10 Best One Year MSW Programs Online With No BSW

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If you’re interested in a career in social work, you might consider 1 year MSW programs online no BSW.

1 year MSW programs online no BSW

A Master of Social Work (MSW) can help you start or advance a career in social work, healthcare, and related fields. This graduate degree allows you to develop necessary knowledge and skills to improve the lives of people and communities.

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This guide covers the essentials regarding accelerated online MSW programs, including admissions requirements, curricula, and potential career paths.

1 Year MSW Programs Online No BSW

social worker interviewing a mom and child

One year Master of Social Work (MSW) programs allow you to expand your knowledge of social work after earning your bachelors.

These programs cover advanced topics, such as cognitive behavior interventions, community theory, and trauma-informed social work. You’ll also participate in fieldwork to gain hands-on experience working with real clients. These accelerated programs typically have robust courseloads and require students to enroll full-time.

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Some 1 year MSW programs only admit students who have already completed a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). But, graduate students who don’t have a BSW can apply for accelerated traditional MSW programs, many of which can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months.

Fast-track MSW programs for non-BSW degree holders can help you develop a strong foundation in social work. They may also offer concentrations in areas like child welfare and social work administration. These specialized tracks allow you to develop expertise in a subfield of social work.

The curricula for MSW accelerated programs vary but may cover these subjects:

  • Child and family policy
  • Community theory and practice
  • Evidence-informed practice
  • Poverty, inequality, and injustice
  • Professional behavior and ethics
  • Psychopathology for social work practice
  • Research methods in social work
  • Social work assessment and treatment planning
  • Social welfare policy and services

An MSW can unlock numerous career opportunities in social work and related fields. Many MSW graduates take a national exam and complete other requirements to become licensed clinical social workers. These professionals assess, diagnose, and treat patients with mental health conditions.

Graduates may also pursue careers as behavior analysts, child welfare workers, clinical case managers, healthcare social workers, and more.

Social Work Careers & Salaries

Social Work Careers & Salaries

Accelerated online MSW programs help prepare students for a broad range of careers in social work. Current professionals are employed by government agencies, healthcare organizations, private practices, nursing homes, and many other organizations.

Graduates can also use their social work knowledge to pursue careers in other industries. For example, some graduates become corporate training specialists, nonprofit managers, and community outreach specialists. These professionals use the interpersonal skills they gained during their studies to develop programs and work with people from diverse backgrounds.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of ten careers in social work and related fields.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Medical and Health Services Managers $104,830
Social and Community Service Managers $74,240
Social Workers (All Other) $61,420
Healthcare Social Workers $60,280
Health Education Specialists $59,990
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $59,860
Marriage and Family Therapists $56,570
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $51,240
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $50,820
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $49,710

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the number of jobs for social workers will increase by 7% over the next ten years, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

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Many other careers related to social work will also experience rapid growth during this period. For instance, the employment of medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 28%, and 9% job growth is projected for social and community service managers (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Master of Social Work Curriculum & Courses

social worker with a family

MSW accelerated programs include diverse courses to help you learn more about social work practices, research methods, and theories. Here are some typical courses:

  • Anti-Oppression Social Work Practice: You’ll learn how to work with diverse populations, study the effects of oppression, and implement anti-oppression practices.
  • Clinical Social Work with Children and Adolescents: You’ll study child development and learn how to treat young people with mental health disorders.
  • Community Theory and Practice: This class teaches you how to apply social work theories and assessment methods to make communities more equitable.
  • Engaging with Evidence: You’ll learn techniques for evaluating and applying evidence-based research in social work practices.
  • Family Theory and Practice: You can learn how to develop strategies for supporting families in various social work settings.
  • Foundations of Social Policy and Service Delivery: This course focuses on the history of the American social welfare system, the relationship between politics and policy, and social issues.
  • International Social Work: You’ll analyze social problems from global perspectives and study how different countries respond to these issues.
  • Preventing Substance Misuse: You’ll learn evidence-based methods to help prevent clients from developing substance use disorders.
  • Social Work Practice and the Law: This course explores how the legal system influences and regulates social welfare policies and approaches.
  • Theories of Human Development and Diversity: This class examines the biological, emotional, environmental, social, and spiritual factors that influence human development and contribute to oppressive power structures.

One year MSW programs also include field practicums that let you gain real-world experience.

1 Year MSW Programs Online No BSW Admissions Requirements

social worker preparing for masters degree admissions

Admissions criteria vary between MSW programs, but here are a few common requirements:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some programs require them)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Prerequisite courses, such as biology, psychology, and statistics
  • Personal statement describing your professional goals and interests in social work

Additionally, accelerated MSW programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Some programs require a BSW, while others accept students with a bachelor’s in any field.

