|Accreditation||Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission|
|Program length||12 months; full-time and part-time options available|
|Credits to graduate||36 credits|
|Eligibility||Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree required|
|Format||100% online classes delivered asynchronously; synchronous sessions offered weekly in each course allow you to discuss the material with professors|
|Field practicum||Complete hands-on field education in your community concurrently with coursework|
|Faculty||Learn from experienced professionals: all professors are Licensed Clinical Social Workers|
|Specializations||Choose one of three unique career-focused specializations|
Classes & curriculum details
All didactic, lecture-style courses are delivered online, with 500 total field practicum hours. You can choose one of three career-focused social work specializations: Mental Health, Medical Social Work, and Children, Families, and Aging Services.
|Master of Social Work (MSW) - Advanced Standing||12||36|
i. Average number of months for students to complete program.
Choose a career-focused specialization
When you enroll in the Herzing MSW program, you will choose one of three unique specializations:
Develop an understanding of mental health assessment, diagnosis and intervention. Learn theories of human behavior, trauma, and diversity—and how to apply this knowledge to mental health provision and wellbeing.
Discover policies and laws related to mental health systems and become familiar with the service delivery structure of public and private mental health facilities.
Build an understanding of medical diagnoses in the context of a person-in-environment model. Study social work intervention strategies including crisis intervention, biopsychosocial assessment, and trauma-informed clinical approaches.
Immerse yourself in a curriculum focusing on how you can utilize evidence-based social work research in clinical practice of community public health and prevention services.
Become an advocate for vulnerable children, families, and elderly clients in need of assistance. Build your understanding of social problems and their impact on individuals, families, and their communities across all age groups.
This specialization explores the delivery structure of social services and how you can become a key facilitator of protective services for pediatric and gerontological clients.
Unsure what to choose? Our admissions team can help you determine what specialization is right for you based on your personality and desired career path.
Prepare for practice through specialized field education
You can put didactic coursework into practice in the clinical practicum component of the MSW Advanced Standing program option. This represents hands-on experience that’s crucial to prepare you for career success right from the start.
You’ll be required to complete two 250-hour Field Practicum courses within the specialization of your choosing (500 total hours across two semesters).
Where you complete each practicum can vary widely based on your location and specialization you choose. We encourage you to choose your preferred Field Agency, but our Director of Field Education will provide support should you need help securing practicum sites.
Examples of potential field practicum sites include community agencies, counseling centers, criminal justice organizations, hospitals, mental health facilities, and schools.
Tuition & Cost
The cost of tuition for the Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing track is $595 per credit.
You can potentially earn even greater savings by transferring credit from prior college coursework, applying for financial aid, or potential partnership opportunities through your employer.
Our goal is your career advancement. That’s why we are always working to improve our curriculum and processes to make our program as affordable as possible while preparing you best for success in your work.
You may be eligible for multiple scholarships and grants, both through Herzing University and several national scholarship websites.
Veterans, Active Duty U.S. Servicemembers, and spouses may qualify for a 10% tuition discount or tuition reduction to $250 per credit.
Candidates for the Master of Social Work (MSW) – Advanced Standing track must meet several prerequisites for acceptance, including the following:
- Cumulative GPA of 2.75
- Prospective graduate students must have completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree in social work from a college or university accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or have completed a three- or four-year bachelor’s degree at a foreign college or university recognized as equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree by an approved foreign credential evaluator
- Transcript—BSW from a CSWE accredited program
- A personal statement addressing MSW prompts—contact admissions for details
- Optional Recommendations for both traditional and advanced standing MSW tracks: students may choose to submit recommendations to be considered with their application but are not required
What you can do with a master’s in social work
While the field of social work has evolved to become more diverse and specialized, core master’s degree courses prepare you for a wide variety of job possibilities.
Choose the MSW specialization best reflecting the social work career path you want to walk.
