Best Online Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Programs of 2022 | BestColleges is an advertising-supported locate. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This recompense does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. Reviewers typically work full meter in their industry profession and review content for BestColleges as a side project. Our reviewers are members of the Red Ventures Education Freelance Review Network and are paid for their contributions. Our growing Review Network presently consists of professionals in fields like occupation, nurse, social work, and other subject-specific industries ; professionals in higher education areas such as college rede and fiscal aid ; and anti-bias reviewers. With their first-hand industry have, our reviewers provide an extra footprint in our editing process. These experts :

BestColleges is committed to delivering content that is objective and accurate. We have built a network of industry professionals across healthcare and education to review our capacity and ensure we are providing the best information to our readers. sociable workers with a master ‘s degree can pursue leadership roles like managing child social welfare agencies and directing avail departments. Check out our favorite on-line chief ‘s programs. Taking two years of full-time study, an on-line headmaster ’ s degree in social work prepares students to serve their communities during times of capital challenge. While some social workers apply their skills to counseling individuals and couples, others use their expertness to advocate for deepen in the social benefit system. social workers can besides land postsecondary teaching positions or perform research aimed at creating equality for all .

After several years of professional have, social workers can secure leadership roles, directing social services departments or managing child wellbeing agencies .
A plus career lookout can be another motivative factor for these students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ) projects 8 % caper growth for social workers between 2019 and 2029. These professionals earn a median wage of $ 51,760 .
additionally, some refer occupations, such as school and career counselor, marriage and family therapist, and reclamation counselor, offer even higher plan emergence rates and incomes .

What Can I Expect From an Online MSW Program?

typically requiring 48-60 credits, an on-line dominate ’ s academic degree in social work provides learners with advanced cognition in human demeanor, social policy, and clinical practice. Master ‘s students build on their anterior education and experience by taking classes in leadership and development, organizational theory, social advocacy, and clinical treatment strategies .
“ Being able to apply what you are presently learning and having a group setting to share and process with was identical rewarding. ”
The Council on Social Work Education ( CSWE ) states that graduates of MSW programs must have a minimal of 900 hours of monitor field direction. This airfield experience enables students to apply their advanced theoretical cognition to social shape practice in supervised settings. Degree-seekers learn to integrate the skills and concepts they ’ ve studied in the classroom to work with real clients .
Sue English, MSW, LCSW, CADC, explains that “ Practice and programming classes were beneficial to take alongside working at an internship. Being able to apply what you are presently learning and having a group setting to share and action with was identical reward. ”
additionally, students may choose to center their studies around the micro, mezzo-soprano, or macro levels of social cultivate. The micro flush focuses on helping individuals, the mezzo-soprano horizontal surface involves working with groups and organizations, and the macro grade aims to address large-scale issues in the social work field .
once students understand which level of social influence they ’ re most concern in, they can choose the concentration that makes most sense for their career goals. Though every plan varies in specific offerings, common MSW concentrations include the follow :

  • Clinical/direct practice social work
  • Advanced generalist
  • Administrative and community development
  • Addiction/chemical dependence
  • Children’s mental health specialist
  • Medical social work
  • Trauma Specialist

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about beginning dates, transferring credits, handiness of fiscal care, and more by contacting the universities below .

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master’s in Social Work Program?

Social Welfare Policy

This course examines the history and aim of social social welfare, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as the function and evolution of politics in sociable benefit policy. Students explore current social wellbeing issues and the underlying values that support different perspectives while learning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our current sociable benefit system on different levels .

Interventions in Clinical Social Work

In this course, students apply theoretical concepts and treatment strategies to rehearse experiences with divers patient populations in oversee settings. Coursework delves into ethical standards in social work, emphasizes the use of evidence-based practice, and covers the importance of cultural competence and sensitivity in a clinical plant. In accession, students will review and practice concrete clinical skills in the classroom and during their field placements to master theoretical concepts .

Poverty and Inequality

With a focus on holocene historical trends, this course explores how poverty is defined and measured in the United States. Learners study the political, economic, and philosophical foundations of the nation ’ s social wellbeing arrangement, become conversant with stream social welfare policy controversies, and analyze different perspectives on poverty and inequality.

Human Behavior in the Social Environment

This course explores theories surrounding how people and communities develop, behave, and interact. Degree-seekers test life development from concept to old senesce and study how social charm impacts development and residential district outcomes .

