Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs

Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs

accelerated MSW programs online rankings

Are you looking for accelerated MSW programs online? If you hold a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited school or college, then you can be eligible for a one-year master’s in social work. Your undergraduate degree will work as the foundational knowledge for the degree. Most colleges waive the first year for those with a bachelor’s degree, and students can graduate in about one year. 

There are numerous online MSW programs to choose from. Here we have listed the top schools that not only offer accelerated MSW programs online but are also known for the quality and delivery of their programs. You can go through the article to identify and choose a program that best suits your needs, interests, and career goals.

 
 
 
 

Whether it’s 2-year online MSW programs or 1-year MSW programs, an accredited master’s in social work will set you up for a rewarding career. As a social work graduate, you will learn to promote social change, bring about positive development to enhance the well-being of people and communities. The curriculum will train you to evaluate individuals at risk and identify ways to support them. You will be trained to provide counseling and secure resources for their well-being. 

The field is constantly evolving with the changing needs of our communities and populations. An online social work degree helps students gain knowledge of these changing needs and gain hands-on experience in local communities. Students can also focus on a particular area like families, veterans, rehabilitated prisoners, or clinical patients.

The comprehensive list of accelerated MSW programs online is curated to provide accurate and helpful information on CSWE accredited fast track social work degrees online. We have covered pertinent details about each program and ranked based on their costs and affordability. You may find some tuition information listed per credit, per year, or the whole tuition. We have calculated the entire tuition for comparative study and ranking. 

Learn more about our ranking methodology here

 
 

#25 University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

University of Southern California

Online MSW

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Points: 5

The University of Southern California offers an online Master of Social Work. The elite, private research institution USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is the first in the country to offer a Master of Social Work program online. The fast-track social work degree prepares students to become licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). 

Students who already hold a bachelor’s in a social work accredited institution may opt for the Advanced Standing option. They can earn their MSW online in as few as 12 months by completing the 37-credit coursework and pursue licensure sooner. It prepares students to bring about positive change at the community level through an innovative virtual and in-person fieldwork approach. 

Fast facts:

  • 37 credits
  • Offered through:  Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
  • Format: Online/on-campus
  • Accreditation: CSWE; Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Tuition: $73,815

#24 Columbia University

New York, NY 

Columbia University

Online MSW

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Points: 6

Columbia University offers an online Master of Social Work. It is the first among the top five social work schools and the first and only Ivy League school to offer an MSW degree online. 

Students with a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from an accredited social work program can opt for the Advanced Standing Program. They can study via the accelerated track and earn their MSW in just one year. The program has a specialized program of courses and fieldwork. 

It begins with a summer intensive that prepares students to enter the CSSW curriculum as second-year students in the fall. The online social work degree is designed by social work specialists and prepares students for rewarding careers. 

Fast facts:

  • 33 credits
  • Offered through: Columbia School of Social Work
  • Format: Online/on-campus
  • Accreditation:  Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $63,092

#23 Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, OH

Case Western Reserve University

Online MSW

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Points: 6

Case Western Reserve University offers an online Master of Social Work. It is designed and led by the same distinguished faculty who teach in our on-campus programs. The program includes weekly live classes with robust & continuous student support. The rigor of the program is the same as the on-campus. 

Students can choose from the traditional track and advanced standing track. The latter allows them to complete the program faster than usual. The accredited program emphasizes educating social work leaders who can effectively address the needs of their communities and drive large-scale social change.

Fast facts:

  • 39 credits
  • Offered through:  Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
  • Format: Online/on-campus
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit hour: $1,590

#22 Simmons University

Boston, MA

Simmons University

Online MSW

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Points: 7

Simmons University offers an online Master of Social Work. The clinically-focused curriculum blends social justice values with a multicultural perspective. Students are prepared for practice in a diverse range of clinical settings.

The CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work (MSW) offers accelerated tracks and advanced standing tracks for BSW graduates. Students can complete in as few as 16 months.

