How do I Choose the Best Social Worker School?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
A social worker working with a teen.
A social worker working with a teen.

Choosing the best social worker school may mean choosing a university offering bachelors’ and/or masters’ degrees in social work. Presently, most social workers need a master’s degree in social work (MSW). This allows people to become licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) with additional training. MSW programs require a completed a bachelor’s degree, though not necessarily a BSW. Choosing a school means attention must be paid to what degree is needed, and other factors, such as accreditation, requirements, program, reputation, location, and cost are important.

First consideration should be if the social worker school offers the desired degree. Many schools have undergraduate and graduate programs, and a few even offer the doctorate in social work (DSW). It’s easy to ascertain what degrees are available by contacting schools. Some people think getting a BSW at a school that offers advanced degrees, means a better opportunity for an MSW at the same college. This isn’t always correct; some schools welcome their BSW students into MSW programs, and others rarely accept undergraduate students into their graduate programs.

In addition to verifying degree type, students should also make certain of school accreditation, particularly if a program is an online one. There are few social worker school types online because most programs have extensive work requirements. Students should make sure the university is generally accredited and they should check with regional social worker licensing agencies to make certain the program is accepted by these.

Requirements of the social worker school come into play when choosing the best. People may not always be able to attend the best school if they don’t have prior accomplishments like specific grade point average, demonstrable work in the social work field, and sterling letters of recommendation. Students should look at the minimum requirements for entrance so they can determine the best schools for which they are eligible.

Program is another important part and students should find out what they’ll be taught. Some social worker school programs at the master’s level are oriented toward certain types of social work, such as community service and work in community agencies. These schools may be excellent, but can have specific bias toward social workers obtaining the degree to practice psychotherapy. Other schools are more open, and students who are uncertain of goals after graduation or who do want to become psychotherapists should look for these.

Reputation, location, and costs might be factors in choosing the best social worker schools. Schools should be well thought of in the community, and this might be ascertained in a number of ways. People should consider location, since each region might have different requirements that can affect licensing; attending out of state schools should be discussed with the licensing board in the state/region a person plans to practice. Cost can vary from little for those in countries with inexpensive or free programs to high amounts for studies in private schools; the degree to which this matters depends on an individual’s financial circumstances and outlook.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • A social worker working with a teen.
      A social worker working with a teen.