Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Washington
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A master of social work (MSW) in Washington lets you pursue state licensure as an advanced social worker or independent clinical social worker. Washington social workers earn salaries that exceed the national averages for the field.
Start your journey to becoming a social worker in Washington. Review the information in this guide and our rankings of MSW programs in Washington.
At a Glance: Social Work Programs in Washington
- Washington has four universities offering nationally accredited MSW programs.
- Washington licenses MSW graduates as advanced and independent clinical social workers.
- MSWs in Washington open doors to careers that pay higher-than-average annual salaries.
CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in Washington
Washington is home to MSW programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). All offer regular admission and advanced standing entry for bachelor of social work (BSW) holders.
|Eastern Washington University||Cheney, WA||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Seattle University||Seattle, WA||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of Washington||Tacoma, WA||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Walla Walla University||College Place, WA||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
Popular Online MSW 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 Washington
Washington offers four CSWE-accredited MSW programs – two in Western Washington and two in Eastern Washington. Each program features different focus areas and learning environments, offering regular and advanced standing tracks.
MSW programs take about two years to complete, including a foundational and specialty year. BSW students can apply for advanced standing, allowing them to skip the one-year foundational segment. Some programs may offer part-time enrollment with some online coursework.
Program concentrations span advanced generalist, administration and policy, addictions, clinical social work, community practice, healthcare, and trauma. Fieldwork is a key component of the MSW programs and licensure eligibility. Regular students log 900 hours while advanced-standing students complete 600 hours. Programs may assist in finding field placements.
How to Apply to an MSW Program in Washington
While some admissions requirements may be unique to a school or program, common admission criteria include:
- A bachelor's degree for regular admission or a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program for advanced standing
- A 3.0 minimum GPA
- Official transcripts
- Prerequisite courses listed by the program
- An admission essay or personal statement
- Three professional references
- A resume
- A criminal background check
What You Can Do With an MSW in Washington
MSWs prepare graduates for licensure as advanced social workers and independent clinical social workers in Washington. Advanced social workers practice in healthcare settings as part of care teams. Independent clinical social workers can work autonomously and provide therapy services.
Once you complete your MSW, you'll apply to the Department of Health for an associate license in advanced or independent clinical social work. The associate license allows you to gain the necessary postgraduate experience and take the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) exam for full licensure.
To get an advanced social worker or independent clinical social worker license, you must submit your MSW transcript, verification of 3,000 hours of postgraduate experience, and a passing score on the ASWB exam. Advanced social workers take the advanced generalist exam, and independent clinical social workers take the clinical-level exam.
- Child, family, and school social workers: $62,800
- Healthcare social worker wages: $71,270
- Mental health and substance misuse social worker: $58,250
- All other social worker: $82,220
Everything Else You Need to Know About MSW Programs in Washington
How long does it take to complete an MSW in Washington?
Full-time students can complete their MSWs in about two years in Washington. Advanced standing admission allows students with BSWs to finish in one year.
What careers are available with an MSW in Washington?
Washington MSW holders can become licensed as advanced social workers who work in government or healthcare organizations, such as schools or hospitals. Independent clinical social workers own their practices and provide psychotherapeutic services.
What skills will you learn with an MSW?
MSW programs develop interpersonal skills that include empathy, understanding different perspectives, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Effective communication skills are also key and include expressing ideas clearly and listening carefully.
What are the benefits of earning an MSW over a BSW?
An MSW is required for licensure in Washington, but earning a BSW may qualify you for entry-level, non-clinical positions and advanced standing admission to an MSW program.