Social Work

Social workers help people by looking at the challenges of their lives and environment and then work to bring about change using their strengths. The social work department works with and advocates for individuals, families, and communities to bring about empowerment and change wherever it is needed.


Overcoming Challenges

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers in:

  • Child welfare services
  • Working older adults
  • Mental health and substance abuse services
  • Healthcare
  • Working with people with disabilities
  • Criminal justice system
  • Victim services

Student Learning Outcomes

All Council on Social Work Education accredited programs measure and report student learning outcomes. BVU's social work program data is available for review.

View the assessment data


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Purpose and Importance

Learn the purpose and importance of a role in a social welfare agency, and more. Faculty work hard to place senior social work majors in personalized internships so students can develop the knowledge and skills that can be applied to their career.

An Accredited Program

BVU's social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This accreditation provides benefits for jobs, licensure, access to master’s programs, and requires a minimum of two internships so students can explore more than one area of practice.


The social work program is organized so that students transferring in with an associate of art degree can graduate in two years, helping students save time, money, and find a career they’re passionate about right away.

Positive Outcomes

BVU grads are in demand. A survey found that 100 percent of social work majors from the Class of 2017 were either employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within six months of graduation.


Be Valued

Demand for social workers is high

  • Social workers specialize in helping people solve problems through direct interaction and helping people find needed resources. Social workers also bring about change through developing policy, administering programs, and researching social issues.
  • Demand for social workers is high with employment projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Employment growth is driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services, will vary by specialty, and may require a master’s degree in social work.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median pay for all social workers is $46,000.

Make a Difference

Volunteer, Travel, and Promote Community

  •  Student Association of Social Workers is a student-run organization focused on promoting community as well as social work knowledge, values, and skills among social work majors. Students volunteer, visit social work agencies, and sometimes travel to historic social work sites such as Hull House in Chicago
  •  Phi Alpha is an invitation-only social work honorary program that promotes scholarship, values, and ethics 
  •  Students Against a Violent Environment is an organization that promotes education and prevention of violence, particularly sexual assault
  •  Attend Legislative Day for Social Workers in Des Moines to develop advocacy skills
  •  Attend professional social work conferences that enhance knowledge and skills


  • Cherokee Mental Health Institute
  • Buena Vista Juvenile Probation
  • Head Start
  • Children’s Square USA
  • Dodge County Department of Human Services


  • AIDS Project of Central Iowa, program coordinator
  • School social worker
  • Buena Vista University, adjunct professor
  • Lutheran Services of Iowa, behavioral health intervention social worker

Graduate School

  • University of Denver
  • University of Southern California
  • St. Ambrose University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of North Dakota
Major in Social Work (69 Credit Hours)
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Social Work Faculty

Willa Casstevens
Dr. Willa J Casstevens
Program Director and Associate Professor of Social Work
Meet the Professor
Marian Riner
Marian Riner
Assistant Professor of Social Work
Meet the Professor