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Best Online MSW Programs: Florida (FL)

Ready for a brighter future through a career in social work? Our guide to online MSW programs in Florida showcases the best online master of social work programs in the sunshine state.

If you’re ready to fulfill your calling to help people address challenges and improve their well-being, online MSW programs in Florida might be just the career move you’ve been waiting for. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for social workers will grow faster than average between now and 2031, and in Florida specifically, job growth is projected at almost twice the national average. Earning your master’s degree in social work online can help prepare you to fulfill these in-demand roles as the job market expands.

MSW online programs in Florida offer the flexibility to balance work, family, and other responsibilities while advancing your education, allowing you to learn at your own pace and from your own space. However, pursuing your master’s degree is a significant undertaking, so it’s completely natural to have questions about the cost, curriculum, and best schools for earning your MSW. This guide is here to help, offering the information you’ll need to confidently take the next steps toward your goal of earning your graduate degree through an online MSW program in Florida. Keep reading to learn more about this promising degree and its booming job market.

College Spotlights: Best MSW Online Programs in Florida for 2024

Selecting your ideal online MSW program in Florida can significantly shape your educational journey and career prospects. Whether you already hold a bachelor’s degree in social work or require part-time study, there are MSW online programs in Florida perfectly tailored to your needs. To help you choose, we’ve identified three outstanding programs that combine the affordability, flexibility, and support you’ll need to move forward in your social work career. Keep reading for details on these best-in-class schools, all of which are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Florida State University

Florida State University offers online Master of Social Work students the choice between traditional or advanced standing tracks to suit their unique academic journey. The courses are delivered 100% online and part-time, accommodating students’ pre-existing commitments and busy lifestyles. Notably, this program extends admission to residents of all 50 states, with no GRE required for application.

Advanced standing students navigate through 39 credits and one field placement, graduating in two years. Alternatively, traditional MSW students earn 61 total credits, gain experience through two field placements, and graduate in three years. Traditional students must also attend two weekend-long, on-campus skill-building intensives during their time in the program. Throughout their studies with FSU, students take courses such as social work and child welfare practice, chemical dependency problems and programs, and social program and policy evaluation.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • Hybrid

Program Options:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE

The University of South Florida

The University of South Florida offers three courses of study for students who are considering MSW online programs in Florida. The online, part-time, non-advanced standing track spans eight consecutive semesters, allowing students to earn 60 credits and 900 total field hours during their studies. Advanced standing students may opt for an online, part-time study track that lasts five semesters or a full-time track that takes place over three consecutive semesters. All advanced-standing students earn 35 credits and perform 600 hours of fieldwork throughout the program.

USF employs a cohort model for all online MSW students, fostering a collaborative learning environment that deepens connections with professors and peers. All students within a program begin on the same date, proceeding through asynchronous and live online classes with their cohort. Students of this program can anticipate courses including foundations of social welfare policy, diversity and social justice, and psychopathology.

Delivery:

  • Online

Program Options:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE

The University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida offers an online Master of Social Work with two distinct tracks to cater to students’ needs and educational backgrounds. The traditional track, delivered over seven-week terms in a three-year cohort model, requires students to earn 62 credits and complete 1,000 hours of fieldwork. The advanced standing track, which also follows seven-week terms but uses a four-semester cohort model, requires 32 credit hours and 600 hours of fieldwork.

Both tracks are available only part-time, making this program perfect for students balancing their studies with other life responsibilities. Whether in the traditional or advanced standing track, students will engage in courses such as diverse client populations, clinical social work practice with LGBTQ+, and practice with families, offering a comprehensive and inclusive perspective on social work practice.

Delivery:

  • Online

Program Options:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional
  • Part-Time

Types of Master of Social Work Programs in Florida

Traditional MSW Programs in Florida

Traditional online MSW programs in Florida are specifically aimed at students who earned their bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. However, many schools also recommend this option for students who earned a bachelor’s in the field more than five years ago. Traditional MSW students must take foundational courses in social work, spanning 60-65 hours of study. Full-time students can expect to graduate in two years, while part-time students typically graduate in four.

