Are you searching for a meaningful and fulfilling career serving your local Michigan community? Maybe you’re known for your compassion and empathy, and you enjoy working with children, families, and struggling individuals to get them back on track to a successful life path. And with more than 10 million people calling Michigan home, you can build a prosperous and in-demand career helping people in need by earning an online master’s degree in social work in this state.
The most lucrative social work positions require a master’s degree. Fortunately, there are several affordable, flexible programs that allow you to work and balance life responsibilities while investing in your future. This guide will walk you through some of the best online MSW programs in Michigan, standard admission requirements, details about the prospective job market, and more. Keep reading to learn more about this rewarding degree that will prepare you for a successful future.
College Spotlights: Best Online MSW Programs in Michigan for 2024
Do you find yourself wanting to know more about online MSW programs in Michigan, but you’re unsure where to start? We’ve highlighted three of the best hybrid and online master’s social work programs in Michigan based on affordability, accreditation, academic quality, and student support services. Scroll down to see our three spotlighted programs to help you get started on your Michigan school search. Although these are not the only programs you should consider, these best-in-class options can help give you points of comparison as you determine the right program for you.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s Master of Social Work program prepares students to tackle both practical and theoretical approaches to social work, equipping them with the skills to improve the social and economic climate of a community. Throughout this spotlight online MSW program in Michigan, students will take courses in theory, policy, research, and practice methods; the first half of the program provides a generalist foundation of social work knowledge, while the second half prepares students for advanced practice in one of two concentrations — Clinical Social Work or Organization and Community Leadership.
Students who do not hold an undergraduate degree in social work can enroll in the regular standing program, whereas you’ll apply to the advanced standing program if you have a bachelor’s degree in social work and an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher. Requirements for admission in both MSW programs vary slightly, but both are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
- Clinical Social Work
- Organization and Community Leadership
- Regular Standing MSW
- Hybrid (including a weekend option)
- Advanced Standing MSW
Located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, Andrews University offers a robust and CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work program. You can attend either in-person or online, and this degree prepares you to work in hundreds of different settings across the social work profession — including clinical care, disaster relief, medical social work, and more. The entire program is trauma-informed and integrates education/practice with Christian faith (Andrews is a Seventh-Day Adventist institution).
Classes foster student collaboration through hands-on experience in their fieldwork component, and you can choose to specialize in one of seven high-need areas to gain further in-depth exposure to the field. The advanced MSW program spans 33 credits, which can typically be completed by full-time, BSW-holding students in one year. Prospective full-time students with a non-BSW degree can complete the regular 56-credit program within two years. Enrolling in 15 graduate credit hours costs an average of $19,000 for one semester.
- Marriage and Family
- Mental Health
- School Social Work
- International Social Work
- Social Work and Child Welfare
- Human Services Management
- Christian Ministry
- Regular MSW
- Full-Time (On-Campus or Online)
- Part-Time (On-Campus or Online)
- Advanced MSW
- Full-Time (On-Campus or Online)
- Part-Time (On-Campus or Online)
Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University’s Master of Social Work program is nationally accredited through CSWE. The program’s mission help prepare advanced practitioners of social work within divisions of service, social justice, human rights, dignity, worth, and well-being through specialized clinical and macro practice. The program is flexible depending on student status and needs and can be completed on-campus in Marquette, Michigan, or through its online “global campus” format. Both program options follow the same curriculum and course sequence, work with the same professors, and are part of the same graduating cohort of students.
Additionally, students can enroll in the 50-credit regular standing program if they don’t hold a BSW or in the 36-credit advanced standing program if they’ve already received an undergraduate degree in social work. The average cost per credit is $669 and can be completed in as little as one year, making this one of the most affordable MSW programs in the state of Michigan.
- Clinical Planning and Administration
- Policy Planning and Administration
- Regular Standing
Types of Master of Social Work Programs in Michigan
What You Can Do with an MSW in Michigan
A master’s degree in social work opens doors to many career opportunities working with people and communities throughout the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is predicted to grow 9% between 2021 through 2031, which reflects an increasing demand for social services within healthcare, government, schools, and the military in the state of Michigan.
Earning an MSW degree can lead to leadership roles within the field of social work that wouldn’t be attainable with just a bachelor’s degree. Those earning an MSW will have a greater chance of getting hired and can oversee job prospects as a mental health and substance abuse social worker, healthcare social worker, child and family social worker, correctional treatment specialist, and more.
Below, you’ll find a few examples of prospective career titles and salary ranges.
Child, Family & School Social Worker
Earning an MSW degree helps prepare you to work directly with marginalized children and families in need. Given that nearly 50% of families in Detroit currently face poverty, an MSW allows you to work and help support families and children in need who suffer from substance abuse, violence, sexual abuse and assault, family conflicts, and more. You can specialize in child and family social services to learn how to effectively advocate for clients, arrange medical services, conduct home visits, provide a safe space within schools, and more.
|Median Annual Pay
Healthcare Social Worker
Earning an MSW degree will prepare you to work with patients and families as they navigate stressful and fluctuating times coping with chronic, acute, and terminal illnesses. Healthcare social workers provide resources like linking patients with support groups and advocating on their behalf with insurance companies, while also addressing ongoing emotional and psychosocial needs through counseling and education.
|Median Annual Pay
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Worker
Earning an MSW degree will help prepare you to work with struggling individuals and navigate tense situations involving mental health and addiction. Declaring a mental health and/or substance abuse specialization within your MSW will further give you the interpersonal and leadership skills needed to arrange group therapy, develop support treatment plans for clients, be an active listener for client advocacy, and educate individuals to adopt healthier behavior.
|Median Annual Pay
Understand Social Work Licensing in Michigan
There are four types and levels of social work licensing in the state of Michigan: Limited Licenses, Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker, Licensed Master’s Social Worker, and Registered Social Service Technician. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs oversees and manages the specific requirements that must be met by each license type.