Job titles can vary widely with overlap across each specialty.3
Your choice of specialty today doesn’t necessarily preclude you from pursuing job possibilities in other areas.
- Behavioral Health Therapist
- Mental Health Social Worker
- Psychiatric Social Worker
- Psychosocial Coordinator
- Residential Therapist
- Substance Use Disorder Clinician
- Suicide Prevention Specialist
- Victim Advocate
- Home Health & Hospice Social Worker
- Hospice Social Worker
- Medical Social Worker
- Oncology Social Worker
- Residential Treatment Coordinator
- Social Work Case Manager
- Adoption Social Worker
- Adult Protective Services Worker
- Child Protective Services Supervisor (CPS Social Worker)
- Domestic Violence Advocate
- Family Protection Specialist
- Family Resource Coordinator
- Family Service Worker
- Foster Care Social Worker
- Gerontology Social Worker
- Pediatric Social Worker
- School Social Worker
- Veteran Affairs (VA) Social Worker
- Youth Specialist
Projected employment growth, 2021-2031, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*
Employment of social workers is expected to increase across all specialties, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. News and World Report scores social worker an 8 out of 10 in terms of future growth.
Among available BLS occupational groupings, employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers is expected to rise the fastest (15% growth).
Meet our Faculty & Leadership
Elizabeth Wilson - PhD, MSW, LCSW
"It is an honor and privilege to be part of a building a new MSW program with current, evidence-based curriculum to prepare students for high demand jobs in the areas of mental health, medical social work and children, families and aging services.
Our goal is to help support each student through our program to maximize their potential as a social worker and be a successful change agent."
Dr. Wilson is an established social work professor with over 20 years of teaching experience and 15 years as a social work program director in higher education. Dr. Wilson has extensive practice and teaching experience in crisis response, crime victimization, child abuse and neglect, family violence, mental health, and suicide prevention. She has delivered numerous professional presentations, continuing education sessions, and chaired numerous dissertations focusing on social issues. Dr. Wilson is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Missouri, a member of NASW, and has provided service to many community boards. Dr. Wilson has received several teaching recognitions and was awarded the Jane Bierdeman-Fike Humanitarian Award in 2019.
Master of Social Work
Dr. Cynthia Baker, Ed.D., MSW, LCSW
"There is a national shortage of social workers and the demand for qualified master’s level practitioners keeps growing. I cannot wait to do my part as field director and faculty to build relationships and grow MSW students.
. I am confident Herzing’s faculty will guide and mentor MSW students to become clinically confident, culturally informed, and competent social work practitioners."
Cynthia Baker, Ed.D., MSW, LCSW earned her Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California and her Master of Social Work from the University of Missouri. Dr. Baker joined Herzing University August 2022 and is Associate Professor and Director of Field Education for the Master of Social Work program. Dr. Baker, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2003, has 21 years of professional experience at all levels of micro, mezzo, and macro settings. She provided student and clinical field supervision, clinical consultation, and continuing education to countless interdisciplinary organizations in mental health, academic and medical settings. Since 2013, and prior to joining Herzing, Cynthia worked as a Senior Director managing more than 60 LCSWs, behavioral health practitioners, and interdisciplinary team members in post-acute and nursing communities. Dr. Baker serves on the state board for person-centered care of the aging and a national committee for aging for the National Association of Social Workers.
Dr. Cynthia Baker
Associate Professor, Director of Field Education
Dr. Hyacinth McKee DBH, LCSW-BACS, ACSW
"An MSW from Herzing allows for the student to acquire skills that will help them become effective social work practitioners in today's world. Being a part of Herzing allows students to engage in bi-directional innovation, scholarship and leadership with their professors.
An MSW from Herzing promotes opportunities to develop interconnected relationships with students and professionals in other Herzing programs such as criminal justice, nursing, and other medical degrees that are long lasting well after graduation."
