MSW Programs in Iowa | No GRE/CSWE Accredited Masters

Iowa is a largely rural state covered with farms and countryside. There are a few large cities that break up the quiet of Iowa, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. Overall, the population density in Iowa is 54.5 people per square mile, compared to the national average of 87.4 people per square mile (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).

The cost of living in Iowa is 11% lower than the national average, according to Sperling’s Best Places. In addition, the average housing cost in Iowa is $123,000, compared to the national average of $181,400 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). This can provide you with a higher quality of life.

Tuition and Curriculum Information for MSW Programs in Iowa

The value Iowa places on education is evident in its strong MSW programs. There are four programs located throughout the state, and they have an average tuition cost of $12,347. However, Iowa also has an impressive scholarship award of $7,387. You can further lower your tuition costs by applying for a teaching or research assistantship.

Several schools in Iowa require you to choose a concentration at the start of your program. The University of Northern Iowa allows you to concentrate on clinical work or social work administration. Other schools delve deeper into concentrations and let you focus on child welfare, substance abuse, or mental health.


Every semester of your MSW program contains two components: traditional coursework and field practicum hours. Your courses teach you the practical skills of social work, including counseling basics, the ethics of social work, and what it means to provide evidence-based care. However, you also learn about the theoretical applications of social work that you can apply to your work on a broader scale. You’ll learn how social issues affect mental health and wellbeing, what social policies mean for your clients, and social work administration.

Field Work

During your field hours, you’ll put your knowledge to work while counseling a variety of patients. Your field hours are supervised and your supervisor will assess you on a variety of factors, including patient communication, how you apply your coursework, and your professionalism.

MSW Salary and Job Outlook in Iowa

While social workers can work in dozens of different settings, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most social workers work for government agencies or healthcare organizations. In Iowa, some of the largest employers of social workers in Iowa are Mid-Iowa Family Therapy Clinic, Children and Families of Iowa, Mercy Medical Center, and Lutheran Services in Iowa.

The amount of rural communities in Iowa presents a great opportunity for clinical social workers that want to go into private practice. Once you reach this level of clinical social work, you can open your own clinic and work for yourself in Iowa. Not only is this personally rewarding, it allows you to reach out and improve entire communities.

Social Worker Salary in Iowa

Far and away, healthcare social workers are the highest paid in Iowa. O*Net reports that the average healthcare social worker in Iowa earns a salary of $46,100 per year. Mental health social workers can look forward to earning an average salary of $38,400 per year (O*Net, 2012). Family and child social workers earn, on average, $34,500 per year in Iowa (O*Net, 2012).

Salaries vary widely in Iowa, particularly with the numerous rural communities in the state. Social workers in cities and suburban communities tend to earn more money than social workers in rural areas.

Social Worker Job Outlook in Iowa

Because of their ability to perform clinical duties, social workers with Master’s degrees are in demand across the entire country. In Iowa, healthcare social workers have the most job growth to anticipate. O*Net predicts that job openings in this field will increase by 33% between 2010 and 2020. Job growth is also increasing at a rapid rate of 30% in the same time frame for mental health social workers (O*Net, 2012). Family social workers can expect job openings to increase by 16% through 2020 (O*Net, 2012).

Social Work Licensure in Iowa

All social worker licensing goes through the Iowa Board of Social Work. After submitting your license with a $120 fee, you can sit for the licensing examination. Passing this exam gives you the title of Licensed Master Social Worker.

Pursuing the title of Licensed Independent Social Worker can allow you to go into private practice. You must accrue 4,000 hours of supervised work and then sit for another licensing exam.

Masters in Social Work Degree Programs in Iowa

Iowa State University

(Ames, IA)

  • Masters in Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Masters in Human Development and Family Studies
  • $6,648 Tuition Cost
  • $5,505 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Saint Ambrose University

(Davenport, IA)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $25,730 Tuition Cost
  • $13,232 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

University of Iowa

(Iowa City, IA)

  • Masters in Social Psychology
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $6,678 Tuition Cost
  • $8,085 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

University of Northern Iowa

(Cedar Falls, IA)

  • Masters in Public Policy Analysis
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $6,648 Tuition Cost
  • $2,725 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting
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