You’ve decided that you want to improve lives and make a difference through a rewarding career in social work. Before selecting the best social work master’s degree program for your career goals, you should consider the following factors.

What to Consider When Searching for the Best MSW Program

You’ve decided that you want to improve lives and make a difference through a rewarding career in social work. Before selecting the best social work master’s degree program for your career goals, you should consider the following factors.

Affordability matters.

Social work master’s degree programs can be expensive, depending on where you go. However, many colleges offset their tuition costs with various forms of financial aid.

At Adelphi, for instance, every admitted MSW student is considered for a scholarship of up to $18,000, which could significantly lower your tuition—to under $68,000. Every admitted Advanced Standing MSW student at Adelphi is considered for a scholarship ranging up to $9,000. Moreover, students may also qualify for additional stipends through our fellowship programs, such as the IDEATE Fellowship in Behavioral Healthcare, which comes with a generous $10,000 stipend. Our online MSW program tuition is just $3,000 less than the total cost of our on-campus program with scholarships.

Accreditation is key.

As you search for the best MSW, keep in mind that the best social work programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education Accreditation (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation, since that ensures that qualified social work programs have adequately prepared their students for career success. It’s important to know that licensure as a clinical social worker requires such accreditation.

Adelphi’s School of Social Work degree programs have been accredited the CSWE since 1951.

Seek a well-rounded social work curriculum.

With the different career options available to MSW graduates, it’s important to consider the path you would like to pursue. You should set your career objectives, then choose an MSW program with the specialized concentrations of study best suited to those goals.

At Adelphi, we aim to ensure that every graduate of the School of Social Work is grounded in both theory and real-world experience. With trainings in mental health, substance abuse, trauma or human services management and organizational leadership, you can hone your skills and gain the necessary knowledge to work in an area or with a population that fits your interest.

Look for experienced faculty.

In your selection process, you should look beyond the MSW’s curriculum and see if the program’s faculty not only have the necessary education and professional qualifications but also are active in today’s social work field, regularly publish papers on social work issues and present at industry conferences.

A look at the profiles of our dedicated world-class faculty will show that our social work faculty, including our adjunct and part-time faculty, are accomplished researchers, passionate teachers and tireless advocates for social justice. Many of our professors’ research studies have also been featured in Adelphi’s own Academic and Creative Research Magazine.

Flexible options are best.

The best MSW programs today should provide options to students who must balance their education with work and family commitments.

Adelphi offers several options for completing your MSW, all of which follow the same sequencing of courses and requirements regardless of whether you are full or part time, on campus or online.  Besides our traditional full-time, two-year MSW program, we have a part-time program scheduled during evenings and weekends, as well as our online MSW, a low-residency, user-friendly alternative to distance learning and on-campus classes—although the MSW program can also be completed 100 percent online.

Check into career opportunities.

Most colleges offer career advice and networking opportunities with potential employers and some graduate-level programs offer field placements as valuable hands-on experience. You should look into whether they offer placements that match your own career aims and areas of interest.

All MSW students must complete a minimum of 900 hours in a site-based practicum, and must earn 25 professional development hours each academic year through approved field education workshops and participation in the School’s annual social action initiative.

Aim for successful outcomes.

In planning to obtain your MSW, you want to know that you will have a promising career in social work ahead of you. As in life, high price does not necessarily mean best quality. You should choose an affordable program that can lead to a successful outcome.

One gauge: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average social worker salary was $61,190 in 2021. Keep that figure in mind when looking at MSW tuition at your various prospective colleges. According to the bureau, demand for social workers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average rate for all occupations. Growth is projected to be even stronger (20 percent) in healthcare and medical social work positions.

That means social work is not only a rewarding career but one that will remain in demand for the foreseeable future. At Adelphi, more than 90 percent of our MSW program graduates gain employment within a year of graduation.

Why Choose Adelphi?

Your social work education and career advancement matter to us. If you are considering an Adelphi MSW—among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Social Work Programs—you will be considering an MSW that meets all of the above criteria. And U.S. News & World Report ranks us among the Best Graduate Social Work Programs for 2023—among the top 5 percent in the nation.

Moreover, as Interim Dean Philip A. Rozario, PhD, said, “The School has a long history and tradition—more than 70 years—of preparing social workers to work effectively and ethically with individuals, families and communities.”

You’ll find that Adelphi’s Master of Social Work program is a great fit—whether it’s our traditional MSW or our online MSW.

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