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- Best MSW Programs in North Carolina
- Types of MSW Programs in North Carolina
- A Closer Look at Online MSW Programs in North Carolina
- Social Work Licensing Requirements in North Carolina
- Job Demand for MSW Grads in North Carolina
- Salaries for Social Workers in North Carolina
- Social Work Student and Professional Resources in North Carolina
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Best MSW Programs in North Carolina for 2023: Online and On-Campus
If you’re ready to earn your master’s and help those in need, an MSW program in North Carolina may be the right education move for you. Learn about standout online and campus programs, MSW degree options, and social work job prospects in the state.
Last Updated: 05/04/2023
A woman in Charlotte escapes an abusive husband and she and her child need housing. A family in Durham falls on hard times and needs access to public services. A foster care student in Winston-Salem needs extra support to make sure he graduates from high school on-time. These are the types of scenarios that social workers in North Carolina face daily.
In order to effectively assist individuals facing serious challenges and provide them with essential support, social workers require robust training from a high-quality MSW program. This guide will provide insight into the nature of this training, as well as how North Carolina MSW programs – whether delivered online or on campus – help students develop into effective social workers. By continuing to read, you will discover the various program types that are available, which educational institutions offer them, and what job opportunities await graduates of MSW programs in North Carolina.
Best MSW Programs in North Carolina for 2023
This list is designed to help individuals seeking to pursue a career in social work or advance their current position by identifying schools in NC that offer MSW programs. The list highlights exceptional institutions throughout the state that provide CSWE-accredited MSW programs, taking into account factors such as affordability, accessibility, and student support. Each of the top schools is briefly described to provide you with a glimpse of what they can anticipate as a graduate student in one of these programs.
NC State University
Those in the master’s degree programs at NC State University benefit from an expert faculty involved in research on numerous social work topics and published in the Journal of Social Work, the Journal of Early Childhood Research, and the Journal of Social Work Education. The school offers a traditional MSW option that is made up of 60 credit hours of coursework designed to familiarize students new to the profession with social work concepts. Classes cover topics such as social justice, generalist social work practice, child welfare, and research methods for social work. To be admitted into the program, applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. In addition, prospective students must complete prerequisite classes in biology, statistics, and the social sciences.
The school also offers an advanced standing MSW program that allows those with a bachelor’s in social work to jump into a more advanced curriculum, which includes classes about legal aspects in social work, social work in schools, direct practice with older adults, and hunger and homelessness. Admissions requirements for this degree include having a social work bachelor’s degree with a 3.5 GPA, a B average in all social work classes, and educational and professional references.
- Advanced Standing
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Since its founding in 1920, the School of Social Work at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been dedicated to the mission of advancing equity, transforming systems, and improving lives in the community by offering rigorous degree programs designed to create professionals who are as compassionate as they are skilled. The school is also actively involved in social work research and is the home to research programs that cover areas such as older adult services, child welfare, behavioral health, and interpersonal violence.
UNC Chapel Hill offers several master’s degree programs to meet the individual needs of students at different points in their education path. For example, there are two traditional MSW programs, one full time and one part time, that give students expertise on social welfare policy and services, social work practice, and human behavior. In both cases, students are required to participate in field experiences to discover how their classwork is applied in practice. Also, there are 12-month and 20-month advanced standing MSW degrees for students who studied social work as undergraduates. These intensive programs provide advanced training on social work policy, theory, and research, as well as an advanced field practicum.
- Community, Management, and Policy Practice
- Direct Practice
- Advanced Standing
North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University offers an MSW program in NC that trains students to provide interventions to individuals, small groups, large groups, vulnerable populations, and entire systems, which is often referred to as micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work. Coursework teaches these students the values, knowledge, and skills social workers need to help the community. The school offers a traditional program, which takes two years to complete, with classes covering the foundations of social work, human behavior, and social work research. To be admitted, prospective students need a bachelor’s degree and at least a 2.75 GPA. When they apply, they will submit a personal essay explaining their interest in the program, an academic writing sample, a resume, and two professional recommendation letters.
