Washington MSW Programs

The state of Washington has high employment for social workers regardless of specialization. Typically, salaries are the highest in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area, ranging from $58,000 to $68,000 in annual salaries.

Schools in Washington with online MSW programs include:

  • Eastern Washington University: Master of Socal Work (MSW)

Washington CSWE Accredited MSW Programs

Four different institutions provide a Master's degree in social work from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This includes Seattle University and the University of Washington in Seattle, one of the top metropolitan areas to find education and career opportunities in Washington. Having accreditation means that the program has a specific set of goals and resources needed for future graduates to thrive in their career.

Finding a Campus Based Washington MSW Program

Outside of Seattle, other cities in Washington that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in social work include Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, and Walla Walla University in College Place. Specializations that can be earned with Master's degrees include social work with children and youth services, mental health, criminal justice, and disabilities.

Eastern Washington University's Hybrid MSW

The College of Social Sciences offers the Master of Social Work with an option of pursuing the traditional format or advanced standing format. After completing foundational courses, students are able to choose their specialization in social work, such as working with the community on housing and poverty, education, and health care.

While the program is not fully available online, there is opportunity to pursue the degree in Cheney, Everett, Spokane, and Vancouver on a full-time or part-time basis. Depending on location, courses are offered at night, over weekends, and/or a hybrid of on-campus and online courses. Full-time study is only available at the Spokane and Cheney campus and students begin in the fall semester.

Advanced Standing Format

Students that have obtained a Bachelor of Social Work from an accredited institution in the last seven years are eligible for advanced standing in the MSW program. This eliminates foundational coursework and the need to pursue the initial internship. Hybrid study is offered at the Spokane, Everett, and Vancouver on a part-time basis, and courses are held at the Spokane campus for three weekends per quarter.

Curriculum Structure

90 quarter credit hours are needed to complete the full program, with a decrease to 51 quarter credit hours for those that are in the advanced standing program. Examples of courses that students may take include Organizational and Community Practice, Social Work Intervention and Evaluation, and Clinical Diagnosis and Evidence-Based Treatment. All students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and pass the comprehensive exam in the final quarter to earn the degree.

University of Washington's Master of Social Work

The School of Social Work at one of the biggest universities in the state of Washington offers various accredited degrees in social work, including the MSW. There are three different pathways to pursue this program: traditional study during the day, the part-time extended program, and earning advanced standing. Prospective students must have at least a Bachelor's degree with credit in liberal arts courses.

MSW Day Program

Students that hold a Bachelor's degree not in a social work discipline may be able to pursue the full program, requiring two years' worth of foundational and specialization study. Concentrations include working in Administration and Policy Practice, Community-Centered Integrative Practice, and Clinical Social Work. 75 credit hours are needed with at least a 2.7 cumulative GPA.

Extended Degree Program

The same curriculum requirements are needed as the traditional format, but the schedule is geared toward students unable to enroll on a full-time basis. Courses are generally held on consecutive Friday and Saturday weekends, or on some weeknights. Typically, this can be completed in three years, with students wrapping up internship and elective work in the final year.

Advanced Standing Format

Prospective students with an accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree in hand with high academic merit may be eligible for advanced standing. This can be completed in as little as 10 months, or the 17-month part-time program. Regardless of path, there is a four-week session during the summer that must be completed on a full-time basis, and courses are held during the day.

Careers, Licensures, and Salaries in Washington

Numerous social work opportunities are available in the state of Washington as it is one of the top states in terms of employment and salaries. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers specializing in youth, family, and school services represent over 7,800 workers in the state. Thousands of other social workers are in health care, mental health, and substance abuse.

Average Salary of a Washington Social Worker

Similar to other West Coast states, annual salaries for social workers are higher than the national average. In the health care specialty, salaries are estimated at $62,990 statewide on a yearly basis. This figure can jump to over $91,000 for workers that are in the top 10 percent of employment.

Washington Social Work Licensure Requirements

Applicants must have at least a Master’s degree in social work before becoming one of the following licensed practitioners: Licensed Advanced Social Worker and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). Gaining the latter requires further clinical practice and the passing of the clinical exam through the Association of Social Work Boards.

