Leah Bowman

$1,500 grant recipient

“It’s cliché but I’ve always wanted to help people. I also want to learn from people who’ve had different life experiences than I’ve had and to work toward changing systems that are unjust for certain groups of people.” 

Social work

A senior forced to choose between medicine or food. A child hiding from an abusive adult. An adult looking for work while dealing with mental health issues. 

Social workers are compassionate, creative problem-solvers. They counsel and connect people in need with support services. 

At Bluffton, social work professors see themselves “training future colleagues.”  Bluffton graduates are employed in human service settings: including children's services, mental health facilities, nursing homes, schools, corrections facilities and rehabilitation clinics.

75+ years of social work education
Gain 448 hours of hands-on-experience
Nationally accredited program

Program distinctives

  • 4+1 program - earn your bachelor’s and master’s in social work in five years
  • An emphasis on social justice and anti-oppressive practices
  • Advisors dedicated to student success and personal mentorship
  • More than 40 internship/fieldwork placement locations to fit your career goals
  • Most transfer students complete a social work major in two academic years
  • Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Our program meets or exceeds all accreditation standards. This means you would be eligible for social work licensure at the baccalaureate level.
  • Bluffton social work graduates are prepared for both entry-level positions in the field or for graduate school.

Katie Fleshman

Katie Fleshman ’24, a social work major, originally pursued accounting because she was good at math, but the major never really felt right. 

“I ended up loving the classes and meeting other social work majors. They were like, ‘we can help people in this way and this way and this way,’ and I was like excuse me! This is where I belong!”

Finding her fit in social work

In addition to declaring a social work major, you must apply to be formally admitted to the social work program and fulfill socialization activity requirements. 

Required steps:

  • Declare a major in social work major. You will then be assigned an academic advisor from within the social work program to help you prepare to apply for admission to the social work program.
  • During your sophomore year, as part of the Human Behavior and Social Environment course, you will complete the application to the social work program,
  • Read more about the program and the application process in the Social Work Student Manual 

Social work graduates are required to have 448 hours of field experience. Faculty will work with you to match your field experience with your career goals.

Opportunities include:

  • Aging/elderly
  • Behavioral health
  • Community outreach
  • Counseling services
  • Crisis-victim services
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Foster care/child services
  • Health services
  • Job and family services
  • Juvenile/corrections
  • Schools
  • Substance abuse


Guideline to complete the social work major in four years> 

Social workers who wish to go into the healthcare or clinical field of social work or desire to have a private practice or supervising position will need to obtain a Masters in Social Work. Bluffton offers a 4+1 program to compete both your bachelor and master degrees in five years.


Frequently asked questions

Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers—clinical social workers—also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral and emotional issues. >>> more from the Occupational Outlook Handbook

One study predicts a critical shortage of social workers in the near future, particularly to serve the increasing needs of aging baby boomers.

NASW's Workforce Studies includes information about a national survey of licensed social workers in the United States. 

To get an idea of jobs being posted, see job listings by "The New Social Worker."

Some social service agencies and professional organizations, such as the North American Association of Christians in Social Work post job opportunities on their web site.

In many locations, starting salaries for social workers are similar to starting salaries for other service professions such as teachers. Information on social worker pay can be found at this Bureau of Labor Statistics site

Bluffton's social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

By being an accredited program and school, our students will be eligible for their licensure to be a licensed social worker at a baccalaureate level. Graduating from an accredited program, will put our students in advanced standing for admission into graduate schools of social work.

Every state requires some form of legal regulation of social work practice. Ohio requires social workers to be licensed. A bachelor's degree in social work is needed to be eligible to apply for the license.



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Leah Bowman

$1,500 grant recipient

“It’s cliché but I’ve always wanted to help people. I also want to learn from people who’ve had different life experiences than I’ve had and to work toward changing systems that are unjust for certain groups of people.”