Online Social Work Programs in Indiana

The severe social worker shortage in Indiana has created a high demand for social workers in the Hoosier State, particularly for professionals who can help people who suffer from substance addiction. The state needs at least 6,000 more behavioral health professionals to fill current needs.

The expected pay for social workers in Indiana varies by location, job type, and experience. For example, child, family, and school social workers earn an average of $39,560 per year, while healthcare social workers make a mean of $50,000 annually. This guide covers education and licensure requirements for social workers in Indiana, as well as the benefits of earning an online degree.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level

Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs

Online Master's in Social Work Programs

Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Indiana

The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA) awards three types of social work licenses: licensed bachelor social worker (LBSW), licensed social worker (LSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). The PLA requires candidates at each level to meet specific education, exam, and experience requirements, as the sections below describe.

Education Requirements

All applicants must complete social work degrees. LBSW candidates must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Candidates who graduate from programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) may apply for an LBSW license without taking an examination. LSW applicants must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in social work accredited by the CSWE. LCSW applicants need a CSWE-accredited graduate degree. 

Exam Application Process and Requirements

LBSW candidates from non-CSWE programs must pass the bachelor's-level exam from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Graduates from CSWE-accredited undergraduate programs can apply for LBSW licensure without taking an examination. LSW candidates must pass the ASWB's master's-level exam and LCSW applicants must pass the organization's clinical exam. LCSW candidates can earn temporary licenses before taking the clinical exam. These permits allow professionals to begin accruing supervised clinical hours while studying for the exam.

Social work candidates at all levels must submit an application to the PLA before sitting for the exam. Once approved, the PLA sends a notice that allows applicants to register for the appropriate ASWB exam. Candidates schedule their exam through the ASWB and Pearson Vue. Pearson Vue testing centers offer these computerized exams six days per week in locations throughout Indiana. Candidates must ensure that the ASWB sends official exam score reports to the PLA to earn licensure.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

Social work licenses in Indiana expire on April 1 of even-numbered years. During each renewal cycle, all social workers must earn 40 continuing education credits. At least half of these credits must come from Category I sources, which include workshops, seminars, institutes, and symposia. Some online and home study options qualify as Category I as well. At least two continuing education credits must come from Category I courses in ethics. Candidates can earn up to 20 credits per cycle from Category II continuing education opportunities, including attending journal meetings, peer-reviewing journal articles, and serving on professional boards.

Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Indiana?

Online social work programs in Indiana provide flexible, affordable ways to earn a degree. The flexibility of online degrees allows students to continue working while they earn their degree, and some employers help cover the cost of tuition. Online students also typically save 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 Indiana 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 Indiana

Huntington University

Chartered as Central College by the United Brethren Church in 1897, HU offers campuses in Huntington, Indiana; Peoria, Arizona; and online. Offering more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs and boasting a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, HU's online bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is designed for adult learners. The curriculum provides comprehensive knowledge of biological, psychological, and social aspects of human conditions and capacities. The BSW prepares students to work with, minister to, and advocate for individuals in healthcare, education, and nonprofit careers.

HU's Online Bachelor of Science in Social Work

  • Credits and Courses: Students complete 128 credit hours of undergraduate coursework to earn a BSW. The program includes 49 credit hours of core curriculum requirements alongside advanced social work classes in social policy, addictions, and human behavior and the social environment. Learners also complete immersions, workshops, and a practicum.
  • Completion Time: Full-time students can complete HU's online BSW in four years. Students complete five-week online courses.
  • Field Education: The online BSW includes 600 hours of field experience.
  • Other Requirements: As a culminating experience, students complete a senior seminar and fieldwork practicum.
  • Exam Preparation: HU's BSW program prepares learners for licensure in any state and graduate studies in the discipline.
  • Transfer Policies: HU awards academic credit for professional and military training, for previous college coursework, and standardized test scores on an individual basis.
  • Online Student Support: Online students can access HU's library, mental health services, and academic support resources, such as free counseling and technical support.
  • Cost: $380/credit hour for adult degree programs.
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants submit high school and previous college transcripts for consideration. Learners with at least 24 credit hours do not need to submit high school documents. Additional requirements include an application fee and a questionnaire about educational goals.

Huntington University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Huntington University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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Indiana Wesleyan University

Based in Marion, Indiana, IWU provides academic programs from an additional 14 regional education centers in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. Founded as Marion College in 1920, IWU now serves over 3,000 learners each year. As an institution affiliated with the Wesleyan Church, IWU's undergraduate and graduate programs blend Methodist values and academic excellence. The online bachelor of science in social work (BSW) and master of social work (MSW) programs at IWU emphasize clinical skills while preparing students to integrate personal faith and service into social work practice.

