The Top 25 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Social Work Programs

Last Updated: April 2020

Enrolling in online MSW programs provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive as social workers after graduation. Social workers maintain case files and records for clients in need of their help, working with diverse clients to develop plans that fit with their unique needs. Often, these professionals must respond to crises, including mental health emergencies and child abuse situations.

In This Article

Many social workers conduct their jobs from office settings and often visit their clients at their homes or in schools. Social workers can specialize in different client populations, with most professionals focused on child, family, and school social work. Social workers earned a median pay of $49,470 in 2018, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an above-average job growth rate of 11% from 2018-2028.


Methodology

Read about our ranking methodology here.

Top 10 Affordable Online Master's in Social Work Degree Programs
Rank University Name
1 Florida State University
2 Columbia University
3 Tennessee State University
4 New Mexico State University
5 University of Central Florida
6 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
7 Appalachian State University
8 Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
9 University of South Florida
10 Michigan State University

Top Online MSW Programs 2020

1. Florida State University

Based in Tallahassee, Florida State University (FSU) offers a master of social work online that prepares students in all 50 states for social work licensure. FSU offers two different tracks for this program: advanced standing for incoming students who possess a bachelor's degree in social work and a traditional path for those with bachelor's degrees in other areas.

Advanced standing students must complete 39 credits of coursework, while traditional learners need to earn 61 credits. Advanced standing candidates finish the program in two years, and traditional students may graduate in three years. All distance learners enroll in two courses each term, with fall and spring semesters lasting 16 weeks and summer semesters lasting 12-13 weeks.

Courses cover foundations of social work, psychology, and working with people across the lifespan. Although learners primarily complete coursework online, those enrolled in the traditional track also participate in two mandatory on-campus weekend sessions to build skills. Finally, each advanced standing student must complete one fieldwork placement, while a traditional enrollee must participate in two.

Students may apply if they earned at least a 3.0 GPA during the last 60 credits of their undergraduate degrees. This program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

2. Columbia University

Columbia University's School of Social Work offers several degrees on its Manhattan campus, but students can also enroll in the school's distance learning master of social work. Online students can complete the full-time two-year program, and those with bachelor's degrees in social work can pursue the accelerated advanced standing program to graduate in one year.

Students choose between three concentrations: advanced clinical practice, policy practice, or social enterprise administration. Learners may also opt to pursue a field of practice, including health; mental health and disabilities; or family, youth, and children's services. Courses follow a synchronous format, in which students tune in online for live lectures. For the fieldwork requirements, each student must work at a placement site three days a week during each semester. Two-year students complete 1,200 hours at two field placement sites, while advanced standing students must take part in 600 hours.

To apply to this online MSW program, each candidate must possess a bachelor's degree and an "academic record suggesting the ability to excel at graduate-level study." Columbia does not specify a minimum GPA. The school is accredited by the Council on Social Work Accreditation.

Visit School Site

3. Tennessee State University

This public university located in Nashville offers a hybrid master of social work that features online and in-class course components. The 60-credit program includes an advanced generalist specialization, which prepares students to work with individuals, families, agencies, and communities.

Students complete 30 credits of foundational level courses in social welfare, human behavior, research methods, and more. The remaining 30 credits focus on advanced practice and social policy analysis. Some courses include assignments that students complete entirely online, while others may include weekly on-campus meetings in addition to web-based coursework. Each master's candidate must complete 400 fieldwork hours during their foundational courses and 500 hours during the second half of the degree. Full-time students can finish the program in two years, while part-time students generally graduate in four years.

The university accepts applications from students with bachelor's degrees in any area, but applicants should each possess at least a 3.0 GPA. They must also submit GRE scores. This program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

4. New Mexico State University

At New Mexico State University's main campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico, students can enroll in a master of social work that offers both hybrid and online options. Full-time students can finish the program in two years, while part-time students typically graduate in three years. Overall, the program consists of 60 credits, although advanced standing students only need to take 30 credits of coursework.

The program operates in a half-synchronous format, where half of students' coursework each semester involves specific online meeting times, and the other half allows them to study at their own pace. A distance learner must also complete 950 practicum hours of supervised fieldwork. A full-time enrollee can expect to participate in 450 fieldwork hours during their first year and 500 hours during their second year.

