Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Contributing Editor
Social Work schools in Washington State have been ranked for you and we have your list of the top ten! Washington has been among the fastest-growing states for years. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the Washington landscape boasts beautiful beaches and rolling plains. The state also has an excellent university system. Offering many schools with Social Work programs, Washington state is a great place to start your career in Social Work. To get you started on your Social Work journey, read on and find your future school on our list of the best Social Work schools in Washington. Also, check out our article on how to become a Social Worker in Washington.
How We Ranked the 10 Best Social Work Schools In Washington 2022
For our ranking of the Best Social Work Schools In Washington State, Social Work Degree Center editors focused on accredited, trusted institutions. We then rank the online programs by tuition cost, graduate salary, and student satisfaction. We use data from IPEDS and Niche.
1. University of Washington – Seattle
The University of Washington Seattle has one of the best Social Work schools in Washington state. The UW Seattle campus also offers many undergraduate and graduate social work programs and advanced standing programs. The school’s bachelor’s degree is a BASW.
The Master of Social Work Program prepares graduates for both direct-practice positions and leadership roles. In addition, the traditional program enables graduates to work in various settings. Graduates take positions in healthcare, public education, mental health, administration and policy practice, multicultural communities, and even nonprofit or government agencies. The program offers three different degree paths to accommodate each student’s educational background and work-life demands. Finally, the UW Seattle Social Work school also offers a PhD program for students interested in a career in education and research.
The School of Social Work Program at the University of Washington opened in 1934 and it has full accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education.
Degrees: BASW, MSN, PhD
2. Seattle University
Seattle University has another one of the best Social Work schools in Washington. The SU Social Work program offers both a BSW and an MSW. The BSW curriculum prepares students to work in generalist social work practice. The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at Seattle University is community-based and has a social-justice focus. It offers an advanced social work education equity lens, anti-oppressive analysis and practice, a decolonizing framework, and critical pedagogy. Students can attend full-time to complete their degree in two years or attend through the advanced standing Master of Social Work Program. In addition, students can attend several events and information sessions related to planning their classes, including several that students can complete online.
Seattle University is a Jesuit Catholic university with fifty acres of beautiful land in the heart of Seattle, Washington. The university opened in 1891 and also offers a diverse student body of over 7,200 students. The university has eight different colleges and schools with undergraduate and graduate studies. The Seattle University Social Work BSW program first received accreditation from the CSWE in 2002.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
3. University of Washington – Tacoma
Another one of the best Social Work schools in Washington is at the University of Washington in Tacoma. UW Tacoma offers both a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare (BASW) and a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare prepares students for generalist practice in various settings. The Master of Social Work Advanced Standing Program offers full and part-time options for applicants who possess an undergraduate degree in social welfare or social work. The Master of Social Work Day Program is for full-time students and combines classroom learning with faculty-guided fieldwork. Most students can complete this degree in two years. The Master of Social Work Extended Degree Program offers EDP classes for working professionals so they can attend classes in the evening or on consecutive Fridays and Saturdays. In addition, students can attend select classes online while they are working full-time.
The University of Washington opened in 1861. The Social Work program at the UW Tacoma campus serves the Puget Sound community, where students complete most of their field education and research.
Degrees: BASW, MSW
4. Walla Walla University
The Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology at Walla Walla University is one of Washington’s best Social Work schools. The school offers both a MSW degree and a BSW degree. The goal of the social work program is to train professionals that will be competent and ethical in the field and pursue social justice while helping others. Students attend classes one day per week and can also complete several courses online. This makes it easier for people who work full time to manage better their work-life, professional life, and college life. In addition, both the bachelor’s and master’s programs have accreditation from the council on social work education. Three of the university’s campuses have the program, including College Place. In contrast, the other two are located in Billings, Montana and Missoula, Montana.
Walla Walla University is in College Place, Washington. The university has an annual enrollment of around 1,700 students, which allows for a low teacher-student ratio. The private university opened in 1892 and also has an affiliation with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
5. Eastern Washington University – Cheney
The Social Work Program at Eastern Washington University in Cheney offers another one of the best Social Work schools in Washington. EWU has a full-time bachelor’s degree, a traditional Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The EWU Cheney School of Social Work offers a full-time MSW program that students can be complete in two years. The core curriculum is offered during the day. First-year classes are on campus in Cheney and second-year classes are at the EWU Spokane. Students will also complete their practicum for three quarters through Field Education that begins in the fall of their second year in the program. The student placement process is structured and individualized. Faculty members work with each student and ensure each of the learning goals is met.
Founded in 1882, Eastern Washington University is a public university that has campuses throughout the state of Washington. EWU Cheney is on a 300-acre campus in the town of Cheney. The university offers several colleges of studies, including social sciences, business, and public administration, health science, and several others.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
6. University of Washington – Bothell
The University of Washington offers graduate and professional degrees in the Master of Social Work Program. This program prepares students to work in leadership roles in a variety of areas, including a child and elder family services, anti-poverty online programs, social work education, political science, community-centered integrative practice, policy practice, and also health services. The program lets students achieve their Master of Social Work degree while they work full or part-time with some online classes. However, students must complete the practical field education of their degree in person.
