Should I Get My MSW Degree on Campus or Online?

Aspiring social workers interested in pursuing a master’s degree often wonder if they should get the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree on campus or online. Social workers are expected to see a job growth of 16 percent between 2016 and 2016, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, making this a popular career choice. Choosing between online or on campus can be a big decision and one that should take given much, particularly when you consider the length of time you’ll be in school. Here are some factors a potential MSW student might consider before making a decision.

Admission Requirements and Cost of the MSW Degree

Admission requirements for the MSW degree are somewhat similar with on-campus and online programs. Both require the student have a bachelor’s degree, but online programs often prefer the undergraduate degree be in liberal arts. On-campus students must also have an undergraduate degree, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be in social work.

Both programs are expensive; they each could cost from $10,000 to $30,000 per year. However, the online MSW programs may be more expensive because there aren’t as many colleges offering online MSW programs as there on campus. Although online students may get scholarships and loans, on-campus MSW students are more likely to find low-cost loans.

Length of Program for Online an On-Campus MSW Degree

Depending on the student’s time and schedule, the length of time it takes to complete each program can be an advantage or a disadvantage. Because both programs require already having a bachelor’s degree, the first four years is already completed. However, there is still a couple of years left to complete in order to earn the MSW degree.

On-campus students often have the choice of taking the program as full- or part-time students. As a full-time student, the degree can be earned in two years as opposed to the online option, which takes around three years.

Curriculum & Internships for MSW Degree

There’s no question that online programs offer more flexibility, but this could also be an issue if you’re not completely motivated. The curriculum for online and on-campus programs are similar to a point. Campus programs focus on research, theory and clinical work at the graduate level.

Online online programs focus more on working with communities and helping them deal with social support services, They also require research and clinical education, which might be more difficult because it’s an online program.

The one thing that MSW students, particularly those considering online programs, should consider is the amount of supervised clinical hours that must be completed. U.S. News & World Report indicates that MSW students are typically required to complete at least 2,000 clinical hours.

Level of Difficulty with MSW Degree Programs

MSW degree programs require a lot of time and work whether the study earns the degree online or on campus. Students that are self-motivators may not have difficulty learning on their own, but not all of us are self-motivating. One thing worth considering is that on-campus students have access to professors in case they do need extra help. While online students may be able to contact professors, it’s often not as easy.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs

Social work is a very vast field that offers many job opportunities in many different agencies and companies. Earning an MSW can put candidates in a position where they can find jobs that may be unavailable to others. Whether the degree is earned online or on campus, earning an MSW degree can be the first step towards a very rewarding career.