Accelerated MSW Programs Online

If you are interested in helping people through challenging circumstances, social work may be an appealing career path for you. One of the first steps in pursuing a career in social work is finding the right degree program. Generally, social workers are required to earn a relevant bachelor’s-level degree, after which they may pursue a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree before applying for licensure.

However, there is another option that students should be aware of. If you don’t yet have your bachelor’s degree and wish to fast-track your educational trajectory, you may want to consider an accelerated MSW program. Many accelerated MSW programs are available both online and in traditional campus settings.

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What Is an Accelerated Master’s in Social Work?

The conventional path toward a social work career begins with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. Like most undergraduate degrees, a BSW typically takes a full four years to complete. During this time, you will hone the skills necessary for working with clients and for assessing the needs within a particular community. A BSW can prepare you to practice as a social worker or simply lay the foundation for further education in a master’s-level program.

After completing an undergraduate degree, many aspiring social workers seek a master’s in social work. Depending on the program you choose, an MSW will typically take two years to complete, but may sometimes take longer.

Earning an MSW prepares you to sit for the licensure exam and become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). It can also yield more advanced professional opportunities with increased responsibility and autonomy. All told, this educational path can take between six and eight years to complete.

An accelerated master’s in social work is a fast-track option, allowing you to complete your social work education in less time. Accelerated programs enable you to take courses year-round — including during the summer — helping you graduate with your MSW earlier. An accelerated MSW program normally takes up to a year less time to complete than a more traditional program does.

Different Types of Accelerated MSW Programs

Multiple types of accelerated MSW programs are available to choose from. Two of the main options are the accelerated traditional MSW and the accelerated standing MSW.

Accelerated Traditional MSW: This program is for students who do not already have a BSW. It allows them to combine their bachelor’s and master’s education into one accelerated program. Completing these programs usually takes between 18 months and two years.

Accelerated Standing MSW: This program is for students who already have their BSW, but wish to accelerate the completion of their MSW. Many students can finish their MSW work in as little as one year.

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The Benefits of Accelerated MSW Programs Online

Many accelerated MSW programs are available online. Enrolling in one of the top accelerated MSW programs online can be advantageous in a number of ways:

  • Learn according to your schedule. One of the best things about online courses is that you can learn during the hours that work for you. This can give you the flexibility to pursue your education while still managing other home or professional responsibilities.
  • Graduate in less time than it would normally take. Can’t wait for a full six to eight years to start practicing as a social worker, or to sit for the licensing exam? Accelerated programs can allow you to condense the timeline considerably.
  • Choose from among the top universities in the world. When you enroll in a traditional on-campus program, you may be bound by geography. Choosing an online accelerated MSW program enables you to attend one of the top schools in the field without having to relocate.
  • Prepare for licensing and practice. An online accelerated MSW gives you an education comparable to a traditional degree program. It can be a great way to cultivate the skills and competencies you need to become licensed, and to make a positive impact on behalf of your clients.
  • What Will You Learn in an Accelerated BSW/MSW Program?

    While accelerated BSW/MSW programs can vary slightly in their curricula, you can anticipate that your education will encompass courses such as:

  • Introduction to Social Work
  • Human Behavior
  • Cultural Diversity and Justice
  • Social Work Case Management
  • Social Welfare Policy
  • Social Work Research Methods

  • Well-rounded courses like these can prepare you to succeed in the field of social work and to achieve positive outcomes for the communities you serve.

    Most MSW programs also allow students to choose from areas of specialization, further honing their skills and focusing their practice. Some common specialization examples include:

  • Clinical Practice
  • Community Practice
  • Policy and Administration
  • Learn More About Accelerated MSW Programs

    Any of a number of educational programs can prepare you for a successful career in social work. For those seeking a more condensed timeline, accelerated programs may be the best approach. A quality online accelerated program can help you earn an MSW in a short span of time.

    Explore some of the available accelerated MSW programs and start planning your career in the field of social work.

    Sources:

    The Balance Careers, “What Does a Social Worker Do?”
    Choosing Therapy, “What Is an LCSW?”
    Council on Social Work Education, Social Work Education at a Glance
    Council on Social Work Education, What Is Social Work?
    Indeed, “How to Become a Clinical Social Worker: Guide to Becoming a LCSW”
    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Social Workers

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