Online Accelerated Social Work Degree Requirements
An online accelerated program can help you earn the requirements for social work efficiently and conveniently. If you are ready to consider a fast track social work degree online, you will need to meet the specific requirements set by the universities and colleges offering the program. Generally, there are some programs that have very specific requirements, but most will require the following:
Admission Requirements for Social Work Degree Accelerated Program
The application process is much like that of your bachelor’s degree program. It is likely to include the following components:
- Formal application: This typically gathers valuable personal data. Some schools will use a portal online or the Common App. You'll need to provide all general information about yourself, including the program you are applying to.
- Test scores: Some of these programs require SAT or ACT scores at the bachelor’s degree level or GRE scores at the graduate degree. You may be able to waive these or apply to a program that does not require them.
- Letters of recommendation: Most colleges want 1 to 3 letters of recommendation from non-family members that showcase who you are and what you offer.
- Essays: It’s common to need to answer a prompt in an essay. Be sure to follow all requirements set by the organization for this, including length, content quality, and topic.
- Transcripts: You'll also need to submit a transcript from your previous educators that document your education.
Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program
|School and Program Information||Online Program?
Master of Social Work
No GRE Required
Syracuse University’s CSWE-accredited online Master of Social Work program is preparing the next generation of social work leaders through an emphasis on digital innovation and social justice.Learn More
Master of Social Work
Accredited by the CSWE.
Fordham’s top-ranked Graduate School of Social Service offers a future-focused online MSW program, preparing students for integrated practice with all populations. Bachelor's degree required.Learn More
|University of Denver
Master of Social Work
CSWE accredited. Designed to adhere to CACREP standards.
✔ Campus, Online
No GRE Required Minimum GPA 2.5
Earn your CSWE-accredited MSW online from Denver's GSSW, a top-15 school of social work. Gain a strong foundation for social work practice with a concentration in Mental Health and Trauma or Health, Equity and Wellness. GRE scores are not required. Students with a BSW can earn their MSW in as few as 12 months in the online advanced-standing track; students without a BSW can earn an MSW in as few as 21 months.Learn More
|Our Lady of the Lake University
Online Degrees in Social Work
Bachelors, Masters, and Dual MSW/MBA CSWE accredited
No GRE Required. Minimum GPA 3.0
Earn a degree online from a university that's pioneered social work education since 1942. Earn your Bachelor's or Master's in Social Work & Graduate Ready to Apply for Licensure. OLLU also offers an online dual MSW/MBA program for students interested in pursuing leadership, administrative, and management positions. Our Lady of the Lake University is one of three schools in the nation that provides a focus on the Hispanic community in social work programs.Learn More
Master of Social Work
Accredited by Council on Social Work Education
No GRE Required
Bachelor’s degree required
Clinically focused curriculumLearn More
Accelerated, full-time, and part-time options
Field placement support
|Case Western Reserve University
Master of Social Work
No GRE Required
Lead lasting change in your community. With no GRE required, you can earn a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work online through Case Western Reserve University's top-10 ranked school of social work and prepare to pursue licensure. The online program curriculum offers three paths of study: Children, Youth and Families; Community Practice for Social Change; and Mental Health with Adults. Complete in as little as 2.5 years for the traditional track or 1.5 years for students with advance standing.Learn More
|Northern Kentucky University
Master of Social Work
100% Online, Prepare for LCSW/LISW
This flexible program is for individuals who have earned an undergraduate degree in a field other than social work. It provides the path to help you transition into this sector and take on leadership roles as a clinical practitioner.Learn More
MSW - Social Work
No GMAT or GRE Required
Advance your skills to be an effective leader, researcher, educator, or practitioner in the social work field. Our CSWE-accredited MSW program offers a strong focus on leadership, advanced practitioner skills, and the growing use of technology to expand the reach and effectiveness of social service programs.Learn More
Master of Social Work
GRE Scores Not Required
Our Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program will prepare students for diverse career opportunities within a variety of social service settings.Learn More
*Sponsored Counseling Programs
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs
Graduation Requirements for an Accelerated Social Work Degree
Most colleges and universities will provide a full list of courses you’ll need to complete in order to graduate. You may need to maintain a specific GPA throughout your education as well. In an accelerated program, the goal is often more focused on completing credit hours and coursework rather than being in school for any length of time.
Some colleges and universities have an outgoing exam that graduates need to pass. Others have a capstone or thesis to complete. You’ll be able to see what this is before you apply to the school.
Consider A Featured Online Counseling Program
Bachelors in Social Work
Most social work occupations require a bachelor's degree in social work. A BSW degree prepares you for generalist practice, where you engage with people, assess their needs, connect them to services, and monitor their progress. Accredited BSW programs require a minimum of 400 hours of supervised field experience.
Masters in Social Work
MSW programs prepare students to conduct clinical evaluations, manage large caseloads, supervise others, advocate for legislative changes, and research new ways to use social services to meet the needs of clients and communities. MSW programs are approximately one to two years long and contain at least 900 hours of supervised field experience.
