An increasing number of people are choosing to go back to college after age 50. According to Forbes, older adults now make up the majority of degree-seeking students on campuses nationwide.

Getting an online social work degree may be especially beneficial to seniors. Here are five reasons why you might want to consider getting a social work degree online as an older adult.

1. Retiring earlier than expected or needing more financial security

People often have plans for when they will retire and what their retirements will look like. Unfortunately, things can happen that force people to retire far earlier than they had expected. People may find that their skill sets have become obsolete, their companies might downsize, or they might suffer health problems that make it impossible for them to return to their former jobs.

According to a study that was conducted by Voya Financial, 60 percent of American retirees report that they were forced to retire much earlier than they had expected. When people retire early, they may have insufficient retirement savings to last through their golden years.

This reality has led many older adults to choose to go back to college. Choosing to pursue an online social work degree is a great choice for older adults who need to change careers and to gain a new skill set to find a job.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for social workers are expected to grow 16 percent per year through 2026, which is much faster than other fields. The demand for social workers means that older adults who earn degrees online in social work should have a much easier time landing a job that pays well. Completing a degree in social work can provide seniors with highly marketable skills that can translate into a new career and the ability to save more for retirement.

While some people are forced to retire from their jobs much earlier than they planned, others may need to continue working during their golden years because of not having enough retirement income to quit working. Social work is an in-demand field that pays well. In fact, the median pay in 2018 for social workers was $49,470 per year, according to the BLS. Plus, there are a variety of other high paying jobs in this field, including:

  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors, who earn $44,630 per year;
  • School and Career Counselors, who earn $56,310 per year;
  • Social and Community Service Managers, who earn $65,320 per year, and;
  • Speech-Language Pathologists, who earn $77,510 per year.

So, going back to college online to finish your degree in social work can allow you to enjoy a good income while performing work that is not labor-intensive.

2. Fulfilling their goals

Many people start their college educations when they are young, only for life to get in the way. You might have started college right after high school but then had life events, such as getting married and having children, cause you to end it early. Conversely, you might have worked your entire life but always dreamed of earning your degree.

Getting an online degree in social work can help you to fulfill your lifelong goal of gaining a bachelor’s degree. Whether you will be returning to school to complete your degree or starting for the first time, social work can be a great career field and enrolling online can place your goal within reach.

3. Fulfilling your desire to help others

People who are nurturing and enjoy helping others will find that social work may be a great match for their personalities. If you are an older adult who has spent your life caring for others, it makes sense for you to complete your online bachelor’s degree in social work.

When you get a degree in social work, you can use your natural talents to help people who need it the most. Social workers help children, families, the poor, people who are in hospitals, the elderly, and many others. With a degree in social work, you can focus your energies on helping the population of people that you care about the most.

4. Keeping your mind sharp

As we age, we begin to lose some of the plasticity in our brains. When seniors choose to pursue an online degree in social work, it can help to keep their minds active. According to the Baylor College of Medicine, elderly adults who choose to pursue degrees help to keep the plasticity in their brains because they are acquiring new information. Keeping your brain actively engaged can help to prevent or slow cognitive declines that might otherwise occur.

People who attend college tend to choose fields that they are highly interested in. If you are interested in social work, pursuing an online degree in old age can help to keep your mind sharp and engaged as you study a subject about which you have a deep interest.

5. More flexibility

In the past, one reason why older adults avoided returning to college to complete degrees was the requirement of attending classes on campus.

With the availability of online degree programs in social work, you can avoid having to head to campus to take classes on a rigid schedule. Online courses in social work give you the flexibility of attending your classes and completing your coursework on your own schedule. This can allow you to balance your educational pursuits with everything else that you do in your daily life.


Completing your online degree in social work can offer many benefits to you even when you are an older adult. Whether you need to return to the workforce, need greater financial security, or want to help others, online social work degree programs make it possible.

To learn more about online social work degree programs, explore more online.