Counseling Social Work Degrees

The counseling social work degree program begins at the master's level. Once you have completed your bachelor's program and are looking for ways to pursue this career path, you should seek out MSW programs online that can set you on track for licensure.

The online MSW programs currently being offered by colleges all over the U.S. consists of important elements regarding mental health, client assessment, and treatment planning that can help you become the best possible clinical social worker for your clients.

Some universities that are offering this type of online MSW program may require that you have a Bachelor's in Social Work and possibly some experience as a licensed BSW social worker in the field.

Found within the diverse field of social work, licensed clinical social workers have the capability to provide counseling services to the people they serve. Counseling social work can be increasingly beneficial for individuals that are having difficulty functioning during normal life or even for people that have been exposed to averse situations involving their families or health.

In order to become a counseling social worker, you must complete a set of requirements and receive the necessary licensure prior to working with clients in the field.

Our team of educational experts has put together this guide so that you can see more about this incredible career field and its respective educational path. Read below to learn more.

Consider a Featured Online MSW Program

Click the university name for information on admissions, courses, status of accreditation, and more.
School / Program Online Program? Advanced Standing Availability Course Information
Fordham University
Online Master of Social Work
check CSWE Accredited
cast_connected Online check_circle Advanced Standing Program Available class Accelerated, full-time, and part-time options. Advanced standing for qualified students with a BSW
Baylor University
Online Master of Social Work
check CSWE Accredited
cast_connected Online
No GRE Scores Required
check_circle Advanced Standing Program Available class 2 Specializations: Clinical Practice or Community Practice. Standard MSW and Advanced Standing MSW.
University of Denver
Online Master of Social Work
check CSWE Accredited
cast_connected Online
No GRE Required
check_circle Advanced Standing Program Available class Two online graduate programs: a traditional MSW and an advanced standing MSW
Simmons University
Online Master of Social Work
check CSWE Accredited
cast_connected Online
No GRE Required
check_circle Accelerated Track Available class Accelerated 15-month immersive program
University of Southern California
Online Master of Social Work
check CSWE Accredited
cast_connected Online
Bachelor's Degree Required.
check_circle Advanced Standing Program Available class Advanced standing program available to earn an MSW degree in under 1 year
Regis College
Online MSW
check In pre-candidacy for CSWE Accreditation
cast_connected Online check_circle Apply with No GRE class Complete in as few as 8 semesters

What is Counseling + Social Work?

Counseling social work may have various stages, such as therapy, field support, and follow-up services. The importance of counseling social work in the lives of clients is high, since these services can help to establish healthy habits, thought processes, and coping mechanisms for positive mental health. As a licensed counselor in this field, you can be part of the solution to life-long difficulties with managing daily responsibilities and working through overwhelming side effects of mental health diagnoses.

A Counseling-Social Work degree program can lead to careers in counseling social work, and can introduce you to the specific topics you need to be effective in helping people work through issues within their personal lives. This degree program can come in different forms, with some specializations in clinical mental health, clinical social work, and counseling social work. Each of these programs can lead you into a career that is focused on counseling others on healthier lifestyles for greater quality of life.

Online Degree Programs

Virtual education has grown into one of the most preferred options for upcoming students looking for convenient paths to career success. If you have the desire to move into counseling social work degree programs but do not have the resources to quit your full-time job or spend time away from your family, online degree programs might be the right choice for you.

One of the benefits to choosing the online path for your education is associated with the high quality of these programs. Like traditional social work programs, online Masters in Social Work programs are also required to be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for future licensure.

In the online setting, counseling social work programs begin with courses that can outline your generalized field and how it came to be. This can give you some insight into the overall mission of your field, as well as the many struggles and changes that were undergone in order to improve the field to the state that it is today. This can be a great way to teach you more about methods for improving your field as well as learning proven techniques for practice when working with clients. The historical foundations of social work can enlighten you to the laws and ethics currently practiced in the field as well as methods for use with clients from varying social and cultural backgrounds.

Instructors in the online setting can also communicate with their students through convenient online tools such as discussion boards and in-class email, making it easier than ever to ask questions and receive feedback in each class. Students that choose online counseling social work programs as a way to maintain their full-time job or busy family schedule can also take advantage of the flexible due dates and independent learning experience present within these programs.

Programs That May Be Currently Accepting Applicants

Fordham's CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work program offers a future-focused curriculum, preparing students with advanced integrated competencies that cut across populations and contexts.
Click for admissions information.

The Master of Social Work online program from Baylor University is now accepting applications. Learn how to ethically integrate faith and social work practice in as few as 12 months. No GRE required. CSWE Accredited.
Click for admissions information.

SocialWork @ Simmons is an innovative, online Master of Social Work program offered through the Simmons School of Social Work, the nation’s oldest school of social work. Complete your MSW in as little as 15 months with this CSWE-accredited program. No GRE required.
Click for admissions information.

Bachelor’s Degrees

As you begin your path towards a career in counseling social work, you should plan out each stage of your education efficiently. The field of social work often requires that students engage in particular degree programs and receive the right type of licensure before being permitted to work with clients in the field. At the bachelor’s level, students can choose from many different degree programs that can set the stage for learning at the master’s level. Colleges all over the U.S. currently provide online Bachelor of Social Work degree programs that can be great options for future counseling social workers. Check out a few example programs below.

