Top Campus and Online MSW Programs in Texas in 2023
Ready to pursue an advanced career in social work? Get started here with a list of the best accredited social work master’s programs in Texas, a breakdown of MSW degree options, and details on social worker earnings in the state.
Last Updated: 05/04/2023
Social workers who are passionate about their work can make a significant difference in the lives of individuals they assist across various settings, such as healthcare, education, government, and private practice. In Texas, social work is an especially promising field, with projections for job growth as high as 18% in certain specializations over the next several years. By obtaining an MSW in Texas, graduates can attain state licensure and qualify for a highly sought-after profession helping individuals in a state with a population of over 29 million.
This guide will provide you with insight into some of the top online and on-campus MSW programs available in Texas, as well as assist you in determining which program is best suited for you based on your educational and professional background. Additionally, you’ll discover information about the salaries earned by social workers in Texas and the prerequisites for obtaining licensure. Continue reading to begin your journey towards earning an MSW in Texas and finding the program that aligns with your goals.
Best MSW Programs in Texas for 2023: CSWE-Accredited
The best MSW programs in Texas offer CSWE accreditation, reasonable tuition costs, and strong student support services. We researched schools offering MSW programs from across the state and narrowed them down to three that score highly on these and other key factors. Learn more about each of these top social work master’s degrees in Texas and what makes them special below.
University of North Texas
Located in Denton, Texas, UNT is a public research Institution established in 1890. The school’s joint Master of Social Work degree program is offered in partnership with Texas Woman’s University. One major benefit of this joint program is that students can take advantage of the strengths and resources that are offered by both institutions.
Learners may choose the generalist or advanced standing program depending on their experience. Incoming students with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 or higher GPA may pursue the generalist track. Those with a bachelor’s degree in social work can follow the advanced standing program. The generalist program typically takes learners two years to complete, while the advanced standing program usually takes one year. Learners in either track, however, may enroll as part-time or full-time students.
Applications must include a resume, personal statement, and three references from professors or professionals who can speak to your likelihood of success in a master’s social work program. Incoming students may also be eligible for graduate assistantships through their department, which can help greatly offset the cost of tuition and fees.
- Advanced Generalist
- Advanced Standing
Texas A&M University–Commerce
Established in 1889, A&M-Commerce is a public institution with nearly 12,500 students. The school offers both an online and on-campus social work master’s program.
Following an advanced generalist practice model, A&M-Commerce’s face-to-face option offers classes during the day and in the evenings for more scheduling flexibility. Students with a bachelor’s degree in an outside field can pursue the MSW through its foundation track, while those with a BSW follow the advanced standing track. The foundation program takes full-time learners two years to complete and part-time students about four years. Full-time advanced standing students can expect to finish in a year at A&M-Commerce. In order to enroll as a full-time student, you must begin coursework at the start of a fall semester.
Applications must include an application fee, official transcripts, and a resume. The GRE is not required for admission. Applicants need a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, should possess a liberal arts background, and must have a 3.0 or higher GPA in the last 60 hours of their undergraduate work. Prospective students must also submit contact information for three references.
- Advanced Generalist
- Advanced Standing
Texas A&M University–Kingsville
Established in 1925, Texas A&M–Kingsville is the oldest public institution in south Texas. The school today serves approximately 8,600 students and offers one of the best MSW programs in Texas. Texas A&M’s MSW program specializes in offering advanced social work training for individuals who wish to work with rural and diverse populations, including communities near the U.S.–Mexico border. Depending on your previous education, you can choose on-campus programs in either its foundation or advanced standing track.
Incoming students with an outside bachelor’s degree complete a total of five semesters of full-time study to finish the MSW degree. Required courses include rural clinical social work and social policy, foundations of social work, and human behavior in social environments. Advanced standing students who possess a bachelor’s degree in social work need to complete three semesters of full-time study. Foundation and advanced standing students must complete 900 and 500 practicum hours, respectively, for graduation.
Prospective students should possess a 3.0 or higher GPA. Advanced standing candidates must have at least a 3.2 GPA from their bachelor’s program for consideration. A&M–Kingsville does not require the GRE for admission.
- Advanced Standing
Types of MSW Programs in Texas
Traditional MSW Programs in Texas
Traditional MSW programs, sometimes referred to as foundation programs, are designed for graduate degree-seekers who possess a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. In most cases, traditional MSW students need about two years of full-time study to complete their degrees. Unlike advanced standing students who already possess extensive training in social work because of their BSW, traditional students need extra time to develop foundational knowledge of the field before they can acquire advanced social work skills.
