10 Free Online Social Work Courses 2021

Social work involves helping people overcome difficult challenges in their lives. If you want to be someone who does this, you can enroll in a free online social work course in 2021. 

 free Online Social Work Courses
10 Free Online Social Work Courses 2021

Courses in social work are for people who want a career in social work, continuing an existing career, or trying to expand their skills in social service. The free online courses will improve your understanding of substance abuse, mental health issues, and fundraising for nonprofit organizations.

In this detailed post, you will know;

  • What is social work? 
  • Why study social work? 
  • How to get a social work degree
  • 10 Free Online Social Work Courses in 2021
  • And lots more

What Is Social Work? 

Basically, social work is a general profession made up of many types of professionals who serve people in need. 

So, if you want to help people overcome challenges in life, such as poverty, mental illness, addiction, and family crises, learning social work is your first option.

Why study Social Works? 

As a social worker, you have the role of examining various problems, such as individual problems,  societal problems, psychological problems, and political problems. 

Typical ways of offering solutions include therapy, counseling, education, as well as connecting clients with appropriate public or private resources.

Below are some other major reasons you should study social works online;

  • 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 to get a social work degree Online?

If you want to get a social work degree online, there are free online social work courses with certificates out there but make sure you seek advice from a valid source before you apply to any of these online learning programs.

Below is a step-by-step enrollment guide to help you get started.

Choose a College that offers Social Service courses online

The first step you need to take is to select an online social service course, so obtain the application form and complete the registration process. 

Complete the online application

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


For some online Social work courses, an interview may be conducted over the phone or online, on Skype.

An interview on Skype is just like a normal interview. But make sure you dress formally, have a good internet connection and your computer camera works well.

Start Lectures

After completing the online registration and interview, you will get access to choose your degree level and course of study. When that is done, you can start enrolling in any classes.

To enroll in any online social work class, you first choose the specialization you’d like to start with and then subscribe to a course that is part of a specialization. This automatically subscribes you to the full program.

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What Is The Duration For Online Social Work Courses?

The duration of online social service classes depends on the schools or course providers. But, some school’s coursework can be completed in less than five weeks, while others don’t take close to a year to complete.

The duration of a typical free online Social service course with certificates is 12 weeks, while some may take up to 14 weeks. This depends on the type of program.

Work Environment

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

10 Free Online Social Work Courses in 2021

Below is a list of 10 free online social work courses you can enroll in. You will get the knowledge and skills needed to prepare for a professional career as a social worker from these courses.

  • 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

1. Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to psychology is first on our list of free online social work courses. It is provided by the University of Toronto via Coursera. 

The University of Toronto has over 200,000 people enrolled in this online specialization course and is one of the leading institutions in innovation and research.

This course teaches the most interesting experiments within the field of psychology and discusses 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 learning, attention, memory, perception, and consciousness.

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

How to Apply

To apply, click here

2. The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness

The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness course is offered online by the University of Toronto through Coursera.

This online specialization course has about 16,830 students enrolled.

This course teaches the social factors that 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 know how mental health and illness have been influenced by social attitudes and social developments in North America and around the world.

How to Apply

To apply, click here

3. Opioid Crisis

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

Lectures take about 2 hours each day, and you will learn the medical and non-medical uses of opioids and the human and economic costs related to opioid misuse. About 3,241 students are currently enrolled in this course.

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At the end of this course, you will know what opioid medicines are and the opioid crisis.

How to Apply

To apply, click here

4. Fundraising for the Non-Profit

Fundraising for the Non-Profit is one of the top-rated free online social work courses provided by Standford University in collaboration with Alison via Coursera. About 12,085 students are currently enrolled.

This online specialization course 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 program teaches how to raise funds for non-profit organizations and understands the power of a mission from Christine Benninger.

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

How to Apply

To apply, click here

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

This online course is offered by the University of Toronto and it is one of the most sought-after free online social work courses in 2021. The online course currently has 49,022 enrollment.

Applicants who have already obtained a university degree in social work can still enroll in this course.

Topics covered in this coursework include;

  • 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 course, you will provide advanced concepts for participants who work in the fields of social work and know the importance of every day relationships and.

How to Apply

To apply, click here

6.  Autism Spectrum Disorder

The University of California Davis (UCDavis) provides one of the best social work courses online with a certificate. This course is free training for 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.

About 49,672 students are already enrolled and are learning all about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

How to Apply

To apply, click here

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

This course is one of the best online social work courses in 2021 and it is offered by John Hopkins University. The free online training for social workers is provided through Coursera. There are up to 12,363 students currently enrolled in this course.

Enrolling in this specialization will teach you a global perspective on gender-based violence (GBV). The following core curriculum is covered in this coursework;

  • 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 from around the world helps students dive deeper into certain issues, and touches on unique populations and specialized topics.
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You will receive a certification if you meet the pass mark after the completion of this course.

How to Apply

To apply, click here

8. Children’s Human Rights – An Interdisciplinary Introduction

This course is provided by the University of Geneva and gives any Social Worker a deeper understanding of this specialization. It is available via Coursera.

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

You will get to know 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 understand the most important features of children’s human rights.

How to Apply

To apply, click here

9. Community Organizing for Social Justice

This free online social work course is a specialization offered by the University of Michigan via Coursera.

This course contains lots of learning activities, individual instructions, information on successful programs, small group exercises, and hands-on materials for problem-solving and program planning.

The following core topics are covered in this coursework;

  • 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.

By the end of this course, you will know how to create change in communities, everywhere.

How to Apply

To apply, click here

10. Understanding Violence

Understanding violence is one of the free online social work courses in 2021 offered by Emory University. The university’s OpenCourseWare courses and online study platform gives students a chance to interact with instructors and their fellow classmates.

Over 17,907 students are enrolled in this specialization.

This course teaches the various causes of violence and will introduce you to experts who study it too. You will also learn the ways to reduce violence.

How to Apply

To apply, click here


Can I get a social work degree online?

Yes, you can get a social work degree online through one of the school’s most popular programs. A social work program prepares students for careers as skilled social workers. 

What is the fastest way to become a social worker?

To become a social worker fast, you have to finish or complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work or any related field.


And that’s it. The 10 Free Online Social Work Courses 2021. Hopefully, you’ve known what social work is, why study social work,  how to get a social work degree, and the 10 Free Online Social Work Courses in 2021.

If you have any questions about Free Online Social Work Courses, let us know in the comments below

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