Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Pennsylvania
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- Pennsylvania offers CSWE-accredited MSW programs in both traditional campus-based and online formats.
- Depending on your educational credentials and program requirements, you may be able to complete an MSW in two years or less.
- Pennsylvania ranks among the top five states for the employment of child, family and school social workers and mental health and substance use social workers.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
By earning your MSW, you can become a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Pennsylvania. Our guide to the state’s accredited MSW degrees can help you find a program that fits your personal and professional needs. Learn more about what to expect from a master’s in social work and what you can do once you earn your degree.
CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in Pennsylvania
In most states, you need a degree from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to qualify for a social work license. Pennsylvania offers thirteen CSWE-accredited MSW programs.
|University||Location||Available Concentrations||Enrollment Type|
|Alvernia University||Reading, PA||Addiction & Mental Health||Full-Time|
|Bryn Mawr College||Bryn Mawr, PA||Clinical Social Work Practice, Communities, Organizations, Policy, & Advocacy Concentration||Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Carlow University||Pittsburgh, PA||Direct Practice, Macro Practice||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|Kutztown University||Kutztown, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Marywood University||Scranton, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Millersville University of Pennsylvania and Shippensburg University Collaborative||Millersville, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|Pennsylvania Western University||Edinboro, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|Slippery Rock University||Slippery Rock, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|Temple University||Philadelphia, PA||Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families, Macro Practice in Organizations, Communities and Policy Arenas||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh, PA||Community, Organization, and Social Action; Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|West Chester University||West Chester, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Widener University||Chester, PA||N/A||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, 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 Pennsylvania
If you are considering an MSW in Pennsylvania, these thirteen CSWE-accredited programs provide several options to help you achieve your career goals and accommodate your personal needs.
You can choose from programs located in major urban centers, like those at the University of Pennsylvania or the University of Pittsburgh, or at schools in smaller towns throughout the state.
In addition to full-time, campus-based programs, several schools provide part-time and online formats, designed for students with work or family responsibilities. Pennsylvania offers several advanced-standing MSW degrees for students who have completed their bachelor’s in social work, enabling them to finish their master’s in one year instead of two.
You also can find programs that offer specialty areas aligned with your career interests. You can choose a curriculum that emphasizes direct practice, macro practice, or clinical practice, with concentrations in addiction and mental health, and community, organizations, and policy areas.
How to Apply to an MSW Program in Pennsylvania
Because each MSW program sets its own requirements, you should check with your intended school to make sure you have the necessary credentials.
Pennsylvania MSW programs generally admit candidates who hold a BSW with a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.5. Some programs admit students with bachelor’s degrees in fields related to social work, such as psychology, sociology, or counseling.
Applications usually ask for official transcripts, a resume or personal statement, and an application fee. Depending on the program, you may have to submit GRE scores and take part in an interview.
What You Can Do With an MSW in Pennsylvania
You must complete an MSW from a CSWE-accredited school to qualify for a social work license in Pennsylvania. The LSW license allows you to practice under the supervision of a more advanced clinical social worker, or prepare for licensure in clinical practice. The LSW requires an MSW and a passing score on the master’s examination administered by the Association of Social Work boards.
The LCSW license, which qualifies you for independent clinical practice without supervision, requires an MSW, completion of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, and a passing score on the ASWB clinical exam. Both levels of licensure require an FBI criminal background check.
Social work salaries vary by type of employer and specialization. Healthcare social workers and child, family, and school social workers rank among the highest-paid in the U.S. In Pennsylvania, healthcare social workers earn over $62,000 a year while child, family and school social workers earn over $52,000 annually.
Everything Else You Need to Know About MSW Programs in Pennsylvania
How long does it take to complete an MSW in Pennsylvania?
Most MSW programs require two years of full-time study including field experience requirements. If you're admitted into an advanced-standing MSW in Pennsylvania after earning your BSW, you may be able to complete your degree in one year.
What careers are available with an MSW in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania is facing a shortage of social service providers, including licensed social workers, to support the needs of its aging population and those dealing with mental health challenges. By 2030, jobs for healthcare social workers in Pennsylvania are projected to increase by over 11% and by more than 12% for mental health and substance use social workers.
What skills will you learn with an MSW in Pennsylvania?
MSW programs provide training in social work theory, research, and practice; social welfare policy; advocacy; and laws and ethics. You will acquire a variety of skills needed to assess and intervene with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. All programs include real-world experiences in required field placements.
What are the benefits of earning an MSW in Pennsylvania?
Earning an MSW in Pennsylvania broadens your salary and career opportunities, propelling you into social work positions beyond the entry level. The MSW is the first step to obtaining licensure as an LCSW, preparing you for clinical practice and higher-paid administrative roles.