12 Free Online Social Work Courses With Certificates 2021

Do you desire to help people overcome difficult challenges in their lives? If yes, then, you can start your career by simply enrolling in a free online social work course with certificates. 

These free online courses in social work skills will advance your understanding of mental health issues, substance abuse, and fundraising for nonprofit organizations.

The BLS speculates that the positions of available social workers are expected to grow by 16% over the next decade, a rate of growth faster than that of most other occupations. Also, this increase will create about 110,000 new jobs.

You have to understand that online social work courses are not only suitable for those considering a career in social work, they can also make great options for those advancing an existing career, or wanting to expand their skills in social service.

If you will like to enroll in any of these courses, carefully follow the contents outlined below and apply for the option that best suits your demand.

What Is Social Work

Social work is a profession in the broad sense that includes many types of professionals who serve people in need. According to the International Federation of Social Workers, social work is “an interrelated system of values, theory, and practice.”

Therefore, if you love to help people overcome the biggest challenges in life, such as poverty, addiction, mental illness, and family crises, going to a social work school may be your first option.

A lot of people are familiar with the common social work professions, such as social work for children, families, and schools, or social work in hospitals. However, there are many more career paths available for those who choose to attend a school of social work.

Types of Social workers

Social work is sub-divided into three types including:

  • Social workers in the Medical and Public Health sectors
  • Child welfare workers, Families and Schools Social Workers
  • Mental health and addictions Social workers

According to BLS, the most common type of social worker is Child welfare worker. Usually, their role is to help children, families, and elderly ones solve their problems. They help place children in foster care and help parents who wish to adopt.

They connect parents with problems with resources to better care for and raise their children. Also, they work with students and teachers to combat bullying, learning disabilities, and other problems.

Similarly, Social workers in the Medical and Public Health sectors help people who are seriously ill and people with chronic health conditions find appropriate care, access public resources such as Medicare and Medicaid, and also, find services like nutrition and nursing classes.

Also, Mental health and addictions Social workers help people find long-term rehabilitation programs or long-term mental health care.

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Why Social Works

A typical social worker has the distinction of examining different aspects of a problem, from the individual to the society, from the psychological to the political.

Typical ways of serving clients include counselling, therapy, and education, as well as connecting clients with appropriate public or private resources.

In case you are having a double mind about enrolling in social work online school, you may have to consider the following reasons;

  • You play the role of key mental health professionals in many contexts,
  • Lead large non-profit and small-scale organizations,
  • Assume roles in government or politics, and
  • Assume leadership roles in their work. Communities, working for social justice.

How Can I Get A Free Social Work Degree Online?

Choosing to take an online course to learn a new skill, or even just as a refresher for the skills you already have is a very honourable thing to do even if it cost a fee.

Thankfully, there are free online social work courses with certificates but before you decide to try your luck at these online learning programs, ensure you seek advice from a valid source.

The enrollment steps and considerations outlined below will help you on how to get started.

Select the school that offers Social Service Course online

The first step you need to take is to choose an online social service course, thereafter you obtain a form and complete the registration process. See the list and details of the available programs below.

Complete the online application

During the registration process, you’ll be required to set up an account that includes some personal information. Unlike other online courses, a Social Work class may require you to upload the electronic versions of your Passport photograph, Curriculum Vitae, Personal Statement, and any other documents.

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Only a few online Social work courses may require an interview, which can be conducted over the phone or online, on Skype.

An interview on Skype is just like a traditional interview. In this case, ensure your computer camera works well and you have a good internet connection. Also, ensure you dress formally just like you would for an offline interview.

Start Lectures

Once you’ve completed the online registration and interview, you will be granted access to select your degree level and course of study then you can start enrolling in any classes.

You begin by choosing the specialization you’d like to start with. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full program.

What Is The Duration For Online Social Work Courses?

The length of online social service classes varies according to schools or course providers. However, some schools offer coursework that can be completed in as little as five weeks, while others don’t have to be finished within a year’s time.

A typical free online Social service course with certificates lasts 12 weeks, some may take up to 14 weeks depending on the type of program.

You have to understand that the duration of your online courses lies in your power. For instance, most instructors post assignments at the beginning of the program, so, if a course is said to last eight to nine weeks, you can complete the work and submit it as you choose.

