Social Work Programs in Minnesota – No GRE/CSWE Accredited

If you want to pursue a career where you can help people every day, then social work may be right for you. Whether you are trying to earn a bachelor’s degree, want to go on to become a licensed clinical social worker, or need the flexible option of online classes, the state of Minnesota offers many excellent options for you to choose from.

Minnesota features 17 universities that offer social work programs at either the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level to meet the needs of a wide variety of students within the state who want to become a part of the fulfilling social work career.

Each of these programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This means that they have all been verified to offer a high-quality education that meets the standard for licensure. The high-quality of the programs will help prepare students for their future careers, relevant exams, and helping the community. 


Types of Social Worker Degrees in Minnesota

There are several different social work degrees in Minnesota that you will come across when pursuing an education. Each degree can take different amounts of time to achieve. These degrees will also influence the type of social work career that you may practice and the job duties you will be allowed to perform. It’s important to become familiar with these degrees so that you can pursue the one that most closely aligns with your goals. These degrees are outlined below. 

Bachelors in Social Work (BSW)  

Earning a bachelor’s degree in social work may be the first step that you take towards becoming a Minnesota social worker. It takes about four years to earn this degree. While in school, you will typically be able to choose specific areas of focus that suit your interests. Once you have obtained the bachelor’s degree, you can choose to apply for graduate school, apply for a job in social work, or, eventually, both. Minnesota has many program that offer bachelor’s in social work degree programs, including: 

College of Saint Scholastica

The BSW program through CSS prepares students both in the classroom and in the field. They believe that students learn by doing just as much as they do by studying. In the social work program, students are required to complete 570 hours of on-the-job training. The goal of CSS is to teach students how to empower the most vulnerable populations in their communities and promote human wellbeing. 

Bemidji State University

This program is a hybrid bachelor of science social work program which allows students to complete much of their coursework online. The part that is completed in-person involves visiting the campus one Saturday a month to apply their skills by engaging in face-to-face dialogue.

The program takes about two years to complete and requires that students transfer an associates degree into the program. The program’s goals are to equip students with the knowledge of understanding how humans interact in a variety of cultural environments. The program also intends to prepare students to move on to graduate programs. 

Masters in Social Work (MSW)  

Earning a master’s degree in social work is a great career step for individuals who want to expand their career options and/or become a licensed clinical social worker, which allows them to provide mental health therapy to clients. A master’s degree takes about two to three years to earn depending on if one attends school full time or part time, although two years is more common. Occasionally, a master’s degree can be completed in one year under certain circumstances. Minnesota offers master’s degree in social work programs, such as: 

St. Cloud State University

The social work graduate degree program through this university is intended to prepare students for professional careers in social work by teaching them critical thinking skills, collaboration, and effective working skills. Social work licensure candidates learn to apply these skills within the context of promoting social, political, and economic justice within their community. St. Cloud State University teaches these concepts through an anti-oppression lens. The program boasts small class sizes, so students can take advantage of getting to know their professors and other students. 

Doctors in Social Work (DSW)  

A DSW degree is a graduate level achievement for students who wish to pursue social work at an advanced level beyond their master’s degree. Those with a DSW have the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of social work practice in areas such as leadership development or social justice. Graduates generally apply their knowledge and skills by taking on leadership roles at nonprofits or other similar social service organizations. 

The University of St. Thomas 

This social work degree in MN is offered online, and includes a two week residency that is on-campus each year. The goal of the program is to prepare students to become practitioners that are skilled in teaching and leadership. They want graduates to pursue social justice in their social work service. The program is about 45 credit hours that must be completed in three years. Students take one course at a time, and each course is three credit hours. 

Ph.D. in Social Work 

A PhD is an advanced degree for social work professionals who want to potentially become educators and commit to research that may better the field of social work as a whole. Students in a social work PhD program learn effective research methods to take part in educational practices that will allow them to eventually influence the world of social work and educate future generations. 

University of Minnesota- Twin Cities 

The goal of the research program of this UM university is to help students graduate as informed scholars who will contribute their knowledge to “foster a nurturing and inclusive society”. PhD students will benefit from the generous funding that the majority are able to receive, and UM assists students with finding other funding they may need. The PhD social work program focuses on both professional development as well as up-to-date research. 