Doctorate in Social Work
A DSW prepares you for careers in practice-based and advanced social work. Although the practice doctorate curriculum varies per school, most students complete it within three years. Individuals with this degree work in community agencies and clinical settings as advanced clinicians and in management and leadership positions.
Ph.D. in Social Work
The Doctor of Philosophy degree primarily prepares students for professions in research, theory, and academia. A typical Ph.D. in social work takes three to five years to finish, depending on whether you are a full-time or part-time student. Ph.D. graduates work as professors at universities, join a research center tackling social and health issues or seek development in leadership positions requiring research abilities.
What Do You Study in an Accelerated Social Work Program?
The coursework is the same whether you attend a traditional or accelerated social work degree online program. The only difference is the amount of time it will take you to finish the coursework. An accelerated online program allows you to complete coursework more quickly to complete your degree sooner.
To acquire a social work degree from an accredited program, each student must complete and pass the coursework satisfactorily. The required coursework includes, but is not limited to, social welfare history, policy analysis, human behavior and the social environment, advocacy, social science research, generalist social work, social work practice, diversity and cultural competence, practice methodologies, and critical thinking and writing.
It’s important to note: You want to be sure that your time and effort were well spent by attending an accredited school, regardless of the level of degree you intend to achieve. You won’t be able to work as a licensed social worker unless you obtain a degree from an accredited institution or university.
Online Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work Program Length
The length of time it takes to earn the required credits for coursework completion will vary. The following are four factors to consider:
- Obtaining credit for work and life experience
- Testing out of college coursework with a placement test
- Transferring existing college credits
- The level of degree you wish to achieve
It typically takes two years to complete a bachelor’s degree in social work. In comparison, you can earn an online accelerated bachelor’s degree in social work in as little as 18 months.
However, if you wish to enhance your career and subsequent degrees are required, the timetables below will help you determine which path may be best for you.
A master’s degree in social work usually takes one year in addition to the time it takes to get a bachelor’s degree in social work.
A doctorate-level degree in social work usually takes two years in addition to the time it takes to get a master’s degree in social work.
Certification and Licensing
Because social work is a licensed profession, you must first earn your degree from an approved institution, then apply and pass an exam to become a licensed social worker.
According to the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), there are four steps you’ll need to take to become a licensed social worker:
- You must first apply for a social work license and be preapproved to take the licensing exam. You will apply to your state’s social work board, which is the state where you will practice.
- You can register with ASWB to take the exam and pay the necessary fee once your state or provincial social work board has approved your application.
- You will schedule your social work licensing exam at one of the many professional testing centers worldwide.
- You will take and pass your examination for social work licensure.
The social work board in your state or province regulates social work practice, determines eligibility, issues your license, and handles license renewal.
The Association of Social Work Boards does not regulate social work practice. The organization supports your state or province’s social work board by developing the licensing exam.
Please keep in mind that the ASWB and the social work board are two separate organizations.
When it comes time to take the licensing exam, all of your education and hard work will pay off. Exam content reflects what a social worker should know and what professional social workers within a specific scope of practice are already doing because the ASWB examinations measure entry-level practice competencies.
As a licensed social worker, continuing education requirements for license renewal are determined by your board. Regulatory boards recognize the value of lifelong learning in the field of social work. Your board determines the continuing education requirements for license renewal.
According to the Association of Social Work Boards, there are three ways to find continuing education credits:
- Approved continuing education providers listed on the ASWB website
- Approved individual courses and conferences
- ASWB enables select Joint Accreditation providers to award approved continuing education credit to social workers
It’s finally here: the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve worked tirelessly to move the needle forward so that you could finally enter a profession that truly benefits communities, society, and the world. Social work may just be the most versatile career path, and with that, your options are vast.
The practice of social work is categorized into three interrelated systems: micro, mezzo, and macro social work. Individuals pursuing a career in social work must be aware of each level’s extensive opportunities.
Micro-level social work involves direct interaction with individuals to address individual problems. Here are ten examples of this type of work:
- Child welfare social worker
- City social services caseworker
- Clinical social worker
- Crime victim advocate
- Family therapist
- Gerontological social worker
- Healthcare social worker
- Military social worker
- School counselor
- Substance abuse counselor
Mezzo-level social work involves working with a group of people. Groups can be small or midsize, families, employees, support groups, and more. Here are ten examples of this type of work:
- Business social worker
- Community group leader
- Corrections social worker
- Drug and alcohol specialist
- Forensic social worker
- Group therapist
- Parenthood educator
- Rehabilitation specialist
- Support group counselor
- Trauma social worker
Macro-level social work entails large-scale interventions and advocacy that affect entire communities, states, or countries. Here are ten examples of this type of work:
- Community activist
- Community organizer
- Community outreach worker
- Diversity and inclusion specialist
- Field organizer
- Professor of social policy
- Program developer
Clinical Social Worker
A clinical social worker typically works in child welfare, healthcare, human service agencies, or schools to provide support to people in the prevention of problems and coping with challenges in daily life. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there will be a need for 64,000 additional people to fill this role between 2021 and 2031. That’s about a 9% increase, and it is faster than the average career path.
