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Best Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Massachusetts for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Explore the best online MSW programs Massachusetts offers along with details regarding in-person social work masters programs in Massachusetts. Read on for information on financial aid opportunities, and salary data to learn how much you can save and make. Continue further to discover valuable resources.

Author: Shannon Daigle
Editor: STEPS Staff

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If you want to support mental health needs in all ages and stages of life, the social work masters programs Massachusetts offers might be perfect for you. Thanks to population growth and aging, residents of Massachusetts and beyond have an increasing need for access to social services, which is why the need for social workers is increasing.

Almost 54,000 openings for social workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are projected each year over the next decade. In Massachusetts, this means a shortage of behavioral health care workers, including those with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. In particular, over 4,200 children in MA are on waiting lists to receive help for behavioral health problems. Those who decide to become social workers in the state are key to meeting the rising demand. Keep reading for information on the best on-campus and online MSW programs in Massachusetts best suited to help you fill that gap.

Best Colleges to Earn a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Degree in Massachusetts: Campus-based

Find the MSW that’s best for you by perusing the top social work master’s programs in Massachusetts detailed below. These programs all have the affordability, Counsel on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation, and student support needed to help you earn your advanced degree and pursue the next steps in your social work career. Below are three of the best social work master’s programs Massachusetts offers. Read on to see who stands out in 2024 and get a sneak peek of the full ranking coming out later in 2024.

Boston University is among the most flexible social work master’s programs in Massachusetts with four program options. Students choose between earning their MSW on-campus, online, off-campus, or in a hybrid format and can select a full-time or part-time study. The on-campus program is available on the Charles River Campus in Boston, and online students have access to asynchronous lessons and weekly synchronous classroom sessions.

Off-campus and hybrid MSW majors can study on the Bedford, Cape Cod, Fall River, or Worcester campuses. Students choose between a Clinical or Macro practice major and enroll as traditional, advanced standing, or human service experience students. Specializations include aging; behavioral health; children, youth, and families; or trauma, violence, and justice. There’s also a dual degree MSW and public health, education, or theology option.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On Campus
  • Off Campus
  • Hybrid
  • Part-time
  • Full-time

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Specialization Options:

  • Aging
  • Behavioral Health
  • Children, Youth, and Families
  • Trauma, Violence, and Justice

Students looking for on-campus social work master’s programs in Massachusetts should consider the MSW at Boston College where they have multiple options to customize their degrees. First, they can choose between clinical and macro practice tracks and among six fields of practice: Afrocentric Social Work; Children, Youth, and Families; Global Practice; Health; Latinx Communities; and Mental Health. Students can add additional credentials to their degrees through 13 optional certificate programs that include child welfare, neuroscience and social work, and school social work. Boston College also offers generous sponsorship opportunities, and 100% of MSW students receive some type of scholarship.

Delivery:

  • On Campus
  • Part-time
  • Full-time

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Specialization Options:

  • Afrocentric Social work
  • Children, Youth, and Families
  • Global Practice
  • Health
  • Latinx Communities
  • Mental Health

No matter what kind of social work masters programs in Massachusetts you’re looking for, there’s an option available at Simmons University. Whether you study online or on-campus, you can earn an MSW in just two years with full-time status or in three years with a part-time extended MSW. For a faster pace, students can enroll in the full-time, 16-month accelerated MSW or the advanced-standing program, which is ideal for students with a BSW. Students who want to boost their MSW credentials can pursue an additional certificate in Trauma Practice, Healthcare and Social Work, School Social Work, or Public Policy. Simmons also offers multiple scholarship opportunities for social work students.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On Campus
  • Part-time
  • Full-time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Social Work

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Specialization Options:

  • MSW Trauma Practice Certificate
  • MSW Healthcare and Social Work Certificate
  • MSW School Social Worker Licensure Certificate
  • MSW Public Policy Certificate

Top Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Massachusetts

If you’d rather earn your MSW remotely, consider one of the many outstanding online MSW programs Massachusetts offers. Flexible study, asynchronous coursework, and affordable tuition make online programs ideal alternatives to traditional on-campus programs, especially for working students. Students of social work master’s programs in Massachusetts usually complete all or most of their classwork online and then complete supervised fieldwork in person. Check out the top three picks of the online MSW programs Massachusetts offers to get a preview of the full rankings list coming soon.

