MSW Programs in California

Consider a Featured Online MSW Program

Master of Social Work Programs Currently Accepting Applicants
Aurora University Online BSW or MSW Programs Aurora University - Online BSW or MSW Programs - Choose from an Online BSW or Online MSW program
University of Kentucky Online Master of Social Work University of Kentucky - Online Master of Social Work - CSWE accredited program. Regular and Advanced Standing MSW tracks.
University of Denver Online Master of Social Work (MSW) University of Denver - Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Earn an MSW in 18 months with DU's online advanced standing program.
Fordham University Online Master of Social Work Fordham University - Online Master of Social Work - Traditional and advanced standing online MSW options are available. CSWE Accredited.

California MSW Programs

Number of Accredited MSW Programs in California Schools with MSW Programs
23 MSW programs in California
California Social Work Licensure Social Work Licensure
LCSW, LMSW and LSW licensure in California is overseen by the Board Of Behavioral Sciences.
California Social Work Organizations Social Work Careers
The National Association of Social Workers chapter in California is the NASW California Chapter.

California is an incredibly popular state for students to get involved in MSW programs. The state itself draws in people for many different reasons, helping its population grow to over 39 million according to most 2020 estimates.

With this high of a population, the need for educated social workers is at an all-time high, particularly in larger cities.

Popular college towns such as Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Diego, and Malibu bring in thousands of new college students each year, especially undergraduate, traditional college students. There are also multiple universities within California that have Online MSW programs (such as the University of Southern California).

Online Master of Social Work | Online Doctor of Social Work Program at University of Southern California

Lead change at the top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Earn a Master of Social Work online in as few as 12 months if you have a Bachelor of Social Work. Doctor of Social Work online can be completed in 28 months part time.
CSWE Accredited.
Click for admissions information at

MSW Programs in California

There are multiple campus-based MSW programs in California, designed to train professionals to assist people in need with locating services and support for a wide range of issues at the graduate learning level.

The University of California at Los Angeles currently has a MSW program that requires students to have a GPA of 3.3 or submit GRE score as a method for acceptance. This program is highly regarded in terms of quality in the state of California. California State University also offers a competitive MSW program that helps students focus on the need for better quality service for people from all walks of life.

As mentioned, The University of Southern California's online MSW program is a popular program for those in California that want to study online. You can earn a Master of Social Work online in as few as 12 months if you have a Bachelor of Social Work.

Consider featured online MSW programs that are currently accepting applicants for their Master of Social Work degree.

Consider a Featured Online Social Work Program

Click the university name for information on admissions, courses, status of accreditation, and more.
*Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Online MSW Programs in California

The state of California currently has 7 accredited online MSW programs available for students searching for open opportunities. California is an excellent place to be a part of a social work career network, with multiple online degree programs in social work available.

The MSW is a popular choice for upcoming students (especially the Online MSW), since a lot of bachelor's earners are already working in the field and looking for some advantage in the workplace. Pursuing a MSW degree online gives those that are currently working flexibility to learn on their own time, at their own pace.

USC and California State Northridge: 2 Renowned Online MSW Programs

The University of Southern California and California State University at Northridge are 2 universities that provide these innovative, online programs for interested students. While in online MSW programs, students will be introduced to the advanced concepts associated with social work and expected to engage in supervised field experience after completion of the program. The only difference in online and traditional programs overall is where students attend. Online MSW programs provide a convenient learning setting that is suitable for busy professionals.

Entering into an online MSW program in California can be a great opportunity to learn more about how you can help others within your community.

Accredited degree programs can be found in cities such as Bakersfield and Fresno, which can give you the option of staying local with your online program. California State University is a popular choice for upcoming students, since it has locations in various cities throughout the state.

For those with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, there are Advanced Standing MSW programs, which allow for a shorter term graduate program while earning your MSW.

Reviewing a Few Online MSW Programs in California

  1. California State University's Online MSW

    One of the most interesting aspects of California State University is that it has many different satellite locations across the state. Students can choose to pursue an online MSW at this university, which includes an in-depth look at social work from a culturally-sensitive perspective. Achieving a degree at this university can take anywhere from 1-3 years, depending on the level of experience you have in the field and the time you have to dedicate to your studies.

  2. The University of Southern California's Online MSW and Advanced Standing MSW

    The University of Southern California also offers students multiple locations to choose from throughout the state. This university has online options for the MSW, which include both a generalized MSW program as well as an advanced standing track for experienced learners. Depending on what type of work experience you have, you may qualify for the expedited version of this degree program that can be completed in as little as 1 year.