Each applicant must submit undergraduate transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA. This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

5. University of Central Florida

Orlando-based University of Central Florida designed its online master of social work specifically for individuals who obtained bachelor's degrees in fields other than social work. Students can finish the 62-credit degree in nine semesters or three years.

Students take unique courses, such as diverse client populations and clinical social practice with LGBTQ+. Courses last seven weeks, and enrollees focus on one class at a time. Distance learners complete all degree requirements online, except for supervised fieldwork. Each enrollee must dedicate 10-15 hours per week to their field placement, and half of these hours should occur during regular business hours.

Finally, although many students begin without previous social work education, an individual with a bachelor's degree in social work may also enroll in the program in an advanced standing track. These learners only need to complete 32 credits of coursework. Students qualify for advanced standing if they earned at least a 3.3 GPA in their undergraduate coursework. The program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

6. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers an online master of social work that focuses on providing services for at-risk Latino communities near the Texas-Mexico border. The degree comes in an advanced standing format, which allows students to enroll if they already possess bachelor's degrees in social work. The program consists of 33 credits, and master's candidates can graduate in one year.

Courses focus on working in advanced practice roles with organizations, communities, and Latinos. Learners may also choose from electives like gerontology social work and spirituality and social work. Each student must also enroll in two practicum courses to complete 500 hours of supervised fieldwork.

To apply to this online MSW program, prospective students should submit their undergraduate transcripts from bachelor of social work programs, demonstrating at least a 3.2 GPA. They should also send in a personal statement and three professional or academic references. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

7. Appalachian State University

The hybrid master of social work at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, offers an advanced standing program, accepting applicants who already possess bachelor's degrees in social work. The 33-credit degree allows students to graduate in two years.

Distance learners choose between two concentrations: individuals and families, and community and organizational practice. All students take core courses in social work practice and human behavior, followed by courses within their specializations. A master's candidate must also complete two field practicum and seminar courses. These courses require each participant to fulfill 480 hours of supervised work experience.

Each candidate must have earned at least a 3.2 GPA in their bachelor's degree in social work. If applicants did not obtain this minimum GPA, they must take the GRE. An interested student should also submit a personal statement and three reference letters. This program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

8. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

At Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, the master of social work allows students to complete their coursework entirely online. The course of study follows the advanced generalist track and focuses on special practice areas in social work.

MSW students take 60 credits of coursework. This includes 30 credits of core courses and 30 credits of special practice area classes. Distance learners take advanced courses like assessment in mental health and addictions, and social policy and services. They can also choose electives such as military social work and foundations of e-social work practice. All enrollees must fulfill three practicum courses, an integrative research seminar, and an executive leader practice course.

Each prospective student must send in their undergraduate transcripts, three recommendation letters, a writing sample, and a personal statement to apply. This social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

9. University of South Florida

At the University of South Florida's main campus in Tampa, students enrolled in the online master of social work can take two different paths: the traditional track or the advanced standing track. The advanced standing track allows students to get a head start, but only if they already possess a bachelor's in social work with a minimum 3.0 GPA. This degree requires 33 credits of coursework. In comparison, the traditional track accepts applicants from many different fields, but they must complete a 60-credit program.

Both programs follow a synchronous format, which means students must log in at specific times to stream courses, usually twice a week in the evening. During the daytime, learners must complete their supervised fieldwork. Traditional track students fulfill 12-15 hours of work each week, which adds up to 900 hours by the time they graduate. Full-time advanced standing candidates complete 20 supervised fieldwork hours, while part-time candidates work for 10 hours each week. All students must also complete capstone projects to qualify for graduation.

An applicant should possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, preferably with undergraduate courses in biology and the behavioral sciences. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

10. Michigan State University

East Lansing-based Michigan State University (MSU) runs a master of social work program that allows students to choose between a clinical social work concentration and an organization and community leadership concentration. The program comes in a "statewide blended" or hybrid format, which allows students to pursue their degrees through on-campus meetings, videoconferencing, and online learning.

