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The 30 Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs

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Finishing a Master of Social Work for career advancement doesn’t have to be a huge obstacle. Online colleges are increasingly offering accelerated programs that require just 12 to 24 extra months beyond a Bachelor of Social Work. That’s excellent news because there’s a growing demand for MSW graduates, especially in clinical social work where the BLS has projected 10-year job growth at 19 percent. Obtaining a master’s qualifies you for adding credentials like Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) after your name. Graduate study also boosts your salary potential for making $49,294 to $73,390 each year. You could even become a social service manager where the median annual wage is $84,981.

So we’ve devoted this article to The 30 Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs that give high-quality education in shorter times for less tuition. We began by searching the directory for Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation. We filtered the 267 accredited master’s degrees to find those conducted primarily online with limited campus trips. Next, we narrowed the results to online programs offering Advanced Standing tracks for social workers already holding a BSW degree. The final list of accelerated online MSW programs was arranged by consulting the U.S. News and World Report rankings and picking the 30 most esteemed.

Here are our selections for The 30 Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs:

1. Columbia University

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Columbia University’s School of Social Work is recognized by the U.S. News as America’s sixth best online MSW campus. The 33-credit Advanced Standing option requires just two years of synchronous online courses, including 12 months of field education. Columbia students select from two online concentrations: Advanced Clinical Practice or Management Social Enterprise. Best of all, with Columbia’s online programs you avoid the hassle of life in the City but maintain all of the perks including: networking opportunities, clinical experience within the location you reside, and the ability to maintain present work and family obligations during your studies.

Tuition: $1,446/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Columbia University here.

2. Case Western Reserve University

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Satisfying ASWB licensing requirements, the Mandel School at Case Western Reserve University offers a 36-credit, accelerated Online Master of Science in Social Administration track for BSW graduates. Students specialize in Community Practice for Social Change or Direct Practice. Online students may expect equalled standard of educational excellence that traditional Case Western on campus programs provide. This includes plenty of educational support throughout studies as well as a steady balance between work, life, and education.
The U.S. News recognized Case Western Reserve University for the ninth best graduate social work education.

Tuition: $1,419/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Case Western Reserve University here.

3. University of Southern California

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Ranked 12th nationally by the U.S. News, the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California confers a 37-unit Advanced Standing MSW online. Admitting cohorts each August, the three-semester, full-time curriculum offers specializations for Adults and Healthy Aging, Youth and Families, or Organization and Business Innovation. Online graduate students at USC also have the option of multiple start dates throughout the academic year for ease of access to advanced education.

Tuition: $1,733/unit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Southern California here.

4. Boston University

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Boston University’s School of Social Work, placed 12th nationally by the U.S. News, confers an Online MSW with a fast 40-credit Advanced Standing track or 65-credit Human Service Experience track. Live online courses meet every Sunday and Monday with 1,000 fieldwork hours. Two majors are available: Clinical Social Work or Macro Social Work. Both online MSW program option offer Boston University’s stellar history of academic excellence paired with innovative technology, coursework, and field experiences.

Tuition: $750/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Boston University here.

5. Fordham University

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The Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University is applauded by the U.S. News for the 22nd best social work programs, including an Online MSW. Taking just one year full-time, the 33-hour Advanced Standing option offers two concentrations: Clinical or Leadership and Macro Practice. Eight-week, asynchronous courses are blended with 1,200 fieldwork hours to ensure qualified professionals emerge from the most time efficient and academically balanced online MSW program offered at Fordham.

Tuition: $907/hour

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Fordham University here.

6. SUNY University at Buffalo

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The Advanced Standing Online MSW is one of the SUNY Buffalo programs for which the School of Social Work was ranked 27th nationally by the U.S. News. This accelerated, 35-credit option has synchronous and asynchronous components with one 480-hour field placement. Online electives range from interpersonal violence to behavior disorders and offer online MSW the option of specialization within the field of social work. Graduates may advance with the education, experience, and qualifications necessary for certification.

Tuition: $540/credit (in-state) or $925/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at SUNY University of Buffalo here.

7. Indiana University

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Each January, May, and August, BSW graduates are admitted into this Master of Social Work Online Program for the 39-credit, two-year Advanced Standing Full-Time track. Online students receive an Advanced Generalist concentration with optional eSocial Work or Telebehavioral Health Practice certificates. Indiana University tied for the U.S. News survey’s 27th spot.

Tuition: $541/credit (in-state) or $675/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Indiana University here.

8. University of Louisville

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Ranked #1 in Kentucky and 32nd nationally by the USNWR, the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work offers its M.S. in Social Work online with a fast, 30-credit Advanced Standing option. With a minimum 3.25 GPA, students can finish specializations like Gerontology, Military Social Work, Mental Health, or Oncology in two semesters.

Tuition: $715/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Louisville here.

9. University of Tennessee

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Given the TACHE Innovative Programming Award and ranked 32nd nationally by the U.S. News, the University of Tennessee grants the Online MSSW with a hasty 12-month Advanced Standing track. Online courses are accessed 24/7 to learn evidence-based strategies for direct practice or administration with 672+ fieldwork hours.

Tuition: $6,417/semester (in-state) or $15,572/semester (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Tennessee here.

10. Florida State University

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Florida State University’s College of Social Work was placed 38th nationally by the U.S. News among the best Master of Social Work programs. Through Blackboard, BSW graduates from nine authorized states like Alabama and Nebraska can complete the 39-credit, clinically-focused Online MSW Advanced Standing option in 24 months.

Tuition: $559/credit (in-state) or $625/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Florida State University here.

11. University of Texas – Arlington

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Texans can pursue the Fully Online MSW Cohort through the University of Texas-Arlington’s Maverick School of Social Work, which tied for 38th place in the USNWR rankings. The 38-credit, one-year Advanced Standing track has online concentrations for clically treating the mentally ill, addicted, aging, or youth with 500 fieldwork hours.

Tuition: $16,500 total

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Texas – Arlington here.

12. University of Houston

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Every Spring, the University of Houston admits around 25 BSW graduates to the Online Clinical MSW Advanced Standing Program for LCSW licensure. The UH College of Social Work offers high-quality training ranked 38th nationally by the U.S. News. Online cohorts complete assignments via Blackboard and Skype with 900 internship hours.

Tuition: $376/credit (in-state) or $891/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Houston here.

13. University of Alabama

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Praised for America’s 47th best graduate social work education by the U.S. News, Bama By Distance confers a 42-credit MSW Advanced Standing option in three semesters. Online courses are supplemented with one Saturday skills lab in Tuscaloosa and 500 practicum hours. Students select from two concentrations: Children and Adolescents or Adults and their Families.

Tuition: $367/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Alabama here.

14. Simmons College

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Led by PhD-level faculty trained at Clark, Columbia, Bryn Mawr, and more, the Simmons School of Social Work also ranks 47th nationally according to the U.S. News. The Online MSW offers an accelerated, four-term Advanced Standing track with two field placements in specializations like Child and Family, Health and Aging, or Trauma and Interpersonal Violence.

Tuition: $1,010/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Simmons College here.

15. Colorado State University

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Accredited for 40 years, the Colorado State School of Social Work has the nation’s 58th best graduate education, including an Online MSW, according to the U.S. News. The two-year, Advanced Standing cohort offers five online specializations like Military and Veteran Culture, Nonprofit Administration, or PreK-12 School Social Work with nearly 1,000 field hours.

Tuition: $618/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Colorado State University here.

16. University of Missouri

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The University of Missouri’s College of Human Environmental Sciences houses the U.S. News’ 58th best social work programs, including a fully online MSW. Unlocking a median salary of $63,530, the 39-credit Advanced Standing option takes six semesters instead of nine. Online courses charge in-state tuition and arrange practicum at 300+ Midwest locations.

Tuition: $25,254 total

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Missouri here.

17. University of Arkansas

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Consisting of 39 credits, the Online Advanced Standing MSW is one of the Fulbright College’s social work programs for which the University of Arkansas was ranked 78th by the U.S. News. Without GRE or on-campus requirements, the one-year, full-time program lets social workers “learn in place” and fulfill practicum conveniently in their workplace.

Tuition: $404/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Arkansas here.

18. University of Central Florida

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Accelerated, seven-week courses accompany the University of Central Florida’s Online MSW, which was crowned the 78th best social work program by the U.S. News. Post-bachelor’s practitioners don’t take the GRE before studying topics from child protection to veterans assistance online and fulfilling at least 1,000 fieldwork hours.

Tuition: $327/credit (in-state) or $1,151/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Central Florida here.

19. Louisiana State University

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Founded in 1937, Louisiana State University’s School of Social Work was honored for America’s 91st best graduate degrees by the U.S. News. The MSW Online grants a fast 33-hour, one-year Advanced Standing track. Along with 480 clock hours of internship, social workers take generalist courses like differential diagnosis, diversity, and nonprofit management.

Tuition: $509/hour

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Louisiana State University here.

20. University of Alaska – Anchorage

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Also ranked 91st nationally by the USNWR, the University of Alaska-Anchorage offers an Online MSW with regularly scheduled evening courses on Blackboard. The Advanced Standing option takes just 1-2 years. Students could tailor the 35-credit generalist curriculum with the School Social Work Specialization or Children’s Mental Health Certificate.

Tuition: $444/credit (in-state) or $907/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Alaska – Anchorage here.

21. University of South Florida

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The University of South Florida’s College of Behavioral and Community Sciences is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for America’s 103rd best social work education, including an Online Advanced Standing MSW. Post-BSW students from any state except Michigan or Minnesota log onto synchronous online courses every Tuesday and Thursday evening for three semesters.

Tuition: $347/credit (in-state) or $771/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of South Florida here.

22. Boise State University

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The Online Master of Social Work in Boise State University’s College of Health Sciences was ranked the country’s 103rd best by the USNWR. Requiring just 37 credits, the speedy Advanced Program track develops general policy skills to promote social justice in three terms full-time. To satisfy Idaho LMSW licensing, 600 fieldwork hours are integrated.

Tuition: $450/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Boise State University here.

23. Texas State University

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Within the College of Applied Arts, Texas State University’s Master of Social Work was named the 123rd best program of its kind nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. The Online Advanced Standing track consists of 36 credits in the Advanced Practice Leadership (APL) concentration and two field practica for one-year completion.

Tuition: $1,475/course (in-state) or $2,720/course (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Texas State University here.

24. University of Nevada – Reno

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The University of Nevada-Reno also ranked 123rd nationally by the U.S. News and World Report for its Online Master of Social Work, which has a 32-credit Advanced Standing Program. With two practica, graduates spend 15 months full-time sharpening skills in four specializations: Children and Families, Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Gerontology.

Tuition: $350/credit (in-state) or $700/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Nevada – Reno here.

25. University of North Dakota

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Bachelor of Social Work graduates could attend the University of North Dakota for a fast, 36-credit Online MSW that requires just one-campus visit to Grand Forks. The U.S. News and World Report ranked the program 141st nationally. Live Web-based, evening courses begin every May with local field placements to produce advanced generalist social workers.

Tuition: $535/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of North Dakota here.

26. Our Lady of the Lake University

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The Our Lady of the Lake University Worden School of Social Service won the CSWE Presidential Award for Excellence tied for America’s 141st best graduate programs on the U.S. News Report. The Online MSW offers a quick, 30-credit Advanced Concentration track with an emphasis on Hispanic populations. The full-time curriculum takes 1.5 years with 500 fieldwork hours.

Tuition: $822/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Our Lady of the Lake University here.

27. University of New England

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According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of New England also confers the country’s 141st best graduate social work programs, such as the Online MSW Advanced Standing Track. In only 16 months, the 35-hour curriculum teaches specialized skills for Clinical Practice, Community Practice, or Integrated Practice with one field placement.

Tuition: $890/hour

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of New England here.

28. Saint Leo University

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Residents of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia could finish Saint Leo University’s Online MSW Advanced Standing Program in two years full-time. The 35-credit program was placed 141st nationally by the U.S. News and World Report. For the Advanced Clinical Practice Concentration, students take synchronous online courses via webcam with one weekend intensive in Tampa.

Tuition: $465/credit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at St. Leo University here.

