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The Master of Social Work is a professional degree that prepares students to become licensed practitioners. Licensing requirements vary by state. Online programs in this field often work with students to help them find an appropriate location where they can complete their clinical requirements where they live. Students who completed their undergraduate degree in Social Work will come into a Master of Social Work program with Advanced Standing, which often means fewer classes than those students who did not obtain an undergraduate degree in Social Work.
Salary.com indicates that the median annual salary for someone with a Master of Social Work degree is $60,075 as of September 2016. Social workers may make more or less money, depending on their location, overall educational attainment, management experience, performance or other factors. The projected increase in the number of jobs for Social Workers expected over the next ten years is 12%, which is faster than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is very important to note that although most social workers need at least a bachelor’s degree in social work to qualify for entry-level occupations, clinical social workers must have a MSW degree and 2 years of post-MSW experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice. Students interested in obtaining their Master of Social Work degree online should work closely with their program director to ensure that they will be prepared for licensure in their home state after graduating from the program (if the online program is at a university that is not located in their home state).