuring the validity of these organizations may operate at the government level and conduct regular assessments on the work that is completed at lower levels. Program auditors can step in to review case files, monitor case management, and provide feedback to social service organizations responsible for providing great quality service to the public.
  • City PlannerWithin small communities all over the country, there may be a group of professionals that are responsible for overseeing the development of their cities as the years progress. City planners can assist with monitoring the growth of their communities, recognizing when new services or programs are needed, and implementing strategies for bringing the required services to the people being served.