448 hours

Madisyn Sheppard

Madisyn Sheppard ’25

“I realized I really enjoy the smaller community and getting to know people. I like that I’m not just a number in the classroom. There’s always opportunity for one on one interactions.”

Social work

Social workers are compassionate, creative problem-solvers who are employed in human service settings: including children's services, mental health facilities, nursing homes, schools, corrections facilities and rehabilitation clinics.

Many social workers use their skills in either public or private counseling settings. This can include work with children, families, domestic abuse survivors and people addressing mental health issues and substance misuse.

Occupational outlook

  • Area agencies recognize that Bluffton prepares  knowledgeable social workers and many students have jobs lined up before they graduate.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is expected to increase by 16 percent through 2026, more than double the projected growth for all occupations.
    More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

At Bluffton

Every social work major gains hands-on experience through 448 hours of field placement in addition to quality classroom instruction. Bluffton professors are not so much teaching undergraduate students as they are “training future colleagues.”

Most agencies prefer or require their social service workers to be licensed. As an accredited social work program, our graduates are eligible to apply for the state license. Our program, which is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, meets or exceeds all necessary standards.

Bluffton social work graduates are prepared for both entry-level positions in the field or for graduate school.

Program distinctives

  • 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 are able to complete a social work major in two academic years

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

Specific locations


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. Find a list of accredited schools who offer an MSW at Council on Social Work Education.


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.


Find your greater purpose

448 hours

Madisyn Sheppard

Madisyn Sheppard ’25

“I realized I really enjoy the smaller community and getting to know people. I like that I’m not just a number in the classroom. There’s always opportunity for one on one interactions.”
Nationally accredited through 2029
Kai Smith

Kai Smith ’22

“As a social work major, it's all about getting experience and figuring out what I want to do and who I want to work with. So far, I want to work with everybody and anybody. There are so many opportunities out there.”

75 years