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Best Online MSW Programs in Texas

Considering getting your MSW? To help you find the right program, we’ve rounded up the best online social work master’s programs in Texas. Plus, check out our tips to make the most of your degree.

Becoming a social worker provides an amazing opportunity to connect Texans with the resources they need to overcome life’s challenges — from unemployment in El Paso to drug addiction in Dallas. By attending an online social work master’s program in Texas, you’ll get the education and experience necessary to help others and attract better opportunities, all while benefiting from the flexibility of online learning.

And although social workers don’t always earn top dollar, you can maximize your income and access more job opportunities by earning your MSW. In fact, graduates of MSW programs increase their annual income by $12,116 compared to those with just a bachelor’s.

So, whether you’re looking to boost your current social work career or you’re just entering the field, a high-quality online MSW program in Texas could be your best career move. To help you pinpoint the program that’s right for you, we’ve created this guide to online MSW programs in Texas. We’ll walk you through some of Texas’s best programs, what to look for, and how an MSW will positively impact your career.

College Spotlights: Best Online MSW Programs in Texas for 2024

When researching programs, it can be hard to tell which ones check all the boxes, both in terms of price and top-quality education. To jumpstart your search, we’ve researched popular programs in Texas. The following three schools stood out in terms of affordability, flexibility, and student support resources. All three are great online options to begin or advance your social work career. See what programs won best-in-class in 2024.

University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington offers several high-quality online social work master’s programs in Texas. The offerings include hybrid and fully online options, both for those entering the field and for social workers looking to advance their careers. To make the program even more flexible, students can choose from a wide variety of specializations and take coursework on a part-time or full-time basis.

In the traditional program, students combine foundational courses with classes in their chosen specialty. Because advanced-standing students already have a bachelor’s degree in social work, they only take courses in their specialty. The University of Texas at Arlington also provides unique support resources for online students. For example, the cohort program lets students collaborate with a group of peers. Students don’t need to submit their GRE to apply to this online MSW program in Texas, making it an attractive option.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Hybrid

Specializations:

  • Aging
  • Children and Family
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • Community and Administrative Practice
  • Clinical

Program Options:

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

University of Houston

Social workers looking to advance their careers and individuals looking to enter the social work field should consider the flexible online program from the University of Houston. All students choose between a macro or clinical specialization and take 34 credits of coursework in their specialization.

Students in the advanced track who already are licensed social workers only need those 34 credit hours and can graduate in a year or less. Traditional students take 17 credit hours of foundational coursework and can graduate in as little as 1 1/2 years, though most students take two to three years.

Along with the fieldwork requirement outlined by the state, students can also elect to participate in a focused work opportunity. These unique opportunities let students experience different social work career tracks before choosing a specialty. While all coursework can be completed online, focused work opportunities and fieldwork are typically completed in person.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Hybrid

Specializations:

  • Macro
  • Clinical

Program Options:

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

Baylor University

Baylor University offers one of the best online social work master’s programs in Texas in terms of flexibility and speed of completion. The program is designed to meet students where they are, whether that’s to provide an advanced standing degree to current social workers or a traditional MSW to students entering the social work field. Students can enroll on a part- or full-time basis, with an accelerated option available for the traditional program.

The curriculum consists of two semesters of foundational courses (which advanced standing students don’t have to complete) before two semesters of work in a student’s specialization. Accelerated, traditional students will take a heavy, one-semester course load of foundational work before starting their specialization. Students can complete all coursework online; however, many fieldwork placements will be completed in person at a community partner near the student’s home. Traditional students typically graduate in two years while advanced standing students graduate in one year.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • Hybrid

Specializations:

  • Clinical
  • Community Practice

Program Options:

  • Advanced Standing
  • Traditional
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Accelerated

Types of Master of Social Work Programs in Texas

Traditional MSW Programs in Texas

If you don’t have a bachelor’s in social work, you can still get your MSW in a traditional program. Usually, these programs take a bit longer (three years on average) and often include coursework and fieldwork experience. Typically coursework combines foundational courses in the field with more advanced ones, including the option to specialize in a specific type of social work. For the fieldwork requirement, most students complete internships or community projects, which must be in person.

Traditional MSW Programs in Texas Worth Exploring

No-GRE MSW Programs in Texas

Typically, a student must submit their GRE or GMAT test scores as part of their MSW application. However, some high-quality online social work master’s programs in Texas don’t require GRE or GMAT scores. These online social work master’s programs in Texas offer the same rigorous education as those that require the GRE; because of that, they’re becoming more common.

No-GRE MSW Programs in Texas Worth Exploring

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in Texas

If you already have your social work license and a bachelor’s degree in the field, you might be eligible for advanced standing online MSW programs in Texas. In these programs, students complete their coursework faster, skipping foundational courses and some fieldwork requirements. Typically students graduate from these programs in one year; many are designed for those who work full time in the field while getting their degree. These programs can also satisfy the state’s continuing education policy for social workers.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in Texas Worth Exploring

Part-Time MSW Programs in Texas

If you’re getting your degree while working full-time or handling a variety of work and life responsibilities, you might want to consider a part-time MSW program. While these programs can take three years or longer to complete, students take fewer courses each semester, freeing up more time for work and life. Part-time students usually pay less per semester, spreading out the financial burden of an MSW.

Part-Time MSW Programs in Texas Worth Exploring

What You Can Do with an MSW in Texas

Most graduates start careers as social workers, a job that requires empathy, case management skills, and the ability to find solutions for individual and community problems. An MSW can lead to a wide variety of work environments, as outlined in this blog post from Baylor University. These include working in healthcare settings, at a private therapy practice, for a government organization, or at a nonprofit.

