Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke
In fall 2020, MiraCosta College became the only community college in California to offer an associate degree for transfer and a certificate of achievement in social work and human services that are completely online.
Developed to serve the expressed need by our county and our north county cities, the programs will address regional workforce needs. According to the state Employment Development Department, the number of openings for social workers in San Diego County is expected to grow by 400 annually in the coming years with hourly wages in the $25–$33 range.
According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, child, family, and school social workers in the region are earning an average of more than $57,000 annually, and social workers in the healthcare field are earning nearly $70,000 per year on average. Nationally, overall employment of social workers is expected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028; the need is expanded as society grapples with the impacts of covid and addresses economic challenges.
Two new online courses are being created: Introduction to Social Work and Human Services and Fieldwork for Social Work and Services. In addition, various sociology, psychology, and other online courses will be reconfigured, thus preparing students with the specific job knowledge and skill set needed for Social Worker I job requirements as posted by the San Diego County Department of Social Services. Those interested in seeking further career opportunities can opt for the associate degree for transfer that can lead to a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work or a related field.
Because the new online Social Work and Human Services Program will implement various zero-cost textbooks and open educational resources, students will pay a fraction of what they are now paying on textbooks and class materials.
Sean Davis, a MiraCosta College sociology professor, successfully applied for a nearly $100,000 CTE Online Pathways Grant from the California Virtual Campus–Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI) to build the program. Numerous business and community leaders supported the effort.
“MiraCosta College has shown an ability to quickly start up new programs and develop strong partnerships to serve the interests of its students and the needs of the communities it serves,” wrote W. Erik Bruvold, chief executive officer for the San Diego North Economic Development Council, in a letter supporting the initiative. “The college has also been at the forefront of addressing concerns of access and affordability.”
For more information on the program, visit www.miracosta.edu/socialwork.