Work Environment

Social workers mostly work in settings such as mental health clinics, schools, child welfare, and social services agencies, hospitals, settlement centers, community development corporations, and private practices. They usually work full time and may need to work nights, weekends and holidays.

What Are The Best Free Online Social Work Courses With Certificates?

We have created a list of 12 free social service courses online for you. These courses feature a huge range of topics that will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare for a professional career as a social worker.

Our selection criteria for these programs are focused on the duration, the number of students enrolled, and the nature of coursework offered. We also took into consideration the quality of education, average earnings of graduates, accreditation, and several other relevant factors.

As you read further, you will get detailed information on the various programs available at the free online schools listed below.

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness
  • Opioid Crisis
  • Fundraising for the Non-Profit
  • The Arts and Science of Relationships: Understanding Human Needs
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Confronting Gender-Based Violence: Global Lessons for Healthcare Workers
  • Children’s Human Rights – An Interdisciplinary Introduction
  • Community Organizing for Social Justice
  • Understanding Violence
  • Gender and Sexuality: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
  • Psychodiagnostics and Psychological Assessme

#1 Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to Psychology is an online specialization in Social Work provided by the University of Toronto via Coursera. The school is one of the leading institutions in innovation and research and has over 200,000 people enrolled in this online specialization.

In this course, you will learn the most interesting experiments within the field of psychology, discussing the implications of those studies for our understanding of the human mind and behavior.

You will also explore the brain and some of the cognitive abilities it supports like memory, learning, attention, perception, and consciousness.

Coursework covers a thorough examination of human development, the various forms of mental illness, and the treatments that are used to help those who suffer from them.

At the end of this course, you will gain an understanding of who you are and how you work.


#2 The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness

With a history that dates back to 1827, the University of Toronto is one of few of the world’s leading universities that offer social service courses online through Coursera.

This specialization has about 16,830 students enrolled for free training.

In this course, you will learn how social factors promote mental health, influence the onset and course of mental illness, and affect how mental illnesses are diagnosed and treated.

By the end of this training, you will have an understanding of how mental health and illness have been influenced by social attitudes and social developments in North America and around the world.


#3 Opioid Crisis

This is an important specialization in Social works. Opioids are a class of drugs often used as medicines because they can relieve pain but they are also highly addictive.

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In about 2 hours of lectures each day, you will learn the medical and non-medical uses of opioids and the human and economic costs related to opioid misuse. This course currently has 3,241 students enrollment.

At the end of this course, you will gain an understanding of opioid medicines and the opioid crisis.


#4. Fundraising for the Non-Profit

Fundraising for the Non-Profit is one of the top-rated free online social work courses with certificates available. This specialization features Christine Benninger who was president of the Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) for 17 years. The situation of the organization at the time she joined prompted her to quickly implement a six-month plan to keep the organization afloat.

This course is provided by Standford University in collaboration with Alison via Coursera. There are12,085 total enrollment of students.

By the end of this program, you will learn how to raise funds for non-profit organizations and understand the power of a mission from Christine Benninger.

To obtain certification in this specialization, you must score 80% and above.


#5 The Arts and Science of Relationships: Understanding Human Needs

The University of Toronto offers one of the most sought-after free online social work courses with certificates. This online course currently has 49,022 enrollment.

It is open to everyone including applicants who have already obtained a university degree in social work.

Coursework covers the following topics;

  • Basic concepts of The Strategies and Skills Learning and Development System (SSLD).
  • Basic practice principles and methods of SSLD, illustrated by relationship management case studies.
  • The SSLD framework for relationship management assessment; N3C (needs, circumstances, characteristics, capacity) and problem translation.
  • Core competencies in the relationship management application of the SSLD system: Observation learning, simulation, real-life implementation, review, and monitoring.

At the end of this training, you will understand the importance of everyday relationships and provide advanced concepts for participants who work in the fields of social work and health care.


#6 Autism Spectrum Disorder

Looking for one of the best social works courses online with a certificate? The University of California Davis (UCDavis) provides free training to interested participants in Autism Spectrum Disorder via Coursera.

In this course, you will learn the fundamental understanding of what ASD is, how it is diagnosed, the primary areas of impairment, and why prevalence is increasing.

Join the rest of 49,672 students already enrolled and learn all about Autism Spectrum Disorder.


