Washington, DC Masters in Social Work Online Programs
Masters in Social Work Online programs are typically designed for working professionals interested in pursuing a MSW degree without disrupting their lifestyle.
GradSchools.com Top Schools for Online Social Work Masters Degrees*
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 3,030+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 15:1
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 1,810+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 12:1
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 5,358+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 14:1
Format / Location - Online
Total Enrollments - 10,861+
Student / Teacher Ratio - 1:1
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Whether you are a current social worker seeking a terminal practice degree or are looking for a career change, earning a masters in social work online may help you fulfill part of the requirements to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). In fact, one of the things to keep in mind is that an online masters in social work (MSW) is not easier or of less value just because you take social work courses in a virtual classroom.
About Online MSW Programs
Online MSW programs are offered by traditional graduate schools so your transcript will not necessarily show how you earned your degree and there is no ‘one’ set of standards for what an online MSW looks like.
Degree requirements, course format and distance instruction methods vary by school. You might enter an online masters in social work program with either a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from an accredited program or with a degree in human services, counseling psychology or a related field. Specific prerequisites should be identified on a school by school basis.
Advanced Standing Students
For students who have earned their Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE accredited program, some graduate schools for social work may offer students the opportunity to enter an MSW online program as an “advanced standing student”. What this might mean is that the first year of classes (foundation classes) are waived and the time to degree completion, shorter.
How Does It Take to Earn an Online Masters in Social Work?
Most full-time online MSW programs can be completed in approximately two years, compared with two and a half to four years for part-time programs. Students interested in earning an MSW online might have options for how much time they commit to their degree. Some online schools may offer both full-time and part-time options, while others may only have one type or the other. This is a criterion you might use to distinguish one online Master of Social Work from another.
- Full-time MSW Online Programs might take approximately two years to complete for traditional standing students and about one full year for advanced standing students. Advanced standing students have usually entered an online MSW program having graduated with a BSW and thus completed some of the basic courses.
- Part-time MSW Online Programs might take two and a half years to four years for traditional standing students and about one and a half years for advanced standing students.
Potential Curriculum for Online MSW Programs
Students enrolled in online MSW programs take courses, electives, and participate in field internships. Course curriculum is often dependent on a student’s emphasis of study (specialization). This might be either clinical (e.g. clinical social worker) or non-clinical (e.g. social advocacy). All online MSW programs include a field practicum requirement where students typically have to work at a social services of health service agency in their community.
DID YOU KNOW?
When asked about their education level, 57% of clinical social workers responded they had a master’s degree[i]
Format Options for Online MSW Programs
When reviewing online MSW programs, take note that distance learning might take on different formats and structures.
- MSW Online Programs (100% online): If a graduate school lists an online social work masters degree program as completely online, this usually describes a program that does not require students to travel to their campus.
- MSW Online Programs (campus requirements): Some schools offer students the opportunity to take most of their courses online except for a few campus visits which are clearly stipulated. These might be anything from a short conference, workshop, evening, week or weekend depending on the school.
How Are MSW Online Programs Structured?
Online MSW programs do vary in their structure and learning delivery. Here are a few potential features to consider in your search;
- Cohort Model: The cohort model is one where the same group of students take a course and proceed through their program together.
- Scheduling: The flexible course scheduling model is one where students choose their courses without the set structure of taking specific courses at set intervals.
- Synchronous Course Delivery: Some online Master of Social Work programs may offer synchronous instruction. This requires students to log in and attend their courses at specific times, and classes are given in real-time. There is a level of participation through technology such as webcams that may simulate an on-campus experience.
- Asynchronous Course Delivery: Some online MSW programs offer asynchronous delivery of courses. Students do not attend classes in real time, rather, are able to log into their course management system when they have the time, although they must still respect assignment deadlines. This type of program offers flexibility to students who are able to make their own schedules.
Why Consider an Online Social Work Masters Degree?
