Student Questions

Questions:
  • Answer

    The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is the association of boards that regulate social work. ASWB develops and maintains the social work licensing examination used across the country and is a central resource for information on the legal regulation of social work. Through the association, social work boards can share information and work together. ASWB also is available to help individual social workers and social work students with questions they may have about licensing and the social work examinations.

  • Answer

    The letters BSW and MSW refer specifically to the degrees Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work but tend to be used generically, at either level, to designate a social work degree. Although BSW and MSW are the most common, some accredited social work education programs use other designations, e.g., MSSW (Master of Science in Social Work), MSS (Master of Social Service), and even MA (Master of Arts). The title of the academic degree does not matter as long as it is granted by a program accredited by CSWE.

  • Answer

    The typical master’s degree program consists of the equivalent of 2 years’ full-time study. Some programs will grant advanced standing to applicants who hold a baccalaureate degree from a program accredited by CSWE. The extent of advanced standing varies from program to program. You should contact individual master's programs for information about advanced standing. Some advanced-standing programs allow for completion of the master’s degree in a single calendar year (usually three concurrent semesters). A "5-year" master’s program would really be a normal 4-year baccalaureate program with an advanced-standing master’s degree year.

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    Please view CSWE's online Directory of Accredited Programs and search for a program by name, city, or state.

  • Answer

    CSWE is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting body for social work education in the United States. Social work education programs that are accredited by CSWE have met a series of rigorous standards designed by leading social work educators and practitioners to ensure that students are adequately prepared for professional practice. Membership in the National Association of Social Workers and the social work licensing laws in most states require graduation from a CSWE-accredited program. The profession of social work in the United States looks to CSWE-accredited programs to produce individuals who have the knowledge and skills to be professional social workers. Your chances of being licensed or hired as a social worker are greatly enhanced by an accredited social work degree.

  • Answer

    Social work is a profession that distinguishes itself through its own body of knowledge, values, and ethics. Although graduates of the other fields listed may, in various states, be employed by social service agencies and perform many functions that social workers do, their education and background knowledge are not distinctly that of a social worker. Please contact the accrediting bodies of the fields mentioned above to learn more specific information. Social work education not only focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and theory but also requires that students have field experiences in the last year of a baccalaureate program and in the 2 years of a master's program. This field experience provides students with an opportunity to practice skills learned and to apply knowledge and theory in actual practice settings.

  • Answer

    If you do not have a baccalaureate degree yet, the first step is to earn this degree in social work. If you already have a baccalaureate degree in another field, you could set your sights on a master’s degree in social work. A social work degree is desirable when looking for any job in the human services. A master’s degree is advisable for advanced practice, supervisory, management, or program development positions.

  • Answer

    First, you should check with your institution’s school, college, or department of social work to see what financial aid programs that apply to social work may be available at your institution and within your state.

    Visit CSWE's pages on CSWE Scholarships and Fellowships and Student Funding Opportunities

    See also NASW-California Chapter's Financial Aid Resources for Social Work Education and NASW’s information on loan forgiveness programs.