The top best online MSW programs offer social workers a flexible path to earn a master’s degree and advance their careers. Deciding to pursue a career as a social worker can be a great opportunity for those who want to inspire, educate or change the community around them.
Social workers will advocate for their clients on a personal and professional level, making a difference in their lives.
As a social worker, you will learn to identify the needs of others, assess client situations and strengths, and provide support to those who need it most. Social workers may also respond to crises, research community records or resources, and follow up with clients to improve their quality of life. Read on to learn more about social work degrees and careers.
Obtaining an MSW degree program will provide more career promotions, higher pay, and provide a wider range of job networking support. Below is a list of 10 of the best online Master in Social Work (MSW) programs.
How We Ranked Online MSW Programs
The editor of Online School Guide found schools offering online Master in Social Work (MSW) degree programs. Then, based on cost and reputation, we ranked the programs.
1. University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota’s MSW program is for professionals working in the social work field who wish to advance their careers. Additionally, he has a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program.
Courses also include advanced generalist practice with individuals, human behavior in social environments, social policy, and a generalist field internship.
The program is thirty-six credits or sixty credits on campus through the Online Foundation. Those who have not obtained their BSW degree can still pursue the MSW program through the online foundation. The estimated time to complete the program for on-campus students is one to two years.
The online concentration through the Online Foundation takes three years.
As a full-time student, it is possible to complete the MSW program in three semesters. The University of North Dakota ranks in the Top Best CSWE Accredited Online M.S.W. Degree Programs & #11 Best Online MSW Degree Programs.
2. Western New Mexico University
The MSW degree program at West New Mexico University offers both an advanced permanent and non-advanced permanent degree. Graduates will learn knowledge and skills in a wide range of areas such as counseling, case management, advocacy, and intervention.
The program prepares each student to work with multiple demographics. Customers are young, old, disabled, orphans and addicts too. The MSW program has twenty-nine credits and can be completed within one to two years if the graduate has already earned their BSW degree.
However, without a bachelor’s degree, the program is sixty credits and usually takes two and a half to three years. Additionally, the total program includes four field internships.
Life experience or prior work experience is not given for credit. To meet the requirements of the MSW non-advanced permanent degree program, students must have at least a 2.75-grade point average in 64 hours of recently taken college or graduate courses and have completed the MSW application.
However, advanced status requires the above, as well as having earned your BSW from a CSWE-accredited school within the past eight years and a 3.0 GPA in all social work-related coursework.
3. California State University – San Bernardino
California State University’s MSW degree program is an intensive study that is an accredited program by CSWE and offers online courses on the San Bernardino campus and through Pathway Distance Education.
The MSW program takes from two (four semesters) to three years (six semesters) to complete. The MSW program at CSU is very challenging for undergraduate students, It is recommended that working students reduce their hours if they plan to become full-time students.
Students can choose a specialization in the last semester year before graduation. Graduates may also choose from a social issue, client population, or field of practice. Some popular concentrations also include domestic violence, substance abuse, gerontological social work, child welfare, and urban populations.
At CSU, the student’s academic success is the priority for the intellectual development of their learning. The online Masters in Social Work program at CSU is one of the top MSW programs in the entire state.
4. Arizona State University
The MSW program at Arizona State University offers an advanced generalist concentration available online. This advanced generalist concentration focuses on effective and culturally competent service practices at systems levels and provides strategic change through research evidence.
Students work with individuals, families, and communities in tackling social problems and finding solutions facing society at large. The sixty-credit program is made up of twenty sections and is approximately 7.5 weeks long.
Courses will cover child welfare, health and behavioral health, community practice, governance, global social work, policy advocacy, and innovative services for individuals, families, groups, and communities.
ASU’s School of Social Work is one of the largest in the country and has a diverse student body. The MSW program is accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduates will participate in a practical field education internship of 960 hours.
5. University of New England
The University of New England MSW degree program offers graduates both a traditional and advanced permanent program that is 100 percent online and is CSWE-accredited.
Graduates will learn about human development about social justice, understand social policies and programs in diverse populations, provide professional ethics, and provide knowledge and skills in social work interventions.
The MSW Advanced Standing Track program consists of thirty-five credits, eleven courses, and a field practicum that is 560 hours long. The program also has three start dates, providing convenience and flexibility for all online students.
For students choosing the traditional track of the MSW program, it requires sixty-four credits and can be completed in as little as three years. Both the Traditional and Advanced Standing Track are regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
The tuition rate at the University of New England is affordable and competitive with other regional universities and colleges.
