Best Online MSW Programs in California

Intro

If you are looking for online MSW programs in California, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss accredited online social work masters programs in California.

But before you decide on a program, it is important to understand what each one has to offer. We will provide information on each program, including tuition/cost, curriculum, and admission requirements.

We will also discuss why getting an online social work masters in California is a great choice. Finally, we will provide information on career prospects from these online MSW programs.

Why should you get an online Social Work Masters in California?

An online social work masters degree in California is a great choice for several reasons.

First, California has a large and thriving social work community. There are many opportunities for networking and collaborating with other social workers in the state. Additionally, there are many social work organizations and associations in California that offer professional development opportunities and resources.

Second, California has a rich history of social activism. The state is home to many social justice organizations and movements. Social workers in California have a strong tradition of working to address social injustice and inequality. Online MSW programs in California offer students the opportunity to learn from this rich history and tradition.

Finally, California is a great place to live and work. The cost of living in California is high, but the state offers its residents access to great universities, job opportunities, and high quality of life. Attending an online MSW program in California allows you to continue working while also getting an amazing education.

What are the Career prospects from an online MSW program in California?

Social work is a challenging and rewarding career. There are many career options for social workers in California. Some of the most common jobs for social workers in California include Clinical social worker, School social worker, Child welfare social worker, Mental health social worker, Geriatric social worker.

Salaries for social workers in California vary depending on position and experience. The average salary for a clinical social worker in California is $75,000. The average salary for a mental health social worker is $64,000. The average salary for a child welfare social worker is $53,000.

As you can see, the average salary for social workers in California is around $60,000. The salaries of school social workers, child welfare social workers, geriatric social worker are on par with these averages.

Online MSW Programs in California

1. Humboldt State University MSW Online Program

Program Overview

Humboldt State University offers an online MSW program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program is designed for working professionals and offers you the flexibility to study at your own pace.

The curriculum covers topics such as social justice, human behavior, policy, and practice, but with a strong emphasis on working with Indigenous and rural communities.

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission are:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited higher education institution.
  • GPA of 3.0 or better on a scale of 4.0 for the last 60 hours of course work.
  • Completion with a grade of “C” or better in Elementary Statistics.
  • Completion with a grade of “C” or better in a course related to Native American Studies.
  • You must live in the state of California while you are in the online social work program

You can apply to the Advanced Standing Program if you hold a recognized Bachelor’s degree in Social Work with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. The Advanced Standing Program allows you to complete the MSW in less time.

The program does not grant credit for life experience or previous work experience in social work courses.

You will also be required to write a personal statement with a maximum of 1250 words (PS: check our personal statement help page here)

Program Tuition

The Humboldt Online MSW Tuition is $510/unit (as of 19th Feb 2022)

2. California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Online MSW Program

Program Overview

The Online MSW Program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is designed for students who want to pursue a career in social work, especially within an urban context. It offers you the opportunity to work with disadvantaged and at-risk people in an urban setting.

The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and it offers a curriculum that is based on the latest research and best practices in the field.

You have a choice between choosing the fully online two or three-year format. With the 2-year format, you get to enter the field as quickly as possible.

The MSW program meets weekly for live, online sessions one weeknight per week, in addition to completing regular online assignments. All classes (excluding field ones) are asynchronous, meaning you can either attend the live session or watch the recording at your convenience. Field classes occur once a week for an hour as determined by the instructor.

The CSUN Online MSW Curriculum includes:

  • Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • Psychosocial Assessment and Diagnostic Formulation
  • Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice
  • Social Work Practice in Multicultural Contexts
  • Foundations of Field Education & Placement
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Social Work Research Methods
  • Advanced Social Work Practice with Urban Families
  • Advanced Social Work Practice in Urban Communities
  • Advanced Field Practicum with Urban Families & Placement
  • Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief
  • Urban Social Policy and Advocacy
  • Selected Topics in Social Work- topics such as Child Welfare Services, Addictions, Mental Health Wellness and Recovery
  • Capstone Project

Admission Requirements:

  1. Have a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally recognized institution;
  2. Be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended; and
  3. Have satisfied one of the following conditions: (Attained a GPA of at least 2.5 in a baccalaureate degree program, Attained a GPA of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted, or Hold a post-baccalaureate degree earned at a regionally accredited institution and 2.5 GPA in either the undergraduate cumulative GPA or the last 60 units.)
  4. Submit an online application with a non-refundable $70 application fee
  5. Submit a personal statement (fyi, we can work with you here) and a resume
  6. Have 3 letters of recommendation submitted
  7. Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended
  8. For non-US and international students, you will need to submit your English proficiency test results

Program Tuition

The tuition for the Online MSW Program at CSUN is $752 per unit (as of 19th Feb 2022). So for the 60 units, you are looking at tentative tuition rates of $45,120.