This MSW degree consists of 57 credits, which students can complete in three years while enrolled part time. Enrollees must live more than 30 miles away from the university's Flint and East Lansing campuses to qualify for the statewide blended program. Students who want to attend on-campus sessions at East Lansing can also enroll in a weekend/online program. This option allows learners to attend on-campus requirements solely on weekends. Each master's candidate must fulfill 960 hours of fieldwork in total. Students spread this supervised work over four semesters. They usually dedicate 16 hours per week in the field.

Each applicant should submit their undergraduate transcripts, three recommendation letters, and a personal statement. MSU offers several scholarships for students enrolled in the school of social work, which is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

11. University of Alaska – Anchorage

As the state's second-largest higher education institution, University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) offers a master of social work focusing on providing services to Alaska's multicultural and remote populations. The degree allows students to customize their program with several enrollment and specialization options.

Individuals without a background in social work can enroll either part or full time on the traditional track, completing their degrees in 2-4 years. Students with bachelor's degrees in social work may skip many of the foundational courses to graduate in 1-2 years. While learners can stick with the advanced generalist curriculum, they may also choose to specialize in school social work. The UAA school of social work also allows students to choose from many different electives, like social work services in Alaska's schools or financial leadership for social work administrators.

Enrollees take courses online in a synchronous format. They usually need to log on at a specific time in the evening to follow along with live lectures. Additionally, each learner must complete 480 supervised fieldwork hours.

Each prospective student must possess at least a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate coursework. An advanced placement candidate also needs a 3.5 GPA in their undergraduate social work core courses. The program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

12. University of Southern California

Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California (USC) offers a 60-credit master in social work and a 37-credit advanced standing social work master's degree. Students can pursue both of these degrees through online learning.

The curriculum plan requires each learner to choose an academic department, which guides their foundational coursework. Students can choose between adult mental health and wellness; children, youth, and families; and social change and innovation. Master's candidates can pursue one of two program tracks: military and school social work.

Learners must also fulfill about 1,000 hours of field education. The first 210 hours occur through virtual sessions, with professor-guided simulations in which an actor portrays a client. The last 790 hours take place on location, where students practice supervised work. Advanced standing students only need to complete the community-based field placement, not the virtual sessions.

To apply to the advanced standing program, each student needs a bachelor's degree in social work with at least a 3.0 GPA in all of their major courses. Candidates for the traditional 60-credit program also need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, but they can apply with a background in any field. This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

13. University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota offers a master of social work that students can complete online rather than on the school's Vermillion campus. The degree prepares graduates for social work licensure in the state.

The regular program requires 60 credits of coursework, although students with a bachelor's degree in social work can enroll in the 36-credit advanced standing designation instead. In addition to foundational courses, students enroll in courses like social policy analysis and diversity and social justice in rural and urban communities. Advanced standing students skip the core courses altogether. Regular standing students complete four field education courses, each requiring 250 hours of supervised work in social work settings, while advanced standing students only need to enroll in two of these courses.

Each prospective student must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Advanced standing applicants should hold social work bachelor's degrees. The online MSW at USD is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

14. Indiana University – Bloomington

Students at Indiana University Bloomington can pursue an online master of social work in two parts: core coursework and special practice area coursework. Overall, each enrollee needs to complete 60 credits to graduate.

The degree follows an advanced generalist plan, focusing on special practice areas in social work. The curriculum includes research, foundational, and practicum courses. Master's candidates may also enroll in theory classes, like community and global theory and practice, or telebehavioral health social work practice with individuals. Distance learners complete their fieldwork over three practicums and must fulfill supervised work on location. Other than this supervised fieldwork, however, students can complete their degrees entirely online.

Each applicant should possess a bachelor's degree and submit their undergraduate transcripts, along with three recommendation letters, a writing sample, and a personal statement. This degree holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

15. Simmons University

At Boston-based Simmons University, online master of social work students can choose from four specializations: child and family, trauma and interpersonal violence, mental health and addictions, and health and aging.

The degree also offers several curriculum timelines, depending on a student's experience. Students with a bachelor's degree in social work can enroll in the 37-credit, 16-month accelerated program. Standard full-time students can complete the 65-credit degree in about two years. Finally, learners in the extended program can enroll full-time and graduate in under three years. No matter their track, all learners must complete at least 1,000 supervised fieldwork hours. Additionally, students can opt to supplement their degrees with one of three different certificates: practice with groups and families, trauma practice, and mental health practice.