Students learn about ecological systems theory, sociocultural theory, human development, psychodynamic theory, solution-focused therapy, cognitive-behavioral theory, and motivational interviewing. Students can pursue a certificate program to gain advanced skills in a specific area of interest and develop the advanced skills and understanding to pursue careers in a focus area. 

Fast facts:

  • 37 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit hour: $1,110  

#21 Boston University

Boston, MA  

Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs + Boston University

Online MSW

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Points: 8

Boston University offers an online Master of Social Work. The innovative program offers different track options to ensure that each student’s program is tailored to his or her academic and professional goals. 

Students with a bachelor’s in social work CSWE-accredited institution can opt for the Advanced standing format. It can be completed over six consecutive semesters with 43 credits. If the student passes the Research 1 Waiver Exam, then they need to complete 40 credits only. Advanced Standing students have to complete a single (10 credits), 1,000-hour field internship as well.

The social work degree online emphasizes diversity, populations at risk, ethics, and social and economic justice.

Fast facts:

  • 43 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online/on-campus
  • Accreditation: CSWE; New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $910

#20 University of New England 

Biddeford, ME 

University of New England

Online MSW

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Points: 8

The University of New England offers an online Master of Social Work. Graduates learn to identify people’s strengths across diverse populations and how to build upon them. They understand the potential for individual and collective human development. 

Students in the Advanced Standing track can complete the program in as few as 16 months. It is 100% online, with no campus visits required. Others can opt for 2-year online MSW programs.

Students learn about the social, cultural, political, and economic factors that influence social policies and programs. They develop the knowledge and skills for multiple social work interventions to empower individuals, groups, families, or communities.

Fast facts:

  • 35 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit hour: $980

#19 Fordham University

Bronx, NY

Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs + Fordham University

Online MSW

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Points: 8

Fordham University offers an online Master of Social Work. The advanced integrated practice and future-focused curriculum help students gain the skills to work effectively across all social work contexts. 

Students with a bachelor’s in social work CSWE-accredited institution can opt for the Advanced standing format. This study plan enables them to bypass the foundation coursework and earn their advanced MSW degree in as few as eight months. It ranks high among the 1-year MSW programs.

The curriculum focuses on social work concepts related to theory and practice, advanced integrated practice courses, and a choice of concentration in one or more practice areas. Students can work with their academic advisors to create their curriculum of courses that match their career goals.

Fast facts:

  • 33 credits
  • Offered through:  Graduate School of Social Service (GSS)
  • Format: Online/on-campus
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $31,779

 #18 Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO 

Colorado State University

Online MSW

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Points: 9

Colorado State University offers an online Master of Social Work. It helps students develop a robust skill set to promote human rights and global community well-being. The courses they take through a nationally recognized advanced generalist approach prepare them to be a social work practitioner in complex, diverse, and dynamic settings. 

The Advanced Standing MSW can be completed in 2 years. It provides a solid background in a wide range of social work applications. Students learn to apply the knowledge, values, and skills throughout the program in a social work agency setting. They also gain field experience in a social service agency. 

Fast facts:

  • 39 credits
  • Offered through: School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $725

#17 SUNY Buffalo

Buffalo, NY 

SUNY Buffalo

Online MSW

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Points: 9

The State University of New York at Buffalo or SUNY Buffalo offers an online Master of Social Work. The curriculum is rooted in evidence-based practice, and the program ranks high among accelerated MSW programs.

Students with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an accredited institution can opt for the advanced standing format. They gain deep insights on trauma and human rights through professional development courses. They also undertake advanced standing research and seminar courses. Several student-designed advanced year concentrations include advanced interventions, advanced topic analysis, and elective course options.

The nationally-ranked MSW program offers in-depth knowledge and skill-building similar to the school’s traditional program. 

Fast facts:

  • 35 credits
  • Offered through: School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $700

#16 The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Knoxville, TN

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Online MSSW

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Points: 9

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers an online Master of Science in Social Work. It offers flexible courses of study across its part-time, full-time, and advanced standing options. Concentrations include Evidenced-Based Interpersonal Practice and Organizational Leadership. Students can opt for the same field practice (internship) requirements and certificate program as the on-campus. 

