Master's Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

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Updated January 4, 2023

Looking for the best Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) in Pennsylvania? You should consider these top-tier institutions and jobs in the social work field.

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Master's Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

Earning a Master's Degree in Social Work in Pennsylvania

The best social work degrees in Pennsylvania are offered from accredited colleges and universities, so students can earn the education they need for a successful career. Master's degree-seekers can prepare for work in diverse fields. With a master's degree, graduates gain the skills required to move forward in their field.

The median annual income for individuals who hold a master's degree is approximately $6,296 per month and $81,848 annually. For those with a master's degree, unemployment is at 2.6% versus 6.2% for those with high school diplomas.

Social Work Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Pennsylvania in the Social Work Profession

In order to become a social worker, one must earn a social work degree from an accredited university. There are many different types of social work degrees, but most programs cover common topics such as human behavior, social welfare policy, and research methods. Most social work programs also require students to complete a field placement, where they gain hands-on experience working with clients. Field placements can be completed in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, schools, or community organizations. After earning a social work degree, graduates can find jobs in a variety of settings, such as child welfare, mental health, and aging. Social workers often work in teams with other professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and case managers.

The state's median annual salary is $44,900, or $21.59 per hour. The number includes a total of 5,583,410 employees in Pennsylvania. Based on the BLS, the lowest 10% of earners in the state earn about $23,120 per year, whereas the highest 10% earn approximately $99,330. The following page provides information regarding the earnings of social workers in Pennsylvania.

Key

Social Workers in Pennsylvania
Social Workers Nationally
All Occupations in Pennsylvania
All Occupations Nationally

Social Work Careers and Salaries in Pennsylvania

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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As stated by MERIC, Pennsylvania is ranked number 27 out of 51 states (including Washington, D.C.). The cost of living index measures the average cost of living in America against specific states. U.S. averages are based on 100, and all locations are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive) than average. In comparison with the national average, Pennsylvania's cost of living index is 97.9, which is -2.1% lower. The following is a comparison of the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, and other items in Pennsylvania in comparison to the national average.

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Jobs for social workers are projected to grow by 5.8% over the next decade. The BLS projects the occupation's total employment to change from 71,400 in 2020 to 75,500 in 2030. To qualify for these positions, you typically need a bachelor's degree.

Master's Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

#1 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master of social work can earn their degree from the University of Pennsylvania. The MSW program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. After completing a master's degree, candidates often pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in social work. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants with a background in social work typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Students who attend classes on campus can access the library and gym, as well as other amenities and facilities available at most institutions. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 8%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $36,254

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $36,254

Average Tuition
In-state
$53,166
Out-of-state
$53,166
Retention Rate
95%
Admission Rate
9%
Students Enrolled
26,552
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
85% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College

  • Bryn Mawr, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The online master of social service program, offered by Bryn Mawr College, ranks as a top program. The master of social service program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a degree in social work or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Campus students have access to the library and gymnasium, as well as other equipment and facilities available at most institutions. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Bryn Mawr College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 33%

Program Name: Master of social service

Graduate Tuition In State: $45,240

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $45,240

Average Tuition
In-state
$53,180
Out-of-state
$53,180
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
38%
Students Enrolled
1,634
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh offers an online master's in social work. The master's in social work program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of social work. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. The master's program builds on prior social work experience during a bachelor's program.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like a library and gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

University of Pittsburgh at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 57%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master's in social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $23,530

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $39,898

Average Tuition
In-state
$18,628
Out-of-state
$32,656
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
32,277
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

Temple University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Temple University, located in Philadelphia, enrolls master's students in its online social work program. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the MSW program. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The master's curriculum explores social work research and methodologies. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. Applicants without a background in social work may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. The common facilities and services offered at most universities, such as a library and gym, are accessible to students who live on campus. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Temple University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 60%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program Name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $16,956

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $23,346

Average Tuition
In-state
$16,080
Out-of-state
$28,992
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
37,236
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#5 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

