Social Work Degree Programs in Washington State

If you’re shopping for social work degrees in Washington, there are 10 programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Lying in the Pacific Northwest south of British Columbia, Washington is the 18th largest state in America with over 7.1 million residents. Around 60 percent of the Evergreen’s population lives in the Seattle metropolitan area. Thanks to the 10 Fortune 500 companies headquartered here, Washington has the country’s 14th most profitable economy.

The need for trained social workers is particularly strong, especially since the NAMI reports that 219,000 adults and 71,000 children live with serious mental illnesses in Washington. Providence Health, Franciscan Health System, Group Health Cooperative, and Navy Region Northwest are some of the top state employers of social workers. Graduates can expect to earn an average social work salary of $46,870 in Washington.

Follow your passion for justice and equality by pursuing one of these CSWE-accredited social work programs for Washingtonians.

Eastern Washington University

School of Social Work

Serving more than 13,450 students, Eastern Washington University is a comprehensive four-year public state institution that’s headquartered on a 300-acre rural campus in Cheney overlooking the Channeled Scablands with extension centers from Spokane to Tacoma. Named a “Top 50 Best Value” school in Consumers Digest, EWU is ranked the 63rd best regional college, 18th top public university, and 45th best school for veterans in the West by the U.S. News. First founded in 1974, the School of Social Work is also lauded for having America’s 103rd best graduate social work program.

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW)

EWU’s Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program uses a professional curriculum rooted in the behavioral and biological sciences to produce quality, entry-level social work practitioners for generalist practice. The upper-division major requires at least 76 credits, including three senior practicum sessions. Classes are primarily held face-to-face but may have an online learning component. BASW students can enroll full-time in the Cheney/Spokane program or part-time in the Vancouver program. Topics discussed will include human behavior, cultural diversity, research methods, social policy analysis, microsystemic practice, and social work engagement. Students can also join the Phi Alpha Honor Society and gain National Association of Social Workers (NASW) membership.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Fully accredited by the CSWE, the Master of Social Work (MSW) at Eastern Washington grants professional graduate degrees to students who develop advanced knowledge, skills, and ethics for increasing their effectiveness in today’s social services field. The full-time MSW can be completed in two years in Cheney, but there’s also a three-year, part-time program in Everett and Vancouver. A hybrid option is available for attending classes three weekends per quarter in Spokane too. Qualified BSW graduates can follow the Advanced Standing track to graduate in just 11 months. If desired, students can add the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) to their curriculum. Three semesters of field practicum are required.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation (CSWE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Contact

526 Fifth Street
Cheney, WA 99004
(509) 359-6482
dsomerday@ewu.edu
Program Link

Heritage University

Social Work Department

Formerly called Fort Wright College, Heritage University is a private four-year higher learning institution initially founded in 1907 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. From its main 23-acre rural campus in Toppenish on the Yakama Indian Reservation, Heritage educates approximately 1,200 students in 18 academic disciplines. Washington Monthly magazine ranked Heritage as the 119th “Best Bang for the Buck” in the Western United States. The Social Work Department has the mission of instilling the humanistic values for students to practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.

Bachelor of Social Work

In preparation for entry-level generalist practice, the Bachelor of Social Work program at Heritage offers a multidisciplinary curriculum with special emphasis on the needs of diverse, rural communities. Students are taught to support the human rights and dignity of all people regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or disability. The 126-credit curriculum requires courses in biology, psychology, sociology, social work, statistics, history, economics, and political science. In their senior year, BSW students must complete at least 450 practicum hours in local social service agencies. Learners with a minimum 3.3 GPA can join the Honors Program. Majors are also encouraged to participate in the Social Work Student Association (SWSA).