Online courses are taught online through synchronous and asynchronous approaches. The first via interactive video conferencing software and instructional media, and the second via online learning resources that enable information sharing at flexible times.

The MSSW Advanced Standing Program is for students with a BSW or BSSW degree from an accredited school. It can be completed in 12-18 months.

Fast facts:

  • 37 credits
  • Offered through:  College of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $639.00

#15 Texas State University 

San Marcos, TX

Texas State University

Online MSW

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Points: 10

Texas State University offers an online Master of Social Work degree program. It prepares graduates for state licensing exams and rewarding careers based around improving society. Students emerge as advanced-level social workers with advocacy, practice, and research skills to address diverse needs across the lifespan.

There is an Advanced Standing for students who are BSW degree holders from an accredited institution. Students can complete their accelerated social work degrees online in just four semesters. 

The School of Social work offers varied electives like health care, international social work, diversity, gerontology, adventure therapy, spirituality, and work with veterans. Students can tailor their degrees to meet their career goals and interests.

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit hour: $750

#14 University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

University of North Dakota

Online MSW

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Points: 10

The University of North Dakota offers an online Master of social work. It is designed for students who work full-time. Students are prepared for all practice settings, including clinical social work, via the Advanced Generalist emphasis. Graduates of this program learn to provide advanced social services and develop the skills needed for advanced positions.

Students who have completed a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree from a CSWE-accredited program can opt for the accelerated online track. They can complete their fast-track social work degree online in as few as three semesters by attending class full-time and on campus. There is a 93% retention rate among M.S.W. online students.

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: School of Graduate Studies
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit hour: $624.62

#13 University of Louisville

Louisville, KY

University of Louisville

Online MSW

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Points: 10

The University of Louisville offers an online Master of Social Work degree program. It prepares students to promote social justice and be positive change agents in their communities. The program focuses on expanding the understanding and application of methods and decision-making practices to promote social justice and build stronger communities. 

BSW degree holders can complete the 30 hours Advanced Standing program within 2-5 semesters. It is a popular choice among the accelerated MSW programs online.

Students can choose a specialization and customize their degree to align with their interests in:

  • Alcohol and Drug Counseling
  • Mental Health
  • Military Social Work
  • Gerontology
  • Psychosocial Oncology.

Fast facts:

  • 30 credits
  • Offered through: Kent School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit hour: $737  

#12 University of Houston

Houston, TX

University of Houston

Online MSW

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Points: 11

The University of Houston offers an online Master of Social Work. The intensive curriculum focuses on generalist practice in professional social work. The courses span economic, social, and political justice, emphasizing critical thinking skills. Students with a BSW can apply for Advanced Standing status and complete the program in two years. Full-time students can complete it in three years.

Students have the choice of Macro Practice to prepare for work in urban settings. They work with diverse communities and address the needs of diverse, vulnerable populations. They can also choose a clinical practice that equips them with leadership skills to promote social, economic, and political justice.

Fast facts:

  • 41 credits
  • Offered through:  Graduate College of Social Work
  • Format: Online/on-campus
  • Accreditation: CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $474.76

#11 University of Missouri 

Columbia, MO

University of Missouri

Online MSW

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Points: 11

The University of Missouri offers an online Master of Social Work. It is a popular choice among the accelerated MSW programs online. It helps students get into careers in planning and administration, clinical practice, or policy. They learn to maximize their opportunities for change and support individuals, families, or groups. 

Students typically take two classes each semester. Advanced standing students with a bachelor’s degree in social work can complete the 39-credit-hour program in six semesters or two years. The program is 100 percent online. While no campus visits are required, students must undergo supervised work at an approved agency for a field practicum.

Students can earn a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in health promotion and policy or veterinary public health at the same time. 