29. Humboldt State University

The College of eLearning & Extended Education houses one of Humboldt State University’s graduate social work programs ranked 177th nationally by the U.S. News and World Report. The MSW-DL Advanced Standing degree takes one year with live online courses every Thursday night. Students also complete a four-day January intensive in Arcata with 480 fieldwork hours.

Tuition: $510/unit

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Humboldt State University here.

30. Edinboro University

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Edinboro University’s School of Graduate Studies is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for America’s 198th best master’s program in social work. Accelerating the Online MSW is possible with the 30-credit, three-semester Advanced Standing tract. Students complete 400 fieldwork hours at wide-ranging agencies like Sarah Reed Children’s Center, Erie Family Center, and Crawford County Hospice.

Tuition: $585/credit (in-state) or $913/credit (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Fastest Online Master of Social Work Degree Programs at Edinboro University here.

Related Links

The Top 15 MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers
15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs

The Top 20 Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs

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Online bachelor’s degree programs in social work are ideal for returning adults who need the flexibility of a virtual classroom instead of a college campus. Earning a BSW is the minimum licensing threshold for many social work specialties, including mental health, oncology, military, community, and hospice. Transferring into an online BSW can improve your marketability for the in-demand human services field from high-tech eLearning platforms like Blackboard. Social work graduates, whether on-campus or online, are welcomed into a job market expected to grow by 12 percent through 2024 for 74,800 new positions according to the BLS. PayScale reports that BSW specialties provide average salaries from $30,656 to $63,342.

Therefore, we’ve used the following article to outline the Top 20 Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs for tomorrow’s “helping” professionals. We began searching for distance education options that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for high-quality, generalist training. BSW programs had to be at least two-thirds online with flexible locations for field practice. We arranged the qualifying degrees according to rankings in Washington Monthly. This magazine orders colleges based on social mobility, service, and research for “contribution to the public good.” Our other checking points were tuition, transferability, online technology, class size, faculty interaction, supervised experience, and LBSW pass rates.

1. California State University – Chico

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Opened on General John Bidwell’s land north of Sacramento in 1887, California State University-Chico joined the 23-campus public, co-educational system to educate around 16,488 undergrad Wildcats with a $54 million endowment. Washington Monthly ranked CSU-Chico as America’s 30th best master’s-level university. Available 67 percent online for $3,513 per semester, the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is a CSWE-accredited, hybrid degree completion program for California residents who transfer 60+ college credits.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at California State University – Chico here.

2. University of Utah

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Endowed for $1.07 billion, the University of Utah is a public, doctoral-granting APLU member of the Pac-12 Conference that’s educating around 23,700 undergrad Utes from 1,534 urban acres in Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front and online. According to Washington Monthly, Utah is the 39th best national university. Charging $3,841 per full-time semester, the CSWE-accredited College of Social Work’s Online BSW is conducted via Canvas with a field internship and thesis project.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at the University of Utah here.

3. Humboldt State University

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Established by Governor Hiram Johnson and named for the German scientist in 1913, Humboldt State University is the northernmost public, land-grant CSU institution endowed for $27 million to educate over 7,900 undergrad Lumberjacks in Arcata and online. HSU was placed 53rd nationally among master’s-level universities by Washington Monthly. Maintaining CSWE accreditation, the Department of Social Work welcomes online BASW students with 60+ transfer units for courses like human behavior and field preparation outside Humboldt County.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Humboldt State University here.

4. Briar Cliff University

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Affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sioux City, Briar Cliff University is a private, nonprofit Franciscan AACU institution that’s enrolling around 1,200 undergrad Chargers in Iowa’s fourth-largest city and online. According to Washington Monthly, Briar Cliff is America’s 82nd best baccalaureate-level university. Starting each quarter for $399 per credit, the 47-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work is an online degree completion option with regular Skype sessions and at least 450 fieldwork hours.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Briar Cliff University here.

5. Huntington University

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Headquartered on a 160-acre lakeside campus adjacent to the Thornhill Nature Preserve, Huntington University is a private, nonprofit CCCU member affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ to educate over 1,200 on-site and online Foresters. Washington Monthly crowned Huntington the 88th best baccalaureate-level institution. With CSWE approval, the Bachelor of Social Work is delivered online for adults build 120 credits, Protestant values, LBSW licensing eligibility, and 600+ field experience hours.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Huntington University here.

6. Saint Louis University

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Belonging to the 28-member AJCU, Saint Louis University is a private, nonprofit Jesuit research institution led by President Fred Pestello with a $1.02 billion endowment to educate 8,600 undergrad Billikens in Missouri’s largest metropolitan and online. Washington Monthly distinguished SLU as the 125th best national university. For $630 per credit, the School for Professional Studies confers a hybrid, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Science in Social Work partly online with practicum at 400+ partnering agencies.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Saint Louis University here.

7. Salisbury University

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Attracting nearly 8,000 undergrad Sea Gulls from 62 countries, Salisbury University is a public, co-educational teaching institution holding a $45.7 million endowment in the University System of Maryland to educate from its 173-acre campus in Wicomico County and beyond. Salisbury was deemed America’s 152nd best master’s-level university by the Washington Monthly. The CSWE-accredited Social Work Department expanded in 2006 to provide the 60-credit BASW with live video and online instruction for associate degree holders.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Salisbury University here.

8. Northern Arizona University

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Featuring over 160,000 alumni, including human rights activist Kayla Mueller, Northern Arizona University is a public, co-educational research institution in the Big Sky Conference that’s serving around 26,500 undergrad Lumberjacks in Flagstaff and online. According to Washington Monthly, NAU stands as the 201st best national university. Since January 2016, the Extended Campuses have granted the 120-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work online with elective tracks like Case Management, Child and Youth Services, and Disability Services.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Northern Arizona University here.

9. University of Alaska – Fairbanks

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Founded as the Alaska Agricultural College on Troth Yeddha in 1917, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks has diversified as a public, sea-grant RU/H research hub that’s educating over 9,000 undergrad Nanooks in 120 disciplines from Bristol Bay to the Aleutian Islands and online. UAF is deemed America’s 202nd best university by Washington Monthly. Rural Alaskans can pursue the 123-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work with an optional Gerontology Specialization online or face-to-face in their home communities.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks here.

10. Brescia University

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Since becoming co-educational in 1951, Brescia University has remained a close-knit private, Catholic liberal arts NAICU school that’s enlightening under 1,000 undergrad Bearcats in the Urusline Sisters’ tradition from Kentucky’s fourth-largest city and online. Washington Monthly placed Brescia as America’s 215th best baccalaureate-level university. With CSWE accreditation, the two-year Online BSW Degree Completion program is available with five term dates for transferring adults who hold 86 transferable credits and meet the minimum GER.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Brescia University here.

11. Appalachian State University

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Formerly a TIME “College of the Year,” Appalachian State University is a public, co-educational ORAU institution in the UNC system that’s endowed for $94.6 million to serve around 18,000 undergrad Mountaineers from its Boone headquarters. ASU is crowned America’s 216th best master’s-level university by Washington Monthly. Charging just $160 per credit for North Carolinians, the 52-credit Social Work BSW is a hybrid, CSWE-accredited degree completion program with off-campus courses in Burke or Hickory and online.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Appalachian State University here.

12. University of North Dakota

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Chartered in 1883 after publisher George H. Walsh’s determination, the University of North Dakota is the Roughrider State’s oldest public, space-grant RU/H institution endowed for $230.5 million to educate 11,500 undergrad Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks and online. UND was deemed the 246th best national university by Washington Monthly. Featuring live online courses on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the two-year, CSWE-accredited Online Bachelor of Science in Social Work costs transfers just $339 per credit.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at the University of North Dakota here.

13. Wayne State University

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Sitting upon a 203-acre campus in Detroit’s Cultural Center Historic District, Wayne State University is Michigan’s third most popular public, co-educational institution split into 13 colleges to educate 17,600 undergrad Warriors online or on-site in 380 programs. Washington Monthly ranked WSU the 266th best national university. Celebrating its 81st anniversary, the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work offers the 60-credit BSW Where Online Works! Option for transfers to become ethical generalists with LLBSW credentialing.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Wayne State University here.

14. Campbellsville University

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Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Campbellsville University is a private, nonprofit Christian teaching institution tracing back to 1906 that’s employing 315 staff and educating 3,200 undergrad Tigers from Kentucky campus near Clay Hill Memorial Forest and online. In 2016, Campbellsville was the Washington Monthly’s 267th best master’s-level university. For 120 credits, the CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work is delivered online with courses like conflict resolution or crisis intervention and 450 practicum hours.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs at Campbellsville University here.

15. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Indiana Wesleyan University is the United States’ largest private, nonprofit Methodist CCCU member endowed for $146.8 million to educate around 10,800 undergrad Wildcats in Marion, at 15 regional centers, and online. Washington Monthly declared IWU the 282nd best master’s-level university for 2016. The College of Adult and Professional Studies has seen enrollment skyrocket by 900 percent in programs like the 64-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work, which integrates 400 practicum hours with vulnerable populations.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degrees at Indiana Wesleyan University here.

16. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

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Led by President Dr. Chris Maggio, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public, co-educational teaching college in the NASA’s Joint Venture Program that’s enrolling around 8,000 undergrad Demons for the UL system in Natchitoches and online. NSU was ranked the 355th best national university by Washington Monthly. The Global Campus confers a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work online for $375 per credit to satisfy Advanced Standing MSW and LBSW requirements.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degrees at Northwestern State University of Louisiana here.

17. Washburn University

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Enrolling over 6,700 Ichabods on 160 acres in Topeka and online, Washburn University is a public, co-educational CNAHEC institution established in 1865 as Lincoln College that’s grown with a $156.48 million endowment. According to Washington Monthly, Washburn is ranked the 366th best master’s-level university nationwide. Along with 480 practicum hours, online courses are arranged to finish the CSWE-accredited School of Applied Studies’ BSW program for transfers with 36+ credits and a minimum 2.5 GPA overall.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degrees at Washburn University here.

18. Brandman University

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Built to offer adult-friendly, flexible education in 1958, Brandman University is a private, nonprofit distance learning institution led by Chairman David A. Janes to educate around 4,000 undergrads at 26 California campuses or online. Given the ACE Institutional Transformation Award in 2017, Brandman is the 412th best master’s-level university according to Washington Monthly. The 120-credit, CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is offered wholly online with eight-week sessions and a supervised, 400-hour internship.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degrees at Brandman University here.

19. Bemidji State University

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Originally called Bemidji State Teachers College until 1975, Bemidji State University is a public, co-educational land-grant institution in the MNSCU system that’s attracting 5,900 undergrad Beavers into online and face-to-face programs in Minnesota. Washington Monthly placed Bemidji State as America’s 455th best master’s-level institution. Boasting a 96 percent LBSW pass rate, the Hybrid Social Work BSW admits cohorts each Fall to take CSWE-accredited courses online, meet on-campus three times per term, and finish 480 practicum hours.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degrees at Bemidji State University here.

20. Metropolitan State University Denver

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Nestled on Cherry Creek in the Auraria district, Metropolitan State University Denver is a public, urban-grant “opportunity school” endowed for $8.6 million that’s educating over 23,900 undergrad Roadrunners. Washington Monthly lauded MSU Denver as the 607th best master’s-level institution nationally. Via Blackboard, the CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work launched a Fully Online BSSW Option in Fall 2016 for Colorado residents to finish the 55-credit social justice major for $312 per credit with some synchronous courses.

Learn more about Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degrees at Metropolitan State University Denver here.

 

 

Related Links

The Top 15 Online Bachelor in Social Work Degree Programs
The Top 10 Online Social Work Bachelor’s Degree Programs
The 10 Best Accredited Online BSW Programs

What are Child Welfare Certificate Programs?

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Social work majors seeking to specialize in youth protective services can benefit greatly from child welfare certificate programs. While earning Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees, students can select this add-on certificate for extra credits related to preventing and addressing child mistreatment. Child welfare social work is a certified concentration concerned with referring helpful resources to at-risk children, adolescents, and families. Social workers in child welfare manage youth caseloads to investigate threats like physical or verbal abuse, sexual assault, neglect, and addiction. Since 1980, federal funding under the Child Welfare and Adoption Assistance Act has supported Title IV-E training to address social work shortages. The following is a guide of everything you should know before pursuing child welfare certificate programs.

