Illinois is one of the top-paying states in the nation for social workers, and there are many opportunities available in Chicago, Champaign, and more. They also have numerous opportunities for accredited education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Schools in Illinois with online MSW programs include:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Master of Social Work (MSW)

Illinois CSWE Accredited MSW Programs

The state of Illinois has many opportunities to pursue a Master's degree in social work with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

This includes some of the top universities by enrollment, including the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Chicago, DePaul University, and Illinois State University. Having this designation means that the program has gone through review and offers high-quality graduate programs for various social work careers.

Finding a Campus Based Illinois MSW Program

Chicago has an abundance of accredited programs available for graduate social work education, which can be pursued at Loyola University at Chicago, the University of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University. Specializations available at some of these institutions include direct clinical practice, mental health, and working with children and families. Other locations to consider include Aurora, Normal, and River Forest.

Loyola University in Chicago's Online MSW

The School of Social Work offers the Master of Social Work that is available in various formats, including students that are eligible for advanced standing or those looking for more convenient evening courses. There is also an opportunity to pursue courses online or in a blended hybrid format of on-campus and online coursework. Two different tracks are available: Clinical, and Leadership and Development.

Students pursuing the evening format will be enrolled part-time with a cohort and is finished in three years. This curriculum is geared toward students aiming for a career in mental health social work. In order to be eligible for advanced standing, students must have a CSWE-accredited Bachelor's degree within the last five years and hold a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher.

Curriculum Format

60 credit hours are needed to fulfill curriculum requirements, which includes foundational material and specializations. For the latter, students have an opportunity to specialize in working with family members, mental health, and general health. Examples of advanced courses include Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction, Crisis Intervention, and Psychotherapy with Adults.

Field Requirements

Two internships with 1,200 clock hours are required for the full program, and this is divided up into 480 hours for the first year and 720 hours for the second year. Students with advanced standing will have the first internship requirement waived. There are over 300 organizations available near the campus to consider field education, and three days of work each week are generally needed for the second year.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Hybrid MSW

Prospective students can choose from undergraduate and graduate programs that are CSWE-accredited through the School of Social Work. Formats include the full on-campus program for full-time and part-time enrollment, and the hybrid version that requires some course education on-campus with the majority of work completed online.

Hybrid Format

Physical meetings for courses take place over four weekends or less at either the Urbana campus or Illini Center based in Chicago. Advanced standing is available for students that have a background in social work education. Students can opt for the specialization in Leadership and Social Change, which does not require any completion of courses on campus.

Admission Requirements

In order to get into the program, students should have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA or higher over their last 60 credit hours. Academics do not need to be directly in social work, but educational background should have some social sciences and humanities courses completed. There should be some volunteer or research completed in human services.

Submissions prospective students should send in include an updated resume, unofficial transcripts, personal statement describing goals for the program, and three letters of recommendation. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required in the admission process. The online version of the program administers students in the spring and summer semesters.

Aurora University's Online Master of Social Work

Another online opportunity based in the state of Illinois is the Master of Social Work at Aurora University. Students will gain further skills in working with individuals or families dealing with relationship problems and addiction. For additional studies, students may consider combining this degree with a Master of Divinity, Master of Business Administration, or Master of Public Administration.

There are five concentrations that students can choose from when pursuing the online MSW program. Additional specializations are available in the on-campus format.

  • Faith-Based Social Work
  • Forensics
  • Health Care
  • Leadership Administration
  • School Social Work

Curriculum Structure

60 credit hours are needed to complete the full program, and these are equally divided between the foundational and specialization years. Foundational courses include topics in social welfare, human behavior, and practice theory. Further practice and policy is looked at during the final year, and there are four total semesters of field instruction.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must submit a transcript that shows the completion of a Bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, professional resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. The personal statement must include why the student has chosen to study at Aurora University and how they will use the education to succeed in their social work career.

Careers, Licensures, and Salaries in Illinois

Illinois has some of the largest employment by state for social workers according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over 3,500 workers are represented for specializations in mental health and substance abuse treatment. This includes clinical workers that analyze disruptions in their patients’ well-being and help develop treatment programs to get them out of addiction troubles.

Average Salary of an Illinois Social Worker

Mental health social workers in the state have annual salaries higher than the national average at $54,900. The Champaign metropolitan area sees even higher estimates at over $60,000 annually. Salaries for social workers in youth and school services are also higher than the national average at $55,390 annually, which jumps to over $86,220 for workers in the top 10 percent.

Illinois Social Work Licensure Requirements

Two different levels of social work licensure are accessible in the state of Illinois, with the final certification being for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In addition to receiving a Master’s degree from an accredited program, applicants will need to complete 3,000 hours of post-graduate experience. At least 15 hours of work per week is needed, and four hours each month must be supervised by an LCSW.

Endorsement and Renewal Requirements

Licensures from other states will be endorsed by the state of Illinois if they meet similar requirements and applicants submit proof of license and scores from their Association of Social Work Boards examination. Either license must be renewed every two years by November 30th of the odd year. 30 credit hours of continuing education is needed for each renewal, and six total credit hours are needed in ethics and cultural competence topics.

Online MSW Programs in Illinois That Are CSWE Accredited

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Specialized Area:
  • Availability:
  • Advanced Standing Option?
  • Admissions:
  • Status:

Campus-Based Illinois MSW Programs

Aurora University

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

Chicago State University

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

DePaul University

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

Dominican University

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: River Forest

Erikson Institute

  • Program: MSW
  • Campus: Chicago

Governors State University

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: University Park

Illinois State University

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

Loyola University Chicago

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

Northeastern Illinois University

  • Program: M.S.W.
  • Campus: Chicago

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

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

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

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

University of Chicago

  • Program: Master of Arts in Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago

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

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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

University of St Francis

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