CSWE Accredited Programs in Minnesota 

When looking into attending a social work program, quality is an important factor to consider. One way to ensure that you are receiving the quality education that you are investing in is to look at programs that are accredited. In the United States, social work programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). 

What is CSWE Accreditation? 

CSWE accreditation means that a school has met high standards of excellence for social work education that have been established by the CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA). The COA consists of professionals in the field of social work such as educators, researchers, and others who have been dedicated for many years and want to continue to improve social work education for future generations. 

Why is CSWE Accreditation Important? 

The Council on Social Work Education is intended to advance the quality of social work education and promote innovation within the field. This means that students who attend accredited schools are receiving up-to-date education and information in the social work field so that they are as ready as possible to go out and help their communities.

A school that has met the standards to receive CSWE accreditation is also qualified to prepare students who want to earn a social work license to prepare for their exam. The CSWE vision also conveys that they wish to ensure that the social work profession is equipped to promote a diverse, healthy, and just society. 

List of All CSWE Accredited Degrees in Minnesota 

Online Social Work Programs in Minnesota 

The availability of online degrees are beneficial for many students for a variety of reasons. Minnesota has several social work programs that offer online degree programs for individuals who need this option for bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. The universities offering online social work degrees in Minnesota include: 

  • Bemidji State University: BSW (hybrid)
  • Minnesota State University – Mankato: MSW 
  • University of St. Thomas: MSW, DSW

What Are the Benefits of an Online Social Work Degree? 

Online social work degree programs offer an excellent opportunity to those who may need a flexible learning environment due to factors such as a career, family, or any number of other reasons. Some students thrive from being able to work at their own pace, which an online degree program allows for.

Some students may benefit from an online or hybrid program because they work full-time and need to be able to complete school after working hours. This may be because some students are enrolled in a social work program to better their current career.  Regardless, online social work degree programs are a great option for many individuals. 

What kind of online social work degrees are available?

Social Work Licensure in Minnesota

There are four different types of social work licenses that one can pursue in Minnesota:

To become an LSW, a bachelor’s degree is required. For all others, one must obtain their master’s degree. The LISW and LICSW titles require candidates to complete supervised hours to obtain experience. The LICSW’s hours must include clinical experience as well. Once an applicant has completed the required steps for licensure, such as the required supervision hours, and has submitted an application, they may take the exam. This exam is held by the Association of Social Work Boards. 

How to Become an Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the full title for a social worker that is licensed to practice clinically is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. To earn this title and ability to practice, there are several steps that are required of social work candidates. These steps have been outlined below. 

  1. Earn a master’s degree in social work. 

A master’s degree is a graduate level of education that is an important first step for someone wanting to earn their Minnesota social work license. After one earns their bachelor’s degree, they can then apply for a master’s program. They will submit the required information to the master’s program showing that they have adequately met all of the requirements, such as a certain GPA, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and any other information that the graduate program might need. A master’s degree program takes about 2 to 3 years depending on if someone attends full-time or part-time. It’s important to consider programs that are accredited by the CSWE, as accreditation ensures a certain level of quality to one’s education. 

  1. Complete the required hours of clinical training. 

Minnesota requires licensed social work candidates to complete 360 hours of clinical training in six areas. You may complete these hours through your master’s degree program. The six areas that must be completed can be found through the MN LICSW page. You also have the option to complete up to 90 hours of training through continuing education courses (CEs). When you are completing these hours, you must document them on a form called the 360 clock hours form. This form will be submitted with your LICSW application, which is reviewed in a later step. 

  1. Complete supervised clinical practice hours. 

Minnesota requires clinical social work candidates to complete 4,000 to 8,000 hours of supervised clinical social work practice before they can apply for their license. This allows you to earn your required clinical hours without having earned an official social work license yet, as you are being supervised by a LICSW. While completing these hours, you must meet with your supervisor for at least 8 hours for every 160 hours that you practice. 1800 of the hours that you complete should be in direct contact with clients. Your supervisor will be responsible for filling out a verification of supervision form, which you will submit with your license application.

