Online Social Work Programs in Ohio

Social workers provide invaluable services to Ohio residents. Social workers help clients overcome problems related to abuse, addiction, disabilities, educational difficulties, mental illness, poverty, and unemployment.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Ohio had the second-highest number of opioid overdose deaths in 2017. Welfare Info reports that Ohio has a 25% poverty rate among children under age six. Consequently, social workers focusing on addiction and children's issues can typically find work in Ohio.

As of May 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the largest number of social worker jobs in North Dakota (10,090) are in child, family, and school social work; these professionals earn a mean annual salary of $45,030. Healthcare social worker positions totaled 7,120 in 2018, and the BLS reports these social workers earn a mean annual salary of $52,910. Mental health and substance abuse social worker jobs numbered 6,030, and these professionals earn a mean salary of $44,840 per year.

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 Ohio

The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board licenses Ohio social workers. The state offers three types of licenses: licensed social worker (LSW), licensed independent social worker (LISW), and LISW with supervision designation (LISW-S). The following section describes the educational requirements and application processes associated with each type of license.

Education Requirements

LSW applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree in social work from an accredited program and must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor's exam. LISW and LISW-S candidates need a master's degree in social work from a program with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). These candidates must also pass the ASWB clinical or advanced generalist exam and complete at least 3,000 hours of postgraduate practice supervised by an LISW-S.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

LSW and LISW applicants complete an online application and undergo state and FBI background checks. They must provide academic transcripts and watch the licensing board's laws and rules video online. After receiving board approval, candidates take the appropriate ASWB exam.

LSW candidates pay an $83.50 application fee and a $230 exam fee. Licensed LSWs can practice social work with supervision.

After completing 3,000 supervised clinical hours, LISW applicants submit documentation from their supervisors and pay a $103.50 application fee. The exam fee for LISW candidates costs $260. After licensing, LISWs can provide all social work services without supervision.

LISWs can apply for the LISW-S credential, which qualifies holders to supervise LSWs. LISW-S candidates must log one year of experience as an LISW and must complete training in supervision through continuing education or master's coursework.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

Ohio social work licenses expire every two years. Professionals must renew their licenses by midnight of the expiration date.

Active license holders must complete 30 continuing education (CE) hours every two years, including three hours of education in ethics. LISW-S license holders also complete three CE hours in supervision. The licensing board must approve CE hours prior to renewal. The board allows social workers to fulfill all CE requirements online. The Ohio chapter of the National Association of Social Workers provides a list of online and in-person CE opportunities.

LSWs pay an $83.50 renewal fee, and LISWs pay $103.50 to renew their licenses.


Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Ohio?

Online social work degree programs are ideal for students who are unable to attend classes in person. Distance programs provide flexibility and convenience through virtual coursework. However, online social work programs typically require in-person attendance for practicums, internships, or on-campus training sessions. Hybrid programs include both in-person and online courses.

Tuition for online master's programs in Ohio are typically comparable to the rate for on-campus programs — approximately $700-$1,500 per credit. The BLS projects the growth of social work jobs in Ohio from 2016-2026 to meet or exceed the projected nationwide increase of 16%.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Ohio 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 Ohio

Union Institute & University

Founded in 1964 to serve adult learners, Union delivers courses from locations in Cincinnati, Ohio; Hollywood, Florida; and Los Angeles and Sacramento, California. The university ranks 84th among best online bachelor's programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Union offers majors in hybrid and online programs, including an online bachelor of science degree in social work. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the social work major provides learners with real-world training in social work through field experience and online assignments. Union also encourages degree candidates to apply their professional knowledge toward achieving social justice and change.


Union's Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work

  • Credits and Courses: Degree candidates must acquire 120 credits to complete the program. The social work major requires a minimum of 48 credits.
  • Completion Time: Completion time varies depending on number of transfer credits and course load per semester. Learners can begin classes every eight weeks.
  • Field Education: Students must fulfill a minimum of 400 hours of field practicum work with concurrent enrollment in a seminar.
  • Other Requirements: Distance learners must complete two social work field practicums and a seminar.
  • Transfer Policies: Union accepts up to 90 semester hours in transfer credits for previous college or work experience.
  • Online Student Support: Distance learners receive access to academic and career services.
  • Cost: $545/credit hour.
  • Admission Requirements: Students who demonstrate satisfactory academic progress may apply for admission to the social work major. Learners must also complete two introductory social work courses before applying.