Choosing to pursue a masters degree in social work online might be beneficial for graduate students who:
- Are busy gaining real time work experience and don’t want to let it go, but your job hours don’t mesh with the campus schedule.
- Hold a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and have had some human service component and practice.
- Live to far geographically from accredited online MSW programs
- Find the on-campus schedule is impossible to commit to
Potential Next Steps for MSW Graduates
Earning your MSW online may have several potential benefits;
Potential Career Paths: MSW graduates may be prepared for specialist and advanced practice career paths;
- Social and Community Service Managers
- Child and Family Social Workers
- Clinical Social Workers
- School Social Workers
- Healthcare Social Workers
Find CSWE Accredited Online MSW Programs
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency in the United States for all social work education including online programs. Choosing an accredited online MSW program helps to ensure the quality and educational standards are verified.
Find a list of Online Social Work Masters Programs
Enrolling in an online MSW program may be a great way to earn your graduate degree without leaving the comfort of your own community. Browse our sponsored program listings to find the online Masters of Social Work Program that aligns with your goals. Our on-page navigation makes it easy to request info from prospective online graduate schools, so take your next step now!
sources: [i]onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1023.00 | [ii]bls.gov/ooh/management/social-and-community-service-managers.htm | [iii]bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
Sacred Heart University
You'll expand the level care and assistance you can provide to vulnerable populations and be a force of positive change in your community when you earn your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree online at Sacred Heart University.
Loyola University Chicago
Develop linguistic competence and cultural awareness to help Spanish-speaking clients thrive by earning a Bilingual Masters in Social Work online. This unique MSW is taught primarily in Spanish and focuses in Health/Mental Health and Migration Studies.
Widener University's online Master of Social Work (MSW) is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). It prepares you to improve both your life and the lives of others through clinical social work and social justice.
Our Lady of the Lake University
Our Lady of the Lake University's Worden School of Social Service, offers its acclaimed Master of Social Work degree program entirely online, giving working adults the opportunity to work toward this career-building,service-oriented credential.
Simmons College’s online Master of Social Work program can be completed in as few as 15 months, and GRE scores are not required.
Winthrop University's online Master of Social Work Traditional program prepares students without a social work background to become competent, specialized social workers.
Northcentral University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program will help prepare students for a career in a variety of social service settings.
Prepare to advance your social work career with a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) from Walden University. This online master’s degree program helps you develop the skills needed to become a social worker.
University of Denver
University of Louisville
Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) 100% online for BSW and non-BSW professionals...
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
MSW graduates are prepared to work in a wide range of practice settings, including family based agencies, mental health care agencies, addiction treatment centers, schools, medical care facilities, psychiatric facilities, rehabilitation facilities...
The online Master of Social Work program at Boston University School of Social Work allows applicants interested in a graduate...
- Fort Collins, COFort Collins, CO
Colorado State University
Master of Social Work
Advanced Generalist Practice...
Western Kentucky University
Design to meet the needs of diverse rural populations and the work-force needs of agencies that serve families and communities.
University of Central Florida
The Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares students for advanced social work practice.
University of the Philippines Open University
These programs answer the demand of social work practitioners in different parts of the country, particularly by those who have no access to graduate training in schools based in Metro Manila. D/MSW originate from the College of Social Work and Communit...
University of Tennessee
The online Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is one of the nation's top accredited online programs when it comes to value and affordability, according to newly released rankings from the GetEducated cons...
California State University, Northridge
CSUN'ss MSW program gives students the chance to work with at-risk populations and fosters an appreciation of the planned-change process. Its broad curriculum enables students to gain skills and perspective to work at any level.
Miami Christian University
Our goal is not so much the accumulation of credits within an area of study as it is acquiring a skill and proficiency in the area. Jesus trained, or discipled, the twelve and supervised them as they followed His pattern of ministry. We, too, desire to...
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...
- Shippensburg, PAShippensburg, PA
For full- or part-time students who want to either further their education in social work or join the profession.
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...