Social Work Research

Social work research courses provide an overview of qualitative and quantitative research methods, causing, measurement, and sampling. Students review keystone research concepts like guess formulation, inquiry design, and data collection while examining social work research ethics related to inform accept, confidentiality, and cultural sensitivity .

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master’s in Social Work Program?

While every school is different, most on-line MSW programs require applicants to hold a bachelor ’ s degree in sociable work or a refer subject from an accredit institution. Graduate admissions departments tend to look for a GPA of 2.5 or higher and relate professional or volunteer know in addition to the requirements listed below .

Test Scores

MSW programs that require GRE scores normally look for a unite verbal and quantitative score of 1000. Some programs may grant probationary admission to students with an 800 or higher. Nevertheless, many online MSW programs do not require standardize screen scores .

Letters of Recommendation

MSW programs frequently ask applicants to submit letters of recommendation from stream and erstwhile professors and employers. These letters showcase qualities and characteristics that transcripts and quiz scores alone can not demonstrate. Applicants should request these letters 2-3 months in boost .


many MSW programs require two or more years of relevant work know. Your resume should include all professional experience, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as any volunteer or internship experience related to social work. Applicants typically include a brief description of duties, start and end dates, and contact information for references .


Applicants typically must submit either personal statements or statements of determination. While statements of purpose case academic achievements and career goals, personal statements typically include individual motivations and specific achievements and challenges .

Official Transcripts

about all MSW programs require students to submit official transcripts from their undergraduate school. These transcripts can besides be utilitarian in determining eligible transfer credits from anterior courses .

What Can I Do With an Online Master’s in Social Work Degree?

Career Outlook

While the BLS projects 13 % job growth for social workers from 2019 to 2029, sealed relate industries offer an evening brighter career expectation. For example, employment for healthcare social workers is projected to grow 14 %, while jobs for genial health and kernel abuse social workers are projected to grow 17 % between 2019 and 2020 .
“ There is something that will spark your interests within this huge field. ”
As our company puts more importance on mental health, use for clinical professionals is likely to grow. Some of the largest employers of social workers include person and family services, local government, and ambulant health services .
According to Sue English, MSW, LCSW, CADC, “ Whether you want to work in a hospital, work with the geriatrics population, confirm students in school systems, advocate through government agencies, or provide resources to vulnerable populations, there is something that will spark your interests within this huge field. ”
Discover the benefits of an on-line victor ‘s degree in social work. Learn more about social study careers here .

Career Paths

Social Worker

Social workers help individuals, groups, and families overcome nerve-racking and challenge life events, arsenic well as address underlying mental health concerns. They work in hospitals, clinics, schools, and correctional facilities connecting clients with social services and benefit programs. clinical sociable workers may besides diagnose behavioral and emotional issues, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as provide lecture therapy and counseling on an outpatient basis .
Median Annual Salary : $ 51,760

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Social Worke

These professionals work with clients or patients struggling with behavioral disorders, means misuse issues, and general mental health concerns. Following an in-depth evaluation, these counselors develop comprehensive examination treatment plans, assess advance, and sic goals .
Median Annual Salary : $ 47,660

School Social Worker, Career Counselor, or Advisor

School and career counselors and advisors help students with a wide assortment of concerns, including choose courses, maintaining grades, planning for college, and organizing life after graduation. They much administer aptitude and personality tests to guide students toward careers that align with their strengths .
Median Annual Salary : $ 58,120

Child, Family, or School Social Worker

These social workers focus on helping children and their families navigate issues like mental health, unemployment, substance maltreatment, poverty, and school adjustment. They guidance students with behavioral issues, consult with parents and teachers, develop comprehensive treatment plans, evaluate advance, and set patient goals .
Median Annual Salary : $ 48,430

Medical Social Worker

Healthcare social workers provide support to patients and families dealing with challenging health diagnoses like end or chronic illnesses. They much advise patients and families on their checkup options, monitor the mental and emotional health of patients, and provide individual and group rede services .
Median Annual Salary : $ 57,630

Social Work Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

After earning a dominate ’ s degree in sociable function, graduates can far advance their cognition by pursuing a doctoral degree. Master ’ s degree-holders who want to land advance clinical positions can opt for a doctoral degree in social work, while those interest in teaching and inquiry careers can enroll in a social exercise Ph.D. plan .
Both tracks normally take 3-5 years and are considered terminal degrees in the sociable work field .