Dr. Hyacinth McKee has 22 years of combined experience as a licensed clinical supervisor, clinical practitioner and professor. Her expertise includes integrated health, disease care management and educational social work. She holds leadership positions in the social work profession as she serves as the board chairperson of the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners, her state social work licensing board, and on other boards nationally in the social work profession. She holds additional national and state certifications in the areas of school social work, school-based mental health counseling, and trauma informed supports. Dr. McKee has conducted local, state and national presentations on school based mental health, behavioral health, and social work services. She continues to provide supervision to clinical social workers who aspire to engage in independent clinical practice. She is considered among her colleagues as an expert in the field of behavioral health, mental health, child welfare and educational social work. Dr. McKee is an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusive practices as evidenced by her life's work serving marginalized and disadvantaged populations.
Dr. Hyacinth McKee
Frequently Asked Questions
Social workers provide assistance to individuals, families and communities to address problems in their everyday lives. They can work in a “macro” role directly coordinating with organizations or policymakers, or a “micro” role focusing on individuals and their families.
The social work job description varies—social workers can have a wide variety of duties:
- Find those in need of help
- Work with people in all stages of life from birth to end of life
- Assess their situation: what they need, who supports them, what their goals are and develop interventions and strategies to help
- Collaborate with community resources to offer a network of care and refer clients accordingly
- Diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional health problems
- Maintain clear case files and records
- Raise awareness and advocate for solutions at the local, state, or even national level
- Navigate crisis situations, such as child abuse, family and community violence, or health emergencies
The average salary for a social worker depends on several factors, including where they work, the state in which they practice, how long they have practiced, and chosen specialization.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides average salary estimates for three different types of social workers:*
- Child, family, and school social workers earn an annual average salary of $54,880 per year ($26.39 per hour)
- Healthcare social workers earn an annual average salary of $62,310 per year ($29.96 per hour)
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers earn an annual average salary of $57,800 per year ($27.79 per hour).
Yes, you can potentially leverage your education and experience in nursing into a career as a social worker. You may choose to stay in the healthcare field as a medical social worker.
You'll want to consider a Master of Social Work degree program to earn the new skills in knowledge to succeed in the field and position yourself best when applying for jobs.
Learn more about the RN to social work pathway and discover some of the primary differences between each career path.
Educational and licensing requirements can vary by state and employer across both jobs. The disciplines are distinct enough to demand separate master’s degree curriculums.
The primary difference between clinical social workers and mental health counselors is the scope of their duties and the education required to perform them. Generally, counselors focus solely on mental health issues, while clinical social workers carry a wide variety of responsibilities including and beyond mental health care.
Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) includes more involvement in managing your clients’ support network and larger community. While clinical social workers can potentially adopt a direct, active role in diagnosing and treating mental health issues, it’s not the sole purpose of the profession as it is for mental health counselors.
According to the CSWE’s most recent Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, the 9 Social Work Competencies are listed as such:
- Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
- Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
- Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
- Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
- Engage in Policy Practice
- Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing Degree Programs
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Disclosures & Accreditation
1. Herzing University is currently in Pre-Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.
Pre-Candidacy for a master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has submitted an application to be reviewed for Candidacy and had its Benchmark I approved in draft form to move forward with Candidacy review within one year. A program that has attained Pre-Candidacy has not yet been reviewed by the Commission on Accreditation or been verified to be in compliance with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.
Students who enter programs in Pre-Candidacy that attain Candidacy in the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. The Candidacy Process is typically a three-year process and there is no guarantee that a program in Pre-Candidacy will eventually attain Candidacy or Initial Accreditation.
Candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation applies to all locations and delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.
For more information about social work accreditation, you may contact Accreditation.
2. Individuals considering the Master of Social Work program should be aware that state certification/ licensure requirements and eligibility to apply for certification/licensure vary from state to state. While certification/licensure is not a requirement for certain types of jobs, in some states, it may be required for any positions titled ‘Social Worker’ and to refer to yourself as a Social Worker in professional settings.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.