Regis College is one of the best online MSW programs Massachusetts offers with its three-year, 60-credit traditional track for students with bachelor’s degrees in any field. For those who already have a head start with a bachelor’s in social work, there’s the 30-credit, 16-month advanced MSW. Both programs take place in two segments with the first half building a strong educational foundation in generalist social work practice and the second dedicated to specializing in clinical social work practice. To streamline the admissions process, Regis allows applicants to skip submitting Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Program Options:

  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online
  • Partially Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional Track

Salem State University offers one of the best social work masters programs in Massachusetts with its three-year, part-time online program ideal for working professionals who need flexibility. Courses are available asynchronously or during evening hours, so students can attend class in addition to their professional commitments. Students join a cohort of peers who proceed through the program together, and advanced-standing students can complete the program more quickly and graduate in just two years. Online students can serve as graduate research assistants in the program, and many students complete their required fieldwork with their existing employers.

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Program Options:

  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional Track

UMass Global offers an entirely online MSW program. Depending on their bachelor’s degrees, students can graduate with a master’s in one to two years. Standard MSW students earn 69 credit hours over two years and complete 1,000 hours of fieldwork. Advanced standing status is reserved for students who hold bachelor’s degrees in social work. These students earn 39 credit hours over one year and complete 600 hours of fieldwork. All students can customize their MSWs to their interests by choosing three electives in their field of choice. Those who want to become school social workers can add a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Social Work.

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Social Work

Program Options:

  • Part-time
  • Full-time
  • Fully Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional Track

Financial Aid and Scholarships for MSW Students in Massachusetts

When choosing from among the many online MSW programs Massachusetts offers, it’s important to consider the overall cost of the program, plan ahead for how you’ll pay for your program, and know what you can do with your degree after you graduate. Graduate school is expensive, but financial aid and scholarships can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. There are also many scholarships available for social work students.

Due to the critical need for mental health and social workers, loan reimbursement programs like the Massachusetts loan repayment program for qualifying health professionals are common. In addition, the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter maintains a list of national and regional scholarships for MSW students while individual schools offer scholarships and funding for social work students. Bridgewater State University, for example, offers extensive grants and scholarship funding to social work students.

Job Outlook and Earnings Potential for MSW Graduates in Massachusetts

The future is bright for graduates of social work programs in Massachusetts. Popular careers for licensed social workers are all fast-growing job options, as the table below illustrates. Social work jobs in Massachusetts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are growing faster than the national average rate of 7% for social work positions at the national level. Social workers in the state also make slightly higher than the national mean wage of $55,350 per year.

Job Growth Rate
(2018-2028)
Average Annual Openings (2018-2028)Annual Mean Wage (2023)
Child, Family, and School Social Workers10%990$64,750
Healthcare Social Workers11.1%1,170$69,770
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers15.3%670$64,810
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors14.5%960$79,670
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors21.8%2,180$58,720

Sources: Projections Central; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Massachusetts Social Work Professional and Student Resources

As you decide among the many social work master’s programs Massachusetts has to offer, you may also want to seek additional resources to help you make the most of your education. The following list of resources offers additional support and guidance throughout your MSW degree and even after you graduate.

  • Greater Boston Association of Black Social Workers
    This local chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) brings social work students, young professionals, and established practitioners in the Greater Boston Area together. The NABSW provides workshops, seminars, conferences, and networking opportunities for all members.
  • Massachusetts School Counselors Association
    Membership in the Massachusetts School Counselors Association is open to active public and private elementary and secondary school counselors in Massachusetts. Members have access to networking opportunities, annual conferences, job opportunities, mentoring programs, and more.
  • Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers
    Current social workers and recent graduates in MA can find all the information they need about licensing requirements through the Board of Registration of Social Workers. You can apply for a new social worker license, renew an existing license, and view existing board policies and guidelines as you pursue licensure.
  • National Association for Social Workers (NASW), Massachusetts Chapter
    The Massachusetts Chapter of NASW promotes professional growth and development for its members. It gives access to continuing education, a monthly e-newsletter, and discounted licensing test prep courses. NASW also provides career services support, mentor programs, and administrative consultation.
  • SEIU Local 509
    The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509 represents approximately 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout the state of Massachusetts. Its goal is to improve living standards for working families while increasing the quality and affordability of the services its members provide.