An individual interested in advanced practice may apply if they earned a bachelor's degree in social work with a minimum GPA of 3.3 in their major courses. Other prospective students may apply as long as they each possess a bachelor's degree in any area with a minimum 3.0 GPA. This degree is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

16. Washburn University

Based in Topeka, Kansas, Washburn University offers master of social work students several options in pursuing their graduate degrees. An enrollee can choose from school social work or healthcare specializations in addition to earning a dual juris doctor/master of social work degree.

The MSW requires 66 credits of coursework, although an advanced standing student only needs to complete 33 credits. Distance learners can finish the degree in five semesters or about two years. Core courses cover the fundamentals of social work practice and research. Students on the school social work track must take specialized courses like clinical social work practice with the exceptional child. Learners pursuing the healthcare concentration may enroll in courses like psychopharmacology and human sexuality in social work practice. All master's candidates must complete 720 hours in clinical fieldwork.

Each prospective student should submit their undergraduate transcripts with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Advanced standing applicants should hold bachelor's degrees in social work. The social work programs hold accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

17. University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota (UND) offers two online master of social work programs: a 36-credit social work concentration degree and a 60-credit online foundation degree. A student who already possesses a bachelor's degree in social work may apply for the online concentration degree, while all other applicants should apply for the foundation degree.

All enrollees follow the advanced generalist track, learning how to work with individuals, families, and organizations. Each master's candidate must also complete an independent study research capstone course or thesis project. Foundation students must participate in four supervised fieldwork courses, while concentration students only need to complete two fieldwork courses. At UND, distance learning follows a synchronous format, allowing students to log in to a virtual classroom at specific times to interact with professors and other students.

Applicants qualify for the admissions process if they possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Both social work programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

18. University of Northern Iowa

At Cedar Falls-based University of Northern Iowa, students can enroll in an online master of social work that focuses on multicultural sensitivity, human rights, and social justice. The degree offers a specialization in trauma-informed care.

The program consists of 37 or 60 credits, depending on incoming students' academic backgrounds. Learners who already possess bachelor's degrees in social work can graduate with fewer credits. The curriculum focuses on how to care for acute and complex forms of psychological trauma. Students learn approaches such as mindfulness, somatic experiencing therapy, and other cognitive and physical psychotherapies. Master's candidates must also complete supervised fieldwork practicum hours throughout the degree. They can expect to spend 15-16 hours a week on fieldwork during business hours.

An interested individual can apply by submitting their undergraduate transcripts and a personal statement. This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

19. Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University offers a master of social work that students can complete through distance learning.

The 60-credit degree takes about two years to complete, and courses last seven weeks. The degree involves two parts, split into a generalist half and a specialist half. The generalist semesters cover foundational concepts in social work practice like social welfare history and human behavior. Enrollees may also complete an internship during this first year.

During students' specialist courses, they enroll in electives, fulfill more fieldwork requirements, and write a thesis. Finally, individuals with a bachelor's degree in social work can complete the degree in 30 credits, just fulfilling the specialist requirements. These students may graduate in 9-12 months.

Each prospective student needs a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They also must write a letter of intent and submit three recommendation letters. This online degree holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

20. Delaware State University

At Dover-based Delaware State University (DSU), the online master of social work allows full-time students to complete the 60-credit program in two years. Part-time learners may take 3-4 years to graduate, while advanced standing students only need to complete 30 credits in one year.

The program offers one concentration in advanced generalist practice, allowing graduates to work in many workplace environments. Students take courses like theories of personality and adult psychopathology, and advanced generalist practice in a public health context. Learners must also complete four field practicum courses, or two field practicum courses if they enroll as advanced standing students. Regular standing students fulfill 900 supervised fieldwork hours, while advanced standing learners only need 500 hours of fieldwork.