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

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Case Western Reserve University

Founded in 1915, the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU ranks ninth among best schools for social work in the country and first in the state of Ohio, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Ohio social work school boasts an alumni network of more than 8,000 learners in 41 different countries. The Mandel School also sees high employment for recent graduates, with 92% of learners finding jobs within months of receiving a degree. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), CWRU's social work school prepares leaders for a career in social work through programs such as the online master of science in social administration degree.


CWRU's Master of Science in Social Administration Degree

  • Concentrations: Children, youth, and families; community practice for social change; mental health.
  • Credits and Courses: Depending on their bachelor's degree, students may pursue either a traditional or advanced standing track. The traditional track requires 60 credits, while learners with advanced standing must earn 36 credits. Regardless of track, all degree candidates must fulfill 11 credits of field education courses. Courses follow a synchronous format.
  • Completion Time: Students in the traditional track can complete the program in eight semesters, or two and a half years, while learners with advanced standing may graduate in six semesters, or two years. Each semester includes two terms, with a short break between terms.
  • Field Education: Unlike many other Ohio social work schools, the Mandel School gives students the opportunity to choose their field placement settings. Degree candidates must complete field experience and coursework concurrently. The degree requires 450 hours in the generalist practicum and 600 hours in the specialized practicum.
  • Exam Preparation: The Mandel School provides a licensing exam preparation course to prepare learners for the national social work licensing exam.
  • Transfer Policies: CWRU awards transfer credit for coursework completed within the past seven years, including credits earned in programs other than social work. Learners must earn a B or better in all transferable coursework. Students may apply up to six semester hours toward a master's degree in social work.
  • Online Student Support: Distance learners receive access to academic and field faculty advisors.
  • Cost: $1,517/credit for part-time students (1-12 credits); $22,750/semester for full-time students (13-16 credits).
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7. The school may request a personal interview. Applicants must submit all transcripts, a two-part essay consisting of a personal statement and an analytical essay, a current resume, and three letters of recommendation.

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

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Ohio State University

Located in Columbus, OSU's College of Social Work strives to embrace differences and promote social and economic justice through teaching and leadership. The oldest continuously accredited public social work program in the country, Ohio State's College of Social Work offered the university's first social work course in 1875 and awarded the first bachelor's degree in 1916. Housed in Stillman Hall, this Ohio State social work institution also ranks 13th among best schools for social work, according to U.S. News & World Report. The College of Social Work airs a social work podcast and holds monthly diversity conversations, which remain open to all students.


OSU's Online Master of Social Work Degree

  • Concentrations: Degree candidates can choose a concentration in mental health and substance misuse or child and youth services.
  • Credits and Courses: OSU's advanced standing program requires 43 credits, while the traditional program requires 63 credits. Through asynchronous courses, students submit assignments and activities on their own schedule each week.
  • Completion Time: With advanced standing, learners can complete the degree full-time in three semesters, or part-time in two years. With the traditional program, full-time students can graduate in two years, while part-time learners can finish in 3-4 years.
  • Field Education: All advanced standing students must complete 224 hours of generalist field placement and 672 hours of advanced field placement. Distance learners in the traditional program much complete a total of 896 field hours. OSU matches learners with one of 800 agencies in the country.
  • Transfer Policies: Master's students may transfer up to 18 quarter hours or 12 semester credits from another college or university. OSU only accepts coursework taken within the past six years for transfer credit.
  • Online Student Support: Distance learners receive several student services, including academic advising, career services, and remote access to the library's resources.
  • Cost: $6,500/semester for full-time students (8-18 credits).
  • Admission Requirements: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and at least 15 quarter credits or 10 semester credits of coursework in the social sciences. OSU does not require GRE test scores.

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

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