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- CSWE accreditation acts as a stamp of approval for undergraduate and graduate social work programs.
- CSWE accreditation ensures that social work programs offer quality curriculum and instruction, and follow best practices.
- Earning a CSWE-accredited social work degree is often a prerequisite for state licensure.
If you're interested in pursuing a social work degree at the undergraduate or graduate level, understanding the value of accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is key.
CSWE accreditation ensures that you receive a quality social work education. And graduating from a CSWE-accredited program is often the first step toward earning your social worker state licensure.
Whether you're pursuing a bachelor's or master's in social work, CSWE accreditation has an impact on your educational and professional future. Throughout this page, we answer some of the most common questions about CSWE accreditation.
What Is the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)?
The Council on Social Work Education is a national organization that oversees, maintains, and updates the standards for social work education programs in the United States. Established in 1952, this group oversees the accreditation of undergraduate and graduate social work programs.
In addition to overseeing the accreditation of hundreds of academic programs, the CSWE offers professional development options, research opportunities, and scholarships. The CSWE works to ensure an educated, competent, and justice-minded social work profession.
Featured Online Master's in Social Work (MSW) Programs
What Is a CSWE Accredited Program?
Whether you're pursuing a bachelor's (BSW) or master's (MSW) degree in social work, a CSWE-accredited program is the field's gold standard. Accreditation is the process that ensures a program offers you the skills, knowledge, and values vital to the profession.
Choosing between a BSW or MSW degree can determine your career options, and CSWE accreditation can point you in the right direction.
When reviewing programs for accreditation, the CSWE checks essential elements, including curriculums, learning objectives, and faculty qualifications. The CSWE reports that there are 542 accredited bachelor's programs and 318 accredited master's programs in social work as of February 2023.
Social Work Program Accreditation
Social work program accreditation does more than simply ensure that you receive a quality education. Completing a CSWE-accredited program can mean the difference between you securing a job or not.
Many social work jobs require you to hold a social work degree from a CSWE-accredited program.
Why You Want Your Program to Be CSWE Accredited
Enrolling in a CSWE-accredited program has both academic and professional benefits for future social workers. A program with CSWE accreditation ensures that you'll encounter a rigorous program that's rooted in best practices and current research.
In short, a CSWE-accredited program helps you hone the skills you need for your social work career. In addition, graduates from a CSWE-accredited program are eligible for licensure in most states.
Because a diploma from a CSWE-accredited program is the industry standard, prospective employers may favor applicants with a CSWE-accredited degree.
How to Check if a Program Is CSWE Accredited
The easiest way to check if a program holds CSWE accreditation is to use the CSWE's directory of accredited programs. The CSWE's directory lists all undergraduate and graduate social work degree programs. And the tool allows you to filter searches by state, program level, area of specialization, and online availability.
You can also check your prospective school's website, as many schools feature the accrediting body on their program pages.
How to Spot Unaccredited Programs
Because earning a CSWE-accredited degree is essential to both an academic experience and professional prospects, it's vital to ensure that any social work program you choose holds CSWE accreditation.
degree mills and unaccredited programs often appear legitimate but fail to provide evidence of CSWE accreditation. Be sure to verify any prospective program's accreditation status against the CSWE's accreditation directory.