Post-Master's Social Work Fellowship Accreditation

Post-Master's Social Work Fellowship Accreditation

From 2019-2022, CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) and the Fellowship Review Committee (FRC) piloted the accreditation of post-master’s social work fellowship programs. Fellowship programs are hosted by sites offering social work services in the United States, its territories, or on U.S. military installations and advance the knowledge and skills of a social work practitioner in a focused area of practice.

Unlike the academic programs accredited by COA, fellowship programs are practice-based  and not tied to degree programs in colleges and universities. The purpose of fellowship training is for trainees to obtain advanced competencies and/or core expertise and skills beyond those attained through completion of a master's degree in social work.

CSWE staff will be working in 2022 to revise fellowship accreditation materials to allow for additional fellowship programs to seek accreditation. Updates will be communicated and posted on this website as they become available.

Information for existing and developing post-master’s social work fellowship programs 

COA, FRC, and CSWE staff are currently evaluating the pilot findings. As part of this process, we learned that the original requirements (4 eligibility requirements and 4 program criteria) warranted revisions and formal accreditation standards were developed. 

The Post-Master’s Social Work Fellowship Accreditation Standards, were approved by the Commission on Accreditation (COA) during their October 2021 meeting. 

CSWE staff will be working in early 2022 to revise fellowship accreditation materials to allow for additional fellowship programs to seek accreditation. Updates to be provided as they are available.

If you have not done so already, please complete the Post-Master’s Social Work Fellowship Program Database Record Form. This will allow CSWE to have accurate details regarding social work fellowship programs and up-to-date records so we may communicate important updates.

Information for prospective, current, and former fellowship program trainees 

Admissions

Each program selects and implements their own admissions criteria. At a minimum, the Post-Master’s Fellowship Accreditation Standards, requires that the fellowship program only admit trainees that have earned a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. This includes individuals whose degree was recognized as equivalent through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service (ISWDRES) and graduates from Canadian social work programs accredited by CASWE covered by the memorandum of understanding between CSWE and CASWE.

Any questions regarding a specific fellowship program’s admission criterion should be directed at the fellowship program, directly. For a directory of accredited fellowship programs, please click here

Accreditation Status

The accreditation status obtained at initial accreditation only covers the components that were reviewed during the accreditation review process. Therefore, the accredited status only applies to the cohort that was enrolled at the time the program’s self-study was reviewed and site visit was approved and not past trainees. 

Accreditation status is not retroactively effective to previous trainees and curricula.

Licensure

Some fellowship programs, at their discretion, may provide supervision hours that can be counted towards licensure. Any questions regarding a specific fellowship program’s offerings should be directed at the fellowship program, directly. 

CSWE does not oversee social work licensure. Professional social work licensure is under the authority of a designated board within each individual state government. Your state government is responsible for regulating licensure and setting criteria required to become a licensed professional social worker. Requirements may differ by state. Contact information for individual state licensing boards can be found on the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) website or through an internet search for a licensing board for a particular state. Questions regarding licensure and professional practice should be directed to the board in your state. Questions regarding the national social work licensing exams should be directed to the ASWB, the body that publishes and administers the exams.

Questions and Updates

Questions about the accreditation of social work fellowship accreditation may be directed to [email protected]. Existing or developing fellowship programs are asked to complete the Post-Master’s Social Work Fellowship Program Database Record Form. This will allow CSWE to have accurate details regarding social work fellowship programs and up-to-date records so we may communicate important updates.