Traditional MSW Programs in Florida Worth Exploring

No-GRE MSW Programs in Florida

No-GRE programs are designed for students who desire a streamlined path to getting their MSW without the additional hurdle of passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). These programs are best suited for students who don’t want to worry about investing time in the GRE or don’t feel standardized test grades accurately reflect their academic potential. Many MSW online programs in Florida don’t require GRE scores as part of admission. These programs are no less prestigious than those requiring the GRE; they maintain the same academic standards and accreditation.

No-GRE MSW Programs in Florida Worth Exploring

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in Florida

Students who completed their bachelor’s degree in social work are eligible to apply to advanced-standing MSW programs. Because these students have already taken core educational courses that lay the foundations for graduate-level study, an advanced standing track allows them to proceed to the advanced portion of master’s degree study. Advanced-standing students typically take a shorter amount of time to graduate with their master’s degree. Full-time students may graduate in one year, while part-time students can graduate in two.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in Florida Worth Exploring

Part-Time MSW Programs in Florida

Part-time MSW programs are perfect for students who are already working or have other familial, professional, or personal obligations that prevent them from dedicating their entire focus to master’s degree studies. Students in these programs have a longer path to graduation; traditional part-time students can expect to spend up to four years of study, while advanced-standing students may graduate in two years. Because many working professionals and adult students decide to pursue an online MSW in Florida, these programs are widely available to provide these students with maximum flexibility.

Part-Time MSW Programs in Florida Worth Exploring

Making a Difference in Florida: Impactful Careers with an MSW

MSW online programs in Florida can prepare you for rewarding careers in various settings, including healthcare facilities, schools, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies. Plus, the BLS expects the demand for social workers to grow at a higher-than-average rate, especially in much-needed areas like substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health counseling. With an annual median pay of $50,390, those with a master’s degree in social work often earn higher compensation than social workers with a bachelor’s degree. In specific fields and metropolitan areas, the median wage is considerably higher; for example, clinical mental health social workers in Miami have a median wage of $62,600 per year.

Below are some job titles commonly held by graduates of an MSW program.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Advanced mental health and substance abuse coursework, field experience, and clinical skills gained from your MSW program will help you assess, diagnose, and form treatment strategies for those experiencing mental health or substance abuse challenges. You’ll learn about therapeutic approaches, intervention methods, and how to work with diverse populations in preparation for a mental health and substance abuse social worker career.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$34,630

$51,240

$97,660

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Child, Family, and School Social Workers

Your online MSW program will offer courses on how to best serve children, families, and those groups within educational settings. As you prepare for this role, you’ll learn about child welfare, development, therapy, and educational policy. Your fieldwork will provide you with plenty of opportunities to practice intervention, prevention, and advocacy strategies for these clients.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$36,380

$50,820

$81,920

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Healthcare Social Workers

An MSW program can equip you with the skills needed to excel as a healthcare social worker through coursework in medical social work, teaching you how to navigate healthcare systems, provide patient support and advocacy, and advise family caregivers. Fieldwork in healthcare settings can give you the practical experience needed to ensure effective patient care.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$38,520

$60,280

$87,830

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Social Work Licensing Requirements in Florida

To become a social worker in Florida, you’ll need to meet the requirements laid out by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. First, you must enroll as a student of in-person or online MSW programs in Florida. After you meet the educational requirements for your master’s degree, you’ll be required to complete a specific amount of supervised fieldwork, pass a licensing examination, and enroll in additional educational courses. Here’s the step-by-step process to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Florida:

  • Obtain a master’s degree from an MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • Complete the required fieldwork in your MSW program to gain real-world experience and provide clinical services directly to clients.
  • After graduation, apply to become a registered clinical social worker intern. This step allows you to earn your post-master’s experience.
  • Participate in two years of post-master’s experience under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker. In Florida, this experience must consist of at least 100 hours of supervision in no less than 100 weeks, 1,500 hours of face-to-face psychotherapy with clients, and one hour of supervision every two weeks.
  • Pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical Level Examination.
  • Complete additional required courses. The state of Florida requires courses in Laws & Rules, HIV/AIDS, and Domestic Violence.
  • Once you pass the exam, you can apply to become an LCSW in Florida.

