United States Social Work Certificate Programs
Graduate social work certificate programs offer continued education for current and aspiring social workers. Some certificates in social work are designed for the recent graduate seeking to refine skills within their chosen field such as geriatrics or substance abuse. Others may suit the licensed clinical social worker who wants to stay abreast of current research, or trends in theory, advocacy and policy.
What Are Social Work Certificate Programs?
Graduate level social work certificate programs may be post-baccalaureate or post-master’s programs that generally explore current research to give social worker professionals the knowledge to advance their treatment strategies. Typically, shorter in duration than a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program, social worker certificates might be completed in about two semesters, although this may vary between universities.
FACT: When asked about their education level, 4% of healthcare social workers responded that they had earned a post-baccalaureate certificate and 4%responded they had earned a post-master’s certificate[i].
Graduate Social Work Certificate: Potential Admission Requirements
Admission requirements to social work graduate certificate programs vary. For a post-baccalaureate social work certificate, students may be required to have earned a Bachelor of Social Work or related Bachelor’s degree (i.e. Bachelor of Human Services) from an accredited college. For post-master’s social work certificates, prospective applicants generally have earned their MSW degree.
Social Worker Certificate vs. Certification for Social Workers
Earning a graduate certificate in social work does not mean the same thing as the process involved for a social worker to achieve professional certification. Familiarizing yourself with potential terminology (‘certified’, ‘certification’ and ‘certificate’) may help
you find a certificate in social work that aligns with your academic and vocational goals.
What is a Certified Social Worker?
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) offers ACSW certification, however this is not the same as licensing in that it does not grant the legal authority to practice. Some of these qualifications are offered to currents licensed social workers seeking ‘advanced practice specialty credentials.’[ii] NASW credentials and specialty certifications are professional designations that may be used to enhance, but not replace, state licensure. Some of these advanced specialties might include[iii]:
- Clinical Social Worker-military veterans
- Qualified Social Worker
- Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs Social Worker
- Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology
- Advanced Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Social Worker
- Certified Social Worker in Healthcare
Each separate credential and certification has its own criteria.
Certification for Social Workers
Most states have specific licensure or certification requirements for social workers. Certification, or licensing, typically requires a social worker to have earned a Master of Social Work from a CSWE accredited program, have a minimum of two years supervised clinical practice and pass exams[iv]. In some states, the social work program a student chooses may play a role in determining license category, should this occur in the future.
Certificate of Social Work
Earning a social work certificate on the other hand, may add onto existing skills or serve as a platform for continued education, however, it is not a degree. Some certificate in social work programs offer BSW and MSW social workers the necessary skills and knowledge in key areas of practice, but these are social workers who may already be licensed clinical social workers seeking the necessarily skills to work within schools or healthcare[v].
Types of Social Work Certificate Programs
One of the potential benefits to social work certificate programs is that they may add value to your credentials and abilities. Within these programs you might find two basic types of certificates:
- Post-Graduate Certificate Programs
- Post-Master’s Certificate Programs
Post-Graduate Social Work Certificate Programs
Post-baccalaureate social work certificate programs might appeal to recent graduates or students who have earned their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and want to take some of the foundational courses from a Master of Social Work (MSW). The course credits earned may help students fulfill some of their state’s educational requirement hours.
Post-master’s Social Work Certificate Programs
Post-master’s social work certificate programs might appeal to currently working social workers and other human services professionals. These programs may offer evidence-based treatment approaches which may enable clinicians to take away findings and assessment strategies based on current research.
Find Accredited Social Work Certificates
Prospective and practicing social workers should look for CSWE accredited programs. The Council on Social Work Education is responsible for developing the accreditation standards that define professional competency. The CSWE is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.[vi]
Are Online Social Work Certificate Programs Available?
Some accredited universities and schools for social work may offer online social work certificate programs. Campus and hybrid distance learning formats may also be available. Use any of these formats (campus, hybrid or online) to refine your search preferences. Alternatively, search for certificates in social work schools by location. Use our on-page navigation to refine by city, state or country.
Take the Next Step
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is projected to grow by 12% from 2014 to 2024 which is faster than average for all occupations[vii]. That said, for some of the more specialized clinical social worker occupations (healthcare, mental health), the rates are up at 19% for the same time frame[viii]. With this outlook, why not consider taking the next step in your education with a certificate in social work? Browse our sponsored listings, then use the “request info” setting to reach out to prospective schools so you can check whether their next enrollment is imminent?
sources: [i] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1022.00#Education |[ii] naswdc.org/credentials/default.asp |[iii] naswdc.org/credentials/list.asp |[iv] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm |[v] naswdc.org/credentials/faqs.asp |[vi] cswe.org/Accreditation.aspx |[vii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm |[viii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm |
- Northampton, MANorthampton, MA
For 90 years, the Smith College School for Social Work has provided graduate social work education to men and women around the world. Our program is internationally recognized for its dedication to and specialization in cli...
