Online Social Work Programs in North Carolina

Individuals interested in North Carolina social work careers enjoy a growing job market in a rewarding field. The state expects high growth in employment for all social work specializations, with more than 2,100 job openings each year. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16% growth in social work employment through 2026 nationwide, North Carolina expects to see 21.5% growth in employment for mental health and substance abuse social workers during that time, with an annual mean salary of $50,270.

North Carolina offers both urban and rural communities in need of social work services. Healthcare social workers help their clients with finding support, accessing vital medical services, and coping with chronic illnesses. The coastal region of the state ranks among the top nonmetropolitan areas in the nation for the employment of healthcare social workers. There, 1.14 healthcare social workers find employment per 1,000 jobs, with an annual mean wage of $65,450.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level


Online Master's in Social Work Programs


Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in North Carolina

The North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board ensures that clients receive quality service from certified clinical social workers. The state offers licensure for clinical social workers and voluntary certification for non-clinical social workers. However, social workers must seek certification to use the three certified social worker titles.

Education Requirements

An individual may seek North Carolina social work certification with a bachelor's or master's degree. The state requires graduation from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for certification and clinical licensure. Your degree should include courses in social policy; interviewing skills; practice with individuals, families, and groups; diversity; human behavior; and research. Most schools also require hands-on learning through field practicums or internships. Master's social work programs in North Carolina also offer clinical tracks that include courses on client evaluation and treatment plan development. Licensure requirements include a 600-hour clinical internship.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

Attending undergraduate or graduate schools in North Carolina for social work serves as the first step toward certification and licensure. The state's licensing begins with Level A - certified social worker, open to each individual with a bachelor's degree in social work. These applicants must pass the ASWB or Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) exams.

You do not need to begin with Level A. Instead, choose the level that corresponds to your education and career plans. An individual who wants to provide clinical services must complete a master of social work program in North Carolina or an equivalent degree from another state. They can begin with an associate clinical social worker license, which allows them to serve clients under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker. This license will enable each graduate to complete the 3,000 hours of supervised practice required for the state's clinical social worker license. This supervised experience must include direct patient care and ongoing supervision by a licensed clinical social worker. North Carolina requires submission of a passing score on the ASWB clinical exam.

Each applicant must pay a $115 application fee and must gain board approval to sit for the appropriate exam. Also, the state reviews each applicant's criminal background. Individuals with prior convictions must provide copies of their court records along with a letter of explanation.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

Your North Carolina social work license and certification remains valid for two years. Your renewal fee will depend on the type of certification you hold, from $70 for a certified social worker to $150 for a licensed clinical social worker. Each social worker must also provide documentation of 40 hours of continuing education every two years. At least four hours of training must focus on ethics. Professional seminars, conferences, and lectures can fulfill this requirement. Distance and correspondence courses from approved educational providers also ensure social workers can access appropriate training opportunities.


Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in North Carolina

Attending an online master's social work program in North Carolina allows individuals to continue their education and advance their careers while gaining additional professional experience. The unique tiered certification and licensing process used by the state allows individuals to earn an accredited degree and work as a professional social worker.

Most online programs offer flexible class schedules and accelerated courses. Asynchronous assignments allow students to balance their schoolwork with other responsibilities while maintaining academic progress. Many schools may offer discounted tuition to North Carolina residents or individuals attending fully online classes. Because social work standards require participation in internships and practicums, students should work closely with their academic advisors to identify appropriate supervised learning sites close to home.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in North Carolina 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 North Carolina

Appalachian State University

Housed within the Beaver College of Health Sciences in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian's Department of Social Work offers both bachelor of social work and master of social work programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The department requires all degree candidates to complete field placements or internships to gain practical experience in North Carolina social work.

Appalachian's Department of Social Work strives to prepare professionals who actively work towards a just society and serve vulnerable and oppressed populations. The department also partners with many Appalachian and global organizations on economic, social, and environmental justice projects.


Appalachian's Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: This hybrid program offers concentrations in individuals and families and community and organizational practice.
  • Credits and Courses: Students can finish the program by completing 60 credits. Learners with advanced standing can complete the degree with 33 credits. Students holding a bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited university and a 3.2 GPA may apply for advanced standing.
  • Completion Time: Degree candidates can graduate within three years, while learners with advanced standing can complete the program in only two years.
  • Field Education: Appalachian requires 240 hours of supervised placement in a human service agency, which provides students with field-based practice.
  • Exam Preparation: This program prepares students for the licensure exam.
  • Transfer Policies: To transfer, students must hold a cumulative 2.25 GPA and at least 30 hours of transferable credit.
  • Online Student Support: Special services for distance learners include Appalachian State Online Library Services, online resources from the student learning center and the writing center, and 24-hour online tutoring.
  • Cost: $237/credit in-state; $896/credit out-of-state.
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants must hold GRE scores less than five years old and a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Candidates must submit an online application, official transcripts, a personal statement, resume, three references, and a program selection form.

Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Appalachian State University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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