  • Cambellsville University – Online Bachelor of Social Work: The online Bachelor of Social Work can provide a great opportunity for learning to students with varying lifestyles and daily responsibilities. At Campbellsville University, you can take part in a 4 year bachelor’s programs that outlines the foundations of the field of social work, policies and ethics pertaining to work in the field, and general techniques that can be used with a wide variety of clients. This program could be a great initial program for future counseling social work professionals.
  • Spring Arbor University – Online Bachelor of Social Work: Spring Arbor University currently opens it BS in Social Work online to a variety of student learners that are intrigued by the potential to help others in the field. This accredited degree program can teach you more about the meaning and function of social work, the history of the field, and methods for success. This program can help you move forward into licensure, which is the next step towards a career in counseling social work.

Master’s Degrees

As you consider the transition into master’s level programs for your career, you should consider the benefits of obtaining a degree at this level. The master’s level is a popular degree choice because it is at this point that students can choose a specialization to accompany their general program. Students interested in the field of counseling social work can choose concentrations that are focused on mental health, general counseling, or other clinical options. Once you have completed a program like one of the programs listed below, you can take part in a supervised clinical experience before moving forward into a counseling-oriented career focused on changing the lives of others.

  • Colorado State University – Online MSW – Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health: Colorado State University can be a great place for you to engage in an online MSW program focused on clinical services to clients in the field. The Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health specialization can put you in touch with topics that can enhance your understanding of behavior, its antecedents, and methods for positive behavior change. This specialization can lead you into licensure after 2-3 years of advanced learning and practice.
  • The University of Houston – Online MSW – Clinical Social Work: The Clinical Social Work specialization at the University of Houston can be your gateway into counseling social work careers in the future. This program consists of course work that can outline the assessment process, different treatment techniques, and methods for working with the general public as well as specific groups. Students in this online program can also test their abilities through research projects and supervised internships in the field prior to graduation.

Common Master’s-Level Course Work

Since the master’s level is the prime level for upcoming clinical professionals, the course work in these programs may involve a deep look into mental health diagnoses, symptoms, and treatment methods for use in the field. Depending on the school that you have enrolled in, you may find that the course list varies, but covers a lot of the same topics found in other similar online programs. Our team of educational experts has reviewed some of the most popular online degree programs in counseling social work in order to provide you with a quick list of courses for your review. Browse through some of the courses below to get a better idea of the topics that can be covered throughout your program.

  • Assessment and Diagnosis: This course can provide you with an outline of the most well-known categories of diagnoses for adults and children. The primary resource for students in this course is the DSM-5, which can be used to research and make decisions based on symptoms presented during the assessment process. Students can also learn more about how to apply information about culture, biological, and psychological aspects during the assessment process, which can lead to a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for clients in need.
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Assessing how individuals interact with their environment can be beneficial to social workers seeking to develop effective programs for their clients. This course instructs students on how to analyze how an individual’s culture and social environment shape personality, behavior, and integration, which can be telling about a person’s psychological or emotional state. Students in this course can also delve into normal and abnormal human development and how it can be influenced by the social environment.
  • Advanced Social Work Practice: Before you become a professional social worker, you should have a deep insight into what practice looks like for professionals in your field. This course outlines the various practice settings that are common in social work, the process of assessment and treatment, ethics, and contractual services. Some high points of this course include those that include intervention practices, family practice, and social evaluations that can influence your effectiveness as a treatment professional in the field.

An Overview of the Program Area

Counseling social work is a specialized program that can teach you more about what it means to be a clinical counselor in the field. Counseling professionals often work with individuals that are experiencing the negative effects of addiction, people that have experienced trauma, or even those that have been diagnosed with mild to severe mental illness. The goal of counseling social work is to assess a client’s needs, develop an effective and relevant treatment plan, and put the plan into action for client success.

Counseling social work may have various stages, such as therapy, field support, and follow-up services. The importance of counseling social work in the lives of clients is high, since these services can help to establish healthy habits, thought processes, and coping mechanisms for positive mental health. As a licensed counselor in this field, you can be part of the solution to life-long difficulties with managing daily responsibilities and working through overwhelming side effects of mental health diagnoses.

Common Career Options

Once you have become licensed as a counseling social worker, you can potentially gain entry into mental health agencies within your community, social services, or even work for independent agencies focused on improving community mental health and wellness. There are multiple domains that are open to professionals graduating from these online programs, especially those that have completed their supervised experience and are licensed. As you select a specialized field to pursue in terms of a career, you should be aware of what type of influence you would like to have on others and your overall goal as a professional.

Counseling social workers can be leading mental health providers in communities all over the country. In some areas, social workers in this area can provide direct support to families that have been separated due to family violence, neglect, or even death. Some areas may also employ counseling social workers to respond when communities have experienced widespread disaster. If you are interested in helping others develop healthy methods for managing the daily stresses of life, you should seek out open positions within fields that mean the most to you. Our team has researched common career titles and salaries for professionals in counseling social work and provided them in a list below.

  • Mental Health Counselors: $46,050 on average per year (BLS).
  • Social Workers: $47,980 on average per year (BLS).
  • Mental Health Social Workers: $43,250 on average per year (BLS).