Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

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Updated January 4, 2023

Looking for the best PhD in Social Work in Pennsylvania? You should consider these top-tier institutions and jobs in the social work field.

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Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

Earning a Doctoral Degree in Social Work in Pennsylvania

See below for lists of the best degrees in Pennsylvania for social work. These are the degrees you should consider if you want to gain a high-quality education that will prepare you for a successful career. A doctorate is a great way to prepare for the workforce and pursue diverse careers. With a doctorate, students gain the skills required to move forward in their careers.

Those with a doctorate typically make about $1,909 per week, or $7,636 a month and $99,268 annually. With a doctorate, unemployment is 1.5%, while with a high school diploma it is 6.2%.

Social Work PhD Programs for You

Working and Living in Pennsylvania in the Social Work Profession

Aspiring social workers can explore many career opportunities but need a degree. Social work programs have many courses and specializations, depending on the area in which you want to work after graduation. This includes healthcare and substance abuse treatment as well as working with people with a disability or disability rights law.

The salary in Pennsylvania is $44,900 a year, or $21.59 an hour. The state reports that this data applies to the 5,583,410 employees working here currently. Typically, the lowest 10% of earners bring in $23,120 a year. The highest 10% make $99,330 per year. Here is a comparison of the earnings for social workers in Pennsylvania.

Key

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

Salaries for Social Workers in Pennsylvania and Nationwide

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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MERIC ranks Pennsylvania as number 15 out of 51 states (including Washington D.C.) on its cost of living index. An index of the cost of living compares the average cost of living in the United States with specific parts of the country. 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) the U.S. average. The cost of living index for Pennsylvania is 97.9, which is -2.1% lower than the national average. The cost of living in Pennsylvania varies depending on the location.

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Source: Missouri Research and Information Center
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A 5.8% growth rate is projected for social workers over the next decade. Currently, jobs for social workers are projected to change from 71,400 in 2020, to 75,500 by 2030. Professionals qualify for many positions with a doctorate.

Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

#1 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College

  • Bryn Mawr, PA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The online Ph.D. in social work program, offered by Bryn Mawr College, ranks as a top program in the field. With its flexible format, the private university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate. Doctoral students conduct research and participate in academic conferences.

The social work program incorporates doctoral coursework. Doctoral candidates pass comprehensive examinations and conduct research for their dissertation. With a doctorate in social work, graduates pursue academic, research, and industry roles.

Online doctoral students at the accredited institution pay for their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and loans. Contact the social work program for more information about doctoral admissions.

Bryn Mawr College at a Glance:

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $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

#2 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

  • Kutztown, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania offers an online doctor of social work program for graduate students. The public university helps degree-seekers complete a doctorate in a flexible format. Doctoral students engage in advanced research and benefit from support services.

In the social work program, graduate learners take advanced courses. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates conduct research and defend an original dissertation that contributes to the field. A doctorate in social work trains graduates for roles in research, academia, and leadership.

At the accredited institution, doctoral students qualify for several forms of financial aid. Contact the social work program to learn more about the enrollment process and start dates.

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,949

Online Master's Programs: 3

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,288

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$11,574
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
7,890
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

Millersville University of Pennsylvania

  • Millersville, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The doctor of social work program at Millersville University of Pennsylvania uses an online learning format. The public university offers flexible enrollment options for degree-seekers. Doctoral students strengthen their research skills and present in academic conferences.

In the social work program, learners take advanced doctoral coursework. Doctoral candidates move through the program by passing exams and researching a dissertation project. A doctorate in social work trains graduates for roles in research, academia, and leadership.

At the accredited institution, doctoral students can use fellowships, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid to pay for their degree. Contact the social work program for more information about financial aid and the admission process.

Millersville University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,935

Online Master's Programs: 2

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $9,288

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,570
Out-of-state
$19,290
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
7,456
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The doctorate in clinical social work program at the University of Pennsylvania uses an online learning format. At the private university, degree-seekers participate in virtual classrooms to earn a doctorate. Doctoral students receive research support and participate in scholarly events.

In the social work program, learners complete doctoral coursework and strengthen advanced skills. The program also requires passing scores on a comprehensive examination and the successful defense of an original dissertation project. Graduates with a social work doctorate pursue roles in research, academia, and leadership.

Doctoral students who enroll online at the accredited institution qualify for fellowships, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid. Prospective applicants can contact the program to learn more about research support, financial aid opportunities, and admission requirements.

University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,533

Online Master's Programs: 3

Online Doctoral Programs: 1

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $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

#5 Doctoral Degrees in Social Work in Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online Ph.D. in social work program at the University of Pittsburgh ranks among the best in its field. Thanks to a flexible format, the public institution makes it easier to complete a doctorate. Doctoral students work closely with faculty mentors and career advisors.

During the social work program, learners take doctoral courses to earn their degree. After meeting coursework requirements, doctoral candidates pass a comprehensive examination and conduct research for an original dissertation or project. As the terminal degree in social work, the doctoral program trains graduates for roles in academia, research, and industry.

Doctoral students qualify for federal financial aid and fellowships at the accredited institution. Contact the social work program to learn more about doctoral admission requirements.

University of Pittsburgh at a Glance:

Online Student Enrollment: 1,274

Online Master's Programs: 6

Online Doctoral Programs: 2

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Graduate Tuition Rate: $23,530

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

Financing a Doctorate in Social Work

College can be financed in many ways through financial aid programs and grants. Many opportunities for financial aid include scholarships and fellowships. There are some students who qualify for federal and private student loans as well as scholarships. The colleges you are interested in may also have their own scholarships available to applicants. Do your research to learn what kind of financial aid might be available.

Checklist for Maximizing Your Financial Aid:

Average Cost of Attending College in Pennsylvania

Depending on the institution, tuition and other costs in Pennsylvania will vary. Even so, there are some similarities that exist among institutions of all sizes. Use the information below to decide whether attending a public institution is the right choice for you.

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

Key

Pennsylvania
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 college? Generally, private schools charge a higher tuition rate. You can learn more about private colleges in 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 pay for your education, have you considered borrowing student loans? There are a few things you should keep in mind before taking out a loan.

Review the data below to learn about the types of loans that students typically take out.

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 major differences between an online program and a program completed on campus are the cost and the class size. An online program offers many advantages, including flexibility, affordability, and convenience. Because student fees are optional for distance students, on-campus programs usually cost more. There are many benefits to attending classes in spite of the drawbacks.

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

Private vs. Public

Private and public colleges differ in many ways. Public and private institutions differ in terms of costs. Generally, the costs of education at public institutions are covered by grants and scholarships sponsored by the government. A private college often offers merit scholarships to those who demonstrate superior academic performance.

There is also a tendency for private colleges to feature smaller classes, which means more one-on-one communication with instructors and a better understanding of the possibilities within their chosen field of study. There are several benefits and drawbacks to attending a private versus a public institution.

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 are the wages for social workers in Pennsylvania?

Social workers earn a mean annual wage of $66,720 in Pennsylvania.

Are social work majors in high demand?

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

Are there any advantages to studying for a doctorate in social work online?

A doctorate in social work can be obtained online. Most schools today offer some form of online education.

How long does it take to complete a doctorate?

The average completion of a doctorate is 4-6 years. However, timing varies from student to student.

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