Prospective students may apply if they possess bachelor's degrees with minimum GPAs of 2.75. Each applicant must submit their undergraduate transcripts and three references. DSU's online MSW holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

21. University of Tennessee – Knoxville

University of Tennessee, Knoxville offers an online master of social work with concentrations in evidence-based personal practice and organizational leadership. The distance learning version of the degree offers the same curriculum as the on-campus program. For the online option, distance learners tune in for live lectures and work on assignments at their own pace.

Curriculum requirements vary depending on the concentration. Master's candidates pursuing the evidence-based interpersonal practice specialization learn about therapeutic interventions and offering services to groups. In contrast, the organizational leadership specialization focuses on management and social-economic development. All students must also complete a fieldwork requirement.

Regular standing students must participate in fieldwork internships during four semesters, while advanced standing students only need to complete internships for two semesters. Distance learners may also opt to supplement their degrees with certifications in forensic social work, gerontology, school social work, trauma, or veterinary social work.

Each applicant must possess a bachelor's degree, and advanced standing candidates should hold bachelor's degrees in social work. Its college of social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

22. University at Buffalo

Individuals interested in a part-time online social work program in New York state can pursue University at Buffalo's (UB) online MSW program, which focuses on trauma-informed and human rights perspectives, offering a 60-credit traditional program and a 35-credit advanced standing program.

Distance learners can finish the traditional track in three years and the advanced standing track in 1.5 years. Regular standing students take foundational courses like social welfare policy and history, and they must complete 900 supervised hours of work in the field. Advanced standing students jump into seminars, research, and fieldwork. They only need 480 hours of supervised fieldwork.

All students may choose from several elective options, including responding to refugees and immigrants, play therapy, and spirituality in social work. Online courses include asynchronous and synchronous requirements, with learners logging in at specific times for some virtual live sessions.

UB prefers applicants with undergraduate records demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants for the advanced standing program must hold a bachelor's degree in social work. This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

23. University of Houston

The University of Houston offers an online master of social work through a cohort learning format, in which distance learners pursue the degree at the same pace as their fellow online enrollees.

The degree consists of 63 credits, including a 16-credit foundation experience. This part of the program introduces students to the field, with courses exploring social, economic, and political justice in social work. During the remainder of the degree, students enroll in advanced generalist courses and complete their supervised fieldwork requirements. Each master's candidate needs to complete 900 hours of fieldwork overall.

Incoming students with bachelor's degrees can also apply for the advanced standing program, which allows them to skip the foundation experience. Professors sometimes hold live classes online and allow students to pursue coursework at their own pace. Traditional learners may graduate in three years, while advanced standing learners generally take 2-2.5 years to complete the program. This program holds Council on Social Work Education accreditation.

Visit School Site

24. Boise State University

At Boise State University, students can pursue an online master of social work that allows them to enroll either full or part time, and either as regular standing or advanced standing learners.

A regular standing student must complete 61 credits of coursework, including 18 credits — or 1,000 clock hours — of supervised fieldwork. Advanced standing students, in contrast, may skip the foundational courses and instead enroll in 37 credits. They must complete 12 credits of supervised fieldwork, or 600 clock hours. Learners need to complete up to three full days of work at their field placement during weekdays, so candidates with full-time employment may need to pursue other programs. At Boise State, online courses typically follow an asynchronous format. Distance learners need to meet deadlines but can work at their own pace.

Interested individuals may apply if they hold an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Each advanced standing applicant needs a bachelor's degree in social work, while all other applicants may hold undergraduate degrees in any field. The program at Boise State is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

25. Tarleton State University

As a part of the Texas A&M University system, Stephenville-based Tarleton State University offers an online master of social work with foundational and advanced standing program options.

The foundational program consists of 64 credits, while the advanced standing program only requires 32 credits. In addition, while regular standing students must fulfill 900 hours of supervised fieldwork, advanced standing students need 500 hours. Distance learners may also choose between concentrations in multicultural practice with children and families, and community organization, research, and advocacy. Course offerings depend on the student's chosen specialization, although all learners must complete a research practicum.

Each prospective student needs a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA in their last 60 credits of coursework. Advanced standing applicants must possess bachelor's degrees in social work. Tarleton's online MSW program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.

Visit School Site

Why Pursue a Master's in Social Work Online?

