Last Updated on August 29, 2023 by Contributing Editor
The best Social Work schools in North Carolina with BSW and MSW programs have affordable programs for professionals and new students. North Carolina has been among the fastest-growing states for years. Located in the southeastern US, the North Carolina landscape boasts beautiful beaches and scenic mountains.
The state is also well known for its excellent university system. Offering over twenty schools with Social Work programs, North Carolina MSW programs are a great place to start your career in Social Work. To get you started on your Social Work journey, we have compiled a list of the best Social Work schools in North Carolina.
How We Ranked the Best Social Work Schools In North Carolina
For our ranking of the Best Social Work Schools In North Carolina, Social Work Degree Center editors focused on accredited, trusted institutions. Programs are ranked according to factors including cost, graduate salary, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
The School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill offers multiple educational pathways for students to earn a degree that meets their academic and employment goals at the graduate level. This is one of the social work schools in NC that provides degree and dual-degree programs. UNC also has specialized training programs that result in earning an advanced degree. Students can earn a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) or a PhD in Social Work through the school. Some of the degree programs offered include a two-year and three-year MSW program. In addition, the school offers advanced programs that enable a student to graduate sooner and dual-degree programs in divinity, law, public administration, and public health.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC or UNC-Chapel Hill) is part of the University of North Carolina system of public universities. It was the first public institution of its kind and opened its doors in 1795. It is one of the oldest public universities in the country. UNC is a public flagship research university and also features its hospital known as UNC Health Care. The hospital system has led the nation in cancer treatment research through the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Students can choose from over 60 bachelor’s, earn a master’s degree, and also earn a PhD in multiple areas of study.
Degrees: MSW, PhD
2. North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University features a School of Social Work that offers a BSW and MSW program to prepare students for a career working with a diverse array of clients at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. It has long been one of the best social work programs in NC. Students learn how to become advocates while maintaining sensitivity to the population they serve. The program also prepares students for a graduate degree in social work. The MSW program prepares students with the requisite knowledge, skills, values, and competencies to become leaders in social work. Additionally, North Carolina State University is one of the social work schools in NC that offers a unique dual degree of Juris Doctor and MSW and a social work minor.
North Carolina State University (NCSU) is a public research university located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The school features a sea-grant and also a space-grant affiliation. The school is known for its agriculture, life sciences, statistics, and design programs. NCSU offers 106 bachelor’s degrees, 104 master’s degrees, 61 Ph.D. degrees, and also a well-known Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. The school’s athletic teams are called the Wolfpack and participate in the NCAA Division I FBS – ACC conference.
Degrees: BSW, MSW, and JD/MSW
3. North Carolina A&T State University
The Department of Social Work and Sociology at North Carolina A&T State University is one of the best social work schools in NC. The school offers an undergrad degree, graduate degree, and also a minor program in Sociology. The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is a four-year program that prepares students to become effective social workers in various roles that ultimately champion human rights at all levels. The MSW program focuses on preparing students to work in a multicultural environment. Graduates are ready to promote economic and social justice that benefits the population of North Carolina. The minor in Sociology consists of six credits in Sociology at the 100 level and 15 credits at the 200 level or higher. In addition, NC A&T and UNC Greensboro offer joint MSW and PhD programs. The doctoral program is one of only two available in the state.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) is a public historically black university in Greensboro, NC. The school is part of the UNC System and also recognized for its research and engineering programs. For example, the NC A&T engineering college frequently ranks number one in the nation for the number of engineering degrees awarded to African Americans. Its athletics teams, known as the Aggies, participate in the NCAA Division I – Big South Conference. The name of the athletics teams is from the agricultural heritage of the school.
Degrees: BSW MSW, PhD (joint)
4. Appalachian State University
The Department of Social Work at Appalachian State University offers BSW and also MSW programs for students who are interested in helping people. Graduates work in a variety of settings that include hospitals, schools, correctional facilities, and also shelters. The BSW program allows students to use their education in real-life settings to develop their skills and knowledge and become effective social workers. The MSW program prepares students to become advanced professionals in social work, no matter their field of employment. Thus, graduates are capable of working independently with a high degree of effectiveness in various social work settings.