6. University of Southern California (USC)
The University of Southern California offers MSW degree programs with both traditional and advanced permanent options. This private research college offers the program completely online and is CSWE accredited and prepares students to become social work professionals as Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs).
MSW advanced status can be completed in twelve months if the graduate has already earned their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. For graduates who have not earned their BSW degree, the traditional route will be necessary to complete the program.
The course curriculum will cover early intervention, prevention and wellness, leadership and effective collaboration, core competencies (evidence-based practices, evidence-informed interventions), and the implications of new findings in neuroscience.
The courses are taught by our award-winning faculty. The Traditional option is sixty units tall, while the Advanced Status is thirty-seven units. MSW Advanced Standing is a full-time position and is completed part-time over three semesters or five semesters.
7. Case Western Reserve University
The MSW degree program at Case Western Reserve University offers an online course, fully designed for working professionals and people with busy work schedules. The curriculum in the MSW program will provide social workers and community partners with the knowledge and skills needed to complete the degree.
Students can choose from, There are several concentrations within the degree program.
- advanced standing
- Children, youth, and families
- Community Practice for Social Change
- mental health of adults
Although online, students can still communicate with professors and faculty through real-time interactions during live sessions. The Mandel School of Social Work is available for 43 US states, including the Virgin Islands.
Case Western Reserve University has one of the best online MSW programs in the country and is CSWE accredited. There are also several avenues of study within the social work field at CWRU. Many choose the areas of aging, mental health, child and family care, and substance use disorders.
8. Widener University
The online MSW program at Widener University offers an evidence-based curriculum that combines mental health and clinical studies as the basis for social work.
The program is CSWE accredited and prepares graduates in treating individuals, both families, and communities, with the highest impact on social justice. The MSW program offers options for advanced permanent or regular admission.
For those interested in regular admission, the program consists of sixty credits, which can be completed in three years and is offered to graduates who have earned a bachelor’s degree with a regionally accredited undergraduate program.
The Advanced Permanent Option degree is for students who have already earned a BSW and have a background in social work. The program only has forty-one credits, so students can complete it in less than two years.
Each course is of seven weeks. Widener University also offers dual hybrid degrees and trauma certificates.
9. University of Houston
The online MSW program at the University of Houston provides graduates with an intensive program that fosters flexibility and motivates students to participate in supportive roles and encourages group involvement with their peers and professional faculty members.
the program requires that each student include a minimum of 900 hours of coursework and provides a practical approach to social work practice experience.
During the field education internship course, all students are paired with a supervisor to meet all deadlines and learning activities. The University of Houston will employ no more than 25 students in each group or teaching group.
This small class size helps instructors create an individualized learning plan for each graduate. Students must complete a minimum of 63 semester credit hours along with their 900 hours of coursework to graduate.
Most full-time students will graduate in a matter of three years; However, advanced-standing students can finish within twenty-four months to two and a half years.
10. Temple University
The MSW program at Temple University offers graduates a degree that will prepare them for both social and economic justice careers and advance them through a comprehensive social work program.
This MSW program provides evidence-based practice and provides graduate students with professional training and skills.
The program helps students in supporting roles and become an advocate for disadvantaged populations. Temple University prides itself on having an affordable tuition rate and offers a range of starting times for students to customize their program and degree options.
Courses in the program will address social issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, immigration issues, and minority problems.
The regular MSW program is sixty credits and takes about three years for most students. However, the Advanced Standing Program is only 34.5 credits and students can complete it in eighteen to twenty-four months.
Graduates of the MSW program will find employment in areas such as community-based health facilities, mental health centers, social work therapists, or counselors. Graduates can also work as community organizers, managers in social services, or program directors.
Job Outlook for an online MSW degree Graduate
Choosing a career path to become a social worker will give many opportunities to the MSW graduate. The social work profession had a faster growth rate than other healthcare positions over the past decade.
According to the BLS, employment positions such as counselor, community liaison, or social service specialist are in higher demand than other social service positions.
There are many jobs in social work that require only a BSW degree. However, to make the best impact on your clients’ lives, continue to master social work. Doing so will boost one’s educational portfolio and provide more career options in the social work field.
Most recently, the BLS projected a 12% increase in the social work employment rate from 2020 to 2030. It is much faster than other professions or careers.
Family and school social workers are also on the rise. Social workers who work specifically with children, adolescents, and mental health patients. These workers are most needed, as it is projected to climb to 15 percent by 2030.
Other positions commonly associated with social workers are human services professional, rehabilitation counselor, corrections officer, and family doctor. The job of a social worker is one of the most challenging in this era.
However, earning an MSW program degree prepares graduates for an overwhelming, yet rewarding career path.