Online Social Work Programs in West Virginia

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, West Virginia hosted approximately 2,000 social work jobs in May 2017. These jobs include titles such as child, family, and school social worker; healthcare social worker; and mental health and substance abuse social worker. West Virginia provides many opportunities for social workers who want to work with rural populations, since many of these jobs exist in Appalachian or former coal mining communities.

There are several online social work programs in West Virginia, including Marshall University and West Virginia University. West Virginia residents who do not want to practice in rural settings can earn a degree from social work schools in West Virginia and move to a more urban setting, such as District of Columbia, which offers many job opportunities for child, family, and school social workers and mental health and substance abuse social workers.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level

Online Master’s in Social Work Programs

Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in West Virginia

The West Virginia Board of Social Work oversees social work licensure in the state. There are four types of licenses offered: licensed social worker (LSW), licensed graduate social worker (LGSW), licensed certified social worker (LCSW), and licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW).

Education Requirements

LSW licensure serves as initial certification for the social work profession in West Virginia. LSW applicants need a bachelor’s in social work from a program accredited by the Council of Social Work and Education (CSWE). LGSW and LCSW candidates need a CSWE-accredited master’s degree in social work. Professionals seeking LICSW licensure need a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program with completed coursework in abnormal psychology.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

To earn the LSW credential, candidates must pass the Association of Social Work Boards bachelor’s exam. The exam costs $230 and consists of 170 questions. To earn LGSW or LCSW credentials, candidates must pass the master’s exam, which also costs $230. Candidates for LICSW licensure must pass the master’s exam and obtain 3,000 hours of supervised experience over the course of two years.

Application fees for LSW credentials in West Virginia total $100. LGSW, LCSW, and LICSW fees total $155. Candidates for each of these licensure options can register for the appropriate exam through the ASWB website.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

All West Virginia social workers must renew their license every two years. They must complete at least 40 hours of continuing education during each two-year renewal period. Of these hours, 20 hours must fall under “Category I” continuing education programs organized by the West Virginia Board of Social Work. Professionals may earn the other 20 hours through self-study activities, deemed “Category II”. Each West Virginia social work license costs $85 to renew.

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Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in West Virginia?

Online social work programs in West Virginia feature many benefits, including affordability and flexibility. Both West Virginia University and Marshall University offer affordable per-credit tuition rates to in-state and out-of-state online students. Online students also typically save money on housing and commuting costs that on-campus. Furthermore, the asynchronous coursework offered in most online social work programs gives students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degree.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in West Virginia 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 West Virginia

Marshall University

Located in Huntington, West Virginia, MU’s Department of Social Work emphasizes contemporary social issues in its bachelor’s and master’s programs, highlighting the need for community-based social work practice. Committed to social justice and human rights, MU’s MSW program prepares learners to work with various populations in healthcare, educational, and human service settings. The sole provider of an MSW degree in southern West Virginia, MU and its diverse faculty bring decades of practical experience and clinical expertise to this hybrid program.

MU’s Hybrid Master of Social Work Degree

  • Concentrations: MU’s master’s degree in social work includes generalist, advanced standing, and integrated behavioral health degree paths.
  • Credits and Courses: The MSW program includes 60 credit hours. Advanced standing students enter the program with 30 credit hours. Students take on-campus courses in addition to online courses.
  • Completion Time: Full-time students can complete the MSW program in two years, while advanced standing learners can finish the degree in one year.
  • Field Education: Students must complete 450 contact hours of field experience.
  • Transfer Policies: MU does not award academic credit for previous experience.
  • Online Student Support: Online learners gain access to workshops, Blackboard service assistance, the Design Center, and university libraries.
  • Cost: $352/credit hour for WV residents; $623/credit hour for Metro residents; $848/credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: A minimum overall 2.75 GPA with at least a 3.0 in social work coursework.

Marshall University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Marshall University’s social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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West Virginia University

Founded as a land-grant institution in 1862, WVU in Morgantown is the flagship institution of the WVU System. WVU hosts nearly 27,000 learners each year, providing undergraduate and graduate programs through 14 colleges and schools. WVU offers an online master of social work program focused on affecting social change. The online master’s degree in social work prepares students for careers as social workers in government, educational, business, and nonprofit settings.

WVU’s Online Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The MSW at WVU includes a generalist track and a specialization in advanced integrated practice.
  • Credits and Courses: Advanced standing students complete 36 credit hours through 12 courses. Regular standing students complete 60 credit hours. Both degree tracks include field internships.
  • Completion Time: WVU’s online master of social work is only offered on a part-time basis. Advanced standing students can complete the degree in two years. Regular standing students can graduate in three years.
  • Field Education: Students complete 300 hours of field experience during their first year and 600 placement hours during their second year.
  • Transfer Policies: To enter the program as an advanced standing student, learners need a CSWE-accredited bachelor’s degree in social work within the previous eight years.
  • Online Student Support: Online learners benefit from access to enrollment coaches and academic advisors; Blackboard support; WVU libraries; and a comprehensive WVU Portal that includes information on classes, grades, financial aid, and degree planning.
  • Cost: $631/credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants need a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 and at least a 3.25 GPA in all undergraduate social work courses. Students with overall GPAs between 2.75-3.0 must submit GRE scores for consideration. Regular standing students need a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, while advanced standing students need a bachelor’s in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Applicants must submit an essay, a case study, and three letters of recommendation.

West Virginia University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). West Virginia University’s online master’s degree is CSWE-accredited.

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