- Tallahassee, FLTallahassee, FL
Florida State University
The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is designed to prepare advanced practitioners to work with diverse client systems and problems in a variety of settings. Two curriculum concentrations are offered: 1. Clinical Social Work: To prepare stu...
- Philadelphia, PAPhiladelphia, PA
University of Pennsylvania
Study social work at one of the country's leading Ivy League Universities.
- Berrien Springs, MIBerrien Springs, MI
The MSW degree trains you for work in interpersonal, clinical, administrative, or developmental settings. The MSW further prepares you to make a positive, articulated impact on the lives of hurting people, and to provide a constructive influence among f...
- Scranton, PAScranton, PA
Courses of the M.S.W. degree curriculum may be classified generally into two categories: foundation curriculum and advanced study. Foundation Curriculum *Social Work Practice I *Social Work Practice II *Field Education I *Field Education I...
- Williams Bay, WIWilliams Bay, WI
The mission of the School of Social Work is to prepare competent and committed human service practitioners who will promote the development and enhancement of resilient communities, social groups, families and individuals. The MSW program embraces a...
- Providence, RIProvidence, RI
Rhode Island College
At the School of Social Work, you will find a commitment to social justice and a focus on preparing students for practice with many populations. Most of all you will learn the value of social work as a profession that believes in the power of people.
- San Diego, CASan Diego, CA
San Diego State University
The goal of the Master of Social Work program is the education of advanced social work practitioners that enables them to provide services which assure people equal access to resources, programs, and opportunities; assist individuals in the accomplishme...
Binghamton University (S.U.N.Y.)
The online Social Work in Health Care advanced certificate program is a five-course sequence that prepares social workers for opportunities across the continuum of settings in the United States health care system.
- Ypsilanti, MIYpsilanti, MI
Eastern Michigan University
- Akron, OHAkron, OH
University of Akron
- Detroit, MIDetroit, MI
Wayne State University
The School is an integral part of Wayne State University, an urban university in a culturally diverse, industrialized,metropolitan area. The School is committed in its teaching, research, and service activities to addressing theproblems of people living...
The George Washington University
The End-of-Life Care Programs will prepare you to enter or advance in the interdisciplinary, challenging, and rewarding field of end-of-life care. Of the almost 3 million deaths occurring annually in the United States, the vast majority of these deaths...
- Garden City, NYGarden City, NY
The Master of Social Work will prepare you for advanced social work practice with individuals, families, couples and groups.
- Columbia, SCColumbia, SC
University of South Carolina
The MSW Program at USC provides out of state students and international students with more graduate assistantships than any other school of social work. The College of Social offers full-time, part-time and Advanced Standing programs for the Master of S...
University of Texas at Arlington
It is a pleasure to welcome you to the School of Social Work's Masters and Ph.D program at The University of Texas at Arlington. Our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized as leading scholars and teachers in social work education and res...
- Arlington, TX
- Fairfax, VAFairfax, VA
George Mason University
The MSW Program opened its doors in fall 2002 and was fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in spring 2006. The MSW Program prepares students for advanced practice in social work. Following completion of a foundation year of study, st...
- Knoxville, TNKnoxville, TN
University of Tennessee
The Master of Science in Social Work program at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work is the first and oldest graduate social work program in the state of Tennessee. Founded in 1942, it has been accredited continuously since 1945. The MSSW...
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
New York University
NYU Silver School of Social Work is one of the leading centers of professional training in direct social work practice. Graduates at all levels acquire the core knowledge and skills necessary to work directly with individuals, families, and groups. T...
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
Wurzweiler offers the MSW through a traditional day program, a program for employed persons, a summer block program and an interdenominational clergy program. The DSW program is designed for working professionals and holds classes on Thursday evenings a...
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago
This program is for graduates with an M.S.W. degree from an accredited School of Social Work...
- New York City, NYNew York City, NY
City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College
The MSW curriculum is divided into a Foundation and Advanced level. The educational goal for the Foundation Year is to provide all students with a broad understanding of social work knowledge and skills. In the Advanced Year, students are expected to de...
- River Forest, ILRiver Forest, IL
Dominican University’s Graduate School of Social Work challenges you to change the world by helping you obtain the skills you need to make a difference. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, we focus on preparing graduates for ser...
- Houston, TXHouston, TX
University of Houston
Social Work - Certificate
The University of Houston offers both a Master in Social Work (M.S.W.) and a Ph.D. in social work. Also available are concurrent degree options with which full-time students may complete their M.S.W. requirements while pursuing a Ph.D. in social work, a...