  1. Submit the LICSW application. 

After you have completed your training and clinical experience, It will be time to submit your application for licensure. There are two ways to do this. There is an online portal available, or you can mail a copy of the license application directly to the board. You should include the form that demonstrates that you have completed your  training hours and supervised clinical experience. You should also expect to have to submit a transcript if the board does not already have a copy. When submitting the application, you will have to also submit the application fee, which was $60 as of 2020.

  1. Complete a criminal background check.

This background check will include fingerprints and was about $33 as of 2020. If the board does not already have this, you should also submit this with your application. 

  1. Take the clinical exam. 

Once the board reviews your application that you submitted in the above step, they will let you know that you are eligible to register for the exam. This exam is held by the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB). The fee for this exam was $260 as of 2020. The board will receive your scores within about 2 weeks of when you took the test.

  1. Receive your clinical license. 

Once the above steps have been completed, the ASWB will then be responsible for notifying candidates of The results and if they are eligible to receive their license based on their application and test results. If you are eligible to receive your license, you will pay a fee to be issued your license. After that, you will then be a LCSW in Minnesota, and may begin your social work practice in the state. 

How Long Does it Typically Take to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Minnesota

Becoming a licensed social worker in MN will depend on where an applicant starts in their educational journey. However, the total amount of time may take up to about ten years if one starts with earning their bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years.

After completing a bachelor’s degree, one must then apply for and be admitted into a master’s degree program. Completing a master’s degree may take about two years of full time schooling. Once a student has graduated, they will then complete 4,000-8,000 hours of clinical, supervised practice hours to apply what they have learned, which takes an additional four years. 

Does Minnesota Have Social Work Licensure Reciprocity 

Minnesota allows for social work licensure reciprocity by endorsement. In order to apply in MN, one must already have their social work license in another state. They must also meet the exam and experience requirements of the state of Minnesota. Candidates can submit their application online, or they can mail in an application, which should include a form that verifies their out-of-state license. 

Social Work Salary & Job Outlook in Minnesota

The salary for social workers in Minnesota depends highly on their level of education, where they work, as well as what they specialize in. For example clinical social workers who focus on a specific type of practice will make a different amount of income annually and someone who works for a government agency. However, each social worker is vital to a community in need. Those who decide to pursue a social work career will see that their job outlook is projected to grow and they may be able to find a career wherever they go in Minnesota.

Social Worker Salary in Minnesota 

The average salary for a social worker in Minnesota is listed as $54,360 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics according to the last time the numbers were gathered in 2016. This statistic includes child, family, and school social workers. The average salary for social workers under the “all other” category in the BLS was $53,450 for MN. 

BSW Average Salary in Minnesota 

Social workers in MN with a bachelor’s degree make an average of about $65,950 as of 2022, but the range can vary between $58,944 and $73,567. Social workers at this level may be able to increase their chances of salary increases through some organizations by taking courses to earn certificates that can expand their skill sets or meeting milestones by staying a certain amount of time as laid out by their employer. 

MSW Average Salary in Minnesota 

Social workers in MN with a master’s degree make an average of about $70,357 as of 2022, but the range can vary between $63,556 and $77,608. Social workers at this level may have the opportunity to take on supervisory roles. The salary for social workers with this degree may be higher than those with a BSW may be higher due to the additional training received in an MSW degree program. 

LCSW Average Salary in Minnesota 

Licensed clinical social workers in MN make an average of about $78,187 as of 2022, but the range can vary between $72,127-$86,888. Social workers at this level have more opportunities than those without social work licenses because they can provide mental health services, such as therapy. LCSWs can take on a social work supervisory role, or they can decide to open a private therapy practice. 

DSW Average Salary in Minnesota 

The average salary for someone with a DSW or PhD in social work may vary depending on what career they decide to pursue. Someone with this degree may choose to continue to work in the clinical space, become a professor, work in administration, or work in another area. Some examples of the average salaries for these careers in MN are as follows:

  • Professor: $104,993
  • Health Services Administrator: $84,692
  • Social Work Supervisor: $91,291

Social Worker Job Outlook in Minnesota 

Although specific information for Minnesota was not available, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the job outlook for social workers is projected to grow 9% over the next decade, which is faster than average for all occupations. It is expected that 64,000 jobs should open up each year. 

Popular Social Work Careers in Minnesota 

Each state has their own unique needs where different types of social workers may find themselves drawn to.  Minnesota is no different, and upon analysis, these are the social work careers that are the most popular and needed within the state. 