Typical Child Welfare Training Curriculum

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Child welfare certificates are competency-based training programs added to social work majors for in-depth knowledge on the unique needs of America’s youngest citizens. Most certificates will fill electives with 15 to 25 credits in child welfare. Coursework could delve into childhood development, family dynamics, neglect assessment, strengths-based case management, and child services policy. Child welfare certificate programs generally take one year full-time, including specialized field practicum. Carrying a social work GPA of 3.0 or higher is a common requirement for admission. Certificate training could come with a tuition waiver and stipend to lower costs. In fact, the NASW reports that states receive around $44 million via Title IV-E for child welfare workers.

State Certification in Child Welfare Social Work

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The biggest benefit of pursuing child welfare certificate programs is fulfilling state licensing for this specialty. Nearly all 50 states have designated qualifications for non-clinical social workers, including a BSW or higher, supervised experience, and a clean background check. However, several states have additional child welfare requirements due to the career’s extremely sensitive nature. Take for instance the Florida Certification Board, which credentials Child Welfare Professionals (CWP) and Child Welfare Case Managers (CWCM). The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services is another example requiring child welfare workers pass the Certification Program. On the national level, certificate graduates could earn the NICWA’s Tribal Child Welfare Worker Certification for serving Native American youth.

Career Opportunities with a Child Welfare Certificate

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The Children’s Bureau reported that the number of children receiving a protective services investigation increased by 9 percent from 2011 to 2015. Of the estimated 658,000 young victims that year, 75 percent were neglected and 17 percent were physically abused. Therefore, child welfare certificate programs open in-demand human services careers. Most graduates will become child and family social workers, but titles like conservatorship specialist, child protective investigator, family case manager, adoption specialist, and behavioral counselor are also available. Some could be recruited as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused or neglected youth. After graduation, jobs will primarily be housed in your state’s or county’s Department of Children and Family Services.

How to Find Child Welfare Certificate Programs

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Making the gratifying decision to enter child welfare social work can be carried out with a simple online search. Look toward Google or databases like the NCES College Navigator to narrow down child welfare certification programs nationwide. Prioritize accreditation, especially from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), for high-quality training. Other factors to consider are location, program length, curriculum, in-service fieldwork opportunities, financial aid, class size, and job placement. Selecting schools ranked for social work by authorities like us here at Special Education Degrees, the U.S. News and World Report, and College Choice could add prestige to your resume. Some great options (for example) include Michigan State University’s BASW Certificate in Child Welfare, Indiana University’s Child Abuse and Neglect Certificate, and the University of Pennsylvania’s MSW Child Welfare Specialization.

Child welfare certificates teach the best practices for improving the well-being of extremely vulnerable youth groups. Integrating the certificate into your BSW or MSW degree would be helpful because the BLS predicts that employment of child and family social workers will grow by 6 percent through 2024 for 19,000 new jobs. Child welfare social workers report an average annual wage of $46,610, or $22.41 per hour. Certificate programs will enhance your marketability for the social services sector while providing stipends that reduce debt. From finding foster placements for abandoned kids to addressing parental misbehavior, child welfare certificate programs are skill-building opportunities for social workers passionate about youngsters.

Related Links

The Top 15 MSW Programs For Child Welfare Careers
What is Child Welfare Social Work?

Top 15 Online Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs

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Social work is a broad umbrella term used to describe any human services fields helping clients overcome challenges and injustices in their lives. Whether you’re interested in family, medical, addiction, military, gerontological, or psychiatric social work, training must begin with at least a Bachelor of Social Work. Investing in this undergrad major pays off because the demand for social workers will grow faster-than-average by 12 percent through 2024. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that these roughly 74,800 new BSW-level jobs will provide median pay of $45,900. Preparing for the satisfying career takes 4+ years, but coursework can be easily accessed at online colleges.

The following article outlines the Top 15 Online Bachelor of Social Work Programs that can fulfill basic LBSW licensing requirements. Our search started with the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) directory of 795 schools. We filtered results down to generalist BSW programs launched with online coursework and minimal campus commutes. Next, we selected the accredited schools offering the highest freshmen retention rates since this signals student satisfaction. We recorded the online tuition from each college’s website and looked for notable rankings with the U.S. News and World Report. Other considerations were flexibility, credit transfer, practicum opportunities, work-life balance, and exam pass rates.

1. University of Utah

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Established as the University of Deseret in 1850, the University of Utah is a public, space-grant RU/VH APLU member conferring 190+ programs to more than 31,500 Utes from headquarters in Salt Lake City. The USNWR ranked Utah as America’s 111th best university and 73rd best for vets school. Within the College of Social Work, a CSWE-accredited, 51-credit Bachelor of Social Work degree completion program is delivered via Canvas.

Retention Rate: 89%

Tuition: $3,841.33 (in-state) and $10,817.33 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Utah here

2. California State University – Chico

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Endowed for $53.9 million, California State University-Chico is the 23-campus system’s second-oldest public, co-educational master’s institution with 17,500 Wildcats studying north of Sacramento and online. CSU-Chico was ranked the West’s 37th best college and eighth top public school by the U.S. News. The CSWE-accredited School of Social Work offers junior-level transfers a part-time, three-year Bachelor of Arts in Social Work online with only two campus weekends.

Retention Rate: 86%

Tuition: $3,513 (in-state) and 5,751 (out-of-state) per term

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at the California State University – Chico here.

3. Salisbury University

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Located 30 miles west of Ocean City’s shoreline, Salisbury University is a public, co-educational USM constituent educating around 8,700 Sea Gulls on-site and online with a $45.7 million endowment. According to the U.S. News, Salisbury is the North’s 67th best college and 20th top public university. Expanded in 2006, the CSWE-accredited Social Work Department offers a BASW online or using interactive TV technology for non-urban residents with 60+ transfer credits.

Retention Rate: 82%

Tuition: $3,423 (in-state) and $7,629 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Salisbury University here.

4. Huntington University

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Belonging to the Crossroads League, Huntington University is a private, Protestant liberal arts institution opened in 1897 that’s now enlightening over 1,200 Foresters yearly in north-central Indiana and online. The U.S. News applauded Huntington as the Midwest’s 13th best college and 11th top investment value. Rooted in holistic Christian principles, the CSWE-accredited, 120-credit Bachelor of Social Work is available primarily online with 600+ hours of community fieldwork.

Retention Rate: 80%

Tuition: $368 per credit + $100 tech fee

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Huntington University here.

5. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Led by Chancellor Dr. Henry Smith, Indiana Wesleyan University is the CCCU’s largest private, Methodist liberal arts member endowed for $107.3 million with 15,800 Wildcats in Muncie, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and beyond. The U.S. News ranked IWU as the Midwest’s 27th best university, but Niche ranked them 36th for “Best Christian Colleges” nationwide. The College of Adult and Professional Studies awards an affordable, CSWE-accredited BSW online with a six-month field placement.

Retention Rate: 79%

Tuition: $383 per credit hour

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Indiana Wesleyan University here.

6. University of North Dakota

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Governed by the ND State Board of Higher Education, the University of North Dakota is the flagship public, space-grant RU/VH institution serving nearly 15,000 Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks, Crookston, and online. The U.S. News positioned UND as America’s 202nd best university and 110th top public college. Maintaining CSWE accreditation, the Online BSSW completion program starts every August with synchronous evening courses for students holding 45+ credits.

Retention Rate: 78%

Tuition: $339.04 per credit (in-state regardless of residency)

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of North Dakota here.

7. Liberty University

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Devoted to “Training Champions for Christ,” Liberty University is a private, nonprofit Baptist NAICU member endowed for $1.05 billion and based in Lynchburg, Virginia, to nurture nearly 115,000 Flames worldwide. The U.S. News recognized Liberty for the 148th best online bachelor’s degrees, while Niche crowned them the 12th top online school. Undergoing CSWE review, the 120-credit Online B.S. in Social Work program teaches human rights advocates with just one on-site intensive.

Retention Rate: 77%

Tuition: $390 (full-time) and $455 (part-time) per hour

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Liberty University here.

8. Wayne State University

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Attracting around 27,200 Warriors, Wayne State University is among the United States’ 100 largest public, co-educational research colleges based in Detroit with six Metro extensions and an online division. The U.S. News lauds WSU for the 28th best online bachelor’s options with 76 percent retention. The CSWE-accredited School of Social Work admits upper-division transfers into the BSW Where Online Works! program for earning limited LLBSW licensure.

Retention Rate: 76%

Tuition: $360 (in-state) and $825 (out-of-state) per hour

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Wayne State University here.

9. University of Alaska – Fairbanks

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Belonging to the UArctic Network, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks is a public, land-grant RU/H institution founded in 1917 that’s now educating over 10,200 Nanooks across Interior Alaska and online. According to the U.S. News, UAF is the United States’ 202nd best university awarding the 132nd best online bachelor’s degrees. Cohorts can obtain the CSWE-accredited, 120-credit B.A. in Social Work in their own villages via web conferencing.

Retention Rate: 76%

Tuition: $3,588 (in-state) and $11,216 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about Bacehlor of Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks here.

10. Humboldt State University

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Located near Redwood National Park in Arcata, Humboldt State University enrolls over 8,500 Lumberjacks from California’s Northern Coast and beyond as a public, four-year teaching institution endowed for $27.1 million. The U.S. News crowned HSU the West’s 52nd best school and 12th top public university. Online learners with 60+ credits can enter the CSWE-accredited B.A. in Social Work program for three years of part-time study focused on rural practice.

Retention Rate: 75%

Tuition: $7,209 (in-state) and $18,369 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about Bacehlor of Social Work Degree Programs at Humboldt State University here.

11. Northern Arizona University

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Perched 6,950 feet above sea level in Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University offers 155 academic programs to over 30,300 Lumberjacks on-site and online as a public, state-related RU/H institution. The U.S. News picked NAU for America’s 226th best online bachelor’s degrees, while Niche positioned them as the 94th best big college. Entry-level generalist social workers are trained for serving disenfranchised populations in the 75-unit, CSWE-accredited BSW major online.

Retention Rate: 74%

Tuition: $387 (in-state) and $833 (out-of-state) per unit

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Northern Arizona University here.

12. Bemidji State University

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Founded in 1919 as a teacher’s college, Bemidji State University has expanded as a public, co-educational liberal arts institution with over 6,300 Beavers from 40 global nations studying in northern Minnesota and online. According to the U.S. News, BSU is the Midwest’s 115th best university and 35th top public school. With a 480-hour internship, the CSWE-accredited Social Work Integrated Model (SWIM) program confers a cohort-based BSW online.

Retention Rate: 68%

Tuition: $305 per credit (in-state regardless of residency)

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Bemidji State University here.

13. Campbellsville University

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Affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Campbellsville University is a private, nonprofit baccalaureate institution established in 1906 that’s enrolling around 3,200 Tigers on-site near Green River Lake and online. The U.S. News ranked Campbellsville as the South’s 98th best regional school with 68 percent retention. Real-world social services preparation is delivered through the CSWE-accredited, 120-credit Bachelor of Social Work online with 450 direct fieldwork hours at approved agencies.

Retention Rate: 68%

Tuition: $399 per hour +$125 online course fee

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Campbellsville University here.

14. Briar Cliff University

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Operated by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Dubuque since 1930, Briar Cliff University is a private, Catholic liberal arts school endowed for $9.5 million to educate 1,100 Chargers in Sioux City, Iowa, and online. The U.S. News congratulated Briar Cliff for becoming the Midwest’s 30th best college and sixth most veteran-friendly university. For 47 credits and 450 internship hours, transfers can finish the CSWE-accredited BSW degree completion program online.

Retention Rate: 62%

Tuition: $399 per credit + $35 student fees

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Briar Cliff University here.

15. Brescia University

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Named after the Italian city where St. Angelia Merici founded the Company of St. Ursula, Brescia University is a private, co-educational Catholic ACCU member with 875 Bearcats studying in northwestern Kentucky and online. Brescia is the South’s 32nd best college with the 226th best online bachelor’s degrees nationwide according to the USNWR. The CSWE-accredited, 75-credit Bachelor of Social Work degree completion begins five times annually for online courses like human diversity and aging.

Retention Rate: 60%

Tuition: $425 per credit

Learn more about Bachelor of Social Work Degree Programs at Brescia University here.