Fast facts:

  • 39 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $18,320.25

#10 Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA 

Louisiana State University - Top 30 Accelerated and Affordable MBA Online Programs 2018

Online MSW

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Points: 12

Louisiana State University offers an online Master of Social Work. It prepares students to work in various social work settings and help diverse populations. Students with a BSW are eligible for advanced standing options and have to complete a minimum of 33 hours as LSU students. 

Students who work full time will plan to complete the internship while working. They should plan to spend a minimum of 15 hours per week per class on coursework. Internships can be completed in social service agencies near students’ homes. 

The advanced standing program requires students to complete Differential Diagnosis (3 hours) before beginning advanced coursework. It is a popular choice among the accelerated MSW programs online.

Fast facts:

  • 33 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit hour: $539

#9 University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL  

University of Alabama

Online MSW

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Points: 12

The University of Alabama offers an online Master of Social Work. The innovative program prepares students to make a difference in the lives of others. There are two concentrations to choose from: Children, Adolescents, and Their Families or Adults and Their Families. Both equip students for a rewarding career in social work.

The 42-credit Advanced-Standing Program is for only those who hold a CSWE-accredited BSW. Students can complete it in three semesters along with 500 hours of practicum. Advanced-standing students complete ‘bridge’ courses offered in the spring or summer before beginning the concentration year to fulfill professional foundation requirements.

Fast facts:

  • 42 credits
  • Offered through:  The College of Continuing Studies
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit hour: $420

#8 Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Florida State University

Online MSW

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Points: 12

Florida State University offers an online Master of Social Work. It is designed for working professionals across the nation, with a part-time, flexible format and dedicated student support. Students have two options for earning their MSW online: traditional and Advanced Standing. 

The two-year Advanced Standing Social Work program is designed for those students who have a BSW. The program includes one field placement, and the courses are clinically focused on helping students qualify for social work licensure.

Students can take two courses per semester online. Each course spans 16 weeks, and the average completion time is two years. It is a popular choice among the accelerated MSW programs online.

Fast facts:

  • 39 credits
  • Offered through:  College of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit hour: $444

#7 Saint Leo University 

St Leo, FL

Saint Leo University

Online MSW

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Points: 13

Saint Leo University offers an online Master of Social Work. It prepares graduates for advanced practice in social work services and serves all populations. Students prepare to lead in advanced clinical social work practice and promote social and economic justice and human rights for all. 

Students who hold a BSW degree from an accredited program can opt for the accelerated option. The program is fully online except for a one-weekend seminar that students have to attend on campus. 

Graduates are equipped to serve diverse populations, including the elderly, veterans, individuals, and groups who have faced discrimination and oppression. 

Fast facts:

  • 32 credits
  • Offered through:  College of Education & Social Services
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit hour : $530

#6 University of Arkansas 

Fayetteville, AR

Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs + University of Arkansas

Online MSW

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Points: 13

The University of Arkansas offers an Online Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program. The flexible format is designed for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and want to advance their education. 

It is a popular choice among the accelerated MSW programs online. The one-year, full-time MSW program allows working adults to maintain life-work balance as they study. All classes are conducted online, but it mirrors the on-campus program. 

Students gain practice in the field through internships that are arranged near their homes. Orientation is also online, and no campus visits are required. The internships, however, are set up and monitored by the faculty to ensure a quality learning experience for you. 

Fast facts:

  • 39 credits
  • Offered through:  Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences
  • Format: Online/on-campus 
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $430.69

#5 University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

University of Central Florida

Online MSW

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Points: 14

The University of Central Florida offers an online Master of Social Work. It trains students to address national and global health issues and various mental health challenges impacting individuals, groups, families, and communities. 

The advanced standing track is designed for students who already hold a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program. This track completes 32-credit hours over a span of four semesters in a cohort model.

Students gain a deeper understanding of our society’s challenges and how they are interconnected with other communities. They learn ways to promote positive change for future generations through the rewarding field of social work.