Accelerated MSW Programs Without BSW Accreditation

Accelerated MSW Programs Without BSW Accreditation

Accreditation status is a crucial factor to consider when researching MSW 1 year programs. Colleges and universities must apply to external accrediting organizations and pass rigorous assessments to earn regional accreditation.

You’re required to have a degree from an accredited social work program in order to take licensure exams administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Most states require social workers to be licensed, so it’s strategic to attend an accredited school if you want to pursue a career in this field.

CSWE Accreditation

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits social work programs in the United States. The accreditation process involves several steps, including self-studies, on-site inspections by CSWE representatives, and reviews from the CSWE Board of Accreditation.

Accredited programs have demonstrated that they uphold the CSWE’s core values, which include human relations, integrity, and social justice. These programs also teach professional social work competencies. Finally, CSWE accredited programs agree to comply with the CSWE’s educational policies and undergo ongoing assessments.

Social Work Licensure and Certifications

social worker taking certifications online

Some social workers, such as clinical social workers, need a license to work. Licensing requirements vary by state but often include these criteria:

  • BSW or MSW from an accredited program
  • Field experience under the supervision of a licensed social work
  • Licensure application and fee
  • Agreement to uphold state-specific ethical guidelines
  • Passing score on a licensing exam from the ASWB
  • Criminal background check

Licensed social workers may need to complete continuing education courses throughout their careers to maintain their licenses.

Online MSW Programs Financial Aid and Scholarships

financial aid for students taking msw programs

You may qualify for financial aid that can reduce the upfront expenses of your MSW degree. The federal government offers student loans and federal work-study programs for qualifying graduate students.

You can also see if you’re eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This initiative requires you to work for a qualifying government agency or nonprofit organization and make a certain number of monthly payments on your direct loans. After you complete these requirements, the federal government can forgive your remaining debt.

You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to start exploring financial assistance programs.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Social Work?

social worker interviewing a child

A masters in social work can help prepare you for numerous careers. Many graduates become licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). These specialists help patients improve their emotional and mental health, and they can work in various settings—including community centers, private practices, and mental health clinics.

Alternative career paths for MSW graduates may include:

  • Adoption counselor
  • Child welfare social worker
  • Family therapist
  • Geriatric social worker
  • Health educator
  • Program coordinator
  • Social policy analyst
  • Substance abuse counselor

These careers enable you to help people improve their lives and navigate a wide range of social and mental challenges.

How Fast Can You Complete an Accelerated MSW Online Program?

social worker in a group counseling

Several factors can influence how long it takes you to finish an accelerated MSW program online, including your enrollment status and educational background.

An online advanced standing MSW program is designed for students who have already earned a BSW. Full-time students may complete these programs in 7 to 16 months. Part-time students may take 16 to 20 months to graduate.

Accelerated online MSW programs for people without a BSW typically take 1 year to 1.5 years to complete with full-time enrollment or 2 years to 2.5 years with part-time enrollment.

Are Accelerated MSW Programs Online Worth It?

social worker visiting an elderly man

Yes, accelerated MSW programs online are worth it for many students. An MSW one year program allows you to develop advanced social work competencies and gain specialized knowledge in an accelerated format.

These programs combine theoretical approaches with real-world experience, so you’ll complete coursework and hone your clinical skills through fieldwork or internships. Graduates use their MSW to pursue many careers in social work and healthcare. For example, you might consider roles like licensed clinical social worker, family therapist, or school social worker.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7% job growth is projected for social workers over the next ten years, which is faster than average.

Universities Offering One-Year Online Masters in Social Work Degree Programs

Methodology: online or hybrid MSW that does not require BSW for admission, can be finished in 12 to 18 months, and regionally accredited.

Fordham University

Fordham University campus

Fordham University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Howard University

howard university campus

Howard University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education.

Simmons University

Simmons University campus

Simmons University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Tulane University

Tulane University campus

Tulane University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Alaska – Anchorage

University of Alaska Anchorage campus

The University of Alaska – Anchorage is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Fast Track Your Master’s in Social Work Online

social worker getting her Master’s in Social Work Online

You can pursue an accelerated online MSW to quickly start or advance a career in social work, healthcare, human resources, education, and many other industries.

You can learn evidence-based approaches and techniques to support clients from diverse backgrounds and help solve complex social issues. You can also gain specialized knowledge in areas like community organizing, child and family welfare, and trauma-informed practice.

A 1 year MSW program can speed up your professional development. There are even online accelerated programs for those who have a bachelors in a field other than social work.

You can begin your graduate journey today by researching accredited schools with online MSW programs.

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Brianna has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include careers and professional development, digital pedagogy, and first-year writing.