#7 Confronting Gender-Based Violence: Global Lessons for Healthcare Workers

John Hopkins University is one of the largest universities in the country and also the best social works schools in the world. The school provides free online training for social workers through Coursera. Currently have 12,363 enrollment.

Enrolling in this specialization will expose you to a global perspective on gender-based violence (GBV). Coursework covers the following core curriculum;

  • Introduction of GBV from a global perspective, with an emphasis on ensuring a strong health sector response to GBV and teaching key competencies for social workers and other healthcare workers.
  • Honors curriculum offered by experts from around the world helps students dive deeper into certain issues, and touches on unique populations and specialized topics.

After the completion of this course, you will receive a certification if you meet the pass mark.


Check out the Best Loan repayment programs for social workers.

#8 Children’s Human Rights – An Interdisciplinary Introduction

You can’t boost of being a Social Worker is you fail to have a deeper understanding of this specialization. Provided by the University of Geneva via Coursera.

This course focuses on the development of Children’s Human Rights, as well as on the evolution of the challenges faced by children over time and society’s efforts to respond.

You will learn the international strategies and programs promoting children’s rights and also the role of key actors involved in international organizations working in this field.

At the end of this training, you will gain an overview of the most important features of children’s human rights.


#9 Community Organizing for Social Justice

This Specialization is offered by the University of Michigan via Coursera.

Coursework covers the following core topics;

  • Strategies for community organizing for social justice in a diverse, democratic society.
  • The core concepts of social justice and practical steps for bringing people together to set goals and priorities, assess community assets and needs, develop action plans, and build support for implementation.
  • You will learn how to form core groups, build organizational capacity, and formulate a strategy for reaching out to constituents and allies.
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This course features a variety of learning acclivities, information on successful programs, individual instructions, and small group exercises, as well as hands-on materials for problem-solving and program planning.

By the end of this course, you will gain ideas that you need to create change in communities, everywhere.


#10 Understanding Violence

Emory University offers social work free online courses by providing OpenCourseWare courses, as well as an online study platform that gives students a chance to interact with Instructors with fellow classmates.

This specialization already has 17,907 enrollment.

This course will introduce you to experts who study different forms of violence. You will learn the various causes of violence also the efforts to reduce violence and engage in a day of compassion.


#11 Gender and Sexuality: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Gender and Sexuality is an online social service course offered by the University of Pittsburgh through Coursera. There are 12,193 already enrolled.

This specialization will introduce you to the exciting field of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies, and to LGBTQIA identities.

You will learn through the use of a range of interdisciplinary concepts, tools, and methods to understand and analyze how identity shapes our experiences in culture and in the workplace.

At the end of this course, you will be familiar with the key concepts that will help you to interpret and understand the world we share.


#12 Psychodiagnostics and Psychological Assessment

Psychodiagnostics and Psychological Assessment is a powerful social service course option provided by Tomsk State University via Coursera.

This course features 5 modules. Every module is broken into 4-6 topics. Some of the topics include;

  • The technology of getting “informed consent” with a client about Psychodiagnostics and assessment procedure.
  • To assess the compliance of the proposed Psychodiagnostics programs with the final testing objectives.
  • You will understand the variety of ways to assess the different characteristics of a person.
  • Learn the possibilities of Psychodiagnostics of this or that characteristic of a person with the use of various diagnostic techniques.
  • You will be able to determine the level of reliability of the received diagnostic data.


Free Online Social Work Schools

The following schools feature the best online Social work courses with certificates to distant learners. These schools keep their students motivated by providing them with assignments via the Learning Management System method.

  • John Hopkins university
  • University of California Davis
  • University of Southern California
  • Tomsk State University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Emory University
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Geneva

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How Much Do Social Workers Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for social workers was $49,470 in May 2018.

What Is The Career Prospect Of A Social Worker?

Based on the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Therefore, there is likely to be an increasing demand for healthcare and social services but it may vary by specialization.


Becoming a social worker requires good communication skills, commitment, creative thinking, and also your ability to interact with people.

So, to be an effective social worker, social administrator, or policymaker, you must be able to recognize and understand the various causes of the psychological, biological, familial, political, economic, and social forms of distress.

This broader understanding will inform the approach you use to help people overcome their own unique challenges, prevent problems from occurring, and craft new solutions to ongoing problems.

Getting free online social work courses with certificates is possible. If you carefully follow the guidelines we’ve provided in this article. You learn in a way that benefits you. 

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