Fast facts:

  • 32 credits
  • Offered through:  College of Health Professions and Sciences
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $487.45

#4 Humboldt State University

Arcata, CA

Humboldt State University

Online MSW

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Points: 14

Humboldt State University offers an online Master of Social Work. It is designed to decolonize mainstream social work education practices and emphasizes working with indigenous and rural communities. 

Students undergo professional internships to build reciprocal and dynamic relationships in their communities. The curriculum blends theory with hands-on learning experiences to prepare students for real-life situations. 

The Advanced Standing program is a one-year, full-time program designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from a CSWE accredited college or university. All they need to do to join the advanced year curriculum is complete summer “bridge” courses.

Fast facts:

  • 30 semester units
  • Offered through:  College of Extended Education and Global Engagement 
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; WASC Senior College & University Commission
  • Tuition per unit: $510

#3 University of South Florida

Tampa, FL 

Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs + University of South Florida

Online MSW

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Points: 14

The University of South Florida offers an online Master of Social Work. It prepares students to become leaders in the social work profession and clinical practice. The curriculum helps them build a strong foundation of social work ethics, professional standards, and values.

The Advanced Standing program is designed for students with a BSW. It seeks to produce graduates who become exemplary professionals in the practice of clinical social work. It is a popular choice among the accelerated MSW programs online.

The program uses a cohort model so that students can connect and build relationships with their classmates. Students can get course content online and participate in live online learning experiences with faculty. The advanced scholarly study prepares them for clinical social work with families, individuals, groups, and communities. 

Fast facts:

  • 35 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit hour: $431.43

#2 University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX 

University of Texas at Arlington

Online MSW

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Points: 15

The University of Texas at Arlington offers an online Master of Social Work. The versatile degree prepares students to serve and support diverse populations across settings. 

Students who earned a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited institution can apply for the Advanced Standing format. The 12-month full-time online cohort allows students to pursue specialties like:

  • Community & Administrative Practice
  • Direct Practice in Mental Health & Substance Misuse
  • Direct Practice in Aging
  • Direct Practice with Children & Families

Since the Advanced Year is the second year of the MSW program, the Foundation Year is waived for eligible students. Although the one-year master’s in social work is a cohort, students can register and enroll in courses as available to meet degree requirements.

Fast facts:

  • 35 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $10,828 

#1 University of Nevada, Reno

Reno, NV 

University of Nevada, Reno

Online MSW

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Points: 16

The University of Nevada, Reno, offers an online Master of Social Work. It helps students gain the knowledge and skills to address the complex problems in diverse communities, including underserved rural communities. The program aims to create effective, ethical social work leaders and practitioners. It is one of the cheapest online MSW programs.

It is structured around advanced generalist practice (AGP) and helps prepare social workers to meet the challenges and opportunities. The 32-credit-hour program is designed for students with a BSW degree. They can attend four consecutive semesters and graduate in as few as 15 months. Students are also trained to collaborate with many professions, including public health, psychology, medicine, education, and business.

Fast facts:

  • 32 credits
  • Offered through:  School of Social Work
  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation:  CSWE; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit hour: $305.50

 

More About Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs

Top 25 Accelerated Online MSW Degree Programs

What does a social worker degree online mean?

An online social worker degree trains students to focus on and help diverse populations like families, older adults, children, veterans, ex-prisoners, and clinical patients. Graduates go on to promote development, social change, and positivity to enhance the well-being of the community and its people. 

Students who take accelerated MSW programs online hold a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited university. They learn to analyze and study populations at risk, provide counseling and support them in the emotional, social, and other issues. They arrange the best resources like food stamps, child care, job counseling, or health care for people in need. Obtaining a social work degree online prepares graduates to get into careers and become social work leaders. 

All professional social workers need to obtain licensure to practice, whether they complete 2-year online MSW programs or 1-year MSW programs. They also need to complete a degree accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Students can pursue a wide range of specialized roles, such as a government liaison or a clinical social worker position.

Completing an accelerated social work degree online helps students gain knowledge of these evolving needs of communities. They gain hands-on experience through their internships in local communities. Choosing a specialization helps them focus on particular areas like families, adolescents, veterans, or clinical settings.

