Are you community-minded and looking for a career that puts you on the front lines assisting others? Did you study psychology, sociology, or a related field as an undergrad? Good news: You’re an ideal candidate for a master’s in social work (MSW).
To work in Georgia as a fully licensed social worker, you’ll need an MSW. However, for a career in social work, your work experience can be as important as formal studies. The good news is, that an online MSW program in Georgia will give you the flexibility to work while you study, and it may even save you money. Here’s a look at some of the best Georgia online MSW programs, and what your educational experience might entail.
College Spotlights: Best Online MSW Programs in Georgia for 2024
You may find yourself evaluating multiple options for your online MSW program in Georgia. Beyond the importance of an accredited program, pay close attention to reputation, course offerings, class formats, cost, and student support offerings before you apply. Here are a few exceptional Georgia online MSW programs to consider.
The University of Georgia offers a CSWE-accredited online MSW program through its online learning division. This program is highly personalized, allowing you to choose your own “micro specialization” based on your interests and passions. Although the program is fully online, you’ll be learning in a cohort, allowing you the opportunity to bond with your classmates and share study tips as you earn your degree.
In addition to your classwork, this online MSW program in Georgia calls for field experience, which you will complete from your location over the three-year degree program. You’ll graduate with a firm grounding in the principles of social work, a specialization for the type of practice you intend to go into, and practical experience including completion of a capstone project.
- Community Organizing
- Child and Family Wellbeing Social Work
- Nonprofit Management
- Group Social Work
Another fully accredited member of the Georgia state system, Georgia State University (GSU) offers an online MSW program for aspiring social workers looking to be licensed in Georgia. This hybrid program requires only one campus visit per month and part-time online classes. The program is suitable both for students without a background in social work and those with advanced standing, who may complete their program quicker than the standard three years.
As a GSU online MSW student, you’ll specialize in community partnerships, which will train you to collaborate with marginalized and at-risk communities to deliver more effective services. This includes a focus on economic justice and maximizing human potential, particularly in historically overlooked communities.
To get started, you’ll need an application, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and transcripts. A GRE score isn’t required.
- Community Partnerships
- Advanced Standing
Kentucky may seem like a strange place to study if you’re planning for a social work career in Georgia, but the University of Kentucky has an online MSW program specifically geared toward becoming a Georgia social worker. This program, which can be completed in two years or even less if you start with advanced standing, is available fully online and prepares you to sit for the exam for licensure as a Georgia social worker.
Students beginning this program with advanced standing must have completed a BSW in the past seven years, with a final GPA of 3.5 or higher. Advanced standing allows you to complete your online MSW in as little as one year. This program offers a wide variety of specialization certificates, including military social work, school social work, and substance abuse counseling.
- School Social Work
- Military Social Work
- Child and Family Well-being Social Work
- Substance Abuse Rehabilitation
- Clinical Social Work
- Advanced Standing
Types of Master of Social Work Programs in Georgia
What You Can Do with an MSW in Georgia
For a career in social work, an MSW is imperative. This degree can be a vital step toward licensure, especially if you’re looking to work as a clinical social worker in a hospital or other clinical setting. However, there are a variety of options for your social work career, from educational settings to work in nonprofits to becoming a community organizer. Social workers and related jobs are in high demand; even if they don’t pay as much as some careers, you’ll earn a comfortable living. Here are a few career options to consider once you’ve finished your degree:
Once you’ve earned your master’s in social work online in Georgia, you may want to begin working in the field as a social worker. Social workers help vulnerable clients in clinical, family, government, and other settings, with some specifically working with vulnerable populations, such as children or those suffering from substance abuse.
|Median Annual Pay
For those who love working with children and teens, you can put the knowledge from your online MSW program in Georgia to use as a school counselor. School counselors are the people students can turn to if they’re struggling with academic or family issues or if they just need a trusted adult to go to for advice on college, careers, and more.
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Social and Community Services Manager
Looking to make important structural changes in your community? As a social and community services manager, whether you’re working for local government or a nonprofit, you’ll be helping to implement and oversee vital social programs, from family services to public health initiatives.
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Social Work Licensing Requirements in Georgia
In the state of Georgia, practicing as a Clinical Social Worker (CSW) requires you to hold a license. To apply for a license, you must apply to the secretary of state and an application fee. You’ll need to either sit for a licensure exam or, in certain circumstances, obtain an exam waiver. Exam waivers are only available for those who have never been licensed but have already passed the national CSW licensure exam.