  3. Humboldt State University's Online Advanced Standing MSW

    If you currently hold a full-time job, but are seeking a degree option that can fit into your schedule, Humboldt State University may have what you are looking for. Humboldt State University has a part-time, advanced-standing online MSW degree program that is ideal for currently social work professionals seeking a career advancement. This CSWE-accredited degree program can provide a high-quality curriculum designed to help you become a more efficient social work professional.

Campus Based California MSW Programs vs. Online

By our count, Los Angeles has the highest number of campus-based MSW programs, but for the most part, colleges that offer a Master of Social Work degree are located throughout the state - from the Northern Coast all the way down to San Diego and many areas in between on the coast and inland.

With over 25 different Master of Social Work programs in California, there are plenty of options. Keep in mind there are also a number of online MSW programs in California - a path that is becoming increasingly more popular, especially for those currently employed as a social worker.

Consider a Featured Online Social Work Program

Click the university name for information on admissions, courses, status of accreditation, and more.

Understanding Licensure with California's Department of Consumer Affairs: Board of Behavioral Sciences

A great resource for upcoming social work professionals in California is California's Department of Consumer Affairs: Board of Behavioral Sciences. This department oversees the licensure process for social work degree holders, as well as provides important information and updates regarding licensure requirements.

Students interested in pursuing careers as medical social workers, licensed clinical social workers or generalized social work professionals may be expected to meet the expectations of this board.

There are many different paths for you to choose from when entering into a degree program. Some students benefit from choosing a standardized degree major, while others wish to focus their studies on a sector of social work that interests them. Some concentration options for this degree program may include child and family social work, clinical social work and gerontological social work.

California Social Worker Careers with an MSW Degree

Pursuing the MSW and license within the state of California can lead you into meaningful and fulfilling careers throughout your journey. Social Workers can be valuable assets to education, medical, and mental health teams in organizations all over the state.

Child, Family, and School Social Workers

Salary: $55,460 on average per year
If you might be interested in working with children and their families, this could be a career option for you to pursue. Social Workers within this line of work may attend meetings, conduct home visits, and arrange therapeutic services for their clients.

Child, family, and school social workers can provide front-line support to children when dealing with personal or educational dismay. These professionals can help to connect children with resources for a better lifestyle and advocate for them along the way. In California, this field is extremely popular with new graduates, with 30,310 social workers currently employed in this domain, according to the BLS. Consider a Social Work degree focused on Family Practice.

Healthcare Social Workers

Salary: $73,970 on average per year
Your career as a Healthcare Social Worker could include reviewing medical records for clients in order to help them make informed decisions about their health. You may also help clients locate specialty medical services as needed and advocate for their needs during the treatment process.

Dealing with healthcare facilities, organizing services, and maintaining insurance claims and information are some of the responsibilities of healthcare social workers. These professionals can act as a voice for their clients in their times of medical need. This field is 14,530 professionals strong in the state of California, making it a huge field for upcoming social work prospects. Consider a Social Work degree focused on Crisis and Trauma.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Salary: $56,000 on average per year
Becoming a Social Worker in Mental Health and Substance Abuse fields can result in organizing therapeutic and long-term treatment for your clients. This can also include participating in treatment team meetings, working with client families, and identifying supportive resources for continuous growth.

People that are suffering from serious mental illness or those that are fighting serious addiction problems can call upon social workers to help them come in contact with resources to better their personal health. In this field, you can fight for services for your clients and arrange important treatments for their overall well-being. There are 12,850 mental health/substance abuse social workers in the state of California. Consider a Mental Health Social Work degree program.

Social Workers (all other)

Salary: $72,550 on average per year
Being a social worker can include a lot of diverse job responsibilities. The main priority for professionals in this field is to help their clients obtain the services that they need, while following up with the wellness throughout the process. In fields other than the specific fields listed above, there are 10,890 social workers employed throughout this state.

Social Workers can be found in multiple fields within the state of California. Social Workers can work with diverse age groups and needs groups, making it a unique career experience for those pursuing it. Paths to consider include those in the welfare, legal, and non-profit fields throughout this state.

Social Worker Salaries in California

  • Los Angeles: $76,090 median salary per year
  • El Centro: $58,700 median salary per year
  • Fresno: $57,310 median salary per year
  • Bakersfield: $56,820 median salary per year

Sourced from the BLS.

California Social Work Licensure

California BBS Social Work LicensureCalifornia's licensing requirements could be considered unique in comparison to other states. BSW and MSW holders in the state are not required to hold a professional license to work in social work positions.