Appalachian State University (ASU) is a public university and also part of the UNC System. Initially founded in 1899 as a teacher’s college, the school offers over 150 bachelor’s degrees, 70 graduate degrees, and two doctoral degree programs. The campus of ASU is in the mountain town of Boone and is also one of the highest elevations of any university in the United States. Its athletics teams, the Mountaineers, participate in the NCAA Division I FBS – Sun Belt Conference.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
5. University of North Carolina Charlotte
The University of North Carolina Charlotte is one of the best social work schools in NC. The UNCC program offers a BSW, MSW, and also early childhood mental health graduate certificate (ECMH). The bachelor’s degree program teaches students to seek economic and social justice for a diverse community and learn how to work with the urban population in Charlotte. Moreover, the Master of Social Work program prepares students to work in leadership roles. The MSW students learn how to influence policy and also perform research to help improve the lives of the disadvantaged. Additionally, the ECMH graduate certificate is open to professionals with a bachelor’s degree who work with children.
The University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) is part of the public University of North Carolina System of universities. The school is known for its research pursuits and also has a Carnegie Classification of “R2: Doctoral Universities — High research activity.” UNC Charlotte offers 79 bachelor’s degree programs, 66 master’s degrees, and also 24 doctoral degrees. Its 18 varsity sports teams, known as the 49ers, participate in the NCAA Division I – C-USA conference.
Degrees: BSW, MSW, ECMH professional certificate
6. University of North Carolina Greensboro
The Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Greensboro is considered one of the best social work schools in the state. UNCG offers a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program that has been around since 1974. In addition to the undergraduate degree, UNCG offers two graduate Social Work degrees collaborating with NCA&T. These Joint Programs in Social Work include an MSW and a PhD in Social Work. And, the doctoral program is one of two available in the state. All of the Social Work programs uniquely prepare students for multicultural clinical practice. Furthermore, this partnership between UNCG, a predominantly white institution, and NCA&T, an HBCU, is the first of its kind in the United States. Students take classes and also use resources at both universities.
The University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) offers over one hundred degree programs. It has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Additionally, the school is a member of the University of North Carolina system of public state schools.
Degrees: BSW MSW, PhD (joint)
7. University of North Carolina Wilmington
The School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a BSW, MSW, substance use disorders, and professional addiction certificate. It’s one of the social work schools in NC that works in collaboration with the NC. Child Welfare Collaborative offers unique educational opportunities and prepares students to work with children while ensuring their safety. The BSW allows students to learn how to help individuals, groups, and communities access vital resources that help them with their daily lives. Seniors participate in a field practicum to demonstrate their skills and education. The MSW program builds on the undergraduate program and also offers international study opportunities.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) is a research university. It is part of the UNC system of public schools and also has a Carnegie Classification of R2. Founded initially as a junior college for WWII veterans, the school has expanded over the years to become a four-year university that enrolls over 17,000 students each academic year. UNCW offers 55 undergraduate degrees, 35 master’s degrees, and also four PhD programs. The athletics teams participate in the NCAA Division I – CAA conference.
Degrees: BSW, MSW, professional certificates
8. East Carolina University
The Social Work Program at East Carolina University offers bachelor’s and also master’s degrees for students interested in helping people improve their lives. Offered through the ECU College of Health and Human Performance, the Social Work school offers a generalist degree program for the undergraduate degree. The master’s degree program provides research and internship opportunities so graduates can enter the workforce at an advanced level. The bachelor’s program is on-campus-only, while the master’s program offers on-campus full-time and part-time programs.
East Carolina University (ECU) is a public research university with a sea-grant affiliation and a Carnegie Classification of “R2: Doctoral Universities — High research activity”. The school is spread over six separate properties and also has an overseas campus in Certaldo Alto, Italy. An average of 29,000 students enroll every academic year. So, students can pursue one of the 102 bachelor’s degrees or one of 76 master’s degrees. Additionally, students can earn a doctoral degree in one of 16 programs. The school’s athletics teams, known as the Pirates, participate in the NCAA Division I (FBS) — The American Conference.