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation (CSWE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Contact

3240 Fort Road
Toppenish, WA 98948
(509) 865-8516
Bending_R@heritage.edu
Program Link

Pacific Lutheran University

Division of Social Sciences

Sponsored by Region 1 of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Pacific Lutheran University is a private co-educational Christian liberal arts institution enrolling more than 3,400 students from its 156-acre suburban campus in Parkland just eight miles south of Tacoma. Honored in the Princeton Review’s “Guide to 353 Green Colleges,” PLU is ranked the 14th best regional college, 7th top value school, and 13th best university for veterans in the West by the U.S. News. Within the Division of Social Sciences, students can further their understanding of civilization with programs in social work, psychology, marriage and family therapy, anthropology, or sociology.

BSW Program

Continuously accredited by the CSWE since 1976, the BSW Program at Pacific Lutheran offers an up-to-date curriculum providing a well-rounded education that balances academics with applied practice skills with a strong emphasis on ethics. With its Pacific Rim location, the program infuses content with opportunities to experience diverse cultures both domestic and abroad. Semester study away programs are available from China to Mexico and Norway. The four-year curriculum requires a minimum of 400 hours of field practicum under the supervision of licensed social workers. Graduates will be qualified for advanced standing in one-year MSW programs across the United States. There’s also an 18-credit Social Work Minor offered.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation (CSWE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Contact

12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447
(253) 535-7595
socw@plu.edu
Program Link

Saint Martin’s University

College of Arts & Sciences

Nestled on a 380-acre suburban campus in Lacey just five miles from Olympia, Saint Martin’s University is a private co-educational Catholic liberal arts institution founded by the Benedictine Order and using the motto “Think with Heart.” Ranked in the top 15 percent of national universities for producing Peace Corps volunteers, Saint Martin’s is named the 46th best regional college, 11th top value school, and 35th best university for veterans in the West by the U.S. News. As the largest academic division, the College of Arts & Sciences offers 26 majors fostering students’ critical thinking, curiosity, and appreciation for human diversity.

Social Work Major (Bachelor of Arts)

Saint Martin’s Social Work Major (Bachelor of Arts) is rooted in the universal principles of compassion, integrity, and service to transform students into ethical, evidence-based practitioners of generalist social work. The program offers a rigorous, exciting learning environment with a low student-faculty ratio of 12:1 to master social justice methods. Within the 121-credit curriculum, students must complete three semesters of field internship for 600 clock hours. Majors can select placements across Thurston County, including Franciscan Hospice Center, Kokua, Catholic Community Services, and Safeplace. Courses are offered at the main Lacey campus during daytime, afternoons, or evenings. The BASW program has an 85 percent acceptance rate for graduate school.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation (CSWE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Contact

5000 Abbey Way SE
Lacey, WA 98503
(360) 412-6150
tdinh@stmartin.edu
Program Link

Seattle University

College of Arts and Sciences

As a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Seattle University is a private non-profit, co-educational Roman Catholic institution enrolling over 7,700 students on its 50-acre urban campus in the First Hill neighborhood of Washington’s largest city. Named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, Seattle U is ranked the 6th best regional college, 13th top value school, and 6th best university for veterans in the West by the U.S. News. The College of Arts and Sciences confers 41 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees with an emphasis on global engagement.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Students enrolled in Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Seattle U work directly with experienced social work practitioners to develop fundamental theories, skills, and values to effectively advocate for people from diverse communities. With small class sizes, the cohort-based program follows a generalist approach from an ecological and systems perspective. Fully accredited by the CSWE, the four-year curriculum requires at least 180 quarter credits. There’s also a two-year junior transfer program for community college students. All BSW students complete a nine-month field practicum for spending 450 clock hours in one of 30 partnering community agencies. There’s also a 31-credit Social Welfare Minor available.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation (CSWE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Contact

901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 296-5906
mkbrenn@seattleu.edu
Program Link

University of Washington

School of Social Work

First established by territorial governor Isaac Stevens in 1861, the University of Washington is a premier flagship public four-year research institution educating over 45,200 total students from its main 703-acre urban campus in Seattle and satellite locations in Tacoma and Bothell. Placed 65th globally in the QS World University Rankings, UW is named the 52nd best national university and 16th top public school by the U.S. News. Even more importantly, the UW School of Social Work offers America’s third best graduate social work program.

