Online Social Work Programs in Oregon

Social workers provide an invaluable service to Oregon residents. These professionals help clients overcome problems from abuse, addiction, disabilities, educational difficulties, mental illness, poverty, and unemployment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the number of overdose deaths in Oregon involving heroin and fentanyl increased between 2015 and 2017. Consequently, social workers focusing on addiction-related problems can often find work in the state.

As of May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the largest number of social worker jobs in Oregon — 3,720 — are in child, family, and school social work; these professionals earn a mean annual salary of $51,510. Mental health and substance abuse social worker jobs in Oregon numbered 2,090, and professionals in these areas earn a mean annual salary of $49,380, according to the BLS. Healthcare social worker positions in Oregon totaled 1,600, and these social workers earn a mean annual salary of $70,830.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level

Online Master’s in Social Work Programs

Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Oregon

The Board of Licensed Social Workers licenses Oregon social workers. The state offers four types of licensure: registered baccalaureate social worker (RBSW), licensed master of social work (LMSW), clinical social work associate (CSWA), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). The following sections describe these licenses, their specific educational requirements, and the application process to obtain each.

Education Requirements

To become licensed as a supervised RBSW in Oregon, candidates need a bachelor’s degree in social work. All other licenses require at least a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Portland State University offers social work programs in Oregon, including a bachelor of social work and an online master’s program, both of which boast CSWE accreditation.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

Candidates for licensure submit an application and academic transcripts. They must also submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check. After receiving approval, candidates take the appropriate exam administered by the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB).

RBSWs must pay a $150 application fee and take the ASWB bachelor’s exam, which costs $230. Licensed RBSWs can provide nonclinical services.

LMSWs pay a $200 application fee and a $230 exam fee to take the ASWB master’s exam. LMCWs can provide nonclinical, master’s-level services.

CSWAs and LCSWs pay a $260 application fee. Obtaining the CSWA license is the first step in becoming an LCSW. CSWAs must have completed at least two years of supervised clinical social work, and LCSW candidates must have completed 3,500 hours of supervised clinical experience. Candidates must pass the Oregon Statutes and Administrative Rules Exam and the ASWB clinical exam, which costs $260. Licensed LCSWs can provide social work services independently.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

RBSW, LMSW, and LCSW holders must renew their licenses every two years. CSWAs renew their licenses annually. Social workers can complete the renewal process online. Active license renewal fees total $66 for CSWAs, $286 for LCSWs, $220 for LMSWs, and $110 for RBSWs.

With the exception of CSWAs, licensed social workers must complete continuing education credits during each period to qualify for renewal: 40 credits for LCSWs, 30 credits for LMSWs, and 20 credits for RBSWs. Six continuing education credits must cover ethics topics. LCSWs can carry up to 10 credits into the next renewal period, but LMSWs and RBSWs cannot.

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Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Oregon

There are options for earning an online social work degree in Oregon. Portland State University (PSU) offers an online MSW program for students who are unable to attend classes on campus, though distance learners must complete field internships in person. Including fees, tuition for PSU’s three-year online MSW cost about $44,000 for Oregon residents and $60,000 for nonresidents.

After earning their online social work degrees, Oregon graduates can pursue high-paying careers. According to the BLS, Oregon social workers earn an average salary of $56,063 per year. The BLS projects healthcare social work jobs in Oregon will grow 17.4% from 2016-2026.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Oregon 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 Oregon

Portland State University

Portland State University’s School of Social Work (SSW) has partnered with Oregon’s communities for more than 50 years. SSW offers the oldest master of social work in Oregon, and the only accredited online MSW in the Pacific Northwest. The school is renowned for its community-engaged faculty in an environment that promotes collaborative learning and rich research opportunities. MSW students have access to nationally recognized training and research centers, such as the Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services, Regional Research Institute for Human Services, and Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research.

Portland State University’s Online Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: This top master’s of social work in Oregon offers concentrations in health across the lifespan, in addition to practice and leadership with communities and organizations.
  • Credits and Courses: Each student must take 78 credits, 6-9 credits per term. Faculty members deliver 90% of the MSW’s 11-week classes online, but students must come to the campus in Oregon for an annual two-day seminar. The program requires online class meetings, discussions, and team assignments. Students complete the program’s courses in sequence.
  • Completion Time: Students begin the program in the fall and complete the program on a part-time basis in three years.
  • Field Education: Each student can complete 16 hours of field experience per week during years two and three.
  • Exam Preparation: The MSW prepares students for the licensed master of social work or clinical social work associate exams.
  • Transfer Policies: A student may transfer up to 36 credits into the MSW program.
  • Online Student Support: The program offers weekly face-to-face virtual meetings with faculty for support and to build community.
  • Cost: $469/credit in-state; $685/credit out-of-state.
  • Admission Requirements: Each student must achieve a minimum 2.75 GPA for admission consideration.

Portland State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Portland State University’s online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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