North Carolina Central University also offers an advanced practice MSW program that requires applicants to have a bachelor’s in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), at least a 3.0 GPA, and a minimum 3.2 GPA in social work classes. Applicants submit a personal narrative, three letters of recommendation, and an academic writing sample. When students are admitted, they take classes in specialized topics including forensic social work, psychopathology, leadership, and substance abuse.
- Advanced Generalist Practice With Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities
- Advanced Standing
Types of MSW Programs in North Carolina
Traditional MSW Programs in North Carolina
North Carolina’s conventional MSW programs provide students, who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in a different discipline, with an introduction to the field of social work. Typically, these programs take around three years to finish and involve a blend of classroom instruction and practical experience. While applicants are not required to possess a social work degree, they may be required to have some educational background or coursework in a related area, such as psychology or social services.
Accredited Traditional MSW Programs in North Carolina Worth a Look
North Carolina State University (Campus)
North Carolina Central University (Campus)
No-GRE MSW Programs in North Carolina
Many educational institutions acknowledge that standardized tests may not accurately predict graduate school achievement and have consequently shifted their admissions criteria to place more emphasis on undergraduate grades and pertinent work experience. As a result, several schools are transitioning away from requiring applicants to take the GRE. This trend is particularly notable in MSW programs in North Carolina, as preparing for the GRE can be both costly and time-consuming. As a result, no-GRE MSW programs in North Carolina are becoming increasingly popular among prospective students.
Accredited No-GRE MSW Programs in North Carolina Worth a Look
Western Carolina University (Campus)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Online and Campus)
Advanced Standing MSW Programs in North Carolina
Advanced standing MSW programs in NC are for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in social work. Since these students have already learned the basics of the field, these degrees take about two years to complete. Students dive right into advanced coursework and build on their prior education by participating in an advanced fieldwork experience.
Accredited Advanced Standing MSW Programs in North Carolina Worth a Look
North Carolina State University (Campus)
North Carolina Central University (Campus)
Part-Time MSW Programs in North Carolina
Part-time MSW degree programs are an ideal alternative for individuals looking to transition careers while also maintaining employment as they pursue their master’s degree. Similar to full-time programs, part-time MSW degrees in North Carolina offer a comprehensive curriculum that teaches students the theoretical and practical aspects of social work. Furthermore, students are expected to take part in fieldwork, but since they are studying part-time, this experience is stretched out over a more extended period.
Accredited Part-Time MSW Programs in North Carolina Worth a Look
Fayetteville State University (Campus)
Appalachian State University (Online and Campus)
A Closer Look at Online MSW Programs in North Carolina
Students who may not be able to enroll in traditional MSW programs can get the flexibility they need, while still getting a quality education, from online MSW programs in North Carolina. While the curriculum is the same as traditional programs, students who enroll in online MSW programs in NC have different options for their courses; depending on the program, some may be delivered live via distance learning and others may be available on demand, at any time that’s convenient for the student. In some cases, students may be able to handle all coursework for their online MSW program in NC at their own pace. Find more information about these degrees on our main guide to online MSW programs.
North Carolina Online MSW Program Spotlights
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University offers an advanced standing hybrid online MSW program in NC that requires students to complete 33 credit hours to learn the skills to become an effective manager in the field, offer advanced social work services, and conduct industry research. To be admitted, students need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, resume, three references, and a personal statement. Students who have at least a cumulative 3.2 grade point average may be eligible to have the GRE requirement waived.
When admitted, students are able to choose between two concentrations: individuals and families or community and organizational practice. The individuals and families concentration focuses on best practices for working with families across the lifespan, and the community and organizational practice concentration helps students gain expertise in social problems and how they can be addressed on the community and organizational levels. Both of these NC online MSW programs also require that students take foundation classes that cover human behavior, social work research, and social work practice evaluation.
