Online Social Work Programs in Massachusetts
Graduates of schools of social work in Massachusetts enjoy substantial employment opportunities throughout the state. The state ranks second in the nation for the highest concentration of mental health and substance abuse social worker employment, with more than 6,880 professionals working in the state. The Boston metropolitan area ranks among the top cities for jobs in those fields. These social workers report an annual mean wage of $43,270. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also projects a 14.1% increase in mental health social workers through 2026.
Social workers specializing in healthcare services enjoy steady employment throughout the state. Projections Central anticipates an 11.6% growth in this field statewide. Boston reports the highest employment level for healthcare social workers at 5,010, with a mean wage of $64,090. The metropolitan areas of New Bedford, Pittsfield, and Springfield top the list of metro areas with the highest concentration of healthcare social workers, with New Bedford reporting 17.89 per 1,000 jobs. Nonmetropolitan areas in the state report 3.29 healthcare social workers employed per 1,000 jobs and one of the highest-paying salaries for the field with a mean wage of $80,130.
Social Work Programs by Degree Level
Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Work ensures social workers meet stringent education and examination requirements before starting their careers. The Board offers four levels of licensure: licensed social work associate (LSWA), licensed social worker (LSW), licensed certified social worker, licensed independent clinical social worker.
Applicants for an LSWA license need at least an associate degree in a human services field, while LSW applicants must earn a bachelor’s degree. Earning a degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) speeds up the licensure process, with fewer postgraduate work requirements.
Applicants for certified and clinical social work licenses must earn a CSWE-accredited master’s degree. In addition to courses in social services and human behavior, clinical applicants must complete courses in mental health diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment. All degree plans should include hands-on learning opportunities through practicums and internships.
Exam Application Process and Requirements
Before taking the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam, graduates of the best social work programs in Massachusetts must apply for licensure. Applicants for an LSWA or LSW who do not meet the minimum education requirements must provide documentation of up to four years of social work experience. All candidates pay an application fee and submit three professional references.
Clinical applicants must first receive their certified license. They then work under the supervision of an independent clinical social worker for at least two years providing a minimum of 3,500 hours of clinical social work.
After about three weeks, applicants should receive permission to schedule their exam. The ASWB offer exams for graduates of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs at a fee of $230 and a clinical exam for $260. The multiple-choice test aligns with the Massachusetts social work licensing requirements, with students tested on content knowledge and skill competency.
Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal
Massachusetts social work licenses remain valid up to two years, expiring September 30 of each even year. The Massachusetts Board of Registration provides online renewal services. Fees range from $42-$82, depending on the type of license you plan to renew.
The state requires all license holders to complete continuing education over the two-year licensing period, including 10 hours for associate social workers and up to 30 hours for clinical social workers. The state accepts courses offered by CSWE-accredited schools or approved by the ASWB, National Association of Social Workers or National Association of Black Social Workers and its affiliated chapters, or government agencies. Continuing education serves as a prerequisite requirement for individuals not licensed for the full two-year term.
Featured Online Programs
Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Massachusetts?
Colleges in Massachusetts for social work offer opportunities for career advancement. Thanks to the state’s unique four-level licensing program, individuals do not need to wait to complete a master’s degree and begin working in the field. They can begin work following graduation from an associate degree program.
Advanced licensure and continuing education courses allow social workers to provide more services, work independently, and demand higher wages. Online schools of social work in Massachusetts offer the flexibility working professionals need to complete their education, thanks to asynchronous scheduling and rigorous online courses. Schools also work closely with certified or clinical social workers to ensure internship and practicum experiences offer hands-on learning, all close to the student’s home.
Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Massachusetts as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. We cover online bachelor’s in social work, online master’s in social work, and online doctorate in social work programs. All programs are regionally and CSWE accredited, and all are available entirely online.
Online Social Work Programs in Massachusetts
With roots dating back to 1839, Boston University (BU) is now a thriving institution with over 300 programs. Its School of Social Work offers an online master of social work, as well as an in-person master’s and a Ph.D. in social work. Faculty expertise encompasses a diverse range of specialties, including health and public health, housing and homelessness, community engagement, trauma and violence, behavioral health, and clinical research methods.
Boston University’s Online Master of Social Work
- Credits and Courses: BU’s master’s in social work offers three potential tracks. The traditional and human experiences tracks consist of 65 credits. The advanced standing track requires 43 credits and may be available to students who enter the program with a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution. Most courses run asynchronously, but learners must participate in weekly live classroom sessions on Sunday or Monday evenings.