The 15 Best International Social Work Degree Programs

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Social workers interested in broadening career opportunities beyond U.S. borders accomplish their goal within accredited MSW programs for international social work. Not all social workers utilize their problem-solving skills to protect communities from social injustices globally so the international social degree workers offer specialized skills to a variety of people within distinct aspects of society. International social workers play pivotal parts in addressing these issues along with natural disasters, sex trafficking, slavery, violence, and racial inequality. Studying from a global perspective positions graduates for opportunities with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the International Justice Mission and World Health Organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for social workers will spike faster-than-average by 12 percent through 2024. Additionally, according to recent data collected via UNICEF, 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty and 750 million people lack adequate drinking water.

This means the world needs international social work degree graduates more than ever before. Therefore, we’ve put together the 15 Best International Social Work Degree Programs based in the United States with strong foreign components. We began by searching the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) accreditation directory. We selected “International” for the concentration to filter the 793 total schools down to 21. Next, we consulted the U.S. News and World Report to determine which MSW programs were ranked nationally. We double checked each degree’s website to ensure specialization pathways were available for fieldwork and internships abroad. Other factors we considered in our ordering were curriculum length, class size, graduation rate, academic rigor, faculty credentials, and research opportunity.

And the results are here with our selections of the 15 Best International Social Work Degree Programs:

1. University of Chicago

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Founded by the American Baptist Education Society in 1890, the University of Chicago is a private, co-educational RU/VH institution with over 15,700 Maroons studying in Hyde Park and abroad. The U.S. News ranked UChicago the third best university with the country’s third best social work education. Within the CSWE-accredited School of Social Service Administration, the AM program offers an International Social Welfare sequence. The two-year, full-time program features a study abroad requirement at 600+ partner agencies, such as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. There’s also a Global Health Certificate available.

Tuition: $15,321 per quarter

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Chicago here.

2. Columbia University

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Affiliated with 100 Nobel laureates like Theodore Roosevelt, Columbia University belongs to the Ivy League as a private, non-sectarian RU/VH institution with 27,900 Lions in Upper Manhattan. According to the USNWR, Columbia is America’s fifth top college with the sixth best MSW program. Master of Social Work students choose from seven CSWE-accredited practice options, including International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees. The 60-credit curriculum can be completed face-to-face in 16 months, two years, or four years. The 1,200 fieldwork hours are fulfilled with top-notch agencies, including United Nations.

Tuition: $43,432 per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Columbia University here.

3. Washington University in St. Louis

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Acclaimed for the Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis is a private, nonprofit RU/VH institution near Forest Park that’s educating over 14,800 Bears. The U.S. News ranked WashU as the 19th top university with the second best social work degrees. Holding CSWE accreditation, the Brown School of Social Work confers a MSW concentration in International Social and Economic Development (SED). For global context, 960 fieldwork hours are completed abroad from Ecuador to Tanzania. The two-year, 60-credit degree could be partnered with the Master of Urban Design too.

Tuition: $19,984 per semester

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs here.

4. University of Michigan

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Attracting over 44,700 Wolverines from 100+ countries, the University of Michigan is a public, space-grant AAU member endowed for $9.7 billion in Ann Arbor near the Ontario border. UMich stands as America’s 27th best college with the #1 social work programs according to the U.S. News. Meeting CSWE guidelines, the 60-credit MSW grants a Global Social Work specialization for Regular and Advanced Standing. International field placements are arranged by Madras Christian College in India, the University of Hong Kong, and more. There’s also a 27-month Peace Corps Master’s International MSW offered.

Tuition: $50,873 per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Michigan here.

5. Boston College

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Participating in the 568 Group, Boston College is a prestigious private, Catholic RU/VH institution rooted in Jesuit values to educate over 14,100 Eagles from Chestnut Hill. The U.S. News crowned Boston College the 31st best university with the 10th top MSW program nationwide. Clinical and Macro cohorts for the Master of Social Work can pursue a Global Practice Concentration. The 60-credit curriculum confronts international social issues with a study abroad semester in South America, Europe, or Africa. Spanish speakers may join the Latino Leadership Initiative, which was deemed a “Model Program” by the CSWE.

Tuition: $1,138 per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Boston College here.

6. Tulane University

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Established by the Medical College of Louisiana in 1834, Tulane University is a private, non-sectarian ORAU member located in New Orleans to educate over 13,400 Green Wave. The U.S. News distinguished Tulane as America’s 39th top college with the 32nd best social work education. The Master’s Degree in Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited, “clinical-community” approach with an optional Global Disaster Mental Health certificate. Finishing the problem-based, 60-credit curriculum includes 990 fieldwork hours, which can be completed abroad from Haifa to Sydney. Some pair the MSW with a Master of Public Health for 89 credits.

Tuition: $15,696 per semester

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Tulane University here.

7. University of Connecticut

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Occupying 4,400 rural acres in Storrs, the University of Connecticut is a “Public Ivy,” sea-grant RU/VH institution endowed for $377.2 million to enroll over 32,000 Huskies. UConn sits as America’s 60th best university with the 47th best graduate social work programs according to the USNWR. The CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work offers seven focused study areas, including International Issues in Social Work. Completing the methods-based, 60-credit degree involves two 560-hour practica from Guatemala to India. The Global Affairs Department also offers the Armenia Social Work Project.

Tuition: $12,202 (in-state) or $31,674 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Connecticut here.

8. University of Denver

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Formerly the Colorado Seminary until 1880, the University of Denver is the Rockies’ oldest private, non-sectarian RU/H institution in “Mile-High City” with over 11,700 Pioneers. The U.S. News placed DU as the 86th best university with the 17th top MSW program nationally. With CSWE approval, the Two-Year Master of Social Work awards a Sustainable Development & Global Practice concentration. At least 15 credits in the 90-credit (60-credit Advanced Standing) program are devoted to internships with organizations like Educo Africa. Students can also conduct unique research with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection.

Tuition: $47,520 per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Denver here.

9. University of South Carolina

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Endowed for $655.4 million, the University of South Carolina is a flagship public, sea-grant SECU member that’s educating over 49,200 Gamecocks in Columbia and abroad. According to the U.S. News, USC is America’s 107th top university with the 47th best social work education. The CSWE-accredited College of Social Work confers a 60-credit MSW based in Seoul, Korea, with Sungkyunkwan University for international experience. Students can still join the Phi Alpha Honor Society, complete 900+ fieldwork hours in countries like Thailand, and take LMSW licensure preparation workshops.

Tuition: $533 (in-state) or $1,142 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of South Carolina here.

10. University of Utah

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Classified as a “selective” public, space-grant RU/VH institution, the University of Utah confers 190+ degrees for 31,500 Utes studying in Salt Lake City and around the globe. The U.S. News ranked Utah the 111th best university with the 53rd best social work school nationally. Within the two-year, CSWE-accredited MSW, there’s a Global Social Work Concentration focused on international well-being. Students can complete their 1,050 practicum hours abroad, contribute to the Center for Research on Migration & Refugee Integration, and join the Voices of Diversity (VOD) Project.

Tuition: $4,091 (in-state) or $11,663 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Utah here.

11. Andrews University

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Following the motto “Body, Mind, Spirit,” Andrews University is the oldest private, Seventh-day Adventist higher learning institution with over 3,300 Cardinals in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Andrews as the 183rd best university with the 198th best social work degrees nationwide. The School of Graduate Studies confers a MSW with an International Social Work emphasis. Students with a bachelor’s from CSWE-accredited schools cut the 56-credit curriculum to 33 credits. Portfolios are developed with 600+ fieldwork hours, including through Adventist Colleges Abroad from Sao Paulo to Hong Kong.

Tuition: $1,047 per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Andrews University here.

12. University of Texas – El Paso

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Across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the University of Texas-El Paso is a public, Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) founded in 1914 that’s grown to over 23,300 Miners. The U.S. News placed the University of Texas – El Paso in the second tier with America’s 123rd best social work degrees. The bicultural community fosters a CSWE-accredited MSW program concentrated for “Social Work in the Border Region.” Aspiring international social workers complete 60 credits full-time or part-time with 960 fieldwork hours unless Advanced Standing is achieved. Electives in Chicano Studies could be added.

Tuition: $6,933 (in-state) or $16,441 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at the University of Texas – El Paso here.

13. Monmouth University

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Belonging to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), Monmouth University is a private, co-educational teaching institution enrolling over 6,300 Hawks with a 14:1 student-faculty ratio in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Monmouth is ranked the North’s 38th best college with the 64th best MSW degree nationwide by the USNWR. Master of Social Work students can customize the 60-credit, full- or part-time curriculum with the International Community Development Concentration. Global-centric courses are supplemented with two 10-week internships abroad in Bangladesh, Chile, Italy, and more. Volunteers could also join the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Fellows Program.

Tuition: $1,098 per credit

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at Monmouth University here.

14. CUNY Hunter College

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Based on Manhattan’s famed Park Avenue, Hunter College is the CUNY system’s second-oldest public, co-educational institution educating over 21,200 Hawks from 150 countries. The U.S. News placed Hunter as the North’s 42nd best school and 11th top public college. With CSWE accreditation, the Silberman School of Social Work awards an MSW for five practice specialties, including Global Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees. The 60-credit Regular and 36-credit Advanced Standing curricula integrate at least 600 fieldwork hours from New York City to Ethiopia. Students could obtain the $1,500 Harold Lewis Scholarship too.

Tuition: $6,720 per semester

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs at CUNY Hunter College here.

15. California State University – San Bernardino

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Opened in 1960, California State University-San Bernardino is a public, space-grant institution endowed for $23.3 million that’s educating over 20,000 Coyotes within the Inland Empire. The U.S. News applauded CSUSB as the West’s 61st best college with America’s 141st best MSW. Within an “Advanced Generalist” framework, the CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work offers 10 field practice emphases, including International Social Work. The 60-credit curriculum can be completed in two or three years via the off-campus Pathway Program. At least 1,080 fieldwork hours are accumulated from Jamaica to Australia.

Tuition: $6,738 (in-state) or $15,666 (out-of-state) per year

Learn more about International Social Work Degree Programs here.

Related Links:

International Social Work Careers: An Overview

The 10 Best International Social Work Job Opportunities

Do I Need to Know A Foreign Language To Be A Social Worker?

Social Work Organizations and Resources

What Is Child Welfare Social Work?

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Social work is a diverse helping profession full of individuals seeking to enhance the lives of the vulnerable and neglected. Children are particularly defenseless in avoiding negative living situations without an adult advocate. That’s why child welfare social work has been an important and growing niche since the Child Welfare and Adoption Assistance Act of 1980 was passed. According to the NASW, 8 percent of their 90,000 members identify child welfare as their primary specialty. These child welfare social workers devote themselves to protecting children from harm. Practicing child welfare requires doing one’s best to build safe, loving environments with responsible parents for optimal child well-being. Determine if your skills are suited for child welfare social work by reviewing the following job profile.

Goals of Child Welfare Services

Annually, over 3.6 million referrals are made to child welfare agencies in the United States for abuse and neglect. One out of every 30 youth (nearly 2.5 million) are living homeless in shelters or on the streets. More than 415,000 children are in the foster care system for an average of 19.5 months. Child welfare social work focuses on assessing children’s living conditions and these problems to find resolutions for their best interests. Social workers in child welfare strive to provide actionable advice and resources for parents and guardians to positively improve kids’ safety. Every effort is made to ensure children’s physical and emotional well-being. Child welfare sometimes involves removing youth from dysfunctional, dangerous families and re-establishing better adult relationships.

What Child Welfare Social Workers Do

Child welfare social workers are responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and maltreatment to locate children with poor living conditions. They look for warning signs when interviewing guardians, teachers, and school psychologists and inspecting the child’s home. For youth at low risk, social workers will work closely with the family to remedy problems with a detailed intervention plan. For example, the child welfare social worker may refer a struggling single parent to government assistance programs. They’ll continue making periodic home visits to ascertain whether progress is occurring. Efforts are made to keep children with their natural parents, but social workers may file for protective custody in high-risk situations. Child welfare social workers then help place youth in foster care and sometimes coordinate adoptions.

