Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in New York

Want to be a New York social worker? Learn more about how to become a social worker in New York and the accredited MSW programs in the state.
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Do you want to start a meaningful career in social work in one of the top-paying states? New York ranks as the fourth highest-paying state for child, family, and school social workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The state also has among the highest employment of child, family, and school social workers, as well as mental health and substance misuse social workers.

New York State only requires workers at the master's level to earn licenses. And for some New York licenses, you must graduate from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program.

Why become a social worker in New York? Continue reading to get a breakdown of the best MSW programs in New York.

At a Glance: Social Work Programs in New York

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    23 colleges offer CSWE accredited MSW programs in New York.
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    $20,454 was the average tuition for a CSWE accredited MSW program in New York as of the 2021-22 academic year.
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    7,962 MSW degrees were granted in New York in the 2020-21 academic year.

Popular Online Master of Social Work Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in New York

MSW Programs in New York
University Location Available Concentrations Enrollment Type
Adephi University Garden City, NY
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Trauma
  • Human Services Management and Organizational Leadership
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Alliance University New York, NY
  • Clinical Social Work Practice
  • Leadership in Organizations and Communities
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Binghamton University Binghamton, NY Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
College at Brockport, State University of New York Rochester, NY Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
College of Saint Rose Albany, NY Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
College of Staten Island Staten Island, NY
  • Disability Studies Clinical Practice
  • Disability Studies Macro Practice
Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Columbia University New York, NY
  • Aging
  • Contemporary Social Issues
  • Family, Youth, & Children's Services
  • Health, Mental Health, & Disabilities
  • School-Based and School-Linked Services
  • International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees
  • World of Work
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Daemen University Amherst, NY Full-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Fordham University New York, NY
  • Health
  • Crisis and Resilience
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Hunter College, City University of New York New York, NY Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Keuka College Keuka Park, NY Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Lehman College, City University of New York Bronx, NY Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Long Island University, Post & Brooklyn Collaborative Brookville, NY
  • Gerontology
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  • Child and Family Welfare
  • Forensic Social Work
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Nazareth College of Rochester Rochester, NY
  • Family and Community Practice
  • Interdisciplinary Health Care
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
New York University Bronxville, NY
  • Child, Youth, and Family Services
  • School-based Services
  • Adult Services
  • Aging
  • Health
  • Mental Health
  • Disabilities Across the Life Cycle
  • Forensic Social Work
  • Macro Social Work
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester, NY
  • Mental Health
  • Child and Family Services
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
  • Family, Youth, and Transition to Adulthood
  • Integrated Health: Physical, Psychological, and Social Well Being
  • Community, Policy, and Political Social Action
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
  • Advanced Integrated Practice
  • Advanced Clinical Practice
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Touro College New York, NY
  • The Aging Population
  • When Veterans Come Home
  • Mental Illness
Full-Time, Part-Time
University at Albany, State University of New York Albany, NY
  • Aging
  • Mental Health
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University at Buffalo, State University of New York Buffalo, NY Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Yeshiva University New York, NY
  • Gerontology and Palliative Care
  • Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC)
  • Child Welfare Practice
  • School Social Work Practice
  • Creative Arts and Healing
  • Trauma Informed Practice
  • Social Work Practice With the Military
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
York College Jamaica, NY Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option

How to Become a Social Worker in New York

If you want to become a licensed social worker in New York, you must complete a qualifying master's degree. Two types of licensed social workers exist in New York: licensed master social workers and licensed clinical social workers. Licensed clinical social workers need an MSW degree and a minimum of 2,000 supervised hours. They can also qualify for an "R" psychotherapy privilege. Licensed master social workers also need an MSW degree but not supervised work experience.

While most social work positions in New York require an advanced degree, you can get social work positions without a license. For instance, companies in New York hire non-licensed social worker assistants.

If you are licensed in another state and hold at least 10 years of work experience, you can qualify for social work by endorsement in New York.

Requirements in Social Work
Licensed Master Social Worker Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Degree Requirement MSW MSW
Exam Requirement Master's Clinical
Minimum Post-Graduate Supervised Experience Required n/a 2,000 hours
Minimum Direct Supervisor Contact Required n/a 100 hours
Minimum Hours of Face to Face Supervision Required n/a 2,000 hours
Minimum Time to Accrue Required Hours 3 years

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work or a Related Field.

You may need a master's degree to work in New York as a social worker, but a bachelor's in social work (BSW) degree provides the foundation for advanced education. However, you can jump into social work after studying other undergraduate majors, such as counseling, human services, and public policy.