A clinical social worker typically works closely with people and has a master’s degree with a license to do so. The most demand for these professionals is in offices where they will work with individuals, couples, or families in a private setting. They are providing clinical-level service, which involves supporting communication, working through trauma, applying various behavioral therapies, and supporting a person’s need to change.
Military Social Worker
Military social workers are professionals who provide social work services to individuals and families in the military. They may work with helping families who are transitioning into or out of the military, moving, or facing challenging situations. They often offer behavioral health support, counseling, and resource support for those who are looking for help with employment, their career, education, or financial support.
The BLS does not define military social workers individually, but those who work at the state or higher level earn a median wage of $48,090 per year. More so, there is demand for those in the field, with an expected need of 1,700 additional people over the period of 2021 to 2031, which is about a 3% increase.
Child Welfare Social Worker
A child welfare social worker is an individual who works with those under the age of 18 to provide support, tools, and counseling as both a way to cope with challenges and to prevent negative outcomes. They typically work in a social agency providing services in private practice or in schools. They may work with children and their families through challenging situations or aid parents in managing behavioral issues. Some also work with those who need foster homes and support the adoption process. Some may work with abused children, those who are facing truancy, misbehavior, or teenage pregnancy difficulties.
The BLS reports that the mean annual wage for a child welfare social worker is $54,880, though this is dependent on the type of environment the professional works in. Child welfare social workers are in demand, with the BLS reporting an increase of 29,100 positions between 2021 and 2031 expected. That’s about an 8% increase for the year.
Healthcare Social Worker
Healthcare social workers have a specific goal of providing for the needs of patients in a healthcare setting or as they are transitioning home. They may help people, patients, and families, to manage terminal illness, chronic conditions, and acute medical needs from a mental health standpoint. Many also provide not just counseling and personal support but also information and guidance on how to solve concerns, including help with managing finances, insurance concerns, and care. Some provide case and care management, while others will focus heavily on interventions to promote health.
The BLS reports that the mean annual wage for those working as a healthcare social worker was $62.310, with those working in general medical and surgical hospitals earning more. The BLS also notes that there will be a need for 19,900 additional people to work in this industry from 2021 to 2031, which is an 11% increase.
School counselors, along with career advisors, may use their social worker degrees to help them meet the needs of students and their families at all levels of education. This includes helping individuals to choose educational paths, managing school challenges, working to overcome obstacles in learning, and supporting success in career selection. School counselors work in public and private settings and often are at all levels of education.
The BLS reports that from 2021 to 2031, there will be a need for an additional 32,400 people in this field, which is about a 10% growth rate. The 2021 median pay for those in the industry was $60,510 per year.
What Is the Annual Salary of a Social Worker?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for social workers was $51,760 in May 2020.
Please keep in mind that income is determined by a variety of factors, including location, work environment, experience, and the type of social work. For example, in California, mental health and substance abuse social workers earn a median annual compensation of $73,150, while in Pennsylvania, the same type of employment pays $39,510.
What Is the Job Outlook for Social Workers?
Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects social worker employment to increase by 12 percent, faster than the national average. Approximately 78,300 job openings for social workers are projected each year, on average, over the next ten years.
The employment of child, family, and school social workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
The employment of healthcare social workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
The employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. Treatment centers are increasingly preferred over jail for drug offenses, and social workers staff these centers.
As a social worker, the skills you possess may be as expansive as the career opportunities of this profession. Whether your skills are obtained naturally or through education and training, a career in social work requires a broad range of skills and qualities.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, a social worker who masters a core set of essential skills can succeed in almost any setting. We’ve compiled a list of 25 skills that we’re confident you already possess or are aiming to acquire.
- Active listening
- Boundary setting
- Care planning
- Conflict resolution
- Critical thinking
- Cultural competence
- Emotional intelligence
- Ethical standards
- Information gathering
- Interviewing skills
- Relationship building
- Technology skills
- Time management
- Workload management
Don’t worry if you don’t have every skill listed. This is just a sample list to get you started. Because being successful in social work requires lifelong learning, you will be well on your way to developing the necessary skills as you complete the required curriculum and obtain your fast-track social work degree online.
Are Accelerated Degrees as Valuable as Traditional Degrees?
Completing a fast track social work degree online could help you to get your education quicker, often completing it within a matter of months instead of years. If you obtain education from an accredited school, accelerated social work program courses are just as valuable as those taken in a more traditional format.
You are completing the same type of degree and meeting the same educational requirements. The only difference is that you will spend more time learning in a compacted schedule.
Pursue a Career in Social Work With a Fast Track Social Work Degree Online
Now that you understand what it takes to become a social worker, the next step is to explore which accredited accelerated social work degree online programs are available and which is right for you.
You may want to obtain an online fast-track social work degree for a variety of reasons. Because of their convenience and flexibility—and the opportunity to get your degree in as little as 18 months—you might choose these fully accredited degree programs over traditional programs.
When you choose a career as a social worker, you’ll contribute to the lives of others and the world—because the work you do as a social worker matters.
Still, Looking For A Counseling Degree?
Here are some of the most popular online counseling programs. On each page, you will find a detailed write-up of the program, specific courses, and schools that offer that program that is currently accepting applicants.