However, if you are interested in becoming a LCSW, you must hold at least a minimum Master's in Social Work degree, complete on-site supervision requirements totaling 3,000 hours, and apply for your license through The California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Registration and application through this licensing agency may then be followed by completion of a licensing examination that tests your skills and proficiency in social work.

Licensing Requirements for a LCSW in California

The licensing process in California is laid out clearly by the state's Board of Behavioral Services. The first step in the licensing process is to obtain registration as an Associate Clinical Social Worker. Clinical work experience cannot be counted until prospects have registered as an ASW through the state.

The underlying degree requirement for registration is a minimum of a Master's degree in Social Work from a CSWE-accredited institution. Once these steps have been completed, applicants can work towards gaining their 3,200 hour supervised experience requirement while working with licensed clinical social workers in the field. This alone can take 2-3 years, depending on an individual's work schedule. After all work experience is done, prospective licensees must register for and pass a clinical examination in social work in order to be considered for licensure.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in California

  • 1. Register as an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW): All hours of experience in California must be gained while registered as an ASW, all applicants must have a MSW degree from a CSWE accredited school. Additional requirements (18 hour course on CA law and ethics) is required for out of state students.
  • 2. Gain 3,200 Hours of Supervised Work Experience and a Minimum of 104 Supervised Weeks
  • 3. Complete Additional Coursework: Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting; Spousal or Partner Abuse Assessment Detection; and Intervention, Aging, Long Term Care, and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse; California Law and Professional Ethics; Alcoholism and Other Chemical Substance Dependency; Human Sexuality.
  • 4. Apply for ASWB Clinical Examination: Apply. Upon approval, applicants will be eligible to take the ASWB Clinical Examination. Passing score on the California Law & Ethics Examination is also required just to take the ASWB exam.

  • 5. Pass the Clinical Examination: Once you pass the ASWB clinical exam, you have to apply for an Initial License Issuance. Then you will get your social work license number.

How To Find Master of Social Work Degrees in California

There are many different schools in California offering a Master of Social Work degree. Most (23) of the MSW programs in California are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) – you can view the entire list below. We have listed each program’s accreditation alongside their listing.

Recap of California MSW Programs and Licensure

  • MSW Programs: There are 23 MSW programs in California.
  • CSWE Accredited MSW Programs: All 23 MSW programs in California are CSWE Accredited. There are also numerous online MSW programs, including the University of Southern California.
  • Social Work Licensure: Licensure is required and run by The California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

List of MSW Programs in California


CSWE Accredited California MSW Programs

CSWE Accredited MSW Programs in California

The CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) is the top accrediting board for MSW programs. Below you will find a list of CSWE accredited social work programs in California.

All Social Work Programs in California

Azusa Pacific University

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

Brandman University


California Baptist University

MSW Program

California State University-Bakersfield

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Chico

Master in Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Dominguez Hills

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-East Bay

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Fresno

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Fullerton

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Long Beach

Master of Social Work (MSW)
Long Beach
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Los Angeles

Master of Social Work (MSW)
Los Angeles
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Monterey Bay

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Northridge

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Sacramento

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University-San Bernardino

Masters in Social Work (MSW)
San Bernardino
CSWE Accredited

California State University-San Marcos

Master of Social Work (MSW)
San Marcos
CSWE Accredited

California State University-Stanislaus

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

California State University, Long Beach

💻 Online Online MSW: Children, Youth, and Families
MSW offered via teleconferencing with in-person visits by CSULB faculty.
CSWE Accredited

California State University, San Bernadino

💻 Online Online MSW: Advanced Generalist
Pathway Social Work Distance Education MSW program. Program can be completed in three years.
CSWE Accredited

Humboldt State University

Master of Social Work (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

Loma Linda University

MSW in Social Work
Loma Linda
CSWE Accredited

Northcentral University

MSW (CSWE Candidacy)
La Jolla
CSWE Candidacy

San Diego State University

Master of Social Work (MSW)
San Diego
CSWE Accredited

San Francisco State University

Master of Social Work (MSW)
San Francisco
CSWE Accredited

San Jose State University

Masters of Social Work (MSW)
San Jose
CSWE Accredited

University of California-Berkeley

Master of Social Welfare (MSW)
CSWE Accredited

University of California-Los Angeles

Master of Social Welfare (M.S.W.)
Los Angeles
CSWE Accredited

University of Southern California

Master of Social Work (MSW)
Los Angeles
CSWE Accredited