Master's Degrees in Social Work in Virginia

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Updated January 4, 2023

Looking for the best Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) in Virginia? 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 Virginia

Earning a Master's Degree in Social Work in Virginia

Choosing an institution with a good selection of top-tier programs is a good way to get the best degrees in Virginia for social work. Master's degree-seekers can prepare for the workforce and pursue diverse career paths. Master's graduates possess the skills needed to move forward in their fields.

With a master's degree, students typically make $1,574 per week, or $6,296 a month and $81,848 per year. Master's degree-holders are more likely to be employed than those with a high school diploma.

Social Work Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Virginia in the Social Work Profession

In a social work program, you learn the essential skills and knowledge necessary to become a social worker. You'll focus on child, family, and economic issues affecting communities. Once you've completed your degree, you'll be well-equipped to assume positions in areas such as working with individuals or small groups, managing programs and services at community agencies, or working with diverse cultural populations.

The state's median annual wage is $47,200, or $22.69 per hour. All 3,753,230 employees in Virginia fall under this stat. Typically, the lower 10% of earners in the state earn about $23,190 per year, while the top 10% earn approximately $125,820 per year. The following page shows the typical earnings for social workers in Virginia.

Key

Social Workers in Virginia
Social Workers Nationally
All Occupations in Virginia
All Occupations Nationally

Social Work Careers and Salaries in Virginia

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Based on the cost of living index, Virginia is ranked number 32 out of 51 states (including Washington D.C.) on the list of states with the lowest cost of living. A cost of living index measures the national average cost of living against the cost of living in specific states. As a whole, the U.S. average is set at 100, and every location in the U.S. has either a cost above (higher) or below (lower) than the U.S. average. Virginia's cost of living index is 103.2, which is 3.2% higher than the national average. Moving to Virginia? Compare the cost of living here to see if it's the right decision for you.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Social workers can look forward to a 5.8% growth in their field over the next 10 years. Based on BLS projections, the total employment in the occupation will change from 71,400 to 75,500 by 2030. Having a master's degree is sufficient to qualify for these positions.

Master's Degrees in Social Work in Virginia

#1 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Virginia

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Richmond, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Virginia Commonwealth University, located in Richmond, offers a flexible online master of social work. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. Master's degree-holders can also pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum emphasizes the best practices in social work. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The program recommends a background in social work before applying to the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library or gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. Graduate students can expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Virginia Commonwealth University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 87%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,701

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $26,039

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,179
Out-of-state
$32,827
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
29,070
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Virginia

George Mason University

  • Fairfax, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Fairfax, George Mason University enrolls students in its top-ranked online master of social work program. The program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new career path.

The curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to social work. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in social work or a related field.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Campus students can access the library and gymnasium, as well as other equipment and facilities available at most institutions. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

George Mason University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 87%

Total Online Master's Programs: 14

Program Name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,144

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $33,456

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,510
Out-of-state
$32,970
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
38,541
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Virginia

Radford University

  • Radford, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Radford University, located in Radford, offers a flexible online master of social work. The program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in social work. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The master's program recommends a background in social work or a related field when applying.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Campus students can access the library and gymnasium, as well as other equipment and facilities available at most institutions. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

Radford University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 75%

Total Online Master's Programs: 7

Program Name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,915

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,441

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,922
Out-of-state
$19,557
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
10,695
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Virginia

Norfolk State University

  • Norfolk, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of social work at Norfolk State University, located in Norfolk, prioritizes flexibility. Enrollees train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree. Master's graduates can advance their current career or move into new careers.

The curriculum emphasizes the best practices in social work. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants who majored in social work or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Campus students can access the library and gymnasium, as well as other equipment and facilities available at most institutions. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Norfolk State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 92%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master of social work

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,820

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $20,872

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,752
Out-of-state
$16,920
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
5,457
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Financing a Master's Degree in Social Work

Financial aid helps students lower the cost of college. Financial aid includes scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs. In order to pay for college, some students qualify for federal and private student loans. The college's financial aid office is a great resource for applicants who need help determining their eligibility for federal scholarships.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid

Average Cost of Attending College in Virginia

There is a large variation in the cost of attending colleges in Virginia. In spite of this, there are some commonalities between public and private institutions. You may find the following information helpful in determining if it is appropriate to attend a public university.

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

Key

Virginia
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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How does a private college compare in terms of cost? Typically, private schools charge a higher rate for tuition. A graph that provides information about attending private colleges in Virginia is below.

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

Key

Virginia
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

Are you considering borrowing student loans to finance your education? There are a few things you should consider before taking out a loan.

The following data will assist you in determining what students tend to borrow on a regular basis.

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 cost and size of the class are two of the major differences between an online degree and a degree completed on campus. An online program has the advantage of being flexible, affordable, and convenient. The cost of on-campus degrees is typically higher because of student fees. Distance learners don't need to pay these fees. There are many benefits to taking advantage of classes in order to advance your career.

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, Masters, Doctorate
Texas Associate, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate
Virginia Bachelors, Doctorate
Washington Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

Public colleges and private colleges differ in many ways. There is a difference in cost between public and private schools. Public institutions are funded by the government and therefore have fixed costs. The government provides grants and scholarships to cover these costs as well. In private institutions, tuition is charged to students, although merit scholarships are usually available for those who have achieved high GPAs or SAT scores.

There is also an advantage to attending a private college in that the classes tend to be smaller, which provides students with more one-on-one time with their professors and allows them to explore what their chosen field has to offer. Here are some benefits and disadvantages of attending a private institution as opposed to a public one.

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 Virginia?

The mean annual salary for social workers in Virginia is $68,172.

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

The total number of social workers is projected to change 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 in today's environment offer at least some online courses.

For a full-time student, how long does it take to complete a master's degree?

Typically, a full-time master's degree takes two years for students to complete. It will take longer for part-time students to complete the process.

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