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

Fordham University

The Bronx, New York

Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service logo

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
Master of Social Work

Advanced Standing:
33 credits
Full-time: 8 months
Part-time: 16 months

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

You may be eligible for advanced standing if within the past five years you have either:

  • Earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Or completed one year of coursework through another CSWE-accredited MSW program.

START DATES

Advanced Standing:
Fall, Spring, and Summer

Sponsored

CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

OnlineMSW@Fordham features an integrated, forward-facing curriculum that prepares aspiring practitioners to deliver responsive services to both individuals and communities.

Delivered by the top-ranked Graduate School of Social Service, the program has an intuitive online campus with multiple interactive features that create an engaging learning environment with interaction between students and faculty.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree.

Ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation by U.S. News & World Report1.

Learn more from OnlineMSW@Fordham

Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

Simmons University logo

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
Master of Social Work

Advanced Standing:
37 credits
Full-time: 16 months

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

To apply applicants must have:

  • Earned a BSW within the past five years from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A grade of B or better in each BSW course, or a 3.3 GPA for all social work coursework.
  • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

START DATES

Advanced Standing:
January, March, May, September and November

Sponsored

CSWE Accredited

No Campus Visit Required

No GRE Required

SocialWork@Simmons is the clinically focused online Master of Social Work (MSW) program from the nation’s oldest school of social work.

Students can choose to customize their own Individualized Course of Study or follow one of four Specialized Courses of Study: Child and Family, Trauma and Interpersonal Violence, Mental Health and Addictions, and Health and Aging.

Simmons prepares you for success after graduation: 91%3 of MSW students passed their boards in 2018.

Learn more from SocialWork@Simmons
3Based on 2018 first-time ASWB Masters Exam test takers as reported by the Association for Social Work Boards, including graduates of Simmons' online and on-campus programs.

Other Accelerated Online MSW Programs Accredited by the CSWE

Boise State University

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Graduate Program from Boise State University

Part-Time and Full-Time Traditional MSW:
Complete 61 credits in three years, part-time, or two years, full-time

Part-time and Full-time Advanced Standing:
Complete 37 credits in 15 months part-time or 12 months full-time

START DATES

Fall, Spring and Summer

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Traditional:
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 preferred
GRE: Not required

Advanced Standing:
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.00 preferred
GRE: Not Required

Boise State University's (BSU) offers an online MSW program with a concentration in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families.

Classes are delivered mainly asynchronously, but some instructors conduct synchronous classes through Blackboard Learn, which enables students to interact with faculty and their peers in real-time.

Edinboro University

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
Masters of Social Work from Western New Mexico University

Full-Time Traditional MSW:
Complete 60 credits in two years, full-time

Full-time Advanced Standing:
Complete 39 credits in one year, full-time

START DATES

Traditional:
Fall and Spring

Advanced Standing:
Summer

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Traditional:
Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8, otherwise students are required to take the GRE or MAT
GRE: Not required unless GPA is below 3.0

Advanced Standing:
BSW Requirement: Students must have completed an undergraduate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required
GRE: Not Required

Edinboro University offers both traditional and advanced standing online MSW programs in a full-time format.

The traditional program takes two years to complete with classes year round in the fall, winter, spring and summer quarters. The advanced standing program can be completed in 15 months (five quarters), also with classes year round.

Louisiana State University

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
MSW Online program from Louisiana State University

Part-Time and Full-Time Traditional MSW:
Complete 60 credits in three years, part-time, or two years, full-time

Full-time Advanced Standing:
Complete 33 credits one year full-time

START DATES

Traditional:
Six start dates per year

Advanced Standing:
March and July

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Traditional:
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0
GRE: Not required

Advanced Standing:
BSW Requirement: Students must have completed a BSW from a CSWE accredited program within the last five years
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0
GRE: Not Required

Louisiana State University (LSU) offers an online MSW program with a concentration in Advanced Direct Social Work Practice.

The program is divided into 30 credits of foundation courses and 30 credits of advanced coursework. LSU offers a 33-credit advanced standing track that allows students who have earned a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program to earn their MSW in one full year of study.

University of Alaska, Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
Distance Education MSW Program from University of Alaska, Anchorage

Part-time or Full-time Advanced Standing:
Complete 35 credits in one year, full-time or two years, part-time

START DATES

Advanced Standing:
Fall

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Advanced Standing:
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 (with a 3.5 GPA in BSW core courses)
GRE: Not required

The University of Alaska at Anchorage’s (UAA) School of Social Work offers an online MSW program with an Advanced Generalist concentration.

While all courses are delivered online, students must travel to their field placements, and also attend campus intensives.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
Masters of Social Work from University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Part-time and Full-time Advanced Standing:
Complete 36 credits in one and a half to two years, part-time or in one year full-time

START DATES

Advanced Standing:
Summer

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Advanced Standing:
BSW Requirement: Students must have a BSW or BSSW from a CSWE accredited program
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0
GRE: Not Required

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville's offers a part-time and full-time advanced standing online Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program, which is equivalent to an MSW.

Students choose between two concentrations: Evidence Based Interpersonal Practice, which is a clinical social work program, and Management, Leadership and Community Practice, which is a macro social work program.

Western New Mexico University

Silver City, New Mexico

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Name:
Masters of Social Work from Western New Mexico University

Part-time and Full-time Advanced Standing:
Complete 39 credits self-paced, part-time or in one and a half years full-time

START DATES

Advanced Standing:
Fall, Spring and Summer

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Advanced Standing:
BSW Requirement: Students must have completed a BSW from a CSWE accredited program within 8 years of the date of application
GPA: Minimum GPA of 2.75
GRE: Not Required

Western New Mexico University offers an online MSW program with an advanced generalist concentration. Students can take electives in specialized areas such as child welfare, gerontology, school social work, and military social work.

WNMU may prepare students to support individuals, groups, families, and organizations, and to assume leadership roles within their communities.

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 2019 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