Online Social Work Programs in Washington, DC

Social workers in Washington, D.C., help residents overcome various problems. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the District of Columbia ranked third in the nation for overdose deaths in 2017. Consequently, demand is high for D.C. social workers who focus on addiction.

As of May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the largest number of social work jobs in D.C. are in child, family, and school social work; these professionals earn a mean annual salary of $70,270. Healthcare social worker positions totaled 450 in 2018. These workers earned a mean salary of $72,090 per year, while mental health and substance abuse social workers earned a mean annual salary of $69,690.

The BLS ranks D.C. among the 10 metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the highest employment levels across all three practice areas. The BLS also lists the District of Columbia as one of the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest salaries for child, family, and school social workers.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level


Online Master's in Social Work Programs


Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Washington D.C.

The Board of Social Work licenses D.C. social workers. The board offers four types of licensure: licensed social work associate (LSWA), licensed graduate social worker (LGSW), licensed independent social worker (LISW), and licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW). The following section describes these licenses, their educational requirements, and the application processes.

Education Requirements

To become a supervised LSWA in Washington, D.C., candidates need a bachelor's degree in social work. All other licenses require at least a master of social work (MSW) from a program with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., offers a bachelor of social work program and an online MSW program, both of which boast CSWE accreditation.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

All new licensure applicants must submit an application, a $230 license fee, three character references, academic transcripts, and two passport photos. Applicants must also submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check. After receiving approval, candidates take the appropriate exam administered by the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB).

LSWAs take the ASWB bachelor's exam, which costs an additional $230. Once licensed, LSWAs can provide general services under the supervision of an LISW or LCSW. LGSW candidates pay a $230 fee and take the ASWB master's exam. LGSWs can provide general and clinical services under supervision.

LISWs must pay $260 and pass the ASWB advanced generalist exam. They must also complete 3,000 documented supervised practice hours. LISWs can provide independent nonclinical services, and those pursuing LICSW licensure can practice clinical social work under supervision. LICSWs can provide all social work services independently. LICSW candidates must complete 3,000 supervised hours and pass the ASWB clinical exam, which costs $260.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

All D.C. social worker licenses expire every odd-numbered year on July 31. During each two-year renewal period, licensed professionals must log 40 hours of continuing education, including six hours of ethics and two hours of LGBTQ+ education. Professionals can complete a maximum of 12 hours online or through home-based study. Renewal candidates must fulfil the ethics requirement in person.

The Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and Grthe eater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work offer continuing education presentations and resources.

The license renewal fee is $145.


Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Washington D.C.?

Social work schools in Washington, D.C., include the Catholic University of America. CUA offers an online, asynchronous MSW program for students who are unable to attend classes on campus. Learners in the program complete generalist practice and field internships in person. Students in the online MSW program at CUA pay an affordable per-credit tuition rate that is slightly lower than the rate for on-campus learners. CUA also offers an on-campus BSW program that comprises evening classes.

According to the BLS, social workers in the District of Columbia earn a mean annual salary of $68,300. The BLS projects mental health and substance abuse social work positions in D.C. to experience the greatest growth from 2016-2026, with a 22.4% increase.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Washington, D.C., 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 Washington D.C.

Catholic University of America

Catholic University of America is a major research college that enrolls almost 6,000 students. The college offers programs delivered by 12 schools, including the National Catholic School of Social Service. The unit has worked for more than 100 years to improve the lives of the marginalized and impoverished, partnering with organizations such as the National Institutes of Health to advance advocacy and social policy change. Faculty research focuses on areas such as homelessness, mental health, clinical social work, trauma, and gerontology.

Catholic University of America, one of the best social work schools in Washington, D.C., and it offers a CSWE-accredited bachelor's and master's in social work. MSW graduates may also pursue a Ph.D. at Catholic University of America, which offers one of the nation's oldest doctoral programs in social work.


Catholic University of America's Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The MSW offers clinical and social change concentrations.
  • Credits and Courses: The regular program comprises 60 credits, while the advanced standing option includes 30 credits. Faculty members deliver this MSW asynchronously in small classes usually capped at 25 students.
  • Completion Time: Full-time students can complete the online MSW in two years. Students may also opt for a part-time schedule that allows them to finish their degree in four years. Advanced standing students can complete the program in as little as a year of full-time study.
  • Field Education: Students must complete 1080 hours, including internships at two different agencies over two academic years. The Field Education Office helps MSW students find placement at an internship site.
  • Exam Preparation: This MSW prepares learners for the licensed graduate social work exam.
  • Transfer Policies: A student may transfer up to six credits with a minimum "B" grade from a CSWE-accredited MSW.
  • Cost: $940/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA with the GRE or MAT required for lower GPA scores. An advanced standing applicant must hold a BSW with a minimum cumulative average 3.2 GPA.

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

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