3. UMass Global Online MSW Program (Formerly Brandman university)

Program Overview

The UMass Global Online MSW Program is an accredited online social work masters program that offers concentrations such as child welfare, mental health, and substance abuse.

Like others, it’s designed for working professionals who want to earn their MSW degree without having to leave their jobs or move to a new city. And the good news is the program’s curriculum is designed to get you licensure in California, Washington, and many other states.

The Curriculum includes:

  • Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
  • Social Work Practice with Groups, Communities, and Organizations
  • Diversity and Social Justice
  • Social Work Research
  • Social Work Practicum Seminar
  • Family Violence
  • Social Work Law and Ethics
  • Social Work and Human Sexuality
  • Advanced Generalist Practice
  • Practice Evaluation
  • Advanced Social Work Practicum Seminar
  • Social Work Electives- such as Child Welfare, Social Work Practice with Adolescents, Prevention and Intervention in Child Abuse and Neglect, Children and Adolescent Policy, Family Policy

Admission Requirements

  1. Submit an application
  2. Craft a personal statement speaking about your motivation for social work as an academic and career goal
  3. Provide 2 letters of recommendations
  4. Submit official transcripts from all regionally accredited institutions attended or attempted

Fortunately, UMass Global Online MSW Program does not require the GRE.

Program Tuition

The estimated tuition is $680/Credit, with 39 credits for the Advanced Generalist/Advanced Standing Option (plus 600 hours of field placement practicum), and 69 credits for the Standard Advanced Generalist Option (plus 1,000 hours of field placement practicum).

4. University of Southern California (USC) Online MSW Program

Program Overview

This program is definitely one of the best online MSW programs in California, particularly if you are looking to earn your degree from anywhere in the world. The program is fully accredited, and it is taught by the same faculty who teach USC’s on-campus social work programs.

The curriculum is designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to become a successful social worker. You can specialize in any of the following tracks:

  • Adult Mental Health and Wellness
  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Social Change and Innovation
  • Military Social Work Track

However, the General & Advanced Social Work Courses are:

  • Human Behavior and The Social Environment
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups
  • Science Of Social Work
  • Policy And Advocacy in Professional Social Work
  • Applied Learning in Field Education I & Ii
  • Diversity, Social Justice and Culturally Competent Social Work Practice
  • Integrative Learning for Social Work Practice
  • Advanced Applied Learning in Field Education I & Ii
  • Integrative Learning for Advanced Social Work Practice I & Ii
  • Leadership And Management in Social Work

Admission Requirements

  1. Online Graduate Admission Application (including non-refundable application fee of $90)
  2. Upload a resume that specifically highlights your social work-related experience
  3. Upload a Statement of Purpose that must be five double-spaced pages in length
  4. Submit a minimum of two recommendations; a third recommendation is optional. Best recommendations would be from academic instructors or professionals who have supervised you in a social work-related position
  5. Submit official transcripts
  6. TOEFL or the IELTS score for non-native English speakers

The good news is you do not need to submit GRE scores.

Program Tuition

The USC MSW online program tuition is $1,995 per unit for students enrolled in 1-14 units, and $29,630 is the flat rate for students enrolled in 15-18 units.

5. San José State MSW Online Program

Program Overview

The San José State MSW Online Program is an online/Hybrid program that meets the needs of both working professionals and students living throughout California. The program offers academic courses that are completed online, with some sessions that are asynchronous (you can do them at different times) and some sessions that are synchronous (you have to do them at the same time.

Internships are done in person. They usually happen during the week, during regular business hours. You are expected to do at least 16 hours of internship work a week.

The San José State MSW Online Program is an online/Hybrid program that meets the needs of both working professionals and students living throughout California. The program offers academic courses that are completed online, with some sessions that are asynchronous (you can do them at different times) and some sessions that are synchronous (you have to do them at the same time.

Internships are done in person. They usually happen during the week, during regular business hours. You are expected to do at least 16 hours of internship work a week.

If you are admitted, you must be able to study in California and complete your internships in California. You are also expected to complete readings & a writing preparation skills course, attend mandatory orientation sessions and attend a field internship fair, if available, over the summer.

