Online Social Work Programs in New York

After earning a degree in social work, New York professionals improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. These individuals facilitate access to services, offer counseling, and advocate on behalf of those in need. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects national demand for social workers of all specializations to increase 16% from 2016-2026. Factors driving this growing demand include increasing student enrollment numbers, the aging baby boomer population, and a rising number of people seeking help for substance abuse issues.

Average New York social work salaries vary depending on specialization. According to the BLS, child, family, and school social workers earn an average of $58,050 annually. Mental health and substance abuse social workers earn an average of $62,130. Healthcare social workers earn an average of $62,280 per year. The New York City-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan area employs the highest number of healthcare; mental health; and child, family, and school social workers of any metropolitan area in the nation, according to the BLS.

The sections below cover the top social work grad schools in New York and explore the professional licensure process.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level


Online Master's in Social Work Programs


Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in New York

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is the social work licensing board for professionals throughout the state. NYSED provides two types of professional licensure: licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). The sections below review education and exam requirements, licensure application procedures, and renewal requirements.

Education Requirements

To qualify for LMSW or LCSW licensure, candidates must possess a master's degree in social work. Candidates do not need a degree from a program with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), but programs must meet certain criteria. Master's programs must require at least 60 credits to graduate, cover specific curricula content areas, and include a field practicum of at least 900 hours (for LMSW candidates) or at least 1,600 hours (for LCSW candidates). Licensure applicants in New York must also complete coursework in the identification and reporting of child abuse.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

To obtain LMSW or LCSW licensure in New York, candidates must pass a master's or clinical examination, respectively. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) administers these exams. Eligibility requirements for ASWB exams include a master's degree in social work and, for LCSW applicants, supervised experience in diagnosis and psychotherapy. Each applicant's graduate school and clinical experience supervisor must submit forms to NYSED verifying the candidate meets the requirements.

Prior to taking the exam, applicants must submit a completed application for licensure and a $294 fee to NYSED. After obtaining approval from the licensing board, New York licensure applicants must register with ASWB to take the exam. Candidates can register through the ASWB website and must submit a separate registration fee of $230-$260. New York licensure applicants who previously passed their ASWB exam in another jurisdiction can request a score transfer to NYSED.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

While practicing social work, New York professionals must renew their license every three years. To qualify for licensure renewal, LMSW and LCSW professionals must pay $224 in re-registration fees and have completed 36 hours of continuing education during the three-year period. To fulfill continuing education requirements, professionals can take courses from an NYSED-approved provider, author an article or book related to social work practice, teach a course at a higher education institution or NYSED-approved continuing education provider, or complete a self-study program from an NYSED-approved provider. Self-study activities can comprise no more than 12 hours of an applicant's 36 required hours.


Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in New York?

Aspiring professionals can complete the education requirements for licensure through one of many online social work programs in New York. Online learning often provides enhanced flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Students may pay less than $800 per credit in tuition and fees for online graduate social work programs in New York. Online learners typically complete weekly assignments according to their own schedule and supervised clinical hours at an approved location near their home.

New York offers some of the country's best job outlooks and highest salary potentials for social workers. Depending on their specialization, professionals often $58,000-$67,000 annually.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in New York 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 New York

Adelphi University

Adelphi University began as Adelphi College in 1896 with an opening enrollment of 57 students and 16 faculty members, and the school achieved university status in 1929. Adelphi's School of Social Work ranks among the top graduate social work institutions in the country. It offers an online MSW program with multiple onsite learning residencies at the Long Island campus. Faculty members come with diverse research interests and professional expertise, creating a dynamic learning environment and giving students the chance to explore a range of social work subfields.


Adelphi University Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The program offers a concentration in advanced direct practice and optional specializations in mental health, substance abuse, and trauma; health across the lifespan; children and families; and human services management and organizational leadership.
  • Credits and Courses: Students need 64 credit hours to graduate. Courses last eight to 15 weeks. Students enroll in sequential courses and take six to 10 credit credits each semester.
  • Completion Time: Advanced standing students: 15 months; standard MSW students: three years (eight or nine semesters)
  • Field Education: Standard MSW students: 1,200 hours; one-year residency students: 900 hours; advanced standing students: 600 hours.
  • Other Requirements: The program requires online students to attend two intensive residencies each year — in August and January — the week before the start of the academic semester. Residencies last two to four days.
  • Exam Preparation: After completing the program, students are eligible to sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam.
  • Transfer Policies: The School of Social Work considers up to 12 credits for transfer, as long as the credits were earned at another CSWE-accredited graduate program within five years of matriculation. Students must have achieved a grade of B or higher.
  • Online Student Support: Online students can access the same student services as on-campus students, including technical support, digital library materials, and library services.
  • Cost: Full-time students (12-17 credits): $19,115/semester; part-time students (1-11 credits): $1,180/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. No GRE is required to be considered for admission.

Adelphi University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSCHE). Adelphi University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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Columbia University in the City of New York

When Columbia University opened in 1754 as King's College, its enrollment was eight students. Today, the university enrolls more than 33,000 students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. The Columbia School of Social Work began offering social work programs in 1898, the first university in the country to do so.