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Career Opportunities in Child Welfare

Making a difference on the front lines of child welfare is possible in several different social work roles. Child protective specialists will primarily respond to mandated reports of child abuse and neglect. Juvenile counselors protect the well-being of youth in custody of the family or criminal court system. Foster care specialists offer day-to-day direction for individuals who’ve volunteered as foster parents. Family case managers will oversee the entire process of successfully placing children in healthy, happy homes. Child abuse prevention specialists work to protect kids by giving positive parenting workshops to at-risk families. Social service assistants also help guardians connect to resources, such as food stamps and drug rehab.

Child Welfare Social Work Job Prospects

Child welfare social work jobs are often based in county, state, or federal government agencies like the Children’s Bureau . You could also search at nonprofit family service organizations, schools, group homes, adoption agencies, and even churches. New child welfare social workers are needed to intervene when children are living in deplorable situations, but budgets are tight. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts hiring will increase by 6 percent through 2024, which will spark 19,000 positions nationwide. The 294,080 child and family social workers already employed report a mean annual wage of $46,610, or $22.41 per hour. California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Michigan have the highest employment level.

Training Requirements for Child Welfare Positions

Becoming a child welfare social worker will mandate holding at least a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or similar bachelor’s degree, such as psychology or sociology. Programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education have earned the acclaim of employers. Participating in specializing training like the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program is suggested. An appropriate balance of coursework and field practicum is essential to fulfill initial LBSW qualifications. Many child welfare agencies are giving preference to social workers holding a Master of Social Work (MSW) though. This graduate training will satisfy states’ licensing requirements for becoming a LMSW for advancement. Clinical licensure also includes two years of post-master’s supervised experience.

The U.S. News and World Report recognized child welfare social work as the #8 best social services job, but there are pros and cons. The in-demand specialty allows altruistic individuals to alleviate children’s suffering and develop secure living environments where their needs are met. However, child welfare social workers work long hours juggling several emotionally draining cases for below-average pay. Child welfare social work is truly a vocational calling for perceptive professionals with good judgment, strong communication skills, complex problem-solving ability, and hefty doses of compassion. If this service-oriented career path fits your passions, consider applying to CSWE-accredited programs for child welfare social work.

Related Links

The Top 15 MSW Programs For Child Welfare Careers

Top 15 MSW Programs For Child Welfare Careers

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Attending graduate school for a MSW is an excellent way for practitioners to advance into child welfare social work. The child welfare specialty is focused on protecting our nation’s youngest citizens from abuse, neglect, homelessness, and other deplorable conditions. Child welfare specialists often work for the government or nonprofit organizations to place children in the best possible living environment for health and happiness. Now’s an excellent time to consider child welfare careers because prospects are bright with faster-than-average growth of 12 percent through 2024. According to PayScale, median salaries for child welfare services range from $35,836 to $61,042.

We’ve meticulously researched the Top 15 MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers. We used the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) directory to narrow down the 90 accredited programs in the United States with Children, Youth and Families concentrations. Next, we consulted with the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for top graduate schools in social work. We looked for universities appearing on both resources for high-quality child welfare preparation. Each program had to fulfill LMSW and/or LCSW licensing requirements with extensive fieldwork in youth-related settings. Other important factors were specialized electives, financial aid, exam pass rates, class size, curriculum flexibility, and faculty credentials. That said, here are our selections for the Top 15 MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers:

1. University of Michigan

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Established as the Catholepistemiad in 1817, the University of Michigan occupies 3,177 acres in Ann Arbor on the Huron River to educate over 44,700 scholars as a premier public, sea-grant AAU member with “very high research activity.” The Institute of International Education ranked UMich fifth nationally for students studying abroad. Within the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work, Wolverines earn America’s #1 MSW according to the U.S. News and World Report. The 60-credit degree offers a practice concentration for Children and Youth in Families and Society. The 16-month or 12-month Advanced Standing track can be supplemented with a Certificate in Child Welfare. Students could also serve in the SSW Peace Corps.

Tuition: $25,756 (in-state) or $41,272 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Michigan’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careeers here.

2. Washington University in St. Louis

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Attracting over 14,800 learners from 120 countries, Washington University in St. Louis is named for the United States’ first President as a private, nonprofit RU/VH institution on 346 urban acres off Forest Park Parkway in Missouri’s second-largest city. The Wall Street Journal honored Washington University in St. Louis as the 11th Best National University. The Brown School of Social Work stands out for America’s second best MSW on the U.S. News. Eight MSW concentrations are available, including Children, Youth and Families. Child welfare education in the two-year, 60-credit curriculum holds CSWE accreditation. Students benefit from over 300 practicum sites, research experience in the Kathryn M. Buden Center, and the Urban Education Initiative (UEI).

Tuition: $19,786 per semester

Learn more about Washington University in St. Louis’ MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

3. University of California – Berkeley

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Founded from the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in 1868, the University of California-Berkeley is the Golden State’s flagship public, land-grant RU/VH institution with 38,200 Bears on its 1,232 urban acres in Alameda County. The Obama Scorecard Colleges report placed UC-Berkeley #1 for value and affordability. The CSWE-accredited Master of Social Welfare is also ranked third by the U.S. News. MSW students can declare the Direct Practice in Child and Family Services concentration through the Title IV-E Child Welfare program. The full-time, two-year program spans 54 units, including 400 first-year and 720 second-year fieldwork hours. Aspiring LCSWs choose from over 350 placements across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tuition: $11,113 (in-state) or $17,235 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of California – Berkeley’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

4. University of Chicago

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Historically tied to the American Baptist Education Society, the University of Chicago is a private, non-denominational research institution founded in 1890 that’s educating 15,700 Maroons from 217 urban acres in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Forbes magazine graded UChicago A+ for America’s 22nd most grateful graduates. The School of Social Service Administration’s Master of Arts also tied for #3 nationally by the U.S. News. This two-year, CSWE-accredited program offers a self-designed sequence in Family and Child Welfare. Students complete 1,120 fieldwork hours working directly with vulnerable youth. The SSA also offers study abroad trips to Mumbai, a Contextual Behavior Therapy Fellowship, and teaching assistantships in the Pozen Family Center.

Tuition: $15,321 per quarter

Learn more about the University of Chicago’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

5. Columbia University

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Affiliated with over 100 Nobel laureates, Columbia University is a prestigious, private Ivy League member operating since 1754 from a 299-acre urban campus in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood. The Princeton Review placed Columbia 12th nationally for “Great Financial Aid.” According to the U.S. News, the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work also provides the sixth best MSW. Master’s students can customize the 60-credit curriculum and its 1,200 practicum hours in seven fields, including Family, Youth, & Children’s Services. Columbia produces licensed clinical social workers as “agents of change” with 16-month, two-year, Advanced Standing, and Reduced Residency tracks. Dual MSW degrees also exist with the Bank Street College of Education.

Tuition: $1,446 per credit

Learn more about Columbia University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

6. Case Western Reserve University

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Described as “Cleveland’s Big-Leaguer,” Case Western Reserve University is a private, doctoral RU/VH research institution endowed for $1.76 billion to educate over 10,200 Spartans from 155 urban acres in northeastern Ohio. According to Washington Monthly, CWRU ranks 12th nationally for contribution to the public good. The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandal School of Applied Social Sciences also houses America’s ninth best social work preparation. The CSWE-accredited MSSA has produced 7,800 practitioners in seven concentrations, including Children, Youth and Families. Students can follow the 60-credit curriculum’s Daytime, Advanced Standing, or Intensive Weekend format. At least 900 field practicum hours are collected with paid stipends. Graduates could continue for CWRU’s Ph.D. in Social Welfare.

Tuition: $21,285 per semester

Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

7. Boston College

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Devoted to Jesuit values, Boston College is a private, nonprofit RU/VH research powerhouse educating over 14,100 students, including 21 Fulbright Scholars, on a $2.2 billion endowment from 332 suburban acres in Chestnut Hill. With A+ academics, BC was named America’s #4 “Best Catholic College” on Niche. The U.S. News distinguished the School of Social Work for awarding the 10th best MSW nationwide. Clinical MSW students can declare a CSWE-accredited concentration in Children, Youth & Families and finish the Child Welfare Certificate. The 60-credit, evidence-based curriculum includes three days of applied fieldwork each week. Social workers may participate in BC’s famed Latino Leadership Initiative for cultural awareness and Spanish fluency.

Tuition: $1,138 per credit

Learn more about Boston College’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

8. University of Pittsburgh

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Surrounding the Cathedral of Learning with a 132-acre urban campus in the Oakland neighborhood, the University of Pittsburgh is a public, PASSHE research institution tracing back to 1787 that’s enrolling over 28,600 Panthers. Forbes magazine crowned Pittsburgh as America’s 160th best value college. According to the USNWR, Pitt’s Master of Social Work ties for 10th place nationally too. Graduates can pursue the MSW in Children, Youth and Families while participating in the Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL) project. The CSWE-accredited curriculum includes 42 class credits and 18 field credits at placements like Pennsylvania DHS. Act 31 Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training is included online.

Tuition: $17,688 (in-state) or $28,828 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Pittsburgh’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare Careers here.

9. University of Pennsylvania

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As a private, nonprofit Ivy Leaguer established by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania enrolls 24,800 students and employs 4,650 faculty on its 1,094-acre urban campus in Philadelphia’s University City district. The Princeton Review placed UPenn 17th for “Colleges That Pay You Back.” Maintaining CSWE accreditation, the School of Social Policy & Practice has the 10th best MSW according to the U.S. News. Full-time cohorts complete 16 units and two field internships over four semesters. Practicum placements include Montgomery County Youth Center and Berks County CYS. For individualized learning, there’s a Child Well-Being and Child Welfare Specialization. Students working at Pennsylvania child welfare agencies could earn CWEL stipends.

Tuition: $46,532 per year

Learn more about the University of Pennsylvania’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

10. University of Southern California

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Endowed for $4.6 billion, the University of Southern California is a private, RU/VH institution holding sea-grant and space-grant status to educate 42,400 Trojans from 308 urban acres in Los Angeles. Graded A+, USC was deemed the #1 “College with the Best Student Life” on Niche. The U.S. News also applauded the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work for America’s 12th top MSW. This CSWE-accredited program offers a Children, Youth and Families specialization with a Public Child Welfare option. Over two to four years, the 60-credit curriculum will integrate at least 1,000 field internship hours. Graduates can earn the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) for working in California schools.

Tuition: $1,733 per unit

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

11. University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Labeled a “Public Ivy,” the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a flagship land-grant and sea-grant research hub with enrollment surpassing 43,300 and expenditures over $1.1 billion upon its 936-acre urban campus just 122 miles northwest of Chicago. On Forbes, UW-Madison stands as America’s 10th best public university. The U.S. News also recognizes the CSWE-accredited School of Social Work as tying for the 12th best MSW. After the Generalist Practice year, students select from four emphases, including Child, Youth and Family Welfare. Those already holding a BSW can immediately begin the advanced specialization. Both the Madison and Eau Claire campuses host the Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Training.

Tuition: $11,942 (in-state) or $25,269 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Wisconsin’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

12. Ohio State University

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Based on 1,765 urban acres in Columbus with extensions from Marion to Wooster, The Ohio State University is a prestigious public, land-grant and space-grant AAU member of the Big Ten Academic Alliance with over 101,200 total Buckeyes. On Niche, Ohio State is recognized for America’s 14th “Best College Campus.” The College of Social Work was ranked 17th nationally for its CSWE-accredited MSW by the U.S. News. Within the 63-credit curriculum, full- or part-time students can declare the Child and Youth Services Specialization. Future child welfare specialists fulfill LMSW requirements with at least 912 fieldwork hours. Advanced Standing students could even pursue the Online MSW asynchronously.

Tuition: $449 (in-state) or $1,088 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Ohio State University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

13. University of Denver

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Belonging to the NAICU, the University of Denver is a private, co-educational institution carrying a $607 million endowment to serve around 11,700 Pioneers upon a 125-acre urban campus in the Rocky Mountains’ foothills. The Princeton Review honored DU as America’s 19th “Best Impact School.” The Graduate School of Social Work is also acclaimed for the nation’s 17th best Master of Social Work. Holding CSWE approval, the two-year, 90-quarter credit MSW offers concentrations for Child Welfare or Children & Youth: Risks and Healthy Development. Students attend classes on Thursdays and Fridays while completing 16 hours of fieldwork weekly. Since 2002, the Four Corners MSW has been delivered via ITV too.