The San José State MSW Online Program is more an advanced generalist program than a “clinical” or “macro-focused” program. Thus, the major content areas of the foundational year curriculum/courses are:

  • Field education
  • Human behavior in the social environment
  • Social policy
  • Social work practice
  • Social work research

In the final year, you can pursue advanced competencies as well as some electives based on your interest.

Admission Requirements

  1. Submit an application to SJSU through Cal State or through the school’s MSW Program Application Portal
  2. Submit your personal statement, a writing sample & resume/work experience via SJSU’s school’s MSW Program Application Portal NOT through Cal State.
  3. Submit 3 letters of recommendation
  4. Submit an official transcript; Your transcripts must demonstrate a Liberal Arts foundation.
  5. You must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university
  6. You must have achieved a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.50
  7. It’s preferable if you have significant experience with marginalized, oppressed, or disadvantaged groups such as Latinos, African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans
  8. TOEFL or IELTS scores where applicable

Program Tuition

The tuition for the San José State MSW Online Program is $475 per unit amounting to $28,500 total for a 60-unit degree plan (as of 19th Feb 2022). However, it’s expected to increase to $550 per unit soon ($33,000 total for a 60-unit degree plan).

6. California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) Online MSW Program

Program Overview

The Online MSW Program at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) is a Pathway Distance Education Program that is designed for students who either live too far away to attend courses at the main CSUSB campus, or are in a work / personal situation that makes campus-based attendance at CSUSB impractical.

The Online MSW Program is identical to the three-year on-campus program but is taught online. It offers the same high-quality education as the on-campus program and provides you with the opportunity to learn from experienced and qualified faculty.

The CSUSB MSW Program is done using an advanced generalist model. In the final year of the program, you get to pick a specialization. This can be a social issue, type of client population, or field of practice. You then apply your assignments and research projects to this chosen specialization.

The curriculum/coursework includes:

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Lifespan Development
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Critical Topics
  • Generalist Macro Practice
  • Social Work Research
  • Advance Generalist Micro
  • Advance Generalist Macro
  • Generalist Field
  • Research Project
  • Advance Generalist Micro Practice
  • Advance Generalist Field Work 
  • Social Work Advanced Generalist Leadership and Capstone

Admission Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  2. A GPA of 3.0 (“B”) or better in all course work; or GPA of 3.0 (“B”) or better in the last 90 quarter units or last 60 semester units; A GPA of 2.8 or higher (cumulative or last 60-semester units/last 90 quarter units) may be considered with reasonable social service experience and overall application
  3. An academic background in the liberal arts, with a preference for social and behavioral sciences
  4. Paid social work-related employment, internship, or volunteer service- the equivalent of at least one year of full-time experience, which is 2,080 hours, is preferred, but applicants with less experience are considered
  5. Evidence of personal qualifications, motivation, and experience that indicate the likelihood of becoming a successful social worker
  6. An autobiographical statement and references from individuals who are familiar with your work work, academic background, potential for social work practice, and level of maturity
  7. You need to have a course in Social Science Research Methods, Human Behavior, and Human Physiology

Program Tuition

The CSUSB Online MSW Program costs $650 per unit. For the 60 units, the total cost of the program over 3 years amounts to $39,000.

7. California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) MSW Flex program

Program Overview

The CSUF MSW Flex program is not completely online- it’s both In-person and online. It is designed for professional workers who want to take on leadership responsibilities in public social service organizations while still maintaining employment.

You will learn complex ideas about a variety of social concerns such as poverty, family instability, mental illness, and child abuse, and you will have the chance to put your skills into practice.

The CSUF Master of Social Work Flex Program is held on the Irvine campus and has 60 units. The program concentrations are Child Welfare and Community Mental Health.

The program’s curriculum/coursework includes:

  • Social Work Perspectives on Human Behavior
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations
  • Social Work Practice 
  • Social Work Field Instruction
  • Applied Social Work Research Methods
  • Advanced Social Work Field Instruction
  • Master’s Project Development
  • Macro Social Work in Communities and Organizations

Admission Requirements

  1. A baccalaureate degree. If you are an out-of-state applicant, you must have proof of a liberal arts/social sciences foundation.
  2. Minimum GPA of 3.0 for the most recent 60 semesters or 90 quarter-units
  3. Paid, volunteer or internship experience relevant to social work, with at least one year of social service experience recommended.
  4. Three letters of recommendation, with one letter from an academic source, one letter from a professional source, and a final letter from either.
  5. Submit a personal statement, which should be no more than 300 words/2000 characters per question.
  6. Submitting a GRE score is optional but recommended if you do not meet the GPA requirement
  7. Submit TOEFL scores if you are an international student

Program Tuition

Tuition for the CSUF MSW Flex program is $525 per unit (as of 19th Feb 2022)

8. California State University, Chico (CSU Chico) Hybrid MSW program

Program Overview

The CSU Chico MSW Distributed Learning program provides the same accredited curriculum as the campus-based two-year degree. Students in the DL curriculum complete coursework in a blended format that mixes online (67%) and face-to-face study (33%) over a three-year part-time duration.