Degrees: BSW and MSW
9. Western Carolina University
The Department of Social Work at Western Carolina University is one of the social work schools in NC that offers both undergraduate and postgraduate education. Students who want to earn their BSW must meet application criteria. The requirements include maintaining a GPA of 2.80 or higher, completing 35 credit hours, taking specific social work courses, and also meeting the program’s professional and technical standards. Furthermore, the MSW program prepares students to work in public agency work, integrated healthcare, social service management, mental health & addiction treatment, and private clinical practice. The MSW program requires 62 credit hours and is offered in full-time (two years) and also part-time (three to four years) attendance options.
Western Carolina University (WCU) is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, part of the North Carolina university system. The school was initially founded in 1899 to provide education to the residents of the western North Carolina mountains. Since then, it’s grown to a size that accommodates over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is home to athletics teams that participate in the NCAA Division I FCS – SoCon conference. WCU also offers educational opportunities in Asheville and Cherokee and learning centers located in community colleges around the area.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
10. University of North Carolina Pembroke
The Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is one of the best social work schools in NC with a program designed to prepare students to become professional social work generalists at the BSW and MSW levels. Graduates of either degree program are positioned to work with a rural population who need social assistance and justice sensitive to their culture and needs for daily life. The program imparts skills necessary to help the rural people of North Carolina and also advance their needs for social, political, and economic justice. The BSW program requires 120 credit hours for graduation, while the MSW program requires 60 hours and has advanced standing, part- and full-time options for students.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is part of the North Carolina public university system. But, a long history with the Lumbee Nation helps the school preserve its native identity. The school offers 41 undergraduate and 17 graduate degrees and also enrolls around 8,300 students each semester. Additionally, students can take classes in American Indian studies or choose from majors that include business, arts, nursing, or Kinesiology. Pembroke’s athletics teams participate in the NCAA Division II – Conference Carolinas.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
How Do I Choose One Of The Best Social Work Schools in North Carolina?
Are you looking for social worker schools in NC? There are a few factors that you should consider when choosing a social work school in North Carolina. They include location, the program focus, and also the type of working education opportunities the school offers. There are many MSW programs in North Carolina, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, the best social work schools in NC can provide you with an education that prepares you for a variety of work opportunities.
In addition, degree programs for social work in North Carolina tend to focus on a general social work education emphasizing working with a diverse population and being sensitive to cultural attitudes. This focus makes it easier to find the best social work schools in NC. So, you can compare curriculums and identify those schools with classes that are in line with your educational goals. MSW programs in NC make life better for social workers and their clients.
Students with advanced standing status can often earn academic credit for their work experience as well. To find out if you quality for an advanced standing track, contact the admissions office.
How Is the Job Market for Social Workers in North Carolina?
If you’ve gone through a social work program in North Carolina, he job market for social workers in North Carolina is good, with an average of 2,000 jobs for social workers available at any given ttime in the state. In addition, the growth outlook for social workers across the country is expected to grow 12% from 2020 to 2030.
There is a great need for social workers in all specializations, including
- substance abuse social workers
- school social workers
- healthcare social workers
- advanced generalist practice
If your future career plans take you to North Carolina, you will find a place for you!
This growth rate is faster than the national average for all jobs. Furthermore, the various factors that influence the growth rate include people leaving the workforce due to retirement and career changes. Therefore, social work graduates can enjoy an excellent employment outlook in North Carolina for the foreseeable future.
How Much Do Social Workers Make in North Carolina?
The salary for social workers in North Carolina ranges from $34,000 for entry-level workers to $65,000 for experienced workers. On average, social workers in North Carolina earn about $48,000 a year. However, attending one of the best social work schools in North Carolina help increase the average salary upon graduation. Still, geographical location and demand for social workers also influence the average social worker salary in North Carolina.
|Social Workers||NC median salary||US median salary|
|Child, Family, and School||$47,470||$48,430|
|Mental Health & Substance Abuse||$54,220||$48,720|