BASW Program in Social Welfare

Leading to a Bachelor of Arts, the BASW Program in Social Welfare at UW features a practice-oriented curriculum to train undergraduates on the intervention models used to serve individuals, households, communities, and organizations of diverse cultural backgrounds. The degree requires at least 180 quarter credits at the Seattle or Tacoma campuses. Traditionally admitted students apply during the spring of their sophomore year, but there’s also an Early Admission option for freshmen. BASW students are prepared for social welfare responsibilities with 480 hours of supervised field practicum. Since 2004, the program has had a strong partnership with the Royal University in Phnom Penh for Cambodian students.

Master of Social Work Program

Following CSWE guidelines, the Master of Social Work Program equips UW graduate students for assuming advanced practice and leadership positions in the human services field. The traditional daytime program takes two years with face-to-face classes two to four days per week in Seattle. There’s also a part-time, three-year extended degree program (EDP) for working adults. Graduates with an accredited BSW degree and minimum GPA of 3.0 can pursue the one-year Advanced Standing option. Concentration areas are available in Administration and Policy Practice, Children and Families Practice, Multigenerational Practice, Community-Centered Integrative Practice, Health Practice, or Mental Health Practice. Fieldwork can also be specialized in oncology or palliative care in the Carol LaMare Scholars Program.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation (CSWE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Contact

4101 15th Avenue SE
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 543-5640
sswinfo@uw.edu
Program Link

Walla Walla University

Wilma Hepker School of Social Work & Sociology

Affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church since 1892, Walla Walla University is a private non-profit liberal arts institution enrolling around 1,900 students at its 55-acre suburban campus in College Place near Walla Walla just 13 miles from the Oregon border. Crowned the 196th best master’s-level university nationally for civic engagement in Washington Monthly, Walla Walla is ranked the 42nd best regional college in the West by the U.S. News. The Wilma Hepker School of Social Work & Sociology is also lauded for hosting the 177th best graduate social work program in the United States.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Rooted in Protestant values, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Walla Walla prepares students with the on-the-job skills employers in the social services sector look for in entry-level generalist practitioners. Students are trained to deliver empower, evidence-based practice that affirms the dignity and worth of all people from diverse backgrounds. Consisting of 192 quarter hours, the four-year curriculum culminates in a Bachelor of Science degree. Coursework will cover topics in research methods, human behavior, social welfare, advocacy, social policy, oppression, psychology, and group dynamics. Seniors must complete at least 420 clock hours in supervised social work practice. There’s also a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology offered.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Available at the College Place campus or in Missoula and Billings, Montana, the Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares Walla Walla students for advanced clinical practice with individuals, families, and communities. The traditional program takes two years full-time or three to four years part-time. There’s also a one-year Advanced Standing track for BSW graduates from CSWE-accredited colleges or universities. Students can tailor their curriculum with electives in geriatrics, substance abuse, child welfare, family systems, mental health, school social work, and more. Select courses will be delivered online. MSW students are encouraged to join the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Minority students could be eligible for the Master of Social Work Ethnic Diversity Scholarship.

Accreditations

Council on Social Work Education Office of Social Work Accreditation (CSWE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Contact

204 South College Avenue
College Place, WA 99324
(509) 527-2273
socialwork@wallawalla.edu
Program Link

Social work majors are trained to deliver evidence-based interventions that protect human rights, reduce prejudice, and enhance quality of life. Although all social workers need at least a BSW, their training can be applied in several different specialties, such as geriatric, clinical, child and family, healthcare, substance abuse, or military social work. Wherever your interests lie in the human services field, now’s an excellent time to earn a CSWE-accredited social work education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for social workers will grow faster-than-average by 12 percent through 2024, creating around 74,800 jobs. Residents in the “Evergreen State” can pursue any of these social work degrees in Washington for their preparation.

See also: The 30 Most Influential Social Workers Alive Today

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