  • West Chester, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

West Chester University of Pennsylvania offers a flexible online master of social work program. The MSW program builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing graduates for leadership positions with increased salary potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in social work. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. The master's program recommends a background in social work or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. On-campus students have access to the library and gymnasium, as well as other equipment and facilities available at most institutions. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

West Chester University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 75%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,288

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,932

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$19,290
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
17,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Financing a Master's Degree in Social Work

You can find financial aid to assist with the cost of college. The awards can be in the form of scholarships, grants, fellowships, or work-study opportunities. Some students also use federal and private student loans to pay for school. In order to succeed in your research, you should ensure that the colleges you are interested in offer scholarships.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid

Average Cost of Attending College in Pennsylvania

There is a large variation in the cost of education in Pennsylvania. In spite of this, there are some similarities that exist among institutions of all sizes. For more information on attending a public institution, please take a moment to review the following information.

Public 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Pennsylvania vs. National Average

Key

Pennsylvania
National Average

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The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
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Have you thought about attending a private university? The cost of education at private colleges is typically higher. Learn more about private colleges in Pennsylvania by looking at the following graph.

Private 4-Year School Tuition Rates: Pennsylvania vs. National Average

Key

Pennsylvania
National Average

Chart

Bar chart with 5 bars.
The chart has 1 X axis displaying salary types.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying annual salaries in USD.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
End of interactive chart.

Federal Student Loan Information

In order to fund your education, have you considered taking out student loans? Before you take out a loan, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Take a look at the data below to learn what students tend to borrow.

Undergraduate Federal Loans
Demographic Percent who borrowed Amount borrowed
Total 66.6% $27,400
Female 69.6% $28,100
Male 62.5% $26,500
White, not Hispanic or Latino 66.1% $26,700
Black, not Hispanic or Latino 85.7% $34,800
Hispanic or Latino/a, of any race 67.7% $25,700
Asian, not Hispanic or Latino 43% $22,700
Other or Two or more races, not Hispanic or Latino 70.4% $28,300
Source: NCES

Online vs. On Campus

Pros and Cons: Online Degrees

Pros

  • Cheaper tuition
  • Flexible, asynchronous classwork
  • No on-campus fees for parking, tech, etc.

Cons

  • Less structure
  • Minimal peer-to-peer interaction
  • Less facetime with professor
  • No access to on-campus amenities

Pros and Cons: On-Campus Degrees

Pros

  • Gym, library, etc. access
  • Smaller class options
  • Face time with peers and professors

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Transportation or housing costs
  • Rigid scheduling
The main differences between an online degree and a degree completed on campus are the cost and the class size. Online programs offer advantages like flexibility, affordability, and convenience. A campus-based program is typically more expensive than a distance learning program due to student fees, which are optional for distance learners. The benefits of attending classes, however, are numerous.

Top Social Work Degree Options Available by State
State Degree Level
California Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Florida Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Georgia Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Illinois Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
New York Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
North Carolina Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Pennsylvania Associate, Bachelors, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

Many differences are associated with public and private colleges. First, the cost varies depending on whether you select a public or private school. The cost of education at public schools is often reduced by grants and scholarships. There are usually merit scholarships available for those with high GPAs or SAT scores.

Students benefit from more personal interaction with faculty at private colleges, where the ratio of students to teachers is lower. Listed below are some pros and cons of attending a private college as opposed to one that is public.

Pros and Cons

Private

  • Unique program offerings
  • Cultural or religious options
  • Local prestige
  • Higher costs
  • Less regulatory oversight

Public

  • Government-issued tuition costs
  • Government funding, benefits, and regulation
  • Oftentimes large classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the salary for social workers in Pennsylvania?

Social workers in Pennsylvania make a mean salary of $66,720.

In general, are graduates of social work programs in high demand?

The total number of social workers is projected to grow by 5.8% from 2020 to 2030.

Can you earn a master's degree in social work online? How?

A master's degree in social work is possible to obtain online. Most schools today offer at least some online courses.

In order to successfully complete a master's degree, how long does it normally take?

Full-time students typically take two years to complete a master's degree. A part-time student will have a different completion time.

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