Who can opt for a fast-track social work degree?

Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited school or college can apply for a one-year master’s in social work. Their undergraduate degree will work as the foundational knowledge gained from their studies will cover the first-year courses. Most colleges waive the first year, and students can graduate early with an accelerated MSW program online. 

What will you learn in an online social work degree?

Aspiring social workers who have enrolled in accelerated MSW programs online can choose from an array of programs that offer comprehensive curriculum and specialization options. The two-year MSW or a one-year master’s in social work is the advanced social work degree that has become the standard requirement in the industry. MSW students join the workforce and take up specialized positions such as clinical, policy, and administration social work. 

Courses may include:

  • Social Work Practice Theory and Methods 
  • Foundation/Advanced Field Instruction
  • Social Work Electives 
  • Social Work Practice and Policy 
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Family Assessment and Intervention
  • Clinical Social Work Practice in Health Care
  • Adolescent Client: Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Psychotherapy with Adults
  • Interventions in Clinical Social Work
  • The Role of Religion and Spirituality in Psychotherapy
  • Issues in Treatment of Women
  • Clinical Social Work Practice with Children
  • Clinical Practice in Addictions
  • Substance Abuse Treatment in Groups
  • Social Work with the Severely Mentally Ill
  • Clinical Social Work Practice with Family Violence
  • Advanced Clinical Social Work with Older Adults
  • Neurodevelopment and Trauma
  • Ethics: Theory and Application
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Social Work and Law
  • Loss, Grief, and Dying

Typically, two-year online MSW programs require 60 credits for degree completion. Students with a BSW, however, can enroll in a fast-track social work degree online. They have to complete 33-43 credit hours and graduate within a year. In addition to classwork, they have to complete a minimum of some supervised hours in field instruction or an internship for this advanced social work degree. It is important to note that they have to complete an accredited degree. 

Students who complete their MSW degrees can become a part of various professional organizations like:

  • The Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW)
  • Qualified Clinical Social Worker (QCSW)
  • The National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

What specialization options exist in a fast-track social work degree online?

Accelerated MSW programs prepare students for specialized social work in their chosen field of concentration. They can tailor their master’s degrees according to their interests and career plans. Some of these specialization options include: 

  • Addictions social work
  • Clinical social work
  • Child Welfare social work
  • Employee assistance program social work
  • Faith-Based Social Work
  • Psychiatric social work
  • Forensics social work
  • School social work
  • Gerontology social work
  • Health Care social work
  • AIDS and HIV services counselor

What is the difference between 1 year MSW programs and 2-year online MSW programs?

The two-year online MSW programs are the standard master’s in social work programs open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any field. The one-year master’s in social work or the fast-track social work degree online are available to students who hold a CSWE-Accredited bachelor’s degree in social work. Colleges waive the first year’s courses for these students since they already have foundational knowledge in the subject. They can therefore complete their shortened degree requirements and graduate early with an accelerated social work degree online.

Which schools offer accelerated MSW programs?

Numerous schools offer accelerated MSW programs online. They are known for the quality of the program, flexibility, and delivery of their programs. Students can identify and choose a program that best suits their needs, interests, and career goals. Some of the schools that offer accelerated MSW programs online are:

  • University of Southern California
  • Columbia University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Simmons University
  • Boston University
  • University of New England
  • Fordham University
  • Colorado State University
  • SUNY Buffalo
  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Texas State University
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Houston
  • University of Missouri
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Alabama
  • Florida State University
  • Saint Leo University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Central Florida
  • Humboldt State University
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Nevada, Reno

What can you do after completing an accelerated social work degree online?

Students who complete accelerated MSW programs online focus on working with vulnerable communities. Those who go into the corporate sector focus on helping employees and all stakeholders through various social and emotional issues. Social workers partner with other agencies to address various problems and emergency situations. They often work in specialty care areas like helping terminally ill patients cope with a diagnosis, guide families to navigate the foster care system, or veterans access resources they direly need.