- Completion Time: A student in the traditional or human experience track can complete the program in three years, or nine semesters. A student in the advanced standing track can complete the program in six semesters (fall, spring, and summer).
- Field Education: Each student must complete 1,000-1,200 hours of field internship, depending on their chosen track. Learners typically spend 1-2 days a week at their field placement sites.
- Other Requirements: A student in the human experience track can complete a field experience capstone project.
- Exam Preparation: BU’s master of social work prepares students to take the ASWB exam.
- Transfer Policies: With faculty approval, students may transfer credits from other CSWE-accredited institutions. No more than half the total credits for the program may transfer. Students pursuing the advanced standing track may not transfer any credits into the program.
- Online Student Support: BU offers several resources for online learners, including online tutoring, library services, disability services, career development, and health-services consultation.
- Cost: $825/credit
- Admission Requirements: There is no minimum GPA requirement to apply for the traditional or human experience tracks. A student applying for advanced standing must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. GRE and GMAT scores are not required. Faculty may request an interview via phone or Skype.
Boston University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Boston University’s online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Simmons College is a private institution with a century-long tradition of academic excellence. Simmons’ School of Social Work offers an online master’s in social work that prepares students for careers in a range of social work-related areas, such as disaster response, domestic violence, corrections, and child welfare.
The program also prepares Massachusetts graduates for state licensure. In addition to its online master’s degree, the school of social work offers several bachelor’s degree programs, certificates in social work, and a Ph.D. in social work.
Simmons College’s Master’s in Social Work
- Concentrations: The program offers advanced specializations in child and family, trauma and interpersonal violence, mental health and addictions, and health and aging.
- Credits and Courses: Each student must complete 65 credits. A learner in the advanced standing track, who already holds a bachelor’s degree in social work, can complete 37 credits. Online courses run synchronously, with a focus on small-group breakout sessions, live chats, and surveys.
- Completion Time: A full-time student can complete the program in two years, while a part-time learner can complete it in three. An enrollee on the accelerated track can complete the degree in 16 months, while a student in the advanced standing program can complete the program in 12 months.
- Field Education: Each student must complete 1,000 hours of hands-on experience in an agency or community-based setting. Simmons assists online students with locating and securing field placements.
- Other Requirements: Each student must take a capstone course, which provides program-knowledge synthesis and additional skill sets, to graduate.
- Exam Preparation: Simmons’ program prepares students for Massachusetts licensure.
- Transfer Policies: Learners may transfer to Simmons from other CSWE-accredited institutions. Faculty members approve any requests for credit transfers into the program.
- Online Student Support: Each enrollee can receive enrollment assistance from a dedicated liaison, face-to-face academic guidance from faculty, and field placement support.
- Cost: $1,080/credit
- Admission Requirements: GRE and GMAT scores are not required. Faculty may request an interview via phone or Skype. A student applying for advanced standing must have a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.0, with a major GPA of 3.3 or higher.
Simmons University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Simmons University’s online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.
Westfield State University
Located in Westfield, Massachusetts, Westfield State University has taken pride in its diverse student body since its founding in 1839. Westfield’s Social Work Department offers a hybrid master of social work that combines in-person classes with online learning. The department also offers full- and part-time bachelor’s degrees, as well as free online training.
Westfield’s faculty members bring a wealth of experience, with areas of expertise including community organizing, international social work, child abuse and neglect investigations, alcohol and substance abuse programs, and child behavioral health.
Westfield’s Hybrid Master of Social Work
- Concentrations: The program offers a specialization in clinical practice.
- Credits and Courses: Each enrollee must complete 66 credits to graduate.
- Completion Time: A student can complete the program in two years of full-time study or 3-4 years of part-time study. Approximately two-thirds of the program is completed in person, with courses restricted to Monday and Thursday slots. In-person courses take place in Westfield or Worcester.
- Field Education: Each learner must complete 900 practicum hours in the field.
- Online Student Support: Westfield provides hybrid learners with support, such as access to a free writing center and specialized technical assistance.
- Cost: $450/credit
- Admission Requirements: Each applicant must have a 2.8 cumulative GPA. A student applying for advanced standing should hold a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution, with a 3.0 cumulative GPA. GRE and GMAT scores are not required.
Westfield State University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Westfield State University’s online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.