Although BSW programs have long accepted transfer students with associate degrees in human services, community colleges in the United States also offer associate in social work (ASW) degrees. Absent from the peer-reviewed literature, however, little is known about community colleges’ social work programs. They are unrecognized by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the validity of their claims to teach social work is untested. This research located 57 such programs and evaluated their ability to meet customary benchmarks for social work education. One- third of ASW program directors completed surveys about their programs, reportedly meeting 41% of select CSWE 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards for BSW programs. This empirical study of community college programs suggests broader options for both students and colleges, challenges the consensus definition of social work education as beginning in baccalaureate studies, and raises concerns about unproven claims to teach social work.

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