Many students choose to pursue online MSW programs, which operate in a flexible format that enables enrollees to continue working as they earn an education. Many online programs allow learners to enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning, in which students can complete their assignments at a time and location that works best for them.

Online programs typically feature the same admission criteria, program requirements, course topics, and instructors as on-campus counterparts, developing learners' abilities they need to pursue licensing opportunities after graduation.

At the master's level, several online programs allow degree-seekers to pursue concentration opportunities, enabling them to tailor their program to fit their interests and career goals. Some common concentration options for social work students include social work with children and families, military social work, advanced clinical practice, and social work in healthcare.

Online MSW programs sometimes feature a traditional format for incoming students with bachelor's degrees in other fields of study, along with an advanced-standing option for learners who hold bachelor's degrees in social work, allowing them to complete less credits and earn their degree sooner. Social work students can also explore scholarship opportunities specific to their area of study.

Master's in Social Work Career Paths

Marriage and Family Therapists

These professionals help their clients deal with problems within their homes, practicing in many different environments, including mental health centers and private practices. These therapists must each hold a master's degree and a license to practice in their state. Marriage and family therapists earned a median pay of $50,090 in 2018 and a higher-than-average projected job growth rate of 22% from 2018-2028.


Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Responsible for evaluating probationers and parolees to plan the most effective pathway to rehabilitation, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists provide individuals with resources including job training, with some fieldwork and some institutional work. These professionals must hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree. In 2018, they earned a median pay of $53,020 and received a 3% 2018-2028 projected job growth rate.


Rehabilitation Counselors

These counselors maintain client records and track their progress, providing individual and group counseling to help their clients adjust to their disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors focus on developing effective treatment plans for their clients. These counselors earned a median pay of $35,630 in 2018, along with an above-average projected job growth rate of 10% from 2018-2028.


School and Career Counselors

In charge of helping students create plans to accomplish their academic and career goals, these counselors work with teachers, parents, and administrators to ensure student success. School and career counselors mostly work in elementary and secondary schools in private offices that allow them to hold private conversations with students. These professionals earned a median pay of $56,310 in 2018 and an above-average projected job growth rate of 8% from 2018-2028.


Social and Community Service Managers

These professionals collaborate with stakeholders and community members to determine the necessary services and programs to benefit the community. Social and community service managers also write proposals to receive social services funding. Most professionals in the occupation work in the individual and family services industry, often for nonprofit organizations. These managers took home a median pay of $65,320 in 2018 and received a faster-than-average projected job growth rate of 13% from 2018-2028.


Salary for Online MSW Graduates

Depending on the particular pathway MSW graduates want to pursue, they can consider many different job opportunities in the field, each featuring different salaries, job responsibilities, and employment trends. Many graduates focus their careers on child, family, and school social work. Washington, D.C. offers these professionals higher mean wages than their counterparts across the country, specifically in the elementary and secondary schools industry.

Graduates can also pursue careers as healthcare social workers, who earned a median pay of $56,200 in 2018. Nevada offers the highest salary opportunities for the occupation, with the junior colleges industry featuring the highest wage amounts. Mental health and substance abuse social workers can receive the highest pay in New Jersey, enjoying a mean annual wage of $79,130 in 2018, with insurance carriers as the top-paying industry in the field.

All other social workers enjoy the highest earning potential in Washington, D.C., where they earned a median annual wage of $82,900 in 2018, with the federal executive branch offering the highest salary opportunities out of all industries in the area.

Becoming a Licensed Social Worker

Depending on the career path social work graduates want to pursue, they may need to obtain licensure. Professionals who want to work as probation officers and correctional treatment specialists do not need to hold state licensure, but those who want to begin careers as social workers in any setting must achieve state licensure.

Online MSW degrees provide learners with the skills and knowledge they need to complete their programs prepared to obtain licensure. Licensing requirements for social workers vary depending on the state and can include elements such as exams, clinical experience, and educational background. Students should also understand that earning licensure in one state does not guarantee them the opportunity to practice in another state.

The social work field allows professionals to specialize their careers on a particular client population, including marriage and family therapy, school counseling, and mental health and substance abuse.


Find Your Degree
Socialworkdegreeguide.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.