Tuition: $45,288 per year

Learn more about the University of Denver’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

14. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

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With 94 percent retention, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign educates over 44,000 Fighting Illini as a public, land-grant and sea-grant RU/VH institution with a vast 4,552-acre urban campus just 124 miles west of Indianapolis. The Times Higher Education picked UIUC seventh among American public schools. According to the U.S. News, the CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work is also tied for 17th best nationally. Advanced Clinical students may customize the 12-course curriculum with the Children, Youth, and Family Studies Concentration. Two consecutive semesters of field internship are included for 930 hours minimum. Students with a minimum 3.0 GPA could add the Illinois Professional Educator Licensure (PEL).

Tuition: $13,266 (in-state) or $28,664 (out-of-state) yearly

Learn more about the University of Illinois at Urbana’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

15. Rutgers University

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Named after Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers in 1766, Rutgers University is a public, multi-site RU/VH research institution approved by the New Jersey Legislature to educate over 67,000 Scarlet Knights in New Brunswick and beyond. Money magazine included Rutgers within the “20 Public Colleges Most Likely to Pay Off Financially.” The U.S. also distinguished the School of Social Work for the 22nd top MSW countrywide. Holding CSWE approval, the traditional, on-campus program offers emphasis in Children, Youth and Families. Along with 1,125 field hours, the 60-credit curriculum includes courses like child welfare and human diversity. Rutgers also has a Violence Against Women and Children Certificate.

Tuition: $689 (in-state) or $1,172 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Rutgers University’s MSW Programs for Child Welfare here.

Social Worker Spotlight: Interviews

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Social work is an incredibly diverse occupation, but a rewarding one. The field is wide open: the National Association of Social Workers breaks down the profession into two distinct categories, direct service and clinical or “licensed” social worker. Within these two areas of practice, there are positions that target specific populations. For example, beginning social workers might focus their training on working with the elderly (gerontological social workers), while others may specialize in child welfare or in drug and alcohol addictions.

As a social worker, your clients will likely be either individuals, families or small groups, helping them deal with problems like poverty, abuse, addiction, and mental illness through counseling, connecting clients with service providers, and empowering clients to meet their own needs.

Education: The minimum educational requirement for starting a career is usually a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Entry-level positions may also accept candidates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, or other related fields.

Undergraduate Social Work Education: States require that social workers hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a school approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Graduate Social Work Education: States often require that social workers obtain a Masters in Social Work or a relevant doctoral degree before applying for advanced social work licensure.

Salaries and job prospects: According to the latest figures posted by payscale.com (2015), the average salary of a social worker is $43,209. The pay range, according to the same site, is about $30,000 to $62,000.
The job growth outlook as projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is “faster than average.” The BLS projects more than 74,000 jobs will be created by 2024, a worker increase of 12%.

Life as a social worker: We asked three social workers to talk about the relevance of their educational choices and to share some of their on-the-job experiences. Their responses were as follows:

Interviewee #1

Age: 43
Gender: Female
Location: Rural Upstate New York County, Public Health, Upstate N.Y.
Job Title: Service coordinator for children, 0-3 years of age

Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
I earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in human services, and a concentration in disability studies. While in the human services program, I considered switching to teaching midway because of boredom. As I got into my junior year, things in the major program began to get more interesting so I stayed put.

What is your current position at work?
I work with families with children, from birth to 3 years of age. We provide family-based and (centered) services. Much of the work has to do with service coordination (for early intervention), which comprises overseeing all therapies that a child has. It also entails finding providers to offer the services and being able to find new providers when original ones move on or need to be discontinued.

The work I do requires a ton of paperwork and constant note taking. It involves being able to work with many different agency personnel throughout a child’s time within the program. And although it’s a voluntary program, a service coordinator really needs to be able to “sell” it to a family.

Why did you choose this profession? Why did you get into social work?
I chose this work because I am drawn to situations that involve people who were experiencing inequality, especially financial. And I have a varied background with working with people with disabilities.

Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
In general, my education was a good fit for my personality. I graduated with a basic degree, with not much specialization. My current role at work is a pretty good fit for my personality in that I care about what I do, the people I work with, and the overall outcomes that families achieve within this program. The job has a purpose.

My education did not prepare me for this job at all. Maybe it did in that I knew all programs have a process to go through in order to get what you want out of it. I came prepared by holding many other jobs in the field of disability services and I just seemed to be able to get along well with families. There are exceptions, of course.

What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
One of my strengths is I am very organized. If I wasn’t so well organized, I would have been asked to leave this job long ago. It is a program with constant deadlines. For example, you might have 2 days to act on a new referral, a 45 days limit to having therapy in place for a child, 30 days for a provider to start actual services, 6 and 12 month updates, referral to preschool by 2 years-8 months, and a transition plan for child by the day they are 3 years old. It’s a lot of counting down from the start of a new referral. The job involves data collection and statistics. If I were not so tenacious, I would let the ball drop all the time and that would not work for this kind of job. I am in the position of having to hound providers, (some) parents and school districts to do what they are supposed to do, all the time.

What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt were challenges you had to overcome in order to do successful social work?
Here are the weak points of my personality that present a challenge to me in this job: I am temperamental. I get impatient very easily, especially with other agency personnel that I have to work with, who do not care about the job as much as I do. I also take things too personally, in this job and in life.

Interviewee: #2

Age: 26
Gender: Female
Location: New York
Job Title: Social worker at children/family services

Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
I have a bachelor’s degree in social work and am currently in school working on my masters in social work. Besides that, I have had about three years of trainings for my current job.

What is your current position at work?
Preventive services caseworker in a specialized unit, specifically working with children who have been sexually abused.

Why did you choose this profession?
I find the dynamics of families very interesting. Working with law enforcement and other service providers for the better of the people we serve is rewarding. Children need people to support them against all odds.

Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
No question, yes. And I strive to learn more each day. The more education I have, the more knowledgeable and suited I am to help and support the families and children I work with.

Do you feel like your current role at work is a good fit for your personality?
My current position is incredibly challenging; it takes a lot of dedication and resilience to maintain this position for a long period of time. So the answer is, yes.

What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
Being strength-based, sometimes, when I’m surrounded by a lot of negativity and systems that don’t always work well together it can be easy to succumb to that negativity. But I maintain, and help others to see strength in each individual I work with.

Two of my other strengths are transparency and communication. Even when I have hard-hitting conversations, or have faced serious challenges and unsafe behavior, such as when I have to take families into court, I have those conversations very openly with the families. It can be a real challenge when they are angry and yelling at you, kicking you out of their house, but in the end they will be thankful that you were able to do that.

What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt were challenges you had to overcome in order to do successful social work?
One of the challenges I have is when there is a system failure. What I mean is, when things are running smoothly, there are a number of systems working well together—judicial, law enforcement, mental health, social services, and other service providers. But too often they don’t work together for the better of a child because everyone has different views about what is best. This can lead to a situation that fails a child and his or her family, and puts barriers in place of their success. As a social worker you do the best you can with what you’ve got and never stop trying. Also, sometimes individuals are their own worst enemies and that puts a barrier on service providers being able to help them.

Interviewee #3

Age: 62
Gender: Male
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
Job Title: Intake caseworker

Can you tell us a little bit about your educational history?
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in philosophy; 21 hours (of 30) towards Master’s Degree in English literature. I also took a number of sociology and psychology courses.

What is your current position at work?
Intake Caseworker. This is a position in Child Protective Services that requires the worker to respond to calls that come into the agency about children being abused or neglected.

Why did you choose this profession? Why did you get into social work?
I thought helping others was worthwhile endeavor and that the more fortunate in society had an obligation to try to assist the less fortunate.

Do you feel like your education was a good fit for your personality?
It was. Studying works of someone like Shakespeare lent itself well to understanding the human condition. That was one of my personal interests.

Do you feel like your role at work was a good fit for your personality?
Yes. I would say my personality or interest in “people work” rather than seeking monetary success is a good match for this particular work. The job requires sensitivity, understanding, communication skills, investigative initiative, the ability to make decisions that seriously impact lives and an open mind. It also requires being able to maintain some distance from becoming too entangled in every client’s problems as this is a sure way to be ineffective and to experience the so-called “burnout” that ends many a social work career.

What are strengths in work and school that you’ve gained from your personality?
As an introverted but feeling type personality I am able to see past the immediate crises in people’s lives and possible ways to ease their current situations and movement to a more ideal life-path.

What are weaknesses in work and school that you’ve felt were challenges you had to overcome in order to do successful social work?
The workplace necessarily has many rules, guidelines, directives and policies that sometimes clash with the immediate and often significant needs of the people it is trying to serve. The paperwork burden, despite technology advances and the constant requirement to justify each thing done by a frontline worker (sometimes for political reasons) is also a distracting and never-ending challenge. School presented more theory than hands-on which was not necessarily a weakness as one should learn from those who went before, but there is little as valuable as listening to an experienced worker who has the ability to communicate and teach from what they have personally learned in the field.

Related Links:

Becoming A Social Worker
Looking For Leaders: The Crisis In Social Work
The History of Social Work

15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

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Entering the rewarding social work profession is virtually impossible without holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Meeting state licensing requirements doesn’t necessarily require living on a college campus though. Although they’re fairly sparse, online colleges do offer Bachelor of Social Work programs for non-traditional students needing flexibility. Investing in an Online BSW will sharpen your advocacy skills to improve the lives of underprivileged people. The degree can facilitate entry into the U.S. News and World Report’s #8 Best Social Services Job at a time when job growth is pushing 12 percent. Social work graduates receive above-average satisfaction and a median annual salary of $46,610. For this article, we’ve done the homework to pinpoint the 15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs.

Our methodology behind this list began by reviewing the 524 programs nationwide holding baccalaureate approval from the Council on Social Work Education. Our results were narrowed based on the availability of online learning. Each prospective BSW had to be predominantly online with limited campus meetings, excluding field practicum. Next, we organized the list according to well-respected online publications like Forbes and the U.S. News. Other vital factors were affordability, student engagement, job placement, Web technology, retention, faculty strength, cohort size, and specializations. All of this combined led to the following list of The 15 Best CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs:

1. University of Utah

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Classified as a flagship public, doctoral space-grant institution with RU/VH research status, the University of Utah serves a mammoth student population over 31,500 in Salt Lake City and online. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Utah is America’s 111th Best National University and 51st Top Public School. Holding CSWE accreditation, the College of Social Work confers its Bachelor of Social Work asynchronously online. Interactive group projects and discussion threads nurture students’ ability to support marginalized communities, especially in rural Utah. The 51-credit major culminates with a field internship. BSW students could add the Online Gerontology Certificate.

Online Tuition: $3,841 (in-state) or $10,817 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the University of Utah’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

2. University of North Dakota

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Endowed for $230.5 million, the University of North Dakota is a public, space-grant research powerhouse enrolling more than 14,900 students on its physical campus in Grand Forks and online. The University of North Dakota was crowned the 202nd Best University and 110th Top Public College nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. Every August, cohorts are admitted into the CSWE-accredited Bachelor’s in Social Work program with guaranteed in-state tuition. The two-year degree completion program engages transfers in live Web classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening. BSSW students transform into “change agents” with one 450-hour placement in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, or Manitoba.

Online Tuition: $339 per credit

Learn more about the University of North Dakota’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

3. University of Alaska – Fairbanks

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Overlooking the Chena River Valley from Interior Alaska’s largest city, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public, sun-grant research institution endowed for $143 million to educate over 10,200 learners on-campus and online. The U.S. News and World Report tied the University of Alaska – Fairbanks as America’s 202nd Best University and 110th Best Public School. Within the CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work, the B.A. in Social Work serves rural Alaskans committed to human rights. Courses are primarily conducted online with one three-day conference each semester. The 120-credit program includes at least 400 practicum hours in social service agencies.