Licenses and Certifications

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require social workers to graduate from a CSWE-accredited program and pass a licensure examination. extra requirements, however, vary widely by express. Students can find information on individual country licensure board requirements on the Association of Social Work Boards web site .
While all states differ, students should expect to pass an examination and complete a indicate number of clinical or practicum hours. Depending on the state of matter, there are respective professional licenses available to students upon graduation of a bachelor ’ south or master ’ mho degree in social cultivate, including the follow :

  • Licensed baccalaureate of social work (bachelor’s level)
  • Licensed master of social work (master’s level)
  • Licensed master social worker – advanced generalist (master’s level)
  • Licensed clinical social worker (master’s level)
  • Licensed social worker – administration (master’s level or higher)

How Do I Choose an Online Master’s in Social Work Program?


many factors affect the cost of college, including location, academic degree flat, and type of institution. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost of a alumnus degree at a public institution was $ 12,171 during the 2018-2019 school year, while the average cost at a secret institution was $ 19,314 .

Program Format

tractability can be key when earning a master ’ randomness degree, particularly for working professionals. For this cause, many online programs offer both synchronous and asynchronous class formats, adenine well as full-time and half-time program options .
Students looking for maximum tractability can opt for half-time, asynchronous programs that allow them to log on when it ’ randomness convenient for them, without set meeting times or a wide course load. Accelerated formats may besides be available for students who can take on heavy course loads .


While localization is crucial for students matter to in attending on-campus programs, on-line students shouldn ’ thyroxine dismiss the physical location of a potential institution. prospective MSW students should research whether their chosen plan requires campus visits or clinical requirements, american samoa good as if they ’ ra able to fulfill these requirements in a location close to home if travel is not an choice .


Seeking an institution with proper accreditation is among the most important factors to consider when researching MSW programs. not lone does accreditation impact a student ’ sulfur ability to transfer credits, it can determine whether a graduate is eligible for professional licensure. MSW students should ensure that their educate is regionally accredited and that their program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education .

Student Support

prospective MSW students should seek schools that offer scholar resources like mentorship programs, student career centers, and alumni networking opportunities. on-line students may find these services particularly beneficial, as they can help connect students to their campus and peers .

2022 Best Accredited Online MSW Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master’s in Social Work Programs

Is a passkey ‘s in social work worth it ? true
A passkey ’ s degree in social shape can be very worthwhile for learners who want to advance their social work career and positively impact their communities. Earning this degree equips students with skills needed for meaningful roles helping others in education, healthcare, and social services .
What can I do with a headmaster ‘s in social work ?
A master ’ s degree in social work can open doors to rewarding roles in a variety of fields aimed at improving social benefit and quality of life. Graduates can find work in schools as counselors, in private offices as marriage and class therapists, and in checkup settings as healthcare social workers .
Are social workers in demand ?
The BLS projects 13 % job growth for sociable workers from 2019 to 2029, a rate a lot faster than the median for all occupations. The BLS projects the highest demand for child, kin, and school social workers ; healthcare social workers ; and mental health and substance abuse social workers .
How much money can I make with an MSW ?
The sum of money MSW graduates make depends on their choose field, localization, and professional feel. According to the BLS, the top 10 % of earners in social work make more than $ 85,820 per year, while the lowest 10 % earn less than $ 33,020. The most lucrative social influence industries include local government, ambulatory healthcare services, and state government .
What are the highest-paying jobs with a chief ‘s in sociable sour ?
Graduates of MSW programs with considerable professional experience are most likely to occupy the highest paying roles in the field. According to PayScale, the exceed 10 % of social services directors make an average annual wage of $ 85,000. The BLS reports that the top 10 % of school and career counselors and advisors make a median annual wage of more than $ 97,910 .

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Interview from:

Portrait of Sue English, MSW, LCSW, CADC

Sue English, MSW, LCSW, CADC

Sue English, MSW, LCSW, CADC, is a accredited kin therapist and owner of English Meadows Counseling Services in Naperville, IL. She specializes in trauma, self-esteem issues, and mood disorders. She has worked in detox centers, residential facilities, and inpatient/outpatient discussion centers. She is presently in private rehearse.

She is passionate about empowering individuals to see their full moon likely and create the liveliness and relationships they know they want and deserve .

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