Students attend classes on the Chico State campus two to three weekends each semester. They also use the Zoom platform to attend regularly scheduled live class sessions.

Besides coursework, the curriculum includes 1200 hours of field internship in California’s Chico State service region. Many students take advantage of their employment locations for an internship.

The curriculum includes the following courses:

  • Human Behavior & Social Environment
  • Social Welfare Policy & Services
  • Diversity & Social Justice
  • Research: Methods for Social Work Knowledge & Practice
  • General SWRK Theory & Practice
  • Substance Use: Etiology and Treatment
  • Foundation Practicum
  • Assessment of Individuals & Families
  • Supervision, Program Development & Administration
  • Advanced Practice in Micro Social Work Settings
  • Research: Program Evaluation for Social Work
  • Advanced Practicum
  • Thesis/Project
  • Advanced Policy Practice for Social Work

Admission Requirements

  1. Submit the entire application via Cal State Apply
  2. Submit a personal statement (check our personal statement helper packages) via Cal State Apply-with approximately a 1-page response to each prompt
  3. 3 references are needed- from a work contact, an academic reference, and a Field Liaison Reference if you are a BSW applicant

Program Tuition

The tuition for CSU Chico MSW Hybrid (Distributed Learning) program is $3,145.00 for 6 units for Spring 2022; and $4,651.00 for more than 6 units for Spring 2022 (as of 20th Feb 2022).

9. California State University (CSU) Long Beach Part-Time Hybrid MSW Program

Program Overview

The CSU Long Beach Part-Time Hybrid MSW Program is under the Distance Education program, which is a three-year part-time model.

All courses are taught on Saturdays. A three-year academic duration and two summer sessions are needed. Most classes are taught via teleconferencing, with experienced CSULB instructors making frequent in-person visits, as well as some online coursework.

Teleconferencing lets students and faculty interact in real-time. This way, students who are far away can see and talk to each other as if they were in the same room.

Some courses that require a lot of hands-on instruction are taught in person by local faculty. There are two field placements, one during the second academic year and one during the third academic year. Local Site Coordinators attend all classes and provide support. They also help link the Distance Education students with the Long Beach campus.

The Hybrid MSW Program’s curriculum specializes in Child and Family Wellbeing, and includes the following courses:

  • Behavior & Environment: Prenatal thru Adolescent
  • Foundation Social Policy
  • Behavior & Environment: Young Adult to Late Life
  • Foundation Social Work Micro Practice
  • Research Methods
  • Advanced Social Work Practice
  • Advanced Field Education
  • Social Work Leadership and Management

Admission Requirements

  1. Have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college/university
  2. Have a minimum GPA of 2.5
  3. Have an approved prerequisite course in Elementary Statistics with a minimum of letter grade of “C”
  4. A $70 application fee when applying
  5. Submit your original undergrad transcripts
  6. Complete a personal statement (hey! yes we can help!)
  7. Submit a (relevant) work experience document/resume
  8. Provide a minimum of 3 references

Program Tuition

Tuition for the CSU Chico MSW degree through the Distance Education Program is $475/unit (as of 20th Feb 2022), which amounts to $28,500 for 60 units.

Conclusion

It can be hard to know which one among the online MSW programs in California is the right fit for you. All of the programs we have listed are accredited, but they vary in terms of tuition cost, curriculum, and admission requirements.

We hope that our article has helped you narrow down your choices and given you a better idea of what to expect from each program. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school directly.

We wish you all the best as you pursue your degree in social work!

FAQs

What Cal State is best for social work?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each of the Cal State universities offers its own unique social work programs. However, some of the campuses that may be a good fit for social work include Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Northridge.

How long does it take to become a social worker in California?

The answer to this question depends on the program that you choose. Most social work masters programs in California require around two years of full-time study. However, part-time and online options will take longer to complete. So be sure to check with each school for their specific requirements.

How many hours of post MSW practice are required in California?

In California, social workers are generally required to complete 3000 hours of post-graduate work before they can become licensed.

Related Readings:

Your Guide to a Mind-blowing Social Work Personal Statement

The Absolute Best Social Work Test Prep Book Guides (Reviewed)

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