The traditional BSW degree takes four years to complete. But many graduate schools provide advanced standing in MSW programs in New York if you have an undergrad education in social work. This option lets you graduate faster.

Step 2: Earn a CSWE Accredited Master's Degree in Social Work.

A master's degree in social work opens the door to a career as a child and family social worker. The degree also prepares you for school social worker, healthcare social worker, and mental health and addiction social worker roles. You can even become a health services manager or work as a social policy advisor.

If you want to become a licensed social worker in New York, you must graduate from a CSWE-accredited program.

To get admitted into MSW programs in New York, you need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. Programs often provide advanced standing if you have a BSW, which puts you ahead of other students in your cohort. You may need to provide GRE scores with your application. Schools may also ask you to submit a statement of purpose, three recommendation letters, a resume, and official college transcripts.

Step 3: Pursue Post-Graduate Experience.

New York requires that licensed social workers have at least three years of supervised work experience after earning their MSWs. This work should include taking assessments, making diagnoses, and performing psychotherapy at a New York-based facility —one that is authorized to provide clinical social work services. Before applying for licensure, you must query the State Board to ensure your placement meets the requirements.

Your supervisors must also be qualified and provide continual guidance. Physicians, psychologists, and licensed social workers can supervise and evaluate your work. During the supervised clinical experience, you must keep your supervisor up to date on your cases. For example, you need to inform them about diagnoses and treatment plans.

Step 4: Complete Required Pre-Licensure Coursework.

As mandated reporters, social workers must report any suspicion of child abuse under the law. Teachers, social workers, psychologists, and other professionals who work with children must complete training to learn about their legal obligation to protect children.

Pre-licensure courses for future social workers in New York include training to learn how to identify child abuse or neglect. Paid courses differ by region in New York with self-paced or real-time offerings. Generally, you can expect to spend two hours on a course.

Step 5: Submit Your Application for Social Work Licensure

You must submit an application for licensure and pay the $294 fee. Limited permits cost $70. Eligible candidates for social work licensure must also meet other requirements. For instance, you must have graduated from an approved master's in social work program. You must also send verification of your education to the New York State Education Department.

In addition, your supervisor must submit verification to the State Education Department to prove you've completed your required supervised clinical hours. Once the New York State Education Department verifies your education and eligibility, it will let you know if you can sit for the licensing exam.

Step 6: Take and Pass the Required Licensing Exams.

Do you have what it takes to perform your job safely and ethically? The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) issues the licensing exams that evaluate a social worker's competency in human development, human behavior, and assessments.

Depending on your education and career goals, you can take the advanced generalist or clinical exam. Or you can take the associate, bachelor's, or master's exam. After getting approval to take the test, you can order a practice exam.

Over about four hours, expect to see 170 multiple-choice questions, including 20 pretest questions. You get scored based on your answers to 150 questions. While taking the test at an approved Pearson VUE center, you can save and correct your answers as you go.

New York Social Worker FAQs

How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in New York?

Becoming a social worker in New York takes years. Social workers in New York need a four-year bachelor's degree and a graduate degree. On average, it takes 2-3 years to earn an accredited MSW degree. If you study part time, you can take as long as 5-6 years to earn an MSW.

Advanced-standing students with transferable credits or prior social work experience can complete MSW programs in New York in as few as 12 months. To become a licensed social worker in New York, you also need three years of post-master's supervised work experience.

How Much Does a Social Worker in New York Make?

What you make as a social worker depends on where you live, your work experience, and your specialty area. Demand for social workers and a higher cost of living can contribute to higher salaries.

For instance, healthcare social workers in Buffalo, New York make lower salaries, with an average annual wage of $53,160 in May 2021. Similarly, healthcare social workers in Albany earn a median salary of $55,210 as of May 2021. Meanwhile, New York City social workers earned the highest salaries in 2021 due to the higher cost of living in the city. In 2021, mental health and substance misuse social workers in New York City earned an average of $82,820.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

In New York, Is a Career in Social Work Worth It?

Pursuing a meaningful career has its merits, but you also need to meet a basic standard of living. Let's be honest: You likely want to see a return on investment for your education. You can determine your investment profitability by weighing your potential salary and the cost of your education.

As a social worker, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This Department of Education program could eliminate what you owe in Direct Loans if you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments.

People do not pursue social work for a six-figure salary, but social workers can make salaries higher than the national average. Also, when you live in a city with a lower-than-average living cost, your salary can go further.

Another perk: Social workers, like other government workers, get discounts for local museums, recreational activities, and even cell phone service.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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