12 Free Online Social Work Courses With Certificates 2023



Do you desire to help people overcome difficult challenges in their lives? If yes, you can start your career by 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 the positions of social workers to grow by 16% over the next decade, a rate of growth faster than most other occupations. Also, this increase will create about 110,000 new jobs.

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

If you would 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.

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

Types of Social workers

Social work is sub-divided into three types:

  • 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 a Child welfare worker. Usually, their role is to help children, families, and the elderly 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 services like nutrition and nursing classes.

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

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 counseling, therapy, education, and connecting clients with 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 a key mental health professional in many contexts,
  •  Led large nonprofit and small-scale organizations,
  •  Assume roles in government or politics, and
  •  Assume leadership roles in their work—communities, working for social justice.

What are the Advantages of a Social Work Course?

Why pursue a career in social work/community services? Here are our thoughts.

  • It opens you up to a variety of career paths. Our Intro to Community Services course is the perfect introduction to social work. There are many career paths within the field, from child welfare and immigration to counseling and women’s rights. A course like ours can help you reach your goals, whatever they are.
  •  The field is growing. There’s a high demand for social workers and support staff, and the profession is only gaining momentum. If you choose this field, you’ll likely have abundant opportunities throughout your career.
  •  You can positively impact the lives of others. Social work is an extremely rewarding career. You’ll be helping people firsthand every day, and it takes a lot of empathy, understanding, and compassion. If you love helping others, you’ll find this career very fulfilling.
  • You get to do something different every day. As a social or community services worker, you’ll interact with people from all walks of life, so your day-to-day work will look very different. This is great for individuals who thrive in a changing environment and enjoy having something new to do every day.
  •  You’ll always be challenged. While this career path is extremely rewarding, it isn’tcan be challenging. You’ll deal with challenging situations and sensitive issues, but the payoff is great when you see the difference you can make in someone else’s life.
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How Can I Get A Free Social Work Degree Online?

Taking an online course to learn a new skill, or even just as a refresher for the skills you already have, is a very honorable, even if it costs a fee.

Thankfully, there are free online social work courses with certificates, but before you try your luck at these online learning programs, seek advice from a valid source. This free training for social workers prepares you for what your job entails.

The enrollment steps and considerations outlined below will help you learn how to start.

#1. Select the school that offers Social Service courses online

The first step you need to take is to choose an online social service course; after that, you get a form and complete the registration process. See the list and details of the programs below. Programs range from free online human services training free online MSW programs, etc.

#2. 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.

#3. Interview

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.

#4. 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.

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.

What is the Work Environment for Social Workers Like?

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.

We focus our selection criteria for these programs 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 Nonprofit
  •  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 Assessment

#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.

This course explores 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.

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Coursework thoroughly examines human development, the various forms of mental illness, and the treatments used to help those who suffer from them.

At the end of this course, you will understand who you are and how you work.

#2 The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness

With a history dating back to 1827, the University of Toronto is one of few of the world’s leading universities offering online social service courses 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 understand how social attitudes and developments have influenced mental health and illness in North America and around the world.

#3 Opioid Crisis

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

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 of opioid misuse. This course currently has 3,241 student enrollment.

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

#4. Fundraising for the Nonprofit

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

Standford University in collaboration with Alison via Coursera provides this course. There are 12,085 total enrollment of students.

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

You must score 80% and above to obtain certification in this specialization.

#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 got a university degree in social work.

Coursework covers the following topics;

  • Basic concepts of The Strategies and Skills Learning and Development System (SSLD).
  •  Relationship management case studies illustrate basic practice principles and methods of SSLD.
  •  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 in 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 the 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 country’s largest universities and the best social work school 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.
  •  The honors curriculum offered by experts worldwide 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 passing mark.

#8. Children’s Human Rights – An Interdisciplinary Introduction

You can’tcan only boost being a Social Worker ifif you understand this specialization deeper. Provided by the University of Geneva via Coursera.

This course focuses on the development of Children’s Human Rights and the evolution of the challenges children face 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.

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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

The University of Michigan offers this Specialization 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 plan a strategy for reaching out to constituents and allies.

This course features a variety of learning acclivities, information on successful programs, individual instructions, small group exercises, and hands-on materials for problem-solving and program planning.

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

#10. Understanding Violence

Emory University offers free social work online courses by providing OpenCourseWare courses and an online study platform that gives students a chance to interact with instructors and 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” from a client about Psychodiagnostics and assessment procedures.
  •  To assess the compliance of the proposed Psychodiagnostics programs with the final testing objectives.
  •  You will understand various ways to assess a person’s different characteristics.
  •  Learn the possibilities of Psychodiagnostics of this or that characteristic of a person using various diagnostic techniques.
  •  You will be able to determine the reliability of the received diagnostic data.

Free Online Social Work Schools 

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

  • John Hopkins university
  •  The 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

Free Online Social Work Courses with Certificates FAQs

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.

Which course is best for social workers? 

English and Communications, Psychology and Sociology are the best courses for social workers in 2023.

What is the easiest Social Work job?

Group home workers, community social workers, and case managers are some of the easiest social work jobs .

What is the lowest degree for a social worker?

You need to have a degree in social work to gain entry-level roles. However, as you progress, there are professional courses and certifications online that could accelerate your career path.


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

So, to be an effective social worker, social administrator, or policymaker, you must 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 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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