  • School Social Worker: A school social worker frequently works with students, families, and the school to identify crises or provide support. The social worker may provide resources and referrals, create plans, implement support tools, teach problem solving techniques, and more. They also are very involved with the rest of the staff at the school as well as outside organizations. They may make referrals to outside organizations 
  • Case Manager Social Worker: A case manager frequently works with a clinical team to assess a patient’s needs from a variety of perspectives. In this role, the social worker/case manager will work to plan, coordinate, and implement processes that will help clients navigate the process of the organization they are involved in. A case manager balances multiple of such cases. 
  • Social Worker-BSW: This type of social worker takes on a multi-functional role of developing action plans to meet the planning needs of families or individual patients. They become familiar with local resources and assist families with accessing said resources through advocacy, planning, and minimizing roadblocks. This social worker individualizes all case plans and assistance to each family or individual to help meet their own needs. 

What is the Typical Cost of a Social Work Program in Minnesota

The cost of social work programs may depend on each university as well as if it is public or private. Regardless, the average costs are outlined below: 

  • Bachelor’s in social work: $900 per credit on average. BSW programs generally require the completion of 60 credits to receive the BSW degree. 
  • Master’s in social work: $833 per credit on average. MSW programs generally require the completion of 60 credits to complete the degree, although many programs offer an advanced track where one can complete the program within 30 credits. 
  • Doctorate in social work: $957 per credit on average. DSW programs typically require the completion of around 50-55 credits. 

Social Work Scholarships

Becoming a social worker is a worthy endeavor, but cost may be a big determining factor in whether or not you can attend school. Luckily, there are many scholarships available for future social workers. Many of the links below are websites where you can find more information on scholarships local to Minnesota, for individuals in social work education programs, or both. These websites are typically updated each semester or each year. 

Another important website to be familiar with if you need assistance with funding is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application determines any federal loans or grants that you may be eligible for based on your family size, income, and other potential factors. 

Key Social Work Areas in Minnesota 

Although there are benefits to living in beautiful Minnesota, the state is not without the need for social workers due to certain issues, much like anywhere else in the US. Homelessness in particular is an issue in MN, especially with the harsh winters that individuals face each year.

Additionally, Minnesota also faces a significant shortage of mental health professionals. These two issues combined have the potential to lead to bigger problems, such as a rise in drug abuse, increase in death rates, increase in poverty, and increase in mental illness and trauma in the community. The state had mental health legislation up for vote in 2022 to expand many mental health services, so it is on the mind of many in the community. 

Masters in Social Work Degree Programs in Minnesota

Augsburg College

(Minneapolis, MN)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $31,292 Tuition Cost
  • $14,058 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Capella University

(Minneapolis, MN)

  • Masters in Family and Community Services
  • Masters in Social Work and Public Administration Policy
  • Urban Campus Setting
  • Visit for tuition details. 

Concordia University-Saint Paul

(Saint Paul, MN)

  • Masters in Human Development and Family Studies
  • $29,700 Tuition Cost
  • $14,498 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Minnesota State University-Mankato

(Mankato, MN)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $6,667 Tuition Cost
  • $1,820 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Saint Cloud State University

(Saint Cloud, MN)

  • Masters in Community and Social Psychology
  • Masters in Human Development and Family Studies
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $6,584 Tuition Cost
  • $2,964 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

(Winona, MN)

  • Masters in Human Development and Family Studies
  • Masters in Social Work and Public Administration Policy
  • $27,820 Tuition Cost
  • $13,914 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

St Catherine University

(Saint Paul, MN)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $24,544 Tuition Cost
  • $13,392 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

University of Minnesota-Duluth

(Duluth, MN)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $11,720 Tuition Cost
  • $3,033 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

(Minneapolis, MN)

  • Masters in Housing and Human Development
  • Masters in Public Policy Analysis
  • Masters in Social Development
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $12,060 Tuition Cost
  • $5,146 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

University of St. Thomas

(Saint Paul, MN)

  • Masters in Public Policy Analysis
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $33,040 Tuition Cost
  • $13,499 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Walden University

(Minneapolis, MN)

  • Masters in Public Policy Analysis
  • $10,725 Tuition Cost
  • $2,576 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting
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