Multiple institutions provide convenient online education for their social work programs in the state of Virginia. Graduates from higher education can apply to three different licensures offered by the state at the Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and independent clinical levels.
Schools in Virginia with online MSW programs include:
George Mason University: Master of Social Work (MSW)
Radford University : Online MSW: Community-based Family Practice Virginia Commonwealth University : Online MSW: Clinical Virginia CSWE Accredited MSW Programs
Four of Virginia's universities that offer an accredited Master's degree in social work by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) have an online component that makes studying more convenient for students across the state.
Having accreditation from the organization means that the program has met the high standards set when reviewed, such as offering resources that help students succeed in their social work career in a variety of specializations.
Finding an Online or Campus Based Virginia MSW Program
Fairfax, Norfolk, Radford, and Richmond are the four locations hosting universities with accredited Master's degrees programs. Specializations that students can consider during their studies at these institutions include direct clinical practice, management, gerontology, and children and youth. Overall, Richmond tends to have the most concentration and opportunities for social workers.
Virginia Commonwealth University's Online MSW
Gaining the Master of Social Work through VCU can prepare professionals in a wide variety of specializations. This includes dealing with patients suffering from homelessness or domestic violence, inpatient and outpatients within health care, working with military veterans dealing with traumatic experiences, and substance abuse addictions.
Different pathways in the specialization portion include becoming a generalist, clinical work, and administration and policy practice. For further customization, prospective students may consider a dual degree that matches the MSW with a certification, such as Aging Studies or Gender Violence Intervention. This can also be combined with a full Juris Doctor or Master of Public Health degree.
Students can pursue the MSW program on-campus or conveniently online on a part-time or full-time basis. Similar to the campus program, the full-time online format requires two years to complete and 60 total credit hours. Courses are distributed in both asynchronous and synchronous format depending on instructors, meaning that some lectures must be attended live or they can be viewed on demand.
For part-time work, students will need 10 total semesters of education, which is evenly divided up with generalist and specialization coursework. Up to 16 hours per week is needed for the internship at the generalist level and up to 22 hours per week for the specialized field experience. Typically, internship hours will meet during regular business hours.
Radford University's Master of Social Work
The College of Graduate Studies and Research offers an MSW program with a specialization in community and family practice. There are two different formats of this program that can be completed at the Radford campus, and part-time enrollment for the Roanoke campus. Having flexibility in terms of location and enrollment allows various students to complete the program.
Advanced Standing Format
61 total credit hours are needed to complete the program, but this can be completed with just 40 credit hours for students qualified for advanced standing. This designation eliminates the need for foundational coursework as this was acquired with the Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited program. Students must have held a 3.0 cumulative GPA throughout the program.
Prospective students that do not meet the requirements for advanced standing will still need to maintain a 2.75 cumulative GPA through their undergraduate program. In addition, there must be prerequisites in social sciences, humanities, and human biology. Course credit will not count toward previous work experience, but experience in this line of work is highly recommended.
Part-Time Education at Roanoke
Part-time enrollment can be pursued at both the Radford and Roanoke locations, and for the latter, courses are offered at the Roanoke Higher Education Center. Core curriculum courses will be taken on specific Saturdays and alternatively online, and electives can be offered at this time or during the week. Students will follow a cohort that is administered into the fall semester only.
George Mason University's Online MSW
The College of Health and Human Services offers a full Master of Social Work program worth 60 credit hours and can be completed 100 percent online. This program will help students gain competence in understanding various social issues and economic justice, and they will be able to apply theory to actual practice during field experiences. In addition to this work, students will have access to Therapy Assistance Online to help with their own needs during the program.
This online program has been approved by the CSWE and meets all nine competencies required in review, such as experienced faculty members and providing a curriculum with specific goals and specializations. Students pursuing this program may go on to work in disability services, drug abuse counseling, school social work, or lobbying for policy changes in government or in health care.
Courses are divided up on a part-time, asynchronous schedule to convenience students with other life needs when studying. Lectures will typically be available on-demand and coursework can be completed at any time of day, but deadlines will still need to be met. This program follows the same schedule as the on-campus program, which includes the same course options.
At least 1,050 clock hours are needed in two different internships, divided into generalist and specialization practices. 450 hours are needed for the first practice while 600 hours make up the rest of the required work. Students in advanced standing will need to complete 600 clock hours of their specialization to meet curriculum requirements.
When compared to other states in the field of social work mental health, Virginia is higher than average with over 4,500 workers represented. According to the
US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest concentration exists in the southern portion of the state. Mental health workers will typically help clients deal with their struggles and develop a treatment plan.
The annual mean wage for social workers that specialize in mental health throughout Virginia is estimated at $52,980. While this figure is a lower average than some fields, such as health care, it is higher than surrounding states and the national average for specializations in mental health and substance abuse.
State licensures in Virginia are given to graduates that have completed a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree, and there is an additional clinical licensure for professionals looking to get into clinical practice. To gain the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) designation, at least 3,000 hours of clinical work is needed after graduation. Of this amount, 1,380 clock hours are needed with direct client contact.
Virginia allows endorsement of other state licensures with the submission of proper exam scores and the licensure must meet similar state-based requirements. Renewals take place every two years; traditional licensed social workers need 15 credit hours of continuing experience while LCSW licensees will need to complete 30 credit hours.