Across all environments, social workers are in high demand in Texas. In fact, the field is growing 9% each year and Texas is facing a social worker shortage. Both a BSW and MSW allow you to enter the field, but an MSW provides a competitive edge in the job search, as well as the qualifications needed for higher-paying jobs.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers play an integral role for families and individuals dealing with chronic illnesses. They help patients and their loved ones manage their medical needs and connect them with healthcare providers. Sometimes, healthcare social workers also set up public health training with Texas hospitals.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$38,520

$60,280

$87,830

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Social and Community Service Managers

Throughout Texas, private and state-funded organizations host events and programs to help the community. Social and community service managers organize these programs and manage workers and volunteers. Because this position has a large leadership element, many employers prefer candidates with an MSW.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$46,550

$74,000

$118,650

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

School and Career Counselors

Those interested in helping people make professional decisions should consider becoming a school and career counselor. In this role, social workers work with individuals to decide on jobs and/or universities they’d like to apply to. Sometimes they also lead community workshops on professional development. Counselors can work in secondary schools, universities, or nonprofits.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$37,550

$60,510

$98,190

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Understanding Social Work Licensing in Texas

To work as a social worker in Texas, you must be licensed by the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners. The online application is on the board’s website, although you’ll have to acquire some supplemental materials before applying. These include a degree from a state-approved MSW program, any past professional licenses, and ASWB licensure exam results.

Once you have these materials, log into the online portal and start an application to become a licensed social worker. The steps to complete the application include:

  • The online application starts by asking you for personal details, including your home address and military status.
  • Next it requests information on your criminal history.
  • After that you will enter details on your education and any past professional licenses. While they’re mandatory to report, past professional licenses aren’t a requirement.
  • The final steps are adding any supplemental materials and reviewing the application. Once ready to submit, click the “submit” button and pay the application fee.

After submission, you’ll need to send your transcripts and a fingerprint test directly to the board.

Budgeting for Success: Costs for Online Social Work Master’s Programs in Texas

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of a master’s degree is $65,134. Of course, the cost of tuition varies between degree types, institutions, programs, etc. Fortunately, online programs are often more affordable than their in-person counterparts.

However, the national average doesn’t tell the full story. There are many more affordable online MSW programs in Texas, as reflected in the chart below. Students in Texas also have access to many financial aid options that can help lower the cost. These include:

There are also Texas-specific financial aid options, such as the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant and this list of scholarships for Texas residents.

How Much Your Online MSW in Texas Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Tuition Cost

58

$1,100

$63,800

62

$357.36

$22,156.32

51

$474.76

$24,212.76

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Texas MSW Degrees

How do online MSW programs in Texas assess applicants and what factors are considered during the selection process?

When reading through applications, admissions committees are looking for specific experience and education. Most online MSW programs in Texas have similar requirements, including:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • A transcript demonstrating successful completion of undergraduate coursework
  • GMAT or GRE test scores
  • Essays
  • Short answer questions

However, the requirements vary from program to program. The University of Houston and the University of Texas at Arlington don’t require standardized test scores while other programs do. Texas A&M requires work experience for its advanced standing program. To know what requirements you’ll need to meet, check out the admissions page for each program of interest.

How do you meet fieldwork requirements for online MSW programs in Texas?

Usually, fieldwork for online social work master’s programs in Texas is completed in person, even though coursework is virtual. In most programs, such as the one at the University of Houston, students complete fieldwork close to their place of residence instead of commuting to campus. In some online MSW programs in Texas, you might be able to pursue a 100% online fieldwork experience, provided you can find a partner that provides virtual work experience related to your field. However, from our research, we couldn’t find any programs that could guarantee or provide examples of students who successfully completed online fieldwork.

How much time does it usually take to earn an MSW degree online in Texas?

On average, online MSW programs in Texas take one to three years to complete. However, this varies greatly depending on the program’s requirements, the pacing of the online program, and whether you’re studying on a part-time or full-time basis.

For a better idea of how long your program will take, check out the average duration for five online social work master’s programs in Texas:

Can I complete my MSW degree entirely online in Texas, or are there on-campus components?

In many programs, you can earn your degree without setting foot on campus. 100% online social work master’s programs in Texas include the ones at Baylor University and the University of Texas at Arlington. Some programs include in-person components, such as a one-time orientation or an on-site internship. Internships, often called fieldwork, can be completed near a student’s home, however, orientations typically are on campus. Check with each program you apply to for any in-person requirements.

Are there any restrictions for out-of-state students looking to enroll in a Texas online social work master's program?

As an out-of-state resident, you can enroll in online MSW programs in Texas. However, there’s a difference between enrolling in a program and knowing the program will allow for licensure in your state. When you enroll in an MSW program in Texas, you’re on track to be licensed in Texas, not all 50 U.S. states.

There isn’t a reciprocity program between states, meaning there’s no guarantee your Texas coursework will make you eligible for licensure in another state. With that being said, most states, such as California, have out-of-state licensure requirements outlined by their state board.

Social Work Student and Professional Resources in Texas

  • National Association of Black Social Workers
    This national organization provides networking events, career development resources, and more. In Texas, the group has four chapters: North Texas, South Texas, Houston, and Prairie View.
  • National Association of Social Workers (Texas Chapter)
    Texas’s chapter of the National Association of Social Workers provides students and professionals with resources to further their education and careers. As a student member, you can attend networking events, find careers and internships, and more.
  • Texas School Social Work Network
    If you want to work in a school setting, consider joining this organization. Members enjoy lectures from guest speakers, networking events, and job and internship listings.
  • Texas Society for Clinical Social Work
    Anyone looking to enter the field of clinical social work and research should consider joining this organization. Membership benefits include access to networking events, study groups, and more.
  • Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners
    As the licensure board for the state, students in online MSW programs in Texas should be familiar with this organization. Along with providing licensure, the organization offers resources to answer questions about the process.