The nation's capital has three universities that offer an accredited Master of Social Work. The Catholic University of America is the exclusive online option for students to consider in this location.

Schools in DC with online MSW programs include:

  • Catholic University of America : Online MSW: Clinical

Washington DC CSWE Accredited MSW Programs

Only one institution offers an online Master of Social Work that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Catholic University of America offers specialization in program evaluation and social policy. Students can pursue the program on a full-time or part-time basis, it is available to everyone in the United States and international service members, and has no on-campus needs.

Finding a Campus Based Washington DC MSW Program

Two other colleges that offer Master's degrees are Gallaudet University and Howard University. Outside of Howard University, Bachelor's degrees in social work that have been CSWE-accredited are also available. The University of the District of Columbia has an exclusive Bachelor's degree curriculum available.

Catholic University of America's Online MSW

Students are able to complete a full online Master's degree in social work on a full-time or part time basis through CUA. Specializations are available in mental health, substance abuse, gerontology, and child welfare. This curriculum will specifically prepare students for the Licensed Graduate Social Work (LGSW) licensure in Washington DC, and graduates have a 95 percent passing rate.

Curriculum Structure

60 credit hours are needed for the full curriculum, which includes foundational work, specialization, and field placement. For online students, they can enroll in as little as two courses per semester on the path to completing the program. Student class size is relatively limited at 25 students to provide a more intimate learning experience with faculty members.

Examples of courses that students take in the program include Human Development and Psychopathology, Social Work Research Methods, and Cognitive-Behavioral Theory and Social Functioning. In field placement, students will complete 480 hours in the foundational internship and 600 hours in the advanced internship. Both internships will be split over a two-semester time span.

Admission Requirements

For prospective students that have completed a Bachelor of Social Work that is accredited by the CSWE and graduated with high academic marks (above 3.2 cumulative GPA), they may be eligible for the advanced standing designation. This provides a quicker path to complete the degree with the elimination of foundational courses and one field practicum.

Social Work Careers, Licensure, and Salaries in Washington DC

The District of Columbia is one of the higher-paying locations for social work across the country. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest sector is in health care with an annual salary average of $74,160. By comparison, those specializing in child and family services make $71,590 annually (highest of any state in this category) and mental health and substance abuse social workers make $66,080 annually.

Washington DC Social Work Licensure Requirements

After the completion of a Master’s degree, students can become one of the following licensed social work professionals:

  • Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
  • Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Hours of Experience Requirements

All licensures require the passing of the required professional examination through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The LGSW allows professionals to perform non-clinical and clinical work under supervision. The LISW offers an opportunity for independent non-clinical work after completing 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised work under a professional with the LISW or LICSW.

The LICSW is a variation of social work for those interested in practicing in a clinical setting. 3,000 hours are also needed after completing the Master’s degree and requires ASWB examination. If the license is verified by another state, is in good standing, and meets Washington DC requirements, this location will recognize the license after applying for a new state-specific license.

Renewal Requirements

Renewals take place prior to July 31st of every odd-numbered year and require 40 credit hours of continuing education. This includes six credit hours dedicated to ethical practice and two credit hours on the LGBTQ community. All ethics courses must be completed in person, and a limit of 12 credit hours can be used for online education.

Online MSW Programs in DC That Are CSWE Accredited

Catholic University of America

  • Program: Online MSW: Clinical CSWE Accredited
  • Specialized Area: Clinical
  • Availability: Part Time
  • Advanced Standing Option?
  • Admissions: Open to students anywhere in the United States, as well as service members stationed around the world
  • Status:

Campus-Based DC MSW Programs

Catholic University of America

  • Program: Master of Social Work (BSW)
  • Campus: Washington

Catholic University of America

  • Program: Master of Social Work (BSW)
  • Campus: Washington

Gallaudet University

  • Campus: Washington

Howard University

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Washington