- Individuals and Families
- Community and Organizational Practice
- Advanced Standing
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers a part-time online MSW program in NC that can be completed in nine semesters. The program is delivered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. The majority of classes are offered in the synchronous format, which means lectures are scheduled online live on Wednesday or Thursday evenings, as well as Saturdays, while the asynchronous classes do not require live lectures. Also, students are expected to participate in networking events online or on campus, so they can engage with their peers and share ideas. A 16-hour-per-week internship is also required.
To be admitted to this online MSW program in NC, applicants must have a 3.0 grade point average in an undergraduate program, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume detailing their relevant work or volunteer experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online MSW Programs in North Carolina
Can I complete my MSW program in North Carolina completely online?
Depending on the MSW program in North Carolina that you enroll in, you may be able to complete all of your classes online. In some cases, schools offer hybrid options that require students to complete a portion of their classes online and the rest of the classes on campus.
How do fieldwork requirements work for online MSW programs in North Carolina?
Like traditional programs, you will be required to complete a fieldwork experience when you enroll in an online MSW program in North Carolina. You’ll complete the same number of hours as those in on-campus programs, and, generally, your school will help place you in an organization that will supply your hands-on training.
Will earning my MSW online in North Carolina be cheaper and faster than a traditional program?
Although an online MSW program in NC takes the same amount of time as an on-campus program, students may be able to save money, depending on the school. Even if they don’t save on tuition costs, not traveling to campus every day saves students money on transportation and parking passes.
Can I enroll in an online MSW program in North Carolina if I live out-of-state? Will it fulfill licensing requirements in my state?
Out-of-state students should consult with their state’s licensing board to determine if the coursework from an online MSW program in North Carolina meets the requirements for a social work license in their state.
Social Work Licensing Requirements in North Carolina
To receive a social work license in North Carolina, professionals are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, supervised field experience, and a passing grade on the licensing examination. For more details, consult this state-by-state licensure guide.
Job Demand for MSW Grads in North Carolina
Projections Central reports that the social work field in North Carolina is expected to grow 10%-20%, depending on the specific area of the field. For example, mental health and substance abuse social workers will see the most growth by 2028, with an increase of 18.9% and an annual average of 310 new jobs each year. Around the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers are projected to have a 13% increase in available positions.
|Employment in 2018||Projected Employment in 2028||Growth Rate||Average Annual Openings|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||11,730||12,910||10.1%||1,320|
|Healthcare Social Workers||3,470||3,870||11.5%||400|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||2,440||2,900||18.9%||310|
|Social Workers, All Other||1,070||1,110||3.7%||110|
Source: Projections Central
Salaries for Social Workers in North Carolina
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that social workers around the country make a median salary of $51,760 per year. In North Carolina, the annual mean salary for social workers ranges between $48,670 to $60,620, depending on their specialty. In the surrounding states of South Carolina and Virginia, salaries range from $38,970 to $57,790 and $56,350 to $77,060 respectively.
|Median Hourly Wage||Mean Hourly Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||$22.82||$23.40||$48,670|
|Healthcare Social Workers||$27.31||$27.73||$57,670|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||$26.07||$27.18||$56,530|
|Social Workers, All Other||$31.80||$29.14||$60,620|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020
Social Work Student and Professional Resources in North Carolina
National Association of Social Workers – NC Chapter
The North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers gives professionals the opportunity to network with each other during events in the state, as well as access to a career center, publications, and continuing education opportunities.
NC Social Work Certification and Licensure Board
The NC Social Work Certification and Licensure Board website includes details about first-time licensing and renewals.
North Carolina Society for Clinical Social Work
Since its founding in 1979, the North Carolina Society for Clinical Social Work has given professionals access to a variety of resources, such as workshops, education programs, and social events. In addition, students and new professionals can receive mentoring services from the group.
North Carolina School Social Workers Association
This group caters to the unique needs of school social workers and provides resources and professional development services to help them succeed.
National Association of Black Social Workers
With several chapters in North Carolina, this association is dedicated to empowering African-American social workers. The group provides research, advocacy services, and continuing education.