Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Virginia

Thinking about getting your MSW in Virginia? Learn everything you need to know about accredited MSW programs and the steps to become a licensed social worker in the state.
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At a Glance: Social Work Programs in Virginia

  • Licensed master social workers (LMSW) and licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) must complete a master of social work (MSW) degree.
  • The LMSW is a non-clinical license that does not require supervised field experiences.
  • The LCSW license, which authorizes you to practice clinical social work, requires 3,000 hours of supervised field experience.

Source: Virginia Board of Social Work

Virginia ranks as the 12th most-populous state in the country. As the population continues to grow, career opportunities for licensed social workers will likely expand.

Earning an MSW in Virginia can help you launch a potentially rewarding career as a licensed master social worker (LMSW) or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Explore our directory of accredited MSW programs in the state to learn about the different paths to social work licensure.

Featured Online 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 Virginia

For social work licensure, you need an MSW from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Our directory of Virginia's CSWE-accredited programs offer a variety of learning options.

Virginia MSW Programs
University Location Available Concentrations Enrollment Type
George Mason University Fairfax, VA Adults and Healthy Aging; Children, Youth, and Families Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Norfolk State University Norfolk, VA Child Welfare, Clinical, Macro, Military, School Social Work Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Radford University Radford, VA N/A Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA N/A Full-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option

What to Expect from an MSW Program in Virginia

Virginia is home to four CSWE-accredited MSW programs: George Mason University, Norfolk State University, Radford University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Despite the relatively small number of MSW programs available in the state, you can choose from several options to meet your personal and professional needs.

All four schools offer traditional on-campus programs for full-time students that do not require a BSW degree for admission. For students who have earned a CSWE-accredited bachelor of social work (BSW), these four schools also offer advanced standing campus-based MSW programs that reduce by half the time needed to earn a master’s degree. All the MSW programs in Virginia, except for Norfolk State, offer online options with a clinical focus.

At George Mason, you can enrich your training in generalist social work by pursuing a specialization in adults and healthy aging or child, youth, and family studies. Norfolk State offers several specialty areas including child welfare, clinical, macro, military, and school social work.

How to Apply to an MSW Program in Virginia

While each MSW offers a distinctive program of study, CSWE-accredited programs share similar admissions and graduation requirements. An MSW requires approximately 60 credits completed over two years of full-time study, including supervised field experiences.

Traditional MSW programs may admit students with a bachelor’s in a non-social work field such as sociology, psychology, or counseling. You need a CSWE-accredited BSW degree to qualify for admission to an advanced standing MSW program.

The application requirements for most MSW programs include a minimum 2.5 GPA, official transcripts, and letters recommendation. Virginia’s MSW programs do not require you to submit GRE scores.

What You Can Do With an MSW in Virginia

Earning an MSW in Virginia prepares you to become an LMSW or an LCSW. The LMSW license authorizes you to work in non-clinical settings.

The LMSW online application process requires submission of a $115 application fee and a report from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) to verify that you have no legal or professional violations.

Once your application receives approval from the state board, you must pass the master’s examination administered by the Associate of Social Work Boards (ASWB). You do not need to complete supervised clinical hours to become an LMSW in Virginia.

The LCSW license, which you need for independent clinical practice, requires at least 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised experience. To obtain your LCSW licensure, you must submit an online application along with the Verification of Clinical Supervision form, the NPDB report, and a $165 application fee. Once you receive board approval, you must pass the ASWB clinical examination.

Social worker salaries in Virginia vary considerably by specialization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), annual salaries for the most in-demand subfields in child, family, and school social work and healthcare social work range from $57,570 to $59,530.

Specialists in other areas such as criminal justice or forensic social work earn the highest salaries in Virginia, making over $73,000 a year.

Everything Else You Need to Know About MSW Programs in Virginia

How long does it take to complete an MSW in Virginia?

A traditional MSW program in Virginia will take you two years to complete if attending full time. If you enroll in an advanced standing MSW program after completing a CSWE-accredited BSW, you may be able to complete all degree requirements in one year.

What careers are available with an MSW in Virginia?

Virginia anticipates increasing demand for social workers with specialties that address healthcare needs of children, families and the elderly and those with mental health and substance use challenges. From 2020-2030, positions for healthcare social workers are projected to increase by 13.7%. Mental health and substance misuse social workers can expect a 12.7% increase in jobs. Child, family, and school social work positions are projected to increase by 12.3%

What skills will you learn with an MSW in Virginia?

An MSW provides you with evaluation, assessment, and interventions skills needed to work with diverse groups and at-risk populations. The curriculum offers real-world experience in required field placements along with instruction in theory, research, clinical practice, social welfare policy, and legal and ethical aspects of the profession.

What are the benefits of earning an MSW in Virginia?

An MSW prepares you for clinical and administrative positions that garner higher salaries and greater possibilities for career advancement. The demand for MSW-trained licensed social workers will expand as Virginia's population continues to grow. 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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