Fast Track Social Work Degrees Online: Compare Accelerated MSW Programs

If you’re looking at traditional master’s in social work (MSW) programs, there are accelerated MSW programs that may help you to graduate in as few as 12 to 18 months. Traditional MSW programs accept students who don’t have a bachelor’s in social work (BSW). A fast track social work degree online program may teach you what you need to know in less time than traditional two-year or three-year MSW programs, so you may get licensed or begin your social work career more quickly.

Sponsored Online MSW Programs You Can Complete in 16 Months

Other Accelerated Online MSW Programs Accredited by the CSWE

Boise State University

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Boise, Idaho

Name of Degree: Master of Social Work (MSW)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 61

Concentrations: Clinical Practice

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelors degree with liberal arts and social science coursework
  • Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE accredited school in the last 7 years, oor 10 years with significant post-BSW practice experience, for advanced standing applicants
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Social service practice experience, either paid of volunteer
  • Personal essay
  • Recommendation letters
  • Background check
  • Willingness to understand and abide by NASW Code of Ethics
  • Interview
Learn more about the Master of Social Work (MSW) from Boise State University

Edinboro University

College of Science and Health Professions

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Edinboro, Pennsylvania

Name of Degree: Master of Social Work (MSW)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 33+

Concentrations:

Trauma Informed Practice

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution 
  • Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited program for advanced standing applicants 
  • Coursework in human biology or human anatomy and physiology 
  • Minimum of 21 undergraduate credits in liberal arts curriculum 
  • Minimum GPA of 2.8 
  • GRE scores required for GPAs under 2.8 
  • Resume 
  • Two references 
  • Personal statement 
Learn more about the Master of Social Work (MSW) from Edinboro University

Louisiana State University

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Name of Degree: Master of Social Work (MSW)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 33+

Concentrations:

Child and Youth Services, Gerontology, Social Work Practice in Schools, Policy and Macro Practice

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor degree form an accredited college or university
  • Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited program earned within the last five years for advanced standing applicants
  • Liberal arts undergraduate preparation with at least 12 credits in social and behavioral sciences
  • Grade of ’’C’’ or better in an introductory statistics course
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Letter of intent
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
Learn more about the Master of Social Work (MSW) from Louisiana State University

University of Alaska, Anchorage

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Anchorage, Alaska

Name of Degree: Master of Social Work (MSW)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 34+

Concentrations:

 Advanced Generalist Practice

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor degree from a college or university with regional accreditation 
  • Bachelor of Social Work earned within the last five years from a CSWE-accredited program for advanced standing applicants 
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA 
  • Minimum 3.5 GPA in BSW core courses and grade of  ’A’ in field placement courses for advanced standing applicants 
  • Human biology and statistics coursework 
  • Resume 
  • Personal statement 
  • Writing sample 
  • Three letters of reference 
  • Official transcripts 
Learn more about the Master of Social Work (MSW) from University of Alaska, Anchorage

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

College of Social Work

Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW)

Knoxville, Tennessee

Name of Degree: Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 37+

Concentrations:

Evidence-Based Interpersonal Practice, Organizational Leadership

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by regional accrediting agency
  • Bachelor of Social Work accredited by the CSWE earned in the last five years for advanced standing applicants
  • Completed coursework in social science
  • Liberal arts perspective coursework
  • Minimum GPA of 2.7, 3.0 preferred, 3.0 GPA required for advanced standing applicants
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of reference
  • Resume
  • Additional requirements for international applicants
Learn more about the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) from University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Western New Mexico University

School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Silver City, New Mexico

Name of Degree: Master of Social Work (MSW)

Enrollment Type: Full-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 39+

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor degree from an accredited college or university recognized by CHEA
  • Bachelor of Social Work accredited by the CSWE earned in the last eight years for advanced standing applicants
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Three letters of reference
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
Learn more about the Master of Social Work (MSW) from Western New Mexico University

What Is the Difference Between Accelerated MSW and Advanced Standing MSW?

An accelerated traditional online MSW program is designed for students without a BSW degree who want to earn their MSW in less time than it typically takes to complete with a traditional program. By taking classes all year-round, including summer courses, a student may graduate up to one year earlier with an accelerated program.

An advanced standing MSW is a program designed for students who have a BSW. BSW students have already completed introductory social work coursework. That means an advanced standing MSW program is also typically shorter than a traditional MSW program.

See our full list of online social work degrees for more information about various degree options.

What to Look for in an Accelerated Online MSW Program

When considering an accelerated online MSW program, you may want to find an accredited program that helps you achieve your career goals.

First, research social worker requirements for the state you want to practice in to see what the education requirements are. Typically, to become a licensed social worker in most states, you’ll need to have an MSW from a school that’s accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). CSWE accreditation standards align with licensure requirements, which can make the licensure process simpler even if the state doesn’t require CSWE accreditation.

Since the CSWE is the national association representing social work education in the United States, a CSWE-accredited education may increase your future options as a social worker. CSWE-accredited schools must meet standards.

Whatever your state’s requirements are, it’s useful to attend an MSW program that is CSWE accredited. If you move states and want to get licensed, you’ll need to meet that state’s education requirements, which will likely include CSWE accreditation. Also, some doctorate of social work programs may require students to have an MSW from a CSWE-accredited school.

Consider internship placement assistance when you’re comparing MSW schools, too. You’ll need to complete a certain number of field work hours depending on the program and your state’s licensing requirements. Some schools may place you with an internship in a relevant field.

If you know you want to practice social work in a certain area or with a specific population, it may be helpful to look for MSW programs that offer a concentration that aligns with your career goals. MSW concentrations teach students the skills they need to work with certain populations or in certain areas of social work.

Be aware when comparing online programs that some may require trips to campus. If you’re looking for an MSW program that is completely online and you don’t want to travel to the school you’re attending, check for campus travel requirements before signing up.

FAQs

How fast can you complete an accelerated online MSW program?

Most accelerated online MSW programs take between one to one-and-a-half years to complete. That’s shorter than the typical two to three years it takes to complete a non-accelerated traditional MSW program.

What can you do with a master’s degree in social work?

There’s a variety of social work careers you can pursue with a master’s degree in social work. An MSW is likely a requirement to become a licensed clinical social worker, where you provide unsupervised individual and family therapy in a private practice setting. Clinical social workers diagnose and treat mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. An MSW may also lead to careers like forensic social worker, medical social worker and school social worker.

How much do social workers make on average?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2020 median pay for social workers was $50,470 per year. Social worker salaries vary by position, geographic area, industry, education, licensure, experience and hours. Typically, higher education like an MSW and licensure can increase career possibilities and earning potential.

Last updated: August 2020