Differences Between Online Master’s in Social Work and On-Campus Programs

By | October 30, 2021

The Masters in Social Work program is usually intended for students who are interested in obtaining professional degrees or who already have an extensive amount of experience related to social work practice. This program is very popular these days because of the increase in demand for social work professionals. Due to the increasing demand for social work professionals, the educational requirements for the program have also been growing. In addition, there are also many other reasons why students enter the Masters in Social Work program, to begin with.

The Master’s Degree in Social Work.. is an online Master’s level that prepares students to function as certified clinical social workers in a specific area of study. Students who enroll in the MSW can choose to pursue various career paths which include: community-based practice, teacher-training related, government, private organization, and volunteer activities. The coursework for this degree involves preparing students for the theory and application aspects of social work, as well as developing the ability to conduct qualitative research.

The program requires that students have all the required academic qualifications and also fulfill certain minimum prerequisites prior to enrolling. Students should check what requirements their university or college holds before they decide on pursuing the course. If a Master’s is awarded on the basis of incomplete material, the student may be required to submit an additional course, or complete a residency. For instance, the University of Michigan requires Master’s applicants to complete a 60-hour dissertation. Other graduate or professional programs might not demand such a high degree of quality. Nevertheless, it is always important to verify what a particular college or university requires in order to be eligible for their program.

Unlike a bachelor’s program, a master s degree in social work may be pursued by full-time students who have no other Bachelor’s degrees to their name. The number of courses required to earn the Master’s varies with each institution, although they typically take four to six semesters. For some Master’s programs, coursework can be completed in as few as eight semesters.

It is also essential to research the accreditation status of any school before enrolling. There are currently three major accrediting bodies that accredit master’s programs throughout the United States. The National Accrediting Commission on Colleges and Schools (NACCS)  accredits programs at both the state and national levels. The others, the Council of Social Work Education (CSWER) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), accredit individual schools.

Students will need to take a national examination, the NCLEX-RN, prior to enrolling in a master’s in the social work program. Students should also complete specific coursework toward their RN or BS in social work before applying for the degree. For those already employed in this field, it is possible to apply directly for a master’s without first completing an RN or BS in social work. Many organizations offer direct practice or group experience leading to an eventual master’s degree.

Completing an advanced master’s in social work program allows students to focus on specific areas of study such as human services management, career development, applied research, social policy, evaluation, and evaluation of policies and services. Students may also opt to specialize in a particular area of community or clinical psychology. Students specialize in one of many areas such as family services, domestic violence, elder care, sexual abuse, elder law, prison studies, or school community development. Students may also choose to specialize in academic areas such as sociology, philosophy, history, anthropology, or history of medicine.

Both online and on-campus colleges offer master’s degrees in social work education. The options and depth of these programs vary by an educational institution, the field of concentration, level of education, curriculum, program length, and student objectives. It is important to compare programs from each school to determine which will best meet one’s needs. For those interested in preparing to apply for a Ph.D. in this field, a Master’s program is a highly recommended option. For those who are already working in this field but would like to earn their Ph.D.,  an online master’s degree is usually the best choice due to the ability to continue working while completing the requirements of the program.

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