Budgeting for Success: Costs for Online MSW Programs in Florida

Earning your master’s degree is a big step, both professionally and financially. Before you enroll in online MSW programs in Florida, it’s essential to understand the impact that the commitment could make on your finances, make a game plan for paying your educational expenses, and apply for financial aid. Many students of MSW online programs in Florida are eligible for federal financial aid, but check with your institution for private and school-based scholarship opportunities and work-study positions, like those offered at The University of Central Florida and Florida State University. Additionally, if you already work in a related field, check to see if you’re eligible for tuition assistance.

How Much Your Online MSW in Florida Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit

32-63

$599/credit

32-62

$600/credit

30-60

$450/credit

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Florida MSW Programs

What are the general admission prerequisites and guidelines for pursuing an online MSW degree in Florida?

Applicants to MSW online programs in Florida may vary slightly depending on the school, but no matter where you apply, there are certain similarities in the process. You’ll need to submit an official application, transcripts from your undergraduate program, and, in some cases, GRE or GMAT scores. Advanced standing students will also need to provide proof of fieldwork completed as a part of their bachelor’s program. The typical admissions process for online MSW programs in Florida is as follows:

  • Complete an online application at the school of your choice
  • Pay application fees
  • Supply transcripts from your bachelor’s program
  • Provide proof of previous fieldwork (for advanced standing students)
  • If needed, submit GRE or GMAT scores
  • Write an essay on your intended course of study

How do online MSW programs in Florida facilitate fieldwork components to meet practical experience requirements?

While many online graduate social work programs in Florida allow students to complete coursework entirely remotely, in-person fieldwork is a crucial component of any MSW program. During this time, you’ll learn to apply classroom learning in a real-world setting and develop your skills under professional supervision. Most MSW online programs in Florida aid students in these placements, partnering with agencies statewide to ensure that students will be able to perform fieldwork within a reasonable commute.

How long will finishing my MSW in Florida online take?

The study timeline of online MSW programs in Florida can vary widely, depending on your bachelor’s degree and how much time you can devote to coursework. For example, full-time advanced standing students at The University of South Florida spend just three semesters completing their degree. In comparison, the part-time, non-advanced standing program spans eight semesters. MSW students generally take one to four years to finish their degree.

Can I earn my MSW in Florida 100% online, or do I need to go to campus?

Several online MSW programs in Florida offer entirely online options for earning your degree, so you don’t ever have to visit campus to complete coursework. However, it is important to note that you’ll need to plan to complete fieldwork at an outside facility mutually agreed upon by you and your school. Most online social work graduate programs in Florida allow students to do this fieldwork relatively close to their homes, over 10 hours per week for part-time students and 20 hours per week for full-time students.

Can I enroll in an online MSW program in Florida if I live out of state? Will it fulfill licensing requirements in my state?

It’s possible to enroll in some online MSW programs in Florida even if you live out of state, as long as the program fulfills licensing requirements in your state. However, only some schools offer this option, and schools that do may only meet requirements for a limited number of states. Confirming that a program you’re considering allows students from other states to enroll is necessary. For example, Florida State University’s CSWE-accredited MSW program prepares students for licensure in all 50 states, while the University of Central Florida’s MSW program only meets the licensure requirements for Florida.

Key Resources in Florida for Social Work Students and Professionals

  • Florida Association of School Social Workers
    This organization supports school social workers, providing professional growth and development opportunities, informational resources, and networking opportunities. FASSW membership is open to school social workers serving children in educational settings.
  • Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling
    The state board that manages social work licensure in Florida is the go-to resource for information about licensure requirements and procedures. On its site, you can find instructions about how to apply for licensure, explore examination schedules and fees, and check your application status.
  • The Florida Counseling Association
    The FCA unifies and supports professional counselors from diverse settings across Florida. The FCA fosters high-quality counseling practices by raising public awareness, promoting professional development initiatives, and through advocacy.
  • Florida Mental Health Counselors Association
    The FMHCA is a professional association dedicated to advancing the field of mental health counseling in Florida. They advocate for members, provide opportunities for skills advancement, foster professional networking opportunities, and influence policy to better the mental health landscape in the state.
  • National Association of Social Workers, Florida Chapter
    This is the Florida chapter of the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the United States. NASW offers resources to encourage professional growth, continuing education, and legal and ethical support.