Master's Degrees in Social Work in Washington

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Updated January 4, 2023

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

Earning a Master's Degree in Social Work in Washington

The best degrees in Washington for social work lead to improved career prospects. A master's degree can open doors for employment in diverse fields. With a master's degree, graduates gain the skills needed to move forward in their field.

Social Work Master's Programs for You

Working and Living in Washington in the Social Work Profession

A social work degree program provides a strong foundation in the liberal arts, including history, philosophy, and sociology. This foundation helps prepare students for careers. A social worker is trained to focus on individuals and groups in their local communities by helping those people who are most in need of assistance.

Washington's median annual salary for all occupations is $50,450, or $24.25 per hour. This is true for the 3,205,930 workers in the state. The BLS has stated that the lowest 10% of earners make $30,460 annually, while the highest 10% make $127,470 a year. As a result, the following lists the average earnings for social workers in Washington.

Key

Social Workers in Washington
Social Workers Nationally
All Occupations in Washington
All Occupations Nationally

Social Work Careers and Salaries in Washington

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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MERIC ranks Washington as number 15 out of 51 states (including Washington D.C.) on its cost of living index. In the U.S., the cost of living index measures the national average cost of living against specific states. Based on a U.S. average of 100, all locations within the country are either above (more expensive) or below (less expensive). Washington's cost of living index is 113.9, which is 13.9% higher than the national average. People interested in relocating to Washington can use the cost of living comparison to determine the right fit for their situation.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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Within the next ten years, social workers can expect to see a growth rate of 5.8%. There is a projected change from 71,400 in 2020 to 75,500 in 2030 for the BLS. In general, a bachelor's degree is required as an entry-level qualification for these positions. A typical job title would be:

Master's Degrees in Social Work in Washington

#1 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Washington

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington-Seattle Campus offers an online master's in social work. The Master of Social Work program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in social work. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in social work before applying to the program.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Common facilities and services offered at most universities, like the library or gymnasium, are accessible to students living on campus. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 52%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program name: Master of Social Work

Graduate Tuition In State: $18,198

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $32,439

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,629
Out-of-state
$37,998
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
56%
Students Enrolled
48,149
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#2 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Washington

University of Washington-Tacoma Campus

  • Tacoma, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master's in social work at the University of Washington-Tacoma Campus, located in Tacoma, offers a flexible online format. Graduates prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous Master of Social Work program. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in social work. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants with a background in social work typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. On-campus students benefit from the library and gym facilities provided by many institutions. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

University of Washington-Tacoma Campus at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 87%

Total Online Master's Programs: Data not available

Program name: Master of Social Work

Graduate Tuition In State: $18,198

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $32,439

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,629
Out-of-state
$37,998
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
5,364
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#3 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Washington

Walla Walla University

  • College Place, WA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The online master's in social work program offered by Walla Walla University from its College Place campus ranks as a top program. The Social Work (M.S.W.) program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. Applicants without a social work background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Many institutions provide libraries and fitness centers for use by students living on campus. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

Walla Walla University at a Glance:

Type of school: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Program name: Social Work (M.S.W.)

Graduate Tuition In State: $22,788

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,788

Average Tuition
In-state
$28,908
Out-of-state
$28,908
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,737
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Washington

Eastern Washington University

  • Cheney, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master's in social work degree at Eastern Washington University, located in Cheney, Washington, prioritizes flexibility. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the Master of Social Work program. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. Applicants without a background in social work may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. On-campus students benefit from the library and gym facilities provided by many institutions. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

Eastern Washington University at a Glance:

Type of school: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 96%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program name: Master of Social Work

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,721

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $27,214

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,707
Out-of-state
$24,676
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
12,349
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 Master’s Degrees in Social Work in Washington

Seattle University

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students seeking an online social work degree can enroll in the master's program at Seattle University, located in Seattle. The Master of Social Work program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the 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 complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Those who attend on campus can enjoy the common amenities and facilities available at most institutions, such as the library or gym. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Seattle University at a Glance:

Type of school: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 78%

Total Online Master's Programs: 1

Program name: Master of Social Work

Graduate Tuition In State: $19,280

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,280

Average Tuition
In-state
$47,565
Out-of-state
$47,565
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
7,050
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
88% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Financing a Master's Degree in Social Work

It is possible to obtain financial aid to help pay for college. Financial aid comes in the forms of scholarships, grants, fellowships, or work-study programs. The federal government as well as private lenders offer student loan programs to some students. You should research the colleges you are interested in and find out what kinds of financial aid they offer to you.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Washington

Depending on the institution, tuition and other costs in Washington may vary. In spite of this, there are some similarities between public and private institutions. You can determine whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you by reviewing the information provided below.

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

Key

Washington
National Average

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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
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How about attending a private university? A private college is generally more expensive. The following graph shows information about attending private universities in Washington.

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

Key

Washington
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

Have you ever considered applying for student loans to pay for your education? There are a few things you should keep in mind when considering taking out a loan.

Find out what students typically borrow by taking a look at the following data.

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
An online degree and a degree completed on campus differ mainly in cost and class size. An online degree program offers numerous advantages, including flexibility, affordability, and convenience. On-campus tuition is typically higher because of student fees; these are not required for distance students. Attending in-person classes does, however, have a number of advantages.

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, Masters, Doctorate
Washington Bachelors, Doctorate

Private vs. Public

Private colleges and public colleges differ in a number of ways. Generally, private schools charge higher tuition rates. The government determines the costs for public institutions, so grants and scholarships are funded by the government to cover these costs. There are usually merit scholarships available for those with high GPAs and SAT scores.

Additionally, private colleges tend to have smaller classes, which means that students can have more one-on-one time with their professors and become familiar with the possibilities available to them in their particular field of study. 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

In the state of Washington, how much do social workers make?

In-state social workers make a mean annual salary of $79,210 per year.

Are social work majors in demand?

The total number of social workers is expected to change by 5.8% from 2020 to 2030.

Can I obtain a master's in social work online?

A master's degree in social work is a great way to prepare for the workforce. In today's environment, most schools offer some form of online education as part of their program.

How much time will you spend earning a master's degree?

Full-time master's degrees tend to be completed in two years. The completion time will vary between part-time and full-time students.

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