Hours of Experience Requirements

The LICSW requires an associate license to gain the 4,000 supervised hours needed after graduation. A quarter of these hours must be direct client contact, and at least 130 hours are needed with direct supervision by another LICSW-licensed supervisor.

Endorsement and Renewal Requirements

There are no endorsement opportunities in the state of Washington and professionals must reapply for licensure. Annual renewal is needed prior to the license holder’s date of birth, and 36 credit hours of continuing education is needed every two years. Six of these hours must include topics in legal and ethical issues.

Online MSW Programs in Washington That Are CSWE Accredited


Campus-Based Washington MSW Programs

Eastern Washington University

  • Program: Master of Socal Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Cheney
  • Offers various program formats at the Spokane, Cheney, and Everett locations. Full-time program has courses in Cheney during the first year and moves to Spokane in the second year. Hybrid option available with weekend on-campus study and part-time enrollment. Everett offers similar hybrid program with on-campus sessions during weeknight times. Advanced standing also available with six-credit summer preparation term. Specialty topics include advanced research method and evidence-based treatment.

Seattle University

  • Program: Master Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Seattle
  • Offers full-time program in a traditional format or advanced standing for qualified students. Concentrations include addictions counseling, medical, and trauma-informed practice. These impact electives chosen in advanced study and the second practicum. 1,168 total clock hours needed across two internships. Average GPA of graduates is at 3.36. Graduates have gone on to jobs featuring crisis intervention and case management.

Seattle University

  • Program: Master Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Seattle
  • Two-year traditional program requires 66 total credit hours. Advanced standing option features slimmer 39 credit hours with specialty focus. Accelerated format completed in as little as 10 months. 720 total hours needed for field experience focusing on specialization with advanced standing. Requires accredited BSW, 3.0 GPA, and criminal background check. Other submissions include two essays, three recommendation letters, and a case study.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Seattle
  • Offers Master's degree with day courses in full-time enrollment or flexible part-time options. Day sessions held at three different three-hour segments throughout the workweek. Some opportunities to study courses on Thursday night when necessary. Specializations available in administration, community practice, and clinical work. Community emphasis looks at advocacy to remove injustice and promote mental health.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Seattle
  • Available in various formats, including part-time study over 9 to 11 consecutive quarters. Course availability is generally across evening hours and on Fridays and Saturdays. Students must complete coursework during the summer term. Specializations feature multi-generational practice and mental health. GRE scores are not required in the admission process.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Seattle
  • Advanced standing completed in as little as 10 months. May also consider part-time option with 17 months of study. Either format requires bridge session during the summer term with full-time study. Follows same curriculum as the MSW Day format. Recommended for students to have at least 2,000 hours of social work experience.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Seattle
  • Full-time study offers courses during workdays with more specialization options. Part-time enrollment offers more evening and weekend options. Advanced standing requires full-time summer sessions regardless of pathway selection. Six credit hours accepted in transfer process unless coming from a similar program. Students can consider dual enrollment with public health and public administration.

University of Washington-Tacoma Campus

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Tacoma
  • Offers part-time format for traditional and advanced standing education. Traditional Master's degree completed over the course of three years. Students take two courses in each quarter with evening time frames. Between 9 to 11 quarters taken in consecutive fashion to meet curriculum requirements. 1,080 field hours required across the foundational and advanced segments. Experienced workers recommended to pursue field experience in an unfamiliar social work field.

University of Washington-Tacoma Campus

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Tacoma
  • Part-time education in 18 months to 3 years based on academic standing. To qualify for advanced standing, students should hold an accredited BSW degree. The major should have a 3.5 GPA and all social work courses passed with a B grade or higher. Program begins during the winter quarter. Students must complete the program within a six-year time frame. Also offers emphasis in public child welfare to improve community and education experience.

Walla Walla University

  • Program: Master of Social Work
  • Campus: College Place
  • Program available at Billings and Missoula in Montana. Distributed through on-campus sessions meeting on Mondays with some online opportunities. 900 total field hours needed across two internships. Two-thirds of the field experiences needed in advanced study in the second year. Admission requires official transcripts, updated resume, and a background check. GRE scores are not required in the admission process.