Accredited Traditional MSW Programs in Texas Worth a Look
Tarleton State University (Online and Campus)
Angelo State University (Online and Campus, Accredited by June 2022)
No-GRE MSW Programs in Texas
Admission requirements for Master of Social Work programs can vary widely, with some schools requiring applicants to submit GRE scores while others do not. It is important to verify whether or not a school requires GRE scores as part of their evaluation process. Several MSW programs in Texas do not require GRE scores and remain highly esteemed institutions. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered standardized testing expectations in higher education, with an increasing number of graduate schools no longer requiring the GRE for admission.
Accredited No-GRE MSW Programs in Texas Worth a Look
Texas A&M University – Texarkana (Campus)
West Texas A&M University (Campus and Hybrid)
Advanced Standing MSW Programs in Texas
Advanced standing MSW programs mandate that students hold a bachelor’s degree in social work, ensuring that incoming students have the foundational knowledge of the field before acquiring more advanced skills. Consequently, advanced standing students are required to complete fewer courses compared to traditional or foundation learners. Full-time students enrolled in this track typically complete their MSW program in approximately one year, depending on enrollment status and program requirements.
Accredited Advanced Standing MSW Programs in Texas Worth a Look
Stephen F. Austin State University (Campus)
Baylor University (Campus and Online)
Part-Time MSW Programs in Texas
There are many MSW programs in Texas today that offer part-time enrollment options. With continually improving remote technologies in higher education, many working adults today are taking advantage of remote and part-time programs that fit into their busy schedules. Part-time programs are not limited to schools with online learning formats, as many colleges and universities offer evening courses on a part-time basis as well. Depending on your education history, a part-time MSW program may take anywhere from two to five years to complete.
Accredited Part-Time MSW Programs in Texas Worth a Look
Tarleton State University (Online and Campus)
Our Lady of the Lake University (Online, Hybrid, and Campus)
A Closer Look at Online MSW Programs in Texas
Online and hybrid MSW programs in Texas can offer you a great education and scheduling flexibility. From stay-at-home parents to working adults, many learners today are taking advantage of online social work programs in Texas and across the country. In addition to avoiding costly and time-consuming commutes to campus, you might be able to complete your degree more quickly in an online, asynchronous, self-paced program. For answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about online MSW programs, check out our guide to online social work degrees.
Texas Online MSW Program Spotlights
Texas State University
Established in 1899, Texas state is a public research institution located in San Marcos, Texas. The school today offers a wide variety of online and in-person degrees and serves approximately 38,300 students, including online foundation and advanced standing MSW programs. Prospective online master’s students with a bachelor’s degree in an outside field can take advantage of the foundation track. Alternatively, incoming students with a BSW may follow the advanced standing track, provided their bachelor’s degree is from a CSWE-accredited program within the last 10 years. The foundation track requires 62 credits for graduation, while the advanced standing track requires 36 credits. Students in either track may enroll as part-time or full-time distance learners.
Interested remote learners for this MSW program in Texas should possess at least a 3.0 or higher GPA. While the GRE is not required at Texas State, applicants must submit copies of their official transcripts, a departmental application, resume, and a statement of purpose. Applicants may also need to participate in an admissions interview.
- Advanced Practice Leadership (APL)
- Advanced Standing
University of Houston
UH is a public university founded in 1927. The school today boasts approximately 46,200 students and is the third-largest university in the state. With its online MSW program, UH provides distance students in Texas with high-quality training in social work in a synchronous cohort learning format. Incoming learners in its advanced standing or foundation track may enroll as hybrid or entirely online learners.
Remote master’s students take courses throughout the program as part of a cohort with other MSW students. Degree-seekers will need to engage in discussion boards and other innovative online technologies to complete coursework, develop relationships with other students, and communicate with professors. The foundation MSW at UH requires 63 credits for graduation, while the advanced standing track requires 38 credits.
Incoming foundation-track students complete 16 semester credit hours of foundational coursework. They must also complete at least 900 clock hours of fieldwork at an approved social work agency for graduation. Advanced standing online students complete the program part-time in 24 months with 500 clock hours of fieldwork. The online program is only available to learners who reside in the U.S. or those on U.S. military bases inside and outside the country. GRE scores are not required but applications should have a 3.0 or higher GPA.
- Political Social Work (Optional)
- Health and Behavioral Health (Optional)
- Social Work Practice with Latinx Populations (Optional)
- Individualized (Optional)
- Advanced Standing
- Part-Time (Online)
Frequently Asked Questions About Online MSW Programs in Texas
Can I complete my MSW program in Texas completely online?
Yes. You can complete your online social work degree in Texas with no on-campus obligations. These options are typically open to both full- and part-time learners who wish to earn an MSW remotely. The University of Texas-Arlington, for example, offers a fully online MSW degree.
