Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in North Carolina
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- You can earn an MSW degree at 12 CSWE-accredited colleges in North Carolina.
- The Southeast region awarded 13.5% of all 31,750 MSW degrees conferred in 2020.
- North Carolina offers four levels of credentials for master's-level social workers.
Considering an advanced social work career in the Tar Heel State? North Carolina offers four credentials to master's degree holders. Earning a master's in social work (MSW) degree in North Carolina makes you eligible to become a certified master social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed clinical social worker associate, or a certified social worker.
About 12 colleges offer MSW degrees in North Carolina. What makes one MSW in North Carolina better than others? Here we discuss what to expect to learn, pay, and more.
CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in North Carolina
You should attend an MSW program that holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The 1952-founded association sets the standards for quality social work education in the United States. All 12 North Carolina colleges and universities below offer CSWE-accredited MSW programs.
|University||Location||Available Concentrations||Enrollment Type|
|Appalachian State University||Boone, NC||Community and Organizational Practice, Individuals and Families||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|East Carolina University||Greenville, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|Fayetteville State University||Fayetteville, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Johnson C. Smith University||Charlotte, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|North Carolina A&T State University / University of North Carolina at Greensboro Collaborative||Greensboro, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|North Carolina Central University||Durham, NC||N/A||Full-Time|
|North Carolina State University||Raleigh, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||Charlotte, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||Pembroke, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of North Carolina at Wilmington||Wilmington, NC||Clinical, Macro||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Western Carolina University||Cullowhee, NC||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
Popular Online Social Work Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What to Expect from an MSW Program in North Carolina
The 12 CSWE-accredited MSW programs in North Carolina have campuses in cities that include Boone, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, and Raleigh. Five of the MSW degrees offer fully online programs which let students study without stepping foot on campus. However, on occasion, you'll have to meet in-person. For instance, the field instruction requires direct work with clients. CSWE-accredited MSW programs require a minimum of 900 hours of practicum experience.
Over 2-3 years, you have the option to study full time or part time. Many programs offer an advanced-standing option to let you graduate in one year, if you hold a bachelor's in social work degree.
The concentrations available during an MSW program vary depending on the type of degree. Programs offer a micro, macro, or advanced generalist focus. Also, some MSW programs in North Carolina offer concentrations in community and organization practice, individuals and families, clinical practice, or macro social work practice.
Generally, all MSW programs cover human behavior in the social environment, social welfare, social work research, and advanced practice with individuals, families and community partnerships.
How to Apply to an MSW Program in North Carolina
You should expect a selective admissions process for all MSW programs in North Carolina. You need to demonstrate your academic qualifications to become a student.
All programs require a bachelor's degree from an institutionally accredited college, if not a BSW degree. When offered, you can get advanced standing status with a BSW degree from an accredited program.
It often takes a minimum 3.0 GPA to get into a MSW program, and proof of completed undergraduate courses in human biology and statistics.
What You Can Do With an MSW in North Carolina
Get an MSW in North Carolina and you have the option to become a credentialed social worker. An advanced degree makes you eligible to earn an LCSW — one of the highest-paid types of social workers. LCSWs earn a national average annual salary of $64,264, per August 2023 Payscale data.
According to North Carolina's licensing requirements, you need a minimum of 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised clinical social work experience over 2-6 years. Applying for this credential also requires at least 100 supervision hours, where you meet one-on-one or in a group to talk about your career development with a licensed LCSW.
You’ll also need to pass the Association of Social Work Boards clinical exam, complete an application, and pay the fee.
Everything Else You Need to Know About MSW Programs in North Carolina
How do I become a social worker in North Carolina?
You may become a social worker in North Carolina by earning a social work degree, passing the ASWB exam and a background check, completing any supervised experience, and filling out an application. Your degree determines which credential you’re eligible for. If you hold a BSW degree, you can apply to become a certified social worker.
Certified master social workers, licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), licensed clinical social workers, and certificate social worker managers need a MSW, doctorate of social work, or Ph.D. in social work degree.
What is the salary for an MSW in North Carolina?
Salaries for social workers differ by specialty area in North Carolina. Healthcare social workers in the state make an average annual salary of $63,110, while mental health and substance use social workers make an average annual salary of $53,940 (BLS, May 2022).
Is an MSW worth the degree?
Earning any master's degree can put you in a higher salary bracket than that of a bachelor's degree-holder. Getting a MSW degree can also increase your job satisfaction. A report released in 2020 by CSWE found that most social workers were "very or somewhat satisfied" with their jobs. That said, social workers often take on heavy caseloads and work unusual hours.
Is an MSW degree hard?
MSW programs require a lot of time and money. You may also find the program academically and emotionally taxing, especially the in-person field instruction. That said, if you like and are skilled in social work, you'll likely thrive in grad school.