Today the school offers seven fields of practice, two of which are available online — family, youth, and children's services; and health, mental health, and disabilities. Online students can also choose from four method concentrations. The online MSW program follows a cohort model and ranks third among the country's top graduate social work programs.


Columbia University Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: CSSW offers concentrations in advanced clinical social work practice, policy practice, and social enterprise administration.
  • Credits and Courses: Students must earn 60 credit hours to complete the program — 42 credits of coursework and 18 credits of field education.
  • Completion Time: Advanced standing students: one year; extended program students: three to four years; reduced residency students: three years; transfer program students: two years
  • Field Education: Two-year and extended program students: 1,200 hours; advanced standing and transfer students: 600 hours; reduced residency students: 900 hours
  • Exam Preparation: Graduates are qualified to sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam.
  • Transfer Policies: Students can transfer a maximum of nine credits from another CSWE-accredited program.
  • Online Student Support: Online students can access the same student services as on-campus enrollees, including career guidance and academic counseling.
  • Cost: $1,626/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. There is no GRE requirement for admission.

Columbia University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Columbia University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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Fordham University

Fordham University was founded in 1841 as a diocesan institution known as St. John's College. With an initial enrollment of six students, Fordham achieved university status in 1920, at which time the school assumed its current name. Today, more than 16,000 students attend the university. The Graduate School of Social Service offers an online MSW program that prepares graduates to practice across all areas of social work. The program follows a cohort model and ranks among the best online graduate social work programs in the country (25 out of 262 schools).


Fordham University Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The program offers concentrations in individuals and families, organizations and community, evaluation, and policy practice and advocacy.
  • Credits and Courses: Traditional MSW students: 66 credits of foundation and advanced practice coursework; advanced standing students: 33 credits of advanced practice coursework
  • Completion Time: Traditional MSW students: four to eight terms; advanced standing students: two to four terms
  • Field Education: Traditional MSW students: 1,200 hours; advanced standing students: 600 hours
  • Exam Preparation: The MSW program prepares graduates to take the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam after graduation.
  • Online Student Support: Online MSW students can access several student services, including academic counseling and field education assistance.
  • Cost: $949/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The school reviews applications holistically. Advanced standing applicants must submit the transfer student field evaluation form along with other application documents.

Fordham University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Fordham University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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Keuka College

Founded in 1890, Keuka College currently enrolls more than 3,000 students. The school offers 31 bachelor's degrees and seven master's degrees. The MSW program at the college builds on generalist social work practice and prepares graduates to engage in clinical work or take on more research-focused roles in the field. The faculty consists of practitioners with a professional background and experience in diverse social work areas, including women's rights issues, traumatic brain injury, domestic violence, and advocacy for disabled and underserved populations. The MSW program requires students to write, present, and defend their thesis prior to earning the degree.


Keuka College Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: None
  • Credits and Courses: Advanced standing students: 35 credits; traditional students: 65 credits
  • Completion Time: Advanced standing students (full-time): 10 months; advanced standing students (part-time): 21 months; traditional students: 2 years
  • Field Education: Advanced standing students: 500 hours; traditional students: 900 hours
  • Exam Preparation: After graduating from the program, students can sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam.
  • Online Student Support: Online students can access several student services, including writing center assistance, academic counseling, and career planning.
  • Cost: $745/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Foundation students need a bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited institution. Advanced standing applicants must have a bachelor's in social work degree. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for all applicants.

Keuka College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Keuka College's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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University at Buffalo

The University at Buffalo began as a private medical college in 1846 and merged with the SUNY system in 1962. Today, the school enrolls more than 31,000 students and offers more than 125 bachelor's degrees and 320 certificate, graduate, and professional programs. The School of Social Work at the university offers programs developed from trauma-informed and human rights perspectives, giving students the chance to gain a deeper, broader understanding of both issues. Social work courses reflect and support the school's commitment to community-based research. The program ranks among the best online graduate social work programs in the country (25 out of 262 schools).


University at Buffalo Master of Social Work

  • Credits and Courses: Advanced standing program: 35 credits; traditional program: 60 credits
  • Completion Time: Advanced standing program: 1.5 years (five semesters); traditional program: three years (nine semesters)
  • Field Education: Advanced standing program: 450 hours; traditional program: 900 hours
  • Exam Preparation: The MSW program prepares graduates to take the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam.
  • Transfer Policies: The program accepts up to six transfer credit hours (three credit hours for advanced standing students). Transfer credits can come from a non-social work field if they were earned at an accredited institution within six years of applying at the university.
  • Online Student Support: Online students can access a variety of student support services, including academic counseling and mental wellness services.
  • Cost: Part-time New York resident: $736.46/credit; part-time nonresident: $798.67/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Traditional program applicants need a bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited college or university. Advanced standing applicants must have an undergraduate degree in social work. Both programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0.

The University at Buffalo is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The University at Buffalo's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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