The University of Washington Bothell opened in 1990 and is a branch campus of the University of Washington. The school is in Bothell, Washington, and also shares a campus with Cascadia College.
7. Pacific Lutheran University
The Department of Social Work at Pacific Lutheran University has another one of the best Social Work schools in Washington state. Pacific Lutheran offers both a BASW and an MSW. The Master of Social Work degree prepares students to work in the Health Sciences field. Many graduates work with children experiencing behavioral and emotional issues. Both child welfare and elder family services are places where graduates find employment. This program also prepares students to take on leadership roles in social work. Most classes are on-campus, but students can complete some coursework online. In addition, students must complete practicums at area agencies to allow students to receive the hands-on experience needed for their field of study.
Pacific Lutheran University offers undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs in a variety of fields of study. The campus is in Parkland and was started by Norwegian Lutheran immigrants in 1890. The private university has about 3,100 students enrolled annually.
Degrees: BASW, MSW
8. Saint Martin’s University
Saint Martin’s University offers a Bachelor of Social Work Program that is touted as a rigorous and exciting program. The degree trains students to become skilled in the social work field as well as ethical and evidence-based practitioners. Graduates of the program are at a competitive level for advanced status entry into graduate programs. The program is rooted in the universal principles of social work, such as compassion, discipline, and service. The program produces graduates that are knowledgeable in social work, as well as, thoughtful and caring community leaders.
Saint Martin’s University opened in 1895 and the campus is in Lacey. As a private liberal arts university, students enroll in a wide range of courses of study. The Catholic university started as a boarding school and later became a college in 1900. Degree programs began at the university in 1940.
9. Eastern Washington University – Spokane
As one of the best Social Work schools in Washington, Eastern Washington University in Spokane offers a full-time Bachelor of Social Work degree, as well as a Master of Social Work Degree. The EWU Spokane School of Social Work offers a part-time MSW degree that students can complete in three years. The Spokane Part-Time MSW Program holds classes at the EWU Spokane campus and serves central Washington and northern Idaho. Graduates practice in a variety of areas including child welfare, addictions, disabilities, domestic violence, and also criminal justice.
The Eastern Washington University-Spokane is located on the Riverpoint Campus in the heart of Spokane, Washington. The university offers a variety of degree programs and also continuing education courses.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
10. Heritage University
The Bachelor of Social Work Degree at Heritage University prepares students for a rewarding career in the social sciences field. As one of the best Social Work schools in Washington, Heritage University graduates find entry-level generalist social work employment or move on to Graduate School to obtain an MSW. Students receive classroom instruction from professors with years of experience in the social work field. But they also put their education to work with internships throughout the local area at a variety of different agencies. In addition, the Heritage University social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Heritage University is a private university that offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in a variety of areas of study. The campus is nestled in the heart of the Yakama Indian Reservation in Toppenish, Washington. While some courses are offered online, most in the social work field are held on-campus.
Degrees: BSW, MSW
How Do I Choose One of The Best Social Work Schools in Washington?
The state of Washington offers some of the best social work programs for both bachelor and master’s degrees in the country so it can be hard to choose. Location may be a deciding factor depending on each student’s situation. For example, if a student lives in the Spokane WA area, the Eastern Washington University on the Riverpoint campus may be a great option since that will mean less commuting time.
Students should also look at the types of programs that are available and the practicum experiences to help them make their choice. Each of the different schools for social workers across the state of Washington may have practicums that work with different populations. Finally, any school you attend should be accredited by the CSWE.
How Is the Job Market for Social Workers in Washington?
The job outlook for Social Workers in the state of Washington is very good. On the national level, job growth for Social Workers should increase twelve percent (12%) between 2020 and 2030. This rate is faster than the average growth of many other occupations. The BLS projects 78,300 job openings for social workers each year over this particular decade.
Careers for Social workers can Include:
- creating a advanced standing track office
- opening an advanced clinical practice
- working with a social work student association
- creating traditional programs for various licensed social workers
How Much Can I Make With A Degree From One Of The Best Social Work Schools in Washington ?
The salary for social workers depends on their level of experience as well as what type of degree they hold. Social workers with only an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree are not going to make as much as a social worker in a leadership position who holds a master of social work degree. For instance, if a graduate in social work becomes a professor of social work at a college or university, they will make top pay in the field while a child and family social worker or case manager may earn a salary that is substantially less depending on the area of the state in which they work and the funding of the agency in which they work for. The average pay for someone with a master’s degree is around $74,000. However, a social worker with only a bachelor’s degree should expect to make around $45,000 on average.