Some of the top career choices for MSW graduates are:

  • Case consultant
  • Child life specialist
  • Child protective services worker
  • Court-appointed special advocate
  • Gerontology social worker
  • Corporate responsibility manager
  • Criminal justice counselor 
  • Healthcare administrator
  • Human resources manager
  • Nonprofit administratorPolicy and planning specialist 
  • Program administrator
  • Social science researcher
  • School social worker 
  • Family services social worker
  • Health educators
  • Local and state government agencies social worker
  • Ambulatory services social worker
  • Human service workers

How to choose from the top social work degree online?

The best schools for accelerated MSW programs provide students with the skills to promote systemic change, specialize in communities’ needs and focus on the interactions between systems. These programs prepare the next generation of social work leaders by emphasizing digital innovation and social justice. Students need to choose a fast-track social work degree with a curriculum that offers the right tools for social work training. They should also consider the accelerated options, format, cost, coursework, etc., for each degree program.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Online vs. traditional format: Traditional schools offer classes on-campus and can be more expensive than most online schools. Most of the top social work degrees online are offered on-campus as well. It is easier to find a master’s degree in the field online. Students who wish to attend live classes can attend a campus that best fits their needs in terms of commute or cost. 

Accelerated MSW programs online equip students with the skills they need to excel as social workers. They gain and master the knowledge and skills in research, critical thinking, empathy, active listening, patience, communication, organization, self-care, and cultural competence.

Cost: The cost of a social worker degree online is an important consideration for students. Private universities have higher tuition rates than public universities. Some regional universities offer extremely affordable tuition rates. Online colleges and universities tend to be more cost-effective and affordable. 

On-campus students spend a considerable amount on tuition, fees, and other school-related items. There are personal expenses and transportation to consider. But they can also get aid and tuition waivers to control their expenses and incur less debt. 

Online programs offer a viable alternative because they are flexible and designed for working adults who can complete their education and get an advanced degree while continuing their day jobs. Students need to research the school they plan to attend thoroughly before applying. They should consider the school’s accreditation, admissions rate and graduation rate, faculty profiles, student support system, and program quality. 

If they are looking for a one-year master’s in social work, they should look for schools that waive the first year of study and get their MSW degree in approximately one year. Since these take less time to complete, they are often more affordable than the regular master’s degrees in social work. 

Students should keep one thing to keep in mind, however. They should remember that the degree outcomes and quality of education are not directly proportional to the format or the cost. So the cheapest online MSW programs can also offer high-quality education. The best schools for accelerated MSW programs online are known for their high academic standards.

Accreditation: The accreditation process is key to understanding the quality of an academic program. It adds to a program’s credibility and recognition and tells us whether the program meets the standards for excellence. The main accreditation commissions students and professionals should consider are:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC

Accreditation agencies gather information and resources on academic programs and provide links to the various regional commissions covering states across the U.S. Colleges and universities can achieve recognition for quality in academics, student services, graduate profiles, and other benchmarks. Evaluators or accreditors use this process to assess how an educational institution meets the criteria and other schools. 

Some schools seek out specialized organizations to support their knowledge and industry-based credentials. These are the programmatic accreditations that assess the curriculum, faculty, and program outcomes. Specialized accreditations offer an evaluation-based standard for the program per the list of criteria of the nationally recognized accreditation commissions. For MSW degrees, this is the CSWE. 

CSWE or the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a joint organization that includes social welfare agencies, educational and professional social work institutions, and private citizens. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes it as the sole accrediting agency for all social work education, including online social work programs in the United States. A CSWE accreditation signifies that an online social work degree meets the council’s standards for student competencies, institutional policies, and curricula satisfactorily.

Sources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 
U.S. News & World Report 
National Association of Social Workers

Related:

This concludes our list of the top 25 accelerated MSW online programs.

Bambi Majumdar
Author

Melissa Anderson
Expert

Julie McCaulley
Editor-in-Chief