Accelerated social work program coming this summer

If you like working with people or notice you get a sense of well-being by helping people, then social work may be the right career for you.

Now the University of Detroit Mercy has a faster way for some students to begin working in that field.

The university has developed a new accelerated bachelor’s in social work program (BSW) that will launch next summer. The program, which officials say is unique among Michigan schools, was developed to allow community college transfer students to earn their degree in about one year, as opposed to the current timeframe of between two to four years.

“This is the only scheduling option of its kind in Michigan for community college transfer stu- dents,” said Janet Joiner, chair of the department of social work at Detroit Mercy.

In order to be accepted into the program, community college transfer students must: complete the Michigan Transfer Agreement; have 63 or more transferable credit hours; have a 2.5 or higher grade point average; and completed English 1310 (Academic Writing).

Joiner said English 1310 is a requirement because of the amount of writing involved in social work.

The accelerated program includes a combination of both online and virtual courses, which include live discussions with a professor. Each semester will include three courses that last seven weeks: two virtual and one online. In some cases, the virtual courses are hybrid.

Like the traditional program, students will still be required to complete on-site clinicals. The clinical is four days a week for eight hours.

Upon graduation, officials say the students in the accelerated program will have the same employment opportunities as a student who has completed a four-year standard program.

Joiner said the program should be attractive because social work is such a broad and flexible profession.

The median pay for social workers in 2021 was $50,390, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figure cited by the university. Employment is projected to grow by 12 percent through 2030, according to the university.

Detroit Mercy is holding a number of virtual information sessions about the new program between now and next April. The next session is set for Nov. 14.