IWU's Online Bachelor of Science in Social Work

  • Credits and Courses: IWU's BSW program comprises 120 credit hours. Learners complete required social work classes sequentially with their cohort. The social work curriculum includes coursework in intergroup relations, social welfare organization, and social research. Students also complete classes in social work practice before participating in field work seminars and placements.
  • Completion Time: Full-time students complete the BSW at IWU in four years.
  • Field Education: Students participate in two social work field placements during the BSW program. During each field placement, students complete 17 practical hours each week. In total, learners complete 400 supervised hours of field education.
  • Other Requirements: Learners enroll in field placement seminars while completing field placement hours.
  • Transfer Policies: Learners receive up to 40 credit hours of transfer coursework. IWU does not award social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.
  • Online Student Support: Online learners receive access to grant, scholarship, and loan information from readily accessible academic advisors. IWU also provides online student library services and technical support.
  • Cost: $384/credit hour.
  • Admission Requirements: Pre-social work students submit high school and previous college transcripts and can earn up to 90 transfer credits. For admission to the social work program, students participate in a formal interview with the director of the DSW program.

Indiana Wesleyan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Indiana Wesleyan University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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Indiana University - Bloomington

IU, located in Bloomington, Indiana, serves as the flagship campus for the Indiana University System. IU hosts more than 40,000 learners at its 1,933-acre campus and online. IU offers undergraduate and graduate programs through 17 schools and colleges, including the School of Social Work. Founded in 1911, the School of Social Work prepares students for careers in social work practice, research, and policy development through programs like the online master of social work degree (MSW). Learners complete foundational, concentration, and focus area coursework through a three-tiered curriculum.

IU's Online Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The MSW includes a concentration in clinical and community practice with focus-area courses in mental health and addictions.
  • Credits and Courses: Students complete 60-61 credit hours in one to four years. Foundational coursework includes social work research, social policy analysis and practice, and generalist theory and practice. Concentration classes emphasize clinical theory, community and global theory and practice, and assessment in mental health addictions. Learners also take courses in mental health addictions and practice.
  • Completion Time: IU's MSW program includes an advanced-standing accelerated full-time program that begins each May. Students can complete the program in one year. Learners can also complete an advanced-standing MSW in two years of part-time coursework. Regular-standing students complete the degree in two to four years.
  • Field Education: The MSW at IU includes three practica during which students complete a minimum of 640 field placement hours.
  • Transfer Policies: Students may only transfer three credit hours into the MSW program. The hours must come from an approved elective taken within the previous five years outside of a conferred undergraduate or graduate degree.
  • Online Student Support: IU's online resources include library access and extensive financial aid, policy, and Canvas learning management system support. Students also receive technical support.
  • Cost: $426/credit hour.
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants to IU's MSW program must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum of six courses in social or behavioral sciences. Learners with a bachelor's in social work earned within the previous five years receive advanced standing admission. Additional application materials include a personal statement and two or three letters of recommendation. Students do not need to take the GRE or MAT test for admission to IU's MSW program. Learners must apply to both the School of Social Work and to the IU Graduate Office.

Indiana University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Indiana University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis

Formed from merger of two campuses in Indianapolis, Indiana, IUPUI united Indiana University and Purdue University locations as a single entity in 1969. IUPUI offers more than 200 academic programs from its urban campus, regional centers in Fort Wayne and Columbus, and online.

As one of the schools within the Indiana University System, IUPUI hosts more than 30,000 students. IUPUI's School of Social Work provides undergraduate and graduate programs in the discipline, including a master of social work degree (MSW) with a focus in special practice areas in social work.

IUPUI's Online Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The MSW includes a concentration in clinical and community practice. The special practice areas allow students to explore military social work, mental health and addictions, and e-social work practice.
  • Credits and Courses: Students complete 60 credit hours that include foundational courses in research; diversity, human rights, and social practice; social policy analysis; and generalist theory, preparing learners for concentrations in clinical theory, community and global theory, and social policy and services. Students take 15 credit hours from the focus area as well.
  • Completion Time: Advanced standing accelerated students can complete their MSW in one year, while full-time traditional advanced learners can earn their degree in two years. Regular standing students complete the program in three to four years.
  • Field Education: IUPUI's MSW program includes three practica across the curriculum. Students complete a minimum of 640 supervised practice hours.
  • Transfer Policies: Students may transfer from another CSWE-accredited program with a letter from the program director stating they left in good standing, transcript information, and course syllabi from all complete coursework. The documents then undergo committee review.
  • Online Student Support: Resources for online students include library and digital materials access, Canvas information, and IT services.
  • Cost: $574/credit hour in-state; $716/credit hour out-of-state.
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants with a bachelor's in social work receive advanced standing admission. To apply, prospective students must submit an application to the School of Social Work and to IUPUI. Students should submit transcripts reflecting at least six courses in social and behavioral science alongside a writing sample, three references, and a resume for consideration.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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