Online Tuition: $192 (100-200 Level) and $232 (300-400 Level) per credit

Learn more about the University of Alaska – Fairbanks’ CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

4. Brandman University

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Established in 1958, Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution serving over 11,000 working adults yearly from Irvine, California, 26 extension centers, and online. Selected for the Leadership 500 Excellence Award twice, Brandman has America’s 47th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees according to the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Arts & Sciences meets CSWE standards for the Online Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. The 48-credit major offers electives from domestic violence to military social work and drug addiction treatment. After the 400 practice hours, graduates qualify for BASW-level state licensing and MSW Advanced Standing.

Online Tuition: $500 per credit ($250 for active-duty military)

Learn more about Brandman University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

5. Wayne State University

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Located in Midtown Detroit since 1868, Wayne State University is Michigan’s third-largest public, research institution with a $313 million endowment and over 27,200 students. Named the nation’s 202nd Best Public College on Forbes, Wayne State University is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for the 79th Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees. One such offering is the BSW Where Online Works! program. This upper-division, CSWE-accredited degree admits transfers with 60+ credits who are committed to alleviating social strife. Seniors complete a full-time practicum in their final semester. A Certificate in Addiction, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies is also available.

Online Tuition: $360 (in-state) or $825 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Wayne State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

6. Huntington University

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Affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is a private, nonprofit CCCU member educating over 1,260 students in “Lime City” and online. Declared America’s 85th Best Christian College on Niche, Huntington is the Midwest’s 11th Top Value according to the U.S. News and World Report. Boasting a 100 percent placement rate, the Online Bachelor’s in Social Work program maintains CSWE accreditation. Huntington students are trained as entry-level generalists for licensure in 50 states from a 120-credit curriculum. Over 600 practice hours are accumulated with placements like YWCA Domestic Violence and Lutheran Hospital.

Online Tuition: $375 per credit ($100 technology fee each semester)

Learn more about Huntington University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

7. Northwestern State University

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Belonging to the University of Louisiana system, Northwestern State University enrolls over 9,100 students from its rural headquarters in Natchitoches, Shreveport, Alexandria, Leesville, and online. Ranked #4 nationally by Affordable Online Colleges, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for the 143rd Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Through the Global Campus, a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work is available for immediate entry into human services jobs. The 120-credit program covers aging, child welfare, mental illness, criminal justice, disabilities, and more with optional Phi Alpha Honor Society induction. Seniors devote 16 to 32 hours weekly for directed field practice education.

Online Tuition: $375 per credit

Learn more about Northwestern State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

8. Indiana Wesleyan University

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Founded in 1912 as Marion Normal Institute, Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, nonprofit Christian liberal arts school tied to the Wesleyan Church and educating over 15,800 students. As the Midwest’s 27th Best University according to the U.S. News and World Report, Indiana Wesleyan University placed #1 on Niche’s “Best Colleges with No Application Fee in Indiana.” Accredited by the CSWE for 25 years, Indiana Wesleyan offers an Online Bachelor of Social Work for working adults. Cohorts strive to enhance human well-being through a 20-course major, service learning, and 400 hours of field practicum. There’s also a Hybrid BSW for partnering Ivy Tech colleges.

Online Tuition: $383 per credit

Learn more about Indiana Wesleyan University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs here.

9. Northern Arizona University

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Surrounded by the continent’s largest ponderosa pine forest adjacent to Mount Elden, Northern Arizona University is a public, high-elevation institution serving over 30,350. Crowned the country’s 215th Top Research University on Forbes, Northern Arizona University is acclaimed for the 159th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees by the U.S. News and World Report. With a 74 percent retention rate, the CSWE-accredited BSW Program is offered in Flagstaff and online. Featuring 480 practicum hours, the four-year curriculum develops the professional knowledge to help people overcome obstacles like abuse and homelessness. NAU also offers a BSW Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Project.

Online Tuition: $419 (in-state) or $865 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Northern Arizona University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

10. Brescia University

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Grounded in the Ursuline Sisters’ tradition, Brescia University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic liberal arts institution with around 875 students studying on its campus in Owensboro, Kentucky, and online. Graded B+ for value on Niche, Brescia is distinguished as the South’s 32nd Best Regional College by the U.S. News and World Report. The Bachelor of Social Work Degree Completion program meets CSWE competencies to educate adults with 45+ credits. Online courses can be finished in 24 months as an accelerated pathway to social services careers. Selective admission every January, March, May, August, and October accepts 48 percent of applicants.

Online Tuition: $415 per credit

Learn more about Brescia University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

11. Humboldt State University

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Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the coastal redwoods of Arcata, Humboldt State University is the northernmost public school in the 23-site CSU system with over 8,700 students. Ranked within Washington Monthly’s top 7 percent, Humblodt State University is named the West’s 52nd Best University by the U.S. News and World Report. The College of Professional Studies holds CSWE accreditation for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Online students complete the three-year program with live Thursday night sessions. Campus visits are only required for an August orientation and January practice intensive. Admission mandates a minimum 2.0 GPA in 60 college credits.

Online Tuition: $2,736 each semester (+$372 per unit for non-residents)

Learn more about Humboldt State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

12. Briar Cliff University

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Opened in 1929 by Mother Mary Dominica Wieneke, Briar Cliff University is a private, nonprofit liberal arts institution applying Franciscan values to educate over 1,150 from Sioux City, Iowa, and online. Honored as the Midwest’s 30th Top School by the U.S. News and World Report, Briar Cliff University is named America’s 134th Best Catholic College on Niche. The CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work welcomes online learners with at least 77 post-secondary credits. One-on-one faculty mentoring guides students through the 47-credit major. Field experience is also fostered with a 450-hour community internship. State authorization doesn’t currently extend to Utah, Kentucky, Wisconsin, or New York.

Online Tuition: $434 per credit

Learn more about Briar Cliff University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

13. Campbellsville University

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Enrolling over 3,200 students, Campbellsville University is a private, nonprofit institution with a covenant agreement to the Kentucky Baptist Convention for education in Campbellsville, Jeffersontown, Hodgenville, and online. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Campbellsville University is the South’s 98th Best College with the 66th Best Online Graduate Degrees. Bachelor’s students can pursue the 120-credit BSW online for the fundamental skills to assist vulnerable communities. Online courses explore social policy, human rights, lifespan development, familial relations, research methods, and more. The 450 hours of supervised practice can be completed anywhere, except North Carolina. Graduates often continue into the Campbellsville MSW online.

Online Tuition: $399 per credit

Learn more about Campbellsville University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

14. Bemidji State University

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The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system includes Bemidji State University as a four-year public institution educating over 6,300 students along Lake Bemidji’s shoreline and beyond. Graded B for professors on Niche, Bemidji State University is named the Midwest’s 115th Top School and 35th Best Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. The CSWE-accredited Department of Social Work offers the Online SWIM program for a Bachelor of Social Work. Cohorts already holding an A.A. degree tackle the 69-credit major with just one monthly campus trip. Students may tailor the social services curriculum with the Chemical Dependency Minor for LADC credentialing.

Online Tuition: $305 per credit

Learn more about Bemidji State University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

15. Union Institute and University

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Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, with satellites from Vermont and California to online, Union Institute and University is a private, doctoral-granting nonprofit founded in 1964 that’s enrolling nearly 1,650 students. Featuring a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, Union Institute and University was distinguished as America’s 18th Best Online College by Niche. Proudly CSWE accredited, the Online Bachelor’s in Social Work provides in-depth understanding on community-based interventions. With emphasis on strengths-based practice, the 120-credit curriculum is available full-time or part-time. Classes conveniently begin every eight weeks through CampusWeb. Two semesters of field practicum are necessary for the graduation capstone.

Online Tuition: $510 per credit ($88 full-time technology fee)

Learn more about Union Institute and University’s CSWE Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Program here.

15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs

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Clinical social work is an advanced practice specialty that’s focused on diagnosing and treating mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders. All 50 states require professionals in clinical social work to be licensed. Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) gives individuals the field’s highest credential for designing therapeutic interventions that improve clients’ well-being. State social work boards mandate that LCSW candidates hold an accredited master’s degree and two years of clinical experience. Investing in graduate school can pay off because LCSW is America’s #5 best social service job. Employment statistics show that demand in clinical social work will skyrocket by 19 percent through 2024 and offer some of the highest salaries in the field of social work.

Online education is perhaps the most convenient method for finishing your master’s degree and entering this in-demand field. Therefore, this article is devoted to outlining the 15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs nationwide. We began by searching for online graduate degrees accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Programs had to be primarily online with minimal campus trips, excluding field practicum. Next, we looked for clinical social work concentrations that satisfied at least in-state LCSW requirements. We consulted with the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings for narrowing down to top-tier universities. Other factors we considered were tuition, curriculum flexibility, fieldwork, class size, LCSW exam pass rate, Advanced Standing options, and student support.

Here are the 15 Best Online LCSW Degree Programs:

1. Columbia University

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Affiliated with 104 Nobel laureates, Columbia University is a premier private, nonprofit research institution delivering Ivy League education to approximately 19,500 post-graduates. The founding Association of American Universities (AAU) member occupies 32 acres in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City’s Manhattan borough. Columbia also has an Online Campus with an impressive 99 percent retention rate. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Columbia University is America’s fourth Best University and sixth Top Value with the sixth Best Social Work Degrees. The Times Higher Education places Columbia among the world’s 15 Best Universities.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited School of Social Work at Columbia University allows students to complete the Master’s of Social Work (MSW) Program fully online with an Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice concentration. Online learners further specialize in Family, Youth & Children’s Services or Health, Mental Health & Disabilities for their Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) career. Courses are synchronous for live, virtual sessions with peers and faculty. Students could follow the standard two-year, Advanced Standing one-year, or extended three-year format from anywhere. Even the MSW’s orientation and capstone project are accessible via computer linkup.

Online Tuition: $1,390 per credit hour

Learn more about Columbia University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

2. University of Southern California
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With post-graduate enrollment surpassing 23,700, the University of Southern California is one of the world’s preeminent private, nonprofit RU/VH research institutions on the Pacific Rim. The $4.7 billion endowment gifts generous financial aid packages to study upon the 308-acre urban campus in the University Park district of Los Angeles or online. Ranked 12th for Graduate Social Work Education, the University of Southern California (USC) is the 23rd Best National University and 39th Top Value in the U.S. News and World Report. The University of Southern California also lands among the Academic Ranking of World Universities’ (ARWU’s) Top 50 Global Universities.

Meeting the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE’s) guidelines, the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work established the Online Master of Social Work program via its Virtual Academic Center. Designed for clinical social workers, the curriculum offers 21st century concentrations in Mental Health, Health, or Families and Children. There’s an additional sub-concentration in Military Social Work too. Online, seminar-style courses foster intimate discussion with live conferencing sessions. Students learn to implement evidence-informed interventions with the 60-credit Traditional or 37-credit Advanced Standing track. Offline, students spend 1,000+ hours completing supervised field education.

Online Tuition: $1,666 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s Online LCSW Programs here.

3. Case Western Reserve University

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Founded as northern Ohio’s first college in 1826, Case Western Reserve University has a distinguished history as a private, doctoral-granting RU/VH research institution. Endowed for $1.76 billion, Case Western Reserve University educates more than 5,600 post-graduates from its 155-acre urban campus in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood. The Online Learning Division participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reprocity Agreement (NC-SARA) to deliver six online master’s degrees in 49 states, excluding Kentucky. The U.S. News and World Report named Case the 37th Best University and 42nd Top Value with America’s ninth Best Graduate Social Work Education Programs.

The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences gives Case Western Reserve University students the option to earn the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) online. This Master of Social Work (MSW) alternative offers two Direct Clinical Practice concentrations for Children, Youth & Families or Adult Mental Health. Traditional non-Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students complete 60 credits over eight online semesters, but there’s a 45-credit Advanced Standing track too. Field experience is integrated into online education to develop students’ competence treating mental illness. Admission to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program requires a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA.

Online Tuition: $1,419 per credit hour

Learn more about Case Western Reserve University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

4. Boston University

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Initially established in 1839 by Methodist ministers as the Newbury Biblical Institute, Boston University has dramatically evolved into a private, non-sectarian RU/VH research center with a $1.6 million endowment. Enrolling over 13,650 post-graduates, the Boston Consortium member is located on 135 urban acres in Massachusetts’ capital near Fenway Park. According to the U.S News and World Report, Boston University is the 41st Best College and 33rd Top School for Veterans nationally. With 23 online master’s degrees, Boston also won the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) 21st Century Gold Award for Distance Learning Programming.

Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the School of Social Work confers an outstanding Online Master of Social Work program with a Clinical Social Work Concentration. Online learners gain the therapeutic skills for LCSW licensure via one of three available tracks. The 65-credit Traditional Master’s of Social Work (MSW) takes three years with live online sessions and two internships. Working professionals with Human Service Experience (HSE) can complete 65 credits and one 1,000-hour internship. The Advanced Standing option for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) holders requires 40 credits and one field experience. The Field Education Department has placements in 44 states.

Online Tuition: $750 per credit hour

Learn more about Boston University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

5. Fordham University

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Firmly grounded in Jesuit tradition, Fordham University is a private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution split into 10 constituent colleges to educate over 6,400 post-graduates on-site and online. Claiming over 120 urban acres, Fordham occupies three physical campuses across New York in the Bronx, Manhattan, and West Harrison within Westchester County. Named among Kaplan’s “25 Hottest Schools in America,” Fordham is ranked the 66th Best National University and 55th Best College for Veterans by the U.S. News and World Report. In particular, Fordham University has the 22nd Best Master’s of Social Work program nationwide.

Fulfilling LCSW licensure qualifications is possible through Fordham’s Clinical Concentration for the online Master of Social Work program. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Graduate School of Social Service offers full-time or part-time asynchronous online courses for residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. There’s also a hybrid option with Molloy College on Long Island. Clinical social workers could add the Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor-Trainee (CASAC-T) Certificate. Online learners with an accredited BSW receive Advanced Standing for one less year. Supervised field placements across the Tri-State make gaining clinical experience convenient.

Online Tuition: $894 per credit hour

Learn more about Fordham University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

6. Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

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Named for Revolutionary War hero Henry Rutgers in 1766, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey is a public, multi-campus land-grant research institution with nearly 20,000 post-graduates enrolled. Belonging to the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Rutgers has a $3.6 billion budget to operate its 2,688 acres of campuses in Newark, New Brunswick, and Camden as well as the eCollege. Placed 17th on PayScale’s Salary Report, Rutgers is ranked the 72nd Best University and 28th Top Public School with the 22nd Best Social Work Degree Programs by the U.S. News and World Report.

Using the Pearson Learning Studio, Rutgers’ School of Social Work produces LCSW candidates online with the Master’s of Social Work in Clinical Social Work program. The self-directed degree is completed part-time in three years or two years Advanced Standing. Small cohorts begin every Fall, Spring, and Summer for flexibility. Without taking the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), social workers can enter the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited curriculum and perhaps add the Violence Against Women and Children Certificate. Online courses culminate in an internship anywhere in the United States. Other benefits include free tutoring and job placement assistance.

Online Tuition: $900 per credit hour

Learn more about Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

7. Michigan State University

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Endowed for $2.2 billion, Michigan State University is a flagship public, land-grant and sea-grant institution with “very high research activity” to train over 11,400 post-graduates. In addition to its vast 5,192-acre suburban campus in East Lansing, Michigan State University offers 100+ online and hybrid courses through the Kellogg Conference Center. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Michigan State as America’s 75th Best University and 29th Top Public College with the 32nd Best Graduate Social Work education. Washington Monthly also crowned the Public Ivy the Midwest’s 11th Best Bang for the Buck.

Holding Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation, the School of Social Work grants a 57-credit Statewide Blended Master of Social Work program for Michigan State University students living 50+ miles from East Lansing. Online courses are taken from anywhere with face-to-face meetings only one Saturday per month. Regional locations exist from Grand Rapids to Marquette. Part-time students can complete the Clinical Track in three years to earn LCSW licensure. Since 2006, the program has uniquely linked cohorts through ITV video conferencing. Over four semesters, Master’s of Social Work students also complete 960 clock hours of clinical experience.

Online Tuition: $698 per credit hour

Learn more about Michigan State University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

8. University of Denver

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As the Rockies’ oldest private, co-educational research institution with a legacy tracing back to 1864, the University of Denver is an NAICU member endowed for $607 million to serve over 6,000 post-graduates. Seven miles south of the “Mile High City,” DU operates a 125-acre urban campus in the University Park neighborhood. The College of Professional and Continuing Studies also awards over 45 master’s programs online via Canvas. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Denver is the 86th Best College with the 17th Best Master’s of Social Work (MSW) programs.

The Graduate School of Social Work has extended beyond its three Colorado locations to launch an Online MSW with a concentration in Mental Health and Trauma. This Council on Social Work Education (CWSWE) accredited program prepares Licensed Clinical Social Workers for creating positive change by treating individuals, families, and groups. Online lectures are viewed asynchronously before the collaborative learning session each Thursday. The Online Master of Social Work’s first cohort in January 2017 will have 20 students for close-knit, intervention-oriented education. Nine quarters of coursework culminates in a concentration field internship for 15+ hours per week.

Online Tuition: $628 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Denver’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

9. University of Tennessee

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Belonging to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Academic Consortium, the University of Tennessee is the state’s flagship public, land-grant and sun-grant RU/VH research institution with over 5,900 post-graduates. With one of East Tennessee’s Level I trauma centers, UTK is nestled in the Great Appalachian Valley with a 560-acre urban campus in Knoxville. Vols Online has won the TACHE Innovative Credit Programming Award for 14 online master’s programs. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Tennessee as America’s 103rd Best University and 47th Top Public College with the 32nd Best Social Work training.

The College of Social Work’s same, highly qualified professors deliver the Master of Social Work program online for aspiring LCSWs. Continuously Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited since 1945, the University of Tennessee Knoxville has a clinical Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice concentration. Students can further specialize in Aging, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Substance Abuse, Hospital Social Work, and Trauma. The 60-credit program can be completed full-time or part-time with asynchronous and synchronous online courses. Students’ 672-hour clinical internships are arranged within reasonable commutes from their hometowns.

Online Tuition: $6,417 (in-state) or $15,626 (out-of-state) per semester

Learn more about the University of Tennessee’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

10. Temple University

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Enrolling over 9,500 post-graduates, Temple University is a public, doctoral-granting research institution with an international presence since its founding in 1884 by Baptist minister Russell Conwell. From its main 115-acre urban campus in Philadelphia’s Center City district, Temple offers classes in Harrisburg, Tokyo, Rome, London, and online from anywhere. Noted for the country’s 64th Best Social Work Education, Temple is ranked the 115th Best University and 55th Top Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. Kiplinger’s lauded Temple University as the 95th Best Public Value too.

Launching in Fall 2017, Temple’s College of Public Health is now accepting applications for its CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work program. Online students can complete the Clinical Practice Concentration while specializing in Children and Families, Health and Mental Health, or an Individualized Option. The 60-credit curriculum blends perfectly with the Online Military Counseling Certificate too. Learners engaged full-time or part-time will complete two field practica at approved agencies from Pennsylvania to Maryland. Temple proudly has one of the United States’ highest LCSW exam pass rates.

Online Tuition: $877 (in-state) or $1,202 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about Temple University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

11. The Catholic University of America

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Following the motto “God is My Light,” The Catholic University of America is a private, pontifical teaching institution of the Roman Catholic Church that’s educating over 3,000 post-graduates. Closely tied with the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic University of America is located on a 176-acre urban campus in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Catholic University of America is the 123th Best National University with the 47th Top Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program. The Princeton Review also recognized the Catholic University of America for the 13th “Most Religious Students” countrywide.

Online learners can select from four graduate programs, including the National Catholic School of Social Service’s Clinical Master of Social Work. This rigorous, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited degree trains students to provide much-needed mental health services with LCSW designation. At least 18 online courses are required for 54 credits. Advanced Standing is reserved for social work majors presenting a minimum 3.5 GPA. The Catholic University of America’s “signature pedagogy” emphasizes Christian service backed by biblical principles. Online courses are supplemented by two days of field experience per week.

Online Tuition: $1,035 per credit hour

Learn more about the Catholic University of America’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

12. Virginia Commonwealth University

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Originally created in 1838 by Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia Commonwealth University has gained independence as a senior, public RU/VH research institution with nearly 7,200 post-graduates. Online@VCU makes education accessible away from its 144-acre urban campus in Richmond’s Monroe Park neighborhood. As the 156th Best National University and 84th Top Public School, Virginia Commonwealth University grants the 22nd Best Graduate Social Work Education according to the U.S. News and World Report. Virginia Commonwealth University was also crowned the 16th best non-HBCU for minorities by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work has created an online Master of Social Work degree with a Clinical Social Work Concentration to satisfy LCSW requirements. Whether full-time or part-time, online students spend up to four years completing the 60-credit curriculum. Emphasis is placed on the ethnical integrity required to restore optimal functioning to individuals of multicultural backgrounds. In addition to a first-year orientation, online MSW students must attend two Saturday seminars in Richmond each semester. Social workers could add the Certificate in Aging Studies or Gender Violence Intervention.

Online Tuition: $605 (in-state) or $1,244 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about Virginia Commonwealth University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

13. University of Louisville

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Known for founding the world’s first trauma center in 1911, the University of Louisville is a city-owned, public RU/VH research institution that’s endowed for $1.2 billion and educating over 6,400 post-graduates. The University of Louisville operates a 345-acre urban Belknap Campus in Old Louisville, Health Sciences Campus in downtown, and Online Learning Campus virtually. The U.S. News and World Report lauded Louisville for being America’s 168th Best University and 91st Best Public College with the 32nd Best Social Work Programs. The University of Louisville is also the South’s 114th Top University in Forbes magazine.

The Kent School of Social Work confers a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited, “Best Buy” Master of Science in Social Work program 100 percent online. Future licensed clinical social workers can benefit from the Psychosocial Oncology, Mental Health, Gerontology, or Alcohol and Drug Counseling concentrations. Online students with a non-social work major enter the standard 60-credit MSSW, but there’s a 30-credit Advanced Standing option too. Award-winning courses draw from Bruner’s Spiral format for high performance standards. Placements for the 450-hour supervised internship are offered in most states, excluding Texas and Iowa.

Online Tuition: $714 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Louisville’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

14. Widener University

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Given Carnegie’s prized “Community Engagement” classification, Widener University is a private, co-educational research institution with a $73 million endowment to enlighten over 3,200 post-graduates. Featuring satellites in Harrisburg, Exton, Wilmington, and online, Widener is situated upon a 108-acre urban campus in Chester, Pennsylvania. Widener has the 55th “Highest Proportion of Classes Under 20 Students” as America’s 187th Best University and 149th Best College for Veterans according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Presidential Community Service Honor Roll recipient also has the 123rd Top Social Work Programs.

Online learners pursuing the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam can select Widener’s 64-credit Master of Social Work for advanced practice. The Council of Social Work Education (CSWE)accredited School of Social Work focuses on examining mental health and social-emotional issues based on past trauma. Curriculum flexibility allows online students to commit anywhere from three to 10 semesters part-time. Two supervised field placements for 480 and 720 clock hours apiece expand students’ professional perspective. There’s also a Hybrid MSW/M.Ed. in Human Sexualities program. No GRE score is required, but applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Online Tuition: $811 per credit hour

Learn more about Widener University’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.

15. University of Houston

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Opened as Houston Junior College in 1927, the University of Houston has expanded into a public, multi-site system of research institutions endowed for $716 million to serve over 7,800 post-graduate students. Along with its flagship 667-acre urban campus on Space City’s Calhoun Road, the University of Houston operates locations in Sugar Land, Clear Lake, Victoria, and online for “Education Without Limits.” Placed 31st on the Social Mobility Index, Houston is ranked the 187th Best National University and 105th Top Public School with the 38th Best Graduate College of Social Work by the U.S. News and World Report.

Offering the lowest in-state tuition, the Online Master of Social Work (MSW) gives UH students the opportunity to develop skills for clinical mental health services. Although it’s primarily online, advanced concentration courses often require meeting in Houston once monthly. Aspiring LCSWs study social welfare policies, human behavior, clinical assessment, DSM diagnoses, and more. The Clinical Practice Concentration places emphasis on cognitive-behavioral interventions. Online students must complete at least 900 clock hours of fieldwork. Some placements are available with UH’s unique Child Trauma Project.

Online Tuition: $410 (in-state) or $918 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Houston’s Online LCSW Degree Programs here.