How Long Does it Take to Complete an MSW Online Degree Program?
If you would like to work as a therapist in a clinical setting, you should research programs and find out how long it will take to complete an MSW online degree program. Gone are the days that graduate students had to choose between work and school. With more convenient program options, it’s possible for professionals to keep their day job and still complete graduate credits during their free time.
Students who are extremely committed to academics even when they are studying via a distance education portal can earn their Master’s in Social Work quickly. Those who enter the program thinking that it won’t require focus and attention may struggle to complete the credits needed to graduate in a typical two-year period. Here’s what you should know as you map out your plan for the future:
Do You Currently Possess a Degree?
Before you begin to look at MSW programs that are delivered online, you should consider your educational history. A majority of students who want to enter a graduate program will have already earned an undergraduate degree in the field. Whether or not you have your Bachelor’s in Social Work or a related major will matter.
If you do have your B.A. or B.S., you can take a quicker path by taking an MSW advanced standing degree program, where the entire focus of the program will be on graduate-level content focused around your major. If, however, you want to take an MSW program and your B.S. is in a different field, you can find traditional standing degree programs where some focus is on undergraduate content. These programs may require additional credits.
How Many Credits is the Program?
To pass an advanced standing MSW program online, you must pass all of your classes and earn a total of 60 credits. All programs that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education require that students complete 60 credit hours of curriculum before they can be offered their graduate degree.
Master of Social Work degree requirements is unique in the fact that students need to complete credits in the form of course and then also in the form of fieldwork. How these numbers break down depends on whether or not the student has a BSW or a Bachelor’s in a different field. If you have a BSW that you have earned within 7 years, the advanced standing requirements are as follows:
- 10 3-credit courses (30 credit hours)
- 12 credits of field work
If you are taking a traditional standing program with an unrelated B.S. degree, you must complete:
- 14, 3-credit classes (42 credit hours)
- 18 credits of field work
Adding Up the Hours
Students who enroll in school full-time will complete two academic years of graduate school to earn all of the credits needed to graduate.During the time there will also be a field placement expectation in addition to the online study. Advancement standing students must complete 720 hours of fieldwork for their 12 credits. Traditional students must complete an additional 360 hours during the first academic year.
While you are studying for your degree online, you can expect to spend around 12 hours of your week towards your classwork per class. If you were taking 3 online classes at once, you would spend approximately 36 hours on reading content, studying and doing assignments. It’s best to balance the most challenging courses so that you can focus on field hours as well.
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees
If you want to earn an MSW online, you can complete your program in 2 full years if you are enrolled full-time. This includes the time spent taking online credits in addition to the fieldwork credits. Part-time students could spend anywhere from 2.5 to 5 years to complete an MSW online degree program.