Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) or minor in Social Work is a service-oriented degree program. Students prepare to become successful professionals in a meaningful career. Professors teach and model how to live a life of Christian service as an expression of their faith.

Social work is a versatile degree program, designed to prepare students to serve any population or age group. Becoming a generalist, ready to work in many different settings, opens many opportunities for students. At Olivet, students can study international social work, crisis intervention, child welfare services, social work with the aging, emergency management, mental health and more. They learn about social work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities from both the person-in-environment (ecological) and strengths-based perspectives.

The need for bilingual social workers continues to grow. Students can also pursue a minor in Spanish and expand their job opportunities for after graduation.

Practical Experience

At Olivet, students complete the required 90 clock hours of applied learning by volunteering to serve a variety of populations in the greater Kankakee, Illinois, area or other locations. Field placement experience during the final semester of senior year is also required for this degree. Students complete 450 clock hours at an agency or facility within a 250-mile radius of Bourbonnais or at another approved location. They also have the opportunity to prepare and present their research projects at national conferences, such as the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW). Under professional supervision, students learn about social work practice in agency environments, as well as preparing for professional employment in a variety of social work settings. 

In addition to completing 540 total hours in practical social work experiences, many social work students are actively involved with volunteer activities and mission trips to put their knowledge to work. Diakonia, the social work club on campus, focuses on serving the community through planned activities.

Recognized Excellence

Olivet is licensed to offer continuing education opportunities for area social workers. Students assist professors with these events. Olivet’s programs follow the standards set by professional organizations for both social work and criminal justice: Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) and National Association of Social Workers (NASW). CSWE has reaffirmed the program’s accreditation through 2024.

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Study Abroad 

Study abroad opportunities are a good fit for students in the social work program. Trips to Egypt, Spain, Uganda, Romania, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ecuador and other locations have enriched the academic experiences of many of Olivet students.

Careers in Social Work

A bachelor’s degree (B.S.W.) meets the educational requirement for social work licenses across the United States.

  • Case manager
  • Crisis counselor
  • Program director
  • Residential worker
  • Outreach coordinator
  • Advocate

To pursue a career as a school or clinical social worker, students will need a master’s degree (M.S.W.). Graduate programs eagerly welcome Olivet students because they are well-prepared for this next step. Many offer advanced standing admission to their programs, reducing the time of completing the M.S.W. degree by approximately one-third.

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Graduate School Success

About 50% of Olivet’s social work graduates choose to pursue graduate school right away, and more than 90% are accepted wherever they apply. Olivet graduates have earned their Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from Asbury University, University of Hawaii, University of Denver, Roberts Wesleyan, University of Illinois, Loyola University, Case Western and many other excellent schools.

By The Numbers:
clock hours required in practical social work experience required at Olivet
percent graduate school acceptance rate for Olivet’s B.S.W. graduates
reaffirmation of accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) from 2017 to 2024
network of Olivet alumni
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