If you are ready to pursue your Masters in Social Work Degree — or just considering it — we can help you decide if an online program is right for you. With our helpful insights into online MSW programs, you will be one step closer to your goals. We have also provided you with information about programs available to you.
The number of students choosing an online education is constantly rising. According to recent surveys, as many as 6.7 million students have enrolled in at least one online course. Luckily, earning an online degree is no longer viewed as “an easy way out.”
People seem to be letting go of their preconceptions where online learning is concerned. Even more importantly, so are employers. Surveys reveal that over 62% of HR professionals believe that online degrees are the equivalent of an on-campus-earned degree. In fact, companies and employers don’t shy away from hiring applicants who have earned their degree online.
Among the countless undergraduate and graduate options and degree choices you have, earning a Master’s in Social Work can be one of the best career choices. Online MSW programs prepare students for incredibly versatile work environments. From private counseling to government assistance programs. Most importantly, online programs allow students to enjoy an excellent, high-quality education while adding flexibility.
Understanding Social Education and Online MSW Programs
Social work is a particularly engaging field, and earning your degree online is a rather new development in social work education. Top universities are also picking up on the trend and have started amending their course offerings and curriculums to accommodate the demand for flexible and convenient online MSW programs. At the moment, only 30 schools offer 100% campus-free coursework and have earned the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation.
Experts estimate that the demand for social workers will experience a 19 percent increase in the following decade. And while the percentage itself isn’t that convincing, this growth is the fastest of all occupations. Even so, it is not a profession lightly entered, regardless of your credentials and education.
A social worker is expected to hold either a Bachelors of Social Work or a Masters of Social work. Each may be from some accredited institutions. While each of these programs have both positive and negative sides, be prepared for an engaging and demanding program. It will include intense coursework as well as clinical practice. For accreditation, institutions offering online MSW programs must — according to the CSWE — request that their students complete a mandatory period of clinical practice.
The Never-ending Struggle of a Social Worker
Social workers are expected to not only be keen observers and connoisseurs of the human psyche, they must also have excellent social skills. Their work will have them acting as a liaison between families and the organizations dedicated to helping them. Social workers have to understand the obstacles that families and individuals face, the toll that disability takes on people, as well as the manner in which unemployment, housing or health issues, domestic abuse, substance abuse or social injustice influences their behavior and their life.
When pursuing a career in social work, you strive to earn a degree from an institution that has a stellar academic reputation. One that is also affordable. And, that offers the flexibility you require to continue working while completing your studies.
Top Tier Universities that Offer Accredited Online MSW Programs
One of the best universities to take into consideration when preparing to enroll for social work studies is the University of Southern Carolina, an institution marked by longstanding tradition and a thirst for excellence. Despite the fact that it began with a mere 53 students in 1880, over 41,000 students walk its real and virtual halls.
USC ensures that its online MSW degree program follows the same curriculum and components that its on-site program does. One of the noteworthy components of USC’s online MSW program is its Virtual Field Practicum. Students may take the opportunity of interacting with nigh-real-world clinical situations, by talking with client actors acting out specific scenarios. Students may also opt for the traditional track or the advanced standing track for their studies.
Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service
Another excellent program is Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service online MSW program. Currently ranked #11 in US News & World Report. Students don’t only focus on theory, research, social policy and social work application. They also have the opportunity of taking part in field placements.
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama also offers a high-quality online MSW program that has students select one of the following specializations:
- Adults and Their Families (focusing on geriatric care, adult mental health care and facilities that cater to the needs of such individuals)
- Adolescents and Their Families (focusing on child welfare, mental health settings)
Degree candidates will first focus on foundational courses that prepare them for the more complex courses that follow.
University of England’s online MSW program
Accessible to all US students, the University of England’s online MSW program features a well-structured, carefully crafted curriculum. It features asynchronous classes that don’t require scheduled login times. The university offers a traditional track requiring the completion of 64 credit hours and a total of 4 field internships. Aside from the traditional track, students have the choice of an advanced standing option, requiring only 37 credits and two field internships.
Boston University School of Social WorK
The Boston University School of Social Work has also committed its expertise towards providing students with an online alternative. Its online MSW program aims to educate degree candidates in an “intellectually rigorous environment.” Two of its tracks require the completion of 65 credits, the traditional MSW track and the Human Service Experience track, while its Advanced Standing Track only requires completing 40 to 43 credits. All three programs have CSWE accreditation.
Regardless of the degree you earn, you will have tremendous satisfaction in the field of your choice. Note, however, that there are certain differences between a Bachelor’s in Social Work and a Master’s in Social Work degree. Especially where job placement is concerned. A Master’s degree holder will have an easier time finding a position in clinical social work, where such a degree is mandatory.
Master’s degree holders are also better earners than their BSW degree-holding counterparts. An entry-level MSW degree holder earns approximately $40,000 more than a BSW degree holder. The difference increases with experience and career level.