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
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.
2. Case Western Reserve University
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.
3. University of Southern California
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.
4. Boston University
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.
5. Fordham University
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.
6. SUNY University at Buffalo
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: $745.01/credit (in-state) or $805.90/credit (out-of-state)
7. Indiana University
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: $473.13/credit (in-state) or $1,020.72/credit (out-of-state)
8. University of Louisville
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.
9. University of Tennessee
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: $639/hour (in-state) or $1,650/hour (out-of-state)
10. Florida State University
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: $444.26/credit (in-state) or $1,075.66/credit (out-of-state)
11. University of Texas – Arlington
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 clinically treating the mentally ill, addicted, aging, or youth with 500 fieldwork hours.
Tuition: $16,880 total
12. University of Houston
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 $885/credit (out-of-state)
13. University of Alabama
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.
14. Simmons University
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.
15. Colorado State University
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.
16. University of Missouri
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.
17. University of Arkansas
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.
18. University of Central Florida
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: $288.16/credit (in-state); $1,073,31/credit (out-of-state)
19. Louisiana State University
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.
20. University of Alaska – Anchorage
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: $513/credit (in-state) or $1,079/credit (out-of-state)
21. University of South Florida
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: $347.91/credit (in-state) or $772.43/credit (out-of-state)
22. Boise State University
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.
23. Texas State University
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: $337.57/credit (in-state) or $759.57/course (out-of-state)
24. University of Nevada – Reno
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)
25. University of North Dakota
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.
26. Our Lady of the Lake University
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.
27. University of New England
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.
28. Saint Leo University
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.
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.
30. Edinboro University
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: $516/credit (in-state) or $568/credit (online out-of-state)