Online educational programs in social work can be an excellent resource for upcoming MSW learners with the desire to balance learning with an active lifestyle. A flexible variation of standard online and hybrid programs is the Entirely Online MSW program, which focuses on bringing all graduate coursework to an online platform for its students.
Programs that are marketed as entirely online can provide students with the assurance of long-term convenience during their degree. Most colleges offering this type of degree allow students to take all of their courses online without having to schedule around on-campus classes. As with any MSW Program, you will want to look for programs that are CSWE accredited. Of all MSW programs that are CSWE accredited, approximately 22% have entirely online MSW programs.
What is the Entirely Online MSW Program?
Simply put, it is a Master of Social Work degree that is distributed through 100% online coursework. Note that some MSW programs still do require internships or field study. Courses taken through Entirely Online MSW programs can provide students with study tools, resources, and syllabi that can cater to their learning processes. A lot of colleges in this day and age have developed their own online learning platforms strictly for the implementation of online courses.
Why study online?
The information gained through Entirely Online MSW programs can help prepare you for working with different groups in society, especially those individuals that have extensive emotion, physical, or medical needs. Social work specialists can be extremely important resources for people currently sorting through different types of treatments and services. In order to provide you with the most in-depth information available about this degree program, our team of dedicated educational experts has researched Entirely Online MSW programs available throughout the U.S. As you read through this guide, you should think about how online programs could support your transition into this field.
Online Vs. Traditional MSW Options
Traditional MSW programs have long been the main choice for college students seeking careers in the social work field. Traditional programs require students to schedule their courses on campus during the day or in the evening, with some colleges even offering weekend classes for busy adults.
Traditionally, the MSW has taken at least two years and space for enrollment was limited
In the traditional learning environment, students may be forced to find a happy medium between their educational and personal responsibilities, which can create a hectic and unpredictable schedule for at least 2 years for full-time students.
Since different students learn in different ways and at different paces, the traditional environment may essentially waste valuable time for some learners. Quick learners with the motivation to succeed may be ideal candidates for online degree programs in social work.
The online MSW allows for more students and flexible scheduling
The Entirely Online MSW can allow students to log into their courses, review assignments, and begin working immediately toward their weekly goals. If you are focused and can quickly finish assignments, you can reduce the amount of time you spend on homework each week and review course materials at your own pace.
The online environment for learning can also allow you to work from home, your job, or in any other place that has an internet connect. Instead of being present in the classroom 1-3 times per week, most online courses require that you complete weekly discussions as a means for verifying your attendance.
Online programs can also save you money on the total costs of your program. Traditional students may pay for extra living expenses, food, and travel surrounding attendance in their program, while online students can maintain their normal schedule at home while learning through virtual courses.
Example Entirely Online MSW Programs
Our team of educational experts has spent a significant amount of time sifting through online MSW programs available from various universities. Entirely Online MSW programs found throughout this search may have different education delivery systems that can provide you with a variety of benefits once you are enrolled.
If you are intrigued by this type of degree program and would like to explore what these programs have to offer, take a look through the programs listed below. Each program may have specific amenities for students that are aligned with what you require for your learning experience.
- Boise State University - Fully Online MSW: If you are looking for an Entirely Online MSW program, Boise State University may have exactly what you are looking for. This program currently requires no on-campus visits and can be completed in 2 years. Specialization options for this MSW program include the Individuals and Families option, which can lead you into many different dimensions of social work practice within your community.
- Capella University - Fully Online MSW: Capella University is currently a provider of Entirely Online MSW programs. This program can allow students to engage in an e-learning platform designed for busy adult learners. The total completion time for this program can range from 2-4 years, depending on student enrollment status. Capella currently offers an Advanced Generalist specialization to interested learners.
- Case Western Reserve University - Fully Online MSW: Students all over the U.S. can take advantage of CWRU's fully online MSW program. Loaded with optimization for tech-savvy learners, this program can be a great way to embark into the world of social work from your very own home. This program can be completed in 2-3 years depending on the time you have set aside for learning, with specialization in Community Practice & Social Change and Direct Practice (Child, Youths, & Families or Mental Health/Adults).
Course Offerings for the Entirely Online MSW
Once you have enrolled in the Entirely Online MSW program, one of your first steps may be to register for your first classes. There are a variety of different topics and courses that can be included in your program - all providing you with knowledge relevant to practice in your field.
There are commonalities with foundational coursework especially based on the CSWE
In addition to the practical courses that can provide you with specific skills for use, you may also expect to take courses that allow you to explore the historical foundations of social work. Learning more about the development and maintenance of the social work field can provide you with a better understanding of this field and what it was developed for in the U.S.
Some programs may also allow students to enroll in a generalist program suitable for a wide range of future social work professionals. Courses in this degree major can include topics from a wide variety of different social work settings, so that you can have the best possible knowledge for careers in many different fields.
Depending on the school you choose for your program, you might find that the course offerings vary, can include unique topics in social work, and can be highly customizable for new social work students.
Expect a variation of coursework depending on what specialty track you choose
Courses specific to social work with specific groups can be a large part of your MSW program. Social Work with Children and Youth, Social Work with Families, or Geronotological Social Work are a few of the courses that can teach you techniques for working with specific individuals or groups.
Depending on your specialization, you might also take courses that can teach you about ethical practice and policy in fields such as Juvenile Justice, Healthcare, or even Substance Abuse. Since clients within each of these professional settings can have unique needs, it may be necessary to develop a generalized set of skills for use with all of them.
What can you do with an Entirely Online MSW?
Transitioning to Entirely Online MSW programs can be a great way to make your learning and work schedules more manageable. Some students entering into these degree programs may be concerned that there is some undefined sacrifice of quality with online education – mainly because it is an unfamiliar college setting.
Entirely Online MSW programs are subject to the same type of accreditation as the on-campus options at major universities. The CSWE accredits online MSW programs so that students can ensure they are getting a high quality degree through these online universities.
An accredited degree from Entirely Online MSW programs can help you to obtain careers in the many different sectors of social work in society today. Through online training, you can work towards becoming a family social work professional through social service agencies, a medical social worker at busy hospitals and healthcare systems, or even a clinical social worker after extensive practice and supervision.
Some graduates work within the criminal justice system
A degree and licensure in social work can also put you in line for careers with the justice system, since social workers can be such an important resource for citizens receiving judgments from the court or those that are working through tiring court battles.
People that are healing from addiction or debilitating physical ailments can also be assigned social workers to help them navigate their resources and help keep them in line with the assigned treatment goals.
Each of these career options can be attainable for graduates of Entirely Online MSW degree programs. Your path can be determined by the program that you have enrolled in, any specializations that you have chosen, and your licensing in social work.
Social Work Licensure
Before you even enter into an Entirely Online MSW program, you should consider whether or not the pursuit of licensure is a path you would like to take. There are many career options available in case management that do not require a licensure, but many more different careers that you could pursue with a professional license.
This licensing process involves completing your Master’s in Social work through a CSWE-accredited university program. During this program, you may have opportunities to engage in practicum or internship experiences, which can contribute to the time require in-person for your licensure.
State licensure is key
Most states require that graduates of MSW programs also complete a specific period of supervised work experience prior to being approved for their license. A lot of online schools can help you locate a placement for your supervised experience or even approve agencies local to you for use in this step.
One of the final steps towards licensure includes a board test that is required before your certification. This examination may require extensive studying and preparation, including components from your degree program and your in-person experiences.
Once you have successfully completed these steps, you can apply for licensure within your state. Most licenses are good for a period of 2 years, requiring you to renew your license and complete continuing education requirements in the interim.