Three universities, including Colorado State University, have online Master's degrees in social work. Many careers in this field deal with patients suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse.
Schools in Colorado with online MSW programs include:
Colorado State University : Online MSW: Advanced Generalist
Metropolitan State University of Denver : Online MSW: Individuals & Families and Macro (Leadership & Management) University of Denver : Online MSW Online MSW: Mental Health and Trauma Colorado CSWE Accredited MSW Programs
There are four institutions that provide a Master's program in social work that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Many of these universities provide online opportunities and field experience that allows for various state licensing procedures.
Social workers can become advanced generalists with experience in working with individual clients or families directly, while also being able to review and recommend treatment plans.
Finding a Campus Based Colorado MSW Program
Denver is home to multiple schools that provide undergraduate and graduate opportunities in social work. The University of Denver has many specializations to choose from, such as community development and management, but many of these exist with the on campus experience exclusively. Specific education in mental health is available in the online format.
Colorado State University's Hybrid Master of Social Work
The College of Health and Human Services offers a blend of online and on-campus education for the MSW program at the Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins locations. Approximately 80 percent of the coursework will be completed online with the rest taking place on campus, including a capstone project that takes place in the final semester. Enrollment options includes full-time study on campus, part-time in the hybrid format, and the ability to enter advanced enrollment.
Online Part-Time Format
For the online part-time format, students will complete the program in a three-year span. There are five learning weekends which offer physical education and a research defense toward the end of the program. In addition to being convenient for more people that are not very close to the campus, this format is better for students that are continuing to work.
Advanced Standing Format and Electives
The advanced standing version can be completed in the span of just one year over three semesters with foundational courses waived for students that completed an accredited Bachelor's degree in social work. Two courses are taken in the summer and four courses in the fall and spring semesters each. Another consideration is pursuing a double-degree with the MSW and Master of Public Health which is only available on campus.
Students have the ability to become an advanced generalist practitioner, helping graduates become comfortable working with various individuals or groups and being able to assess clients and evaluate treatment plans. Examples of courses that students can take in the program include Social Welfare Policy and Advocacy, Advanced General Practice with Individuals, and Research Methods.
University of Denver's Online MSW
The Graduate School of Social Work offers many different variations of graduate education in this field. There is the on-campus program at Denver, Durango, and Colorado Springs which provides extended reach beyond the main campus. Across the country, students can take the program through MSW@Denver which requires no visits to the Denver campus.
Students opting for the online program have an opportunity to specialize in Mental Health and Trauma. It takes at least 21 months to complete the full program and at least 18 months for those that are eligible for advanced standing. Classes being in January, March, June, and September, and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis for faster acceptance and preparation.
Program Tracks and Internships
Pursuing the Mental Health and Trauma concentration offers specialized courses in working with individuals and families that are specifically dealing with addiction struggles and recovery from a life-threatening experience. This type of work is growing by approximately 12 percent according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Examples of professions include becoming a social case worker or behavioral health clinician.
The on-campus program not only offers more concentrations to choose from, but there are many internship opportunities to consider. There are over 600 options available in the Denver area alone, and this offers an ability to apply techniques and theory learned from the courses directly to the field placement. For a more unique experience, there are eight different international internships available.
Metropolitan State University of Denver's Fully Online MSW
The Department of Social Work has programs accredited by the CSWE, including undergraduate and graduate versions. The Master of Social Work has a full 60 credit hour program and one for advanced standing that eliminates foundational coursework and is set at 36 credit hours. Goals in this program are to prepare students to be ethical in their practice and to follow evidence-based procedures while advancing social justice.
Benefits of taking this course include working in small class gatherings so there is a more intimate learning experience for students. Many courses are available online in addition to on campus lectures taking place at night and during the weekend for flexible scheduling. This gives an opportunity for students to learn while maintaining their job.
For maximum flexibility, students can choose to enter the fully online format where all coursework is completed in a virtual setting. Much of the activity is asynchronous, meaning students are able to access readings and work on assignments at their own time. In some cases, there may be synchronous needs, such as attending specific lectures or working in a group project.
Up to nine credit hours are allowed to transfer into the MSW program if coming from a different accredited university. In field work, 16 hours a week, or 240 hours per semester, is needed for the foundational year. This bumps up to 20 hours per week, or 300 hours per semester, for the concentration year.
Colorado has solid social work employment rates across the board, seeing plenty of opportunities for professionals looking to get into family consultation or substance abuse evaluation. Clinical social workers often participate in group sessions that help develop treatment plans for those that are dealing with addiction problems or various issues in their relationship. Over 1,630 positions are dedicated to mental health social workers across the state.
Average salary in the state is at $47,500, which is below the national annual mean, but it can rise to over $65,200 in the top 10 percent of salaries. The highest-paying opportunities can be found in the Denver and Colorado Springs metropolitan areas according to the
US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are three different licensure for social work in Colorado: standard licensure requiring supervision, provisional social worker, and clinical social worker. Applicants for the standard or clinical licensure must pass the jurisprudence examination, which verifies if the professional is competent in mental health state laws. This also includes passing the Association of Social Work Boards examination.
For the provisional licensure, there are no examinations needed as this focuses on working in child care facilities. A supervisor is still needed with this licensure, and completion of a MSW degree is required. At least 40 hours of continuing education is needed for renewal every two years, and up to 20 hours can be used for one category.