Once you’ve passed your exam and paid your application fee, you should receive results within 20 business days. You can also be licensed as a Master Social Worker (MSW) in Georgia via exam or exam waiver through a similar process, which many who get a master’s in social work online in Georgia may choose to do.
Whether you’re obtaining an MSW or CSW license, you’ll need professional references, a notarized application, and any relevant background documents, including proof of citizenship and court documents if applicable.
Other licenses are available in Georgia for counselors and marriage and family therapists, but these don’t grant you the right to practice as a social worker. Whatever your license, you must regularly renew and maintain it to continue practicing.
Making Your Education Feasible: Exploring Financial Aid for a Master’s in Social Work Online in Georgia
Your online MSW program in Georgia will likely be expensive, so be sure to plan how you’ll fund it. In addition to tuition costs, you’ll also need a plan for covering your living expenses and transportation costs, including getting to class and work. Be sure to fill out your FAFSA on time to qualify for government-supported loans, grants, and work experience. In addition, check with your school’s office of financial aid for any school-specific aid you may qualify for and look into private scholarships as well.
How Much Your Online MSW in Georgia Might Cost
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|Est. Tuition Cost
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Georgia MSW Degrees
What are the general admission prerequisites and guidelines for entering an online MSW program in Georgia?
While every school has its own requirements, there are a few things you can expect to provide for admission into your online MSW program in Georgia. Be sure to read your program’s requirements carefully before submitting your application. Requirements may include:
- Official transcripts from your undergrad degree (sometimes with a GPA requirement)
- Application form
- Personal statement
- Professional and/or academic letters of recommendation
- CV/record of relevant work experience
- Test scores when required (usually the GRE; you will need to send official scores)
Do online MSW programs in Georgia offer flexibility in meeting fieldwork hours?
Depending on your program, you may or may not have to complete in-person fieldwork to earn your online master’s in social work in Georgia. For those programs that do have an in-person fieldwork requirement, your school will likely have a placement that can assist you in getting a fieldwork position that’s convenient to your location. However, you will likely have to be a resident of Georgia (or within commuting distance) to complete your fieldwork.
How long will finishing my MSW in Georgia online take?
Online MSW programs in Georgia vary in the time it takes to complete them. For a traditional online MSW, you’ll generally be expected to complete your degree in two to three years. Part-time programs take longer—around three to four years. Finally, if you’re beginning your Georgia online MSW with advanced standing (for instance, because you already hold a BSW), you may be able to finish your degree in as little as a year.
Can I complete my MSW degree entirely online in Georgia, or are there on-campus components?
Depending on the program, you may be able to complete your online Georgia MSW without ever setting foot on campus. Many programs, particularly those with an advanced standing option, are 100% online.
However, other Georgia online MSW programs do have either a low-residency hybrid element, which will require you to make occasional campus visits or a fieldwork element. In the case of the latter, you won’t necessarily be going to campus but will need to travel to your work experience site.
Are there any restrictions for out-of-state students looking to enroll in Georgia's online social work master's program?
If you live out of state, no rules forbid you from enrolling in a master’s in social work online in Georgia (or one geared toward future Georgia social workers, such as the University of Kentucky’s online Georgia MSW). However, be aware that the programs in Georgia are geared toward fulfilling Georgia state licensing requirements and may not fulfill the requirements for licensure (for instance, fieldwork requirements) in your state. Be sure to research your state licensure requirements if you’re not planning to become licensed in Georgia after earning your MSW.
Social Work Student and Professional Resources in Georgia
- Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage & Family Therapists
This is the state board that licenses social workers, counselors, and other professionals. Use their website to figure out your licensure requirements, arrange for your licensure exam, and submit your application.
- Georgia Society for Clinical Social Workers
Established in 1980, this professional organization is for clinical social workers based in Georgia. Become a member, attend lectures and conferences, and network with fellow Georgia clinical social workers.
- Georgia Society for Social Service Professionals (GSSSP)
The GSSSP is an umbrella organization for professionals employed in social service fields across Georgia. These include those working in public health, elder care, social services, and more. The GSSSP aims to provide ongoing education, training, and support for social services.
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Georgia Chapter
This national professional organization has chapters in every state. NASW-GA hosts regular events, lectures, and professional development meetings in person and online, provides mentorship opportunities for new professionals, and more.
- School Social Workers Association of Georgia
If you want to use your MSW in an educational setting, you’ll find colleagues in the School Social Workers Association of Georgia. This professional association focuses on professional development, networking, and advocacy.