Social Work

Make Change Happen

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 professional career. Professors teach and model for them 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.

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. Under professional supervision, students learn about social work practice in agency environments. They also prepare for professional employment in a variety of social work settings. 

In the past, Olivet students have completed field placements in settings like a Spanish-speaking agency in Olathe, Kansas; Duke Research Hospital in North Carolina; an international adoption agency in Nashville, Tennessee; and in Romania, Haiti and Puerto Rico.

March is National Social Work Month, and one of the favorite activities is attending Social Work Advocacy Day in Springfield, the capital of Illinois. Students see firsthand the merging of government, public policy and professionalism. They attend lectures and seminars to learn about hot button topics. They contact government officials about current issues. 

In times of area disasters, social work students are on the frontlines. In 1999, Olivet social work students assisted following a train accident in Bourbonnais. In 2005, several helped with relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. In 2010, some were part of community disaster drills in Kankakee.

Olivet is licensed to offer continuing education opportunities for area social workers. Students assist professors with these events. 

A three-week service trip to Romania in May gives students the opportunity to work side by side with students from other majors. Together, they bless the elderly and children with the love of Jesus. They also experience the Romanian culture firsthand.

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

Olivet’s social work degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), since 1996 through 2024.

In addition to completing 540 clock 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.

Careers (with a B.S.W. degree)

A bachelor’s degree is considered a professional degree for social work and is licensable in most states. 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.
Case manager
Crisis counselor
Program director
Residential worker
Outreach coordinator

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

Graduate School Success

About 50 percent of Olivet’s social work graduates go on to graduate school, and more than 90 percent 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 schools.

Practical Experience

As they gain knowledge, students have many opportunities to use what they learn and practice their skills. Each year, Olivet students invest more than 20,000 clock hours serving with various agencies. They also prepare and present their research projects at national conferences, such as the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW).

Program Outcomes

Recognized Excellence

Olivet’s programs follow the standards set by professional organizations for both social work and criminal justice: Council of Social Work Education (CSWE); National Association of Social Workers (NASW); and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). CSWE has reaffirmed the program’s accreditation through 2024.

Meet the Faculty

Rachel Guimond

A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Rachel Guimond is a professor and advisor for Olivet social work majors. Her academic interests lie in the areas of self-care for the social work professional and disability policies across the lifespan. She is a stellar model of Christian service and integrity for students.

Social Work and Criminal Justice Faculty

Social Work and Criminal Justice with a Christian Purpose

The best way to see if Olivet is a good fit for you is to visit the campus. We offer unique, customized visit days every weekday, and special Purple & Gold days, too, where you can get up close at all things ONU.

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