Online Social Work Programs in Hawaii

Hawaii is home to more people without homes per capita than any other state in the country. Furthermore, the state has 2,700 children in foster care and many other citizens who need help from social services. Professionals who do social work in Hawaii provide much-needed aid to these people.

Pay ranges for social workers in Hawaii vary by specialty and experience. Overall, social work jobs in Hawaii pay more than the national average. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that child and family social workers nationally earn mean annual wages of $49,760 while the same professionals in Hawaii make about $56,030 annually. These professionals also make up the largest group of social workers in the state.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level


Online Master's in Social Work Programs


Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Hawaii

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) oversees licensing for social work jobs in Hawaii. Depending on their qualifications, professionals can earn one of three licenses: licensed bachelor social worker (LBSW), licensed social worker (LSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). The following sections cover licensure requirements for each level.

Education Requirements

LBSW candidates need a bachelor's degree accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). LSW and LCSW candidates need a CSWE-accredited master's degree. In some cases, the DCCA approves applicants from non-CSWE programs that meet significantly similar standards. Such candidates can also qualify for LSW and LCSW credentials with doctoral degrees in social work from any regionally accredited university. Candidates must submit official transcripts to verify their educations.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

Once they complete their undergraduate programs, LBSW candidates must pass the bachelor's exam from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). LSW candidates must pass the advanced or clinical ASWB test and LCSW applicants must pass the clinical ASWB exam. Before sitting for the exam, all candidates must file applications with the DCCA. Once approved, candidates register for the exam through Pearson Vue, the organization that administers the test.

Candidates can take exams at any time during the year. LBSWs can access the test on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Hilo. The clinical and advanced exams are only available at the Oahu testing center.

Candidates must request that the ASWB send their official scores directly to the DCCA. Candidates can request that the ASWB send their results when they register for the test or after getting their scores.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

All licenses for social work in Hawaii expire on June 30 every three years, including 2019, 2022, and 2025. In the first renewal cycle after licensure, candidates do not need to fulfill continuing education requirements. During every cycle thereafter, all social workers must earn 45 continuing education credits per cycle, wherein each credit constitutes at least 50 minutes of instruction.

Renewal applicants must also pay fees with their applications; LBSWs pay $177, LSWs pay $222, and LCSWs pay $270. Candidates who let their licenses lapse must pay an additional $12 when they renew.


Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Hawaii?

The convenience of online learning allows students to work in the field while they earn their degrees, saving money while broadening their professional networks. Social work programs feature some in-person requirements, but online learners can typically complete these requirements at qualifying organizations near their homes. Online students also typically save money on expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Hawaii as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. We cover online bachelor's in social work, online master's in social work, and online doctorate in social work programs. All programs are regionally and CSWE accredited, and all are available entirely online.


Online Social Work Programs in Hawaii

Hawai'i Pacific University

Located in the heart of downtown Honolulu, Hawai'i Pacific University offers students a liberal arts education in a community of learners from 50 states and more than 80 countries.

The School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited bachelor of social work and master of social work.

Students can learn how to provide culturally competent services to diverse clients while advocating for social and economic justice. The hybrid MSW addresses the needs of learners with other commitments by providing flexible schedules. MSW students may benefit from a 30% tuition discount if they work in human services and their employer maintains a tuition agreement with HPU.


Hawai'i Pacific University's Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The MSW offers a Military and Veterans Affairs concentration.
  • Credits and Courses: This master's degree in social work in Hawai'i requires 60 credits for the regular program and 30 credits for the advanced standing program. Students in the military and veterans concentration can receive specialized instruction that addresses the special needs of service members, veterans, and their families. Most of the MSW classes are delivered in the evenings and on weekends, with online and hybrid courses also available.
  • Completion Time: The school offers a two- or three-year program for students in the regular track to give learners added flexibility. An advanced standing student with a CSWE-accredited BSW can complete a bridge course in the summer and begin the MSW, which they typically complete in one year.
  • Field Education: A student can complete 900 total hours, 450 hours each at two agencies that provide social work services. This school of social work partners with more than 200 agencies, including in child protection, prisons, and nursing homes, to give MSW participants many choices for their practicums.
  • Exam Preparation: This program prepares students for the ASWB exam.
  • Transfer Policies: Each student may transfer up to 15 credits from a CSWE-accredited MSW program.
  • Admission Requirements: Each applicant to the regular program must have a minimum 3.0 GPA along with prerequisite statistics and research courses. An advanced standing applicant must have a minimum 3.25 GPA.

Hawai'i Pacific University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Hawai'i Pacific University's social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is the largest college in a 10-campus system. The college has a long history of offering social work training, beginning in 1936. The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited bachelor of social work and master of social work. The school also offers a Ph.D. in social welfare. Faculty members incorporate traditional theoretical and practical methods, as well as approaches created to address local and Pacific/Asian needs.


University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The MSW offers specializations in health, gerontology, behavioral mental health, and child and family.
  • Credits and Courses: Each student can complete 57 credits, including one year of foundational courses and a year of specialized studies. In addition to the field education component, students must complete an advanced research requirement.
  • Completion Time: A student in the distance education option can complete the MSW in three years.
  • Field Education: Each student must complete 900 hours over four semesters of field education and a field integration seminar. An enrollee should expect to spend at least 16 hours per week at the practicum site.
  • Exam Preparation: This program prepares students for the ASWB exam.
  • Transfer Policies: The MSW allows students to transfer up to half of the MSW's credits from CSWE-accredited programs. Credits must have a minimum "B" grade.
  • Cost: $663/credit in-state; $1,558/credit out-of-state.
  • Admission Requirements: Each applicant must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. The MSW admits students only in the fall.

University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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