After you’ve earned your MSW from a CSWE-accredited degree program, you can apply and obtain a limited license (LLMSW) to practice within the field while obtaining supervised hours either in the macro or clinical setting. You must complete a minimum of 4,000 hours (two years of full-time) of post-master’s experience under the supervision of a Michigan-licensed, master’s-level social worker. Additionally, you must successfully pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical exam or the Advanced Generalist exam with a minimum score of 75% or higher.
Finally, once all steps above are completed, you can submit a thorough background check, complete human trafficking training, obtain official transcripts, and send any applicable fees along with the official Bureau Of Professional Licensing Master’s Social Work application to obtain social work licensing in Michigan.
Budgeting for Success: Costs for Online MSW Programs in Michigan
It’s important to understand the total financial commitment of earning an MSW in Michigan. While tuition makes up a big chunk of the cost, make sure to consider other fees associated with online MSW degrees in Michigan, including distance learning credit fees, books and materials, and more. When starting your journey, look into the different types of financial aid available to help fund your master’s degree, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs that are designed for prospective graduate students like you. Also, check if your program charges differently for in-state vs. out-of-state tuition; Andrews University, for example, charges the same no matter where you live.
Below, you’ll get an idea of the range of tuition costs you’ll find among Michigan degree programs.
How Much Your Online MSW in Michigan Might Cost
|No. of Credits
|Est. Tuition Cost
36 – Advanced Standing Program
$47,979 (Regular Standing, In-State)
33 – Advanced Standing Program
$41,811 (Advanced Standing)
36 – Advanced Standing
$24,084 (Advanced Standing, In-State)
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Michigan MSW Degrees
How do online MSW programs in Michigan assess applicants, and what factors are considered during the selection process?
Each school’s admission requirements will vary slightly, but many will include the same general requirements for admission into each respective online MSW program in Michigan. Examples of these standard requirements include:
- Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from a recognized institution
- Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- GRE test scores (not always required for admission)
- Recommendations from 1-3 professionals such as advisors, major professors, and employers
- Résumé describing employment, research, or special projects
- Personal statement or essay explaining the motivation for enrolling in graduate study
- Graduate admission application and fee
- Official transcripts
How do you meet fieldwork requirements for online MSW programs in Michigan?
To become a licensed social worker in the state of Michigan, you’ll need to complete the required fieldwork requirements while obtaining your MSW online. To ensure you successfully complete the fieldwork as approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), you will need to complete a minimum of 900 hours of supervised field instruction. So while you obtain your MSW online and remotely, most accredited programs will require in-person fieldwork.
How much time does it usually take to earn an MSW degree online in Michigan?
Many online MSW programs in Michigan take one to two years to complete. The completion time varies depending on the specific program, such as a regular MSW program or advanced standing MSW program. Additionally, whether you attend full-time or part-time as well as how fast you’re placed in your required fieldwork will impact the amount of time it takes to successfully earn an online MSW in Michigan.
Can I complete my MSW degree entirely online in Michigan, or are there on-campus components?
While you’ll find several CSWE-accredited online programs in Michigan, a minimum of 900 completed fieldwork hours are required to become a licensed social worker. This means that while completing your online coursework, you will have to work in the field up to three days a week in an academic semester to fulfill your degree requirements. Some schools — like Michigan State University — also offer a hybrid MSW program that combines in-person courses with independent online courses.
Are there any restrictions for out-of-state students looking to enroll in Michigan's online social work master's program?
The majority of online MSW programs in Michigan allow you to live out of state and still enroll in the program. This is one of the many advantages of earning an MSW online in Michigan, as working students can have the flexibility and convenience of investing in their education online around their schedule and from anywhere with an internet connection. Some hybrid MSW programs — like the statewide blended program at Michigan State University — do require students to live within 50 miles of the Michigan border to enroll in the program. Additionally, most online MSW programs in Michigan will require students to complete their fieldwork within the United States. Always check admission requirements for online MSW programs in Michigan before applying.
Social Work Student and Professional Resources in Michigan
- State of Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
The goal of this office is to protect people and promote business in Michigan through transparent and accessible regulatory solutions. They provide licensing information, applications, FAQs, and more to become a licensed social worker in Michigan.
- Michigan Association of School Social Workers (MASSW)
The only professional organization in Michigan wholly dedicated to the advocacy and support of school social work services, the MASSW actively promotes the educational and professional growth of members to ensure that the highest standards of practice are upheld.
- National Association of Social Workers (Michigan Chapter)
This is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with 115,000 members. NASW-Michigan aims to support, promote, and advocate for professional social work practice, practitioners, and the social work profession, and to improve the quality of life for the people of Michigan.
- Student Social Work Association (Central Michigan University)
This group exists to enhance the learning experience of students with an interest in the social work profession through workshops, guest speakers, and networking. You’ll find information and support through membership and community projects.
- The School of Social Work Student Government (University of Michigan)
This elected student organization upholds its mission to support and encourage coordination and integration of the efforts of students and faculty to achieve greater academic excellence, student success, social justice, and equality. It serves as the voice of the student body within the school and works in partnership with many school social work student organizations.