How do fieldwork requirements work for online MSW programs in Texas?
According to the Council on Social Work Education, MSW degree-seekers need to complete at least 900 hours of supervised field instruction. The specific requirements on where you can finish these hours depends on your program. Some schools will require you to do fieldwork at approved locations in-person, while others may have a virtual fieldwork option for remote learners.
Will earning my MSW online in Texas be cheaper and faster than a traditional program?
In some cases, earning your social worker degree in Texas can be cheaper and faster than a traditional in-person program. If you’re an out-of-state learner, for example, you might be able to pay lower in-state tuition rates as an online student. Some online MSW degree-seekers can complete their degree more quickly online than in-person, especially if their school offers self-paced courses.
Can I enroll in an online MSW program in Texas if I live out-of-state? Will it fulfill licensing requirements in my state?
Yes, you can enroll in an online social work degree program in Texas even if you don’t live in the state. While not every social work program may offer this option to you, they are out there. Any accredited program in Texas will ensure that you meet licensure requirements for Texas, specifically. There is no reciprocity system for social work licenses between states in the U.S., but it’s quite possible that your training in Texas will satisfy requirements in your state.
Social Work Licensing Requirements in Texas
To become a licensed social worker in Texas, you’ll need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from an accredited institution. You’ll also need to pass a criminal background check and jurisprudence exam. If you’re looking to become a licensed master social worker–advanced practitioner (LMSW-AP) or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), you’ll need to complete 3,000 of appropriate field experience including work with a board-approved professional. For more information on social work licensure requirements by state, check out our state licensure guide.
Job Demand for MSW Grads in Texas
The outlook for professionals with a social work degree in Texas is excellent. Compared to national averages projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for Texas social workers by 2028 is slightly higher across the board. For professionals whose work in the field falls under “social workers, all other,” there is an anticipated 9.4% higher growth rate than the projected national average. Additionally, annual openings for mental health and substance abuse social workers in Texas should be about 1.5% higher than the national average.
|Employment in 2018||Projected Employment in 2028||Growth Rate||Average Annual Openings|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||21,520||24,290||12.9%||2,510|
|Healthcare Social Workers||10,350||12,260||18.5%||1,300|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||6,370||7,550||18.5%||800|
|Social Workers, All Other||1,940||2,220||14.4%||230|
Source: Projections Central
Salaries for Social Workers in Texas
As a social worker in Texas, you can earn a good living that’s comparable to other MSW professionals in other states. In some cases, depending on your position, you’ll be earning a little more than the national average. Child, family, and school social workers in the U.S. make an annual median wage of $48,430, compared to similar professionals in Texas making about $50,390 per year. The annual mean wage of healthcare social workers across the country is $57,630. Those same types of professionals working in Texas, for comparison, make about $59,790 per year.
|Median Hourly Wage||Mean Hourly Wage||Annual Mean Wage|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||$24.57||$24.23||$50,390|
|Healthcare Social Workers||$28.07||28.75||$59,790|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||$20.23||$21.72||$45,180|
|Social Workers, All Other||$30.82||$30.56||$63,570|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020
Social Work Student and Professional Resources in Texas
Great Austin Social Workers (GASW)
This membership organization gives professionals and students the chance to attend their Ethics Symposium and social gatherings every year. Additionally, members can attend monthly scheduled meetings to earn continuing education credits. GASW’s site features a job board, community events board, and a list of continuing education opportunities in the area. All in-person events and online information is free for students.
National Association of Social Workers (Texas Chapter)
Founded in 1955, the NASW is the largest group of social work professionals on the globe. This membership-based organization can help you advance your career, make valuable connections to social work colleagues, and receive the latest updates on related policies, legislature, and social justice issues in the field. NASW also features a student center for learners in Texas.
North Texas Social Workers on Facebook
This Facebook group boasts approximately 6,250 members. Its goal is to provide an online social space for students and professionals in the region to share resources, continuing education opportunities, job postings, and more. The discussion board is open for members to post their own content and serves as a useful way to get answers and feedback on any Texas social work topics.
South Texas Social Workers Society on Facebook
Open to all social workers, social work students, and people who are simply interested in the field, this Facebook group focuses on supporting social workers in the South Texas region. The group holds an annual conference, holiday parties, and monthly meetings to allow members to present original research, build their professional network, and stay current with all things social work around the state and nationwide.
Texas Society for Clinical Social Work
This site is designed for clinical social workers and interested students to gain more insight and receive the latest news in social work in Texas and nationally. Founded in 1971, this organization offers its members local monthly study groups to help them network with clinical social workers and social work students in their area. There are also conferences and workshops for professionals and students who wish to present original research to the community, sharpen their skill set, or build their professional network.