Online MSW Programs in North Carolina

There are 12 masters of social work programs in North Carolina. Each of these universities have been granted accreditation status by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The universities vary in what they offer to students, with many including options such as a hybrid program format, on-campus classes, advanced standing programs, or online MSW programs. Below is a list of the CSWE accredited MSW programs in North Carolina. 

  • Appalachian State University (accredited)
  • East Carolina University (accredited)
  • Fayetteville State University (accredited)
  • Johnson C. Smith University (accredited)
  • North Carolina A&T State University/University of North Carolina at Greensboro Collaborative (accredited)
  • North Carolina Central University (accredited)
  • North Carolina State University (accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte (accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke (accredited)
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington (accredited)
  • Western Carolina University (accredited)

Why Should You Get an Online Masters of Social Work in North Carolina? 

Enrolling in one of these online master of social work programs in North Carolina will provide you with the opportunity to receive an excellent education that meets the high standards of CSWE accreditation. The high-quality, accredited online programs will also prepare you for your future career in social work. By enrolling, you will be prepared to take the appropriate exam and enter into a clinical or non-clinical social work career. Those who go through an online MSW program in North Carolina may also qualify to enter careers outside of the social work field or enter a doctoral program. 

CSWE Accredited MSW Programs in North Carolina

North Carolina features many excellent programs through which one can earn a MSW degree. When thinking of earning a master’s degree in social work, It’s important to look for a program that has been accredited. For MSW programs in NC, accreditation comes from the Council for Social Work Education. 

These universities typically offer an advanced standing program, which allows qualifying students to complete the MSW program at a faster rate. The requirements to enroll in this program are usually similar at each institution, with one of the main requirements being that an applicant must have graduated from a CSWE-accredited bachelor of social work (BSW) program. Other requirements may be outlined in each university’s individual application, but may include factors such as having a work or volunteer history in social services. 

Although there may be some slight differences, the application for each university’s MSW program is generally very similar. The requirements typically include: 

  • Obtaining a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. For the advanced study program, one must have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work. 
  • Transcripts that indicate a minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate work.
  • Three letters of recommendation from professional or educational references. 
  • A resume
  • A statement of purpose (prompt given by the university)
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This is only required by some institutions. 

Appalachian State University 

The MSW program at ASU is offered in an on-campus format, as well as an online option for advanced standing students. Individuals may choose between two concentrations: Community and Organizational Practice, or Individuals and Families. Each concentration requires a minimum of 60 hours to be completed for students enrolled in the standard program, and 33 units for those who are enrolled in the advanced standing program. The standard program can be completed in two years of full-time study or four-years of part-time study, while the advanced standing program can be completed in 1 year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. Both concentrations and each program format requires the completion of a field practicum. 

East Carolina University 

The MSW program at East Carolina University features two options in which students can enroll. One option is the in-person, on-campus program, which takes two years to complete if a student is enrolled in the standard program, and one year if a student is enrolled in the advanced standing program. The other option is a part-time, online format, and takes three years to complete whether enrolled in the standard or part-time advanced standing program. The standard program requires the completion of 60 semester hours and 1,032 hours of field education. The advanced standing program requires students to complete 42 semester hours and 672 hours of field education. 

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville State University’s MSW program offers several different options that interested applicants can choose from. This includes the advanced standing program (if the applicant qualifies), weekend part-time program and full-time program. The advanced standing program takes one year and 35 credit hours to complete. The part-time, weekend program takes place on Friday evenings and during full Saturdays, and requires three years and 61 credits to complete. The standard, full-time program takes two years and 61 credits to complete. The school of social work offers graduate certificates in Substance Abuse Studies (12 credit hours) and Military Behavioral Health (18 credits). The GRE is not required to apply to FSU’s MSW programs. 

Johnson C. Smith University 

There are two degree pathways featured through the school of social work at Johnson C. Smith University: the one-year advanced standing program, and the two-year traditional program. The university offers their courses in evenings and on the weekend to help accommodate working professionals who are enrolled in the program. The program also requires the completion of a clinical internship. Students in the standard program will complete 400 hours in the first year and 500 hours in the second year. Students in the advanced standing program will also complete 500 hours in their one year of the program. The GRE is not required to apply to Johnson C. Smith’s MSW program. 

North Carolina A&T State University 

NCAT University’s MSW program works in collaboration with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They offer an advanced standing program at 42 hours, and a standard, two-year program at 60 hours. The GRE is not required to apply to these programs. The advanced standing program involves enrolling in two summer sessions which include 12 hours of “bridge” courses as a transition into the program. In both programs, students will take part in 30 units of the social work specialization curriculum. The standard program also involves foundational courses to lay a strong knowledge base about social work before the specialization courses begin. Students will also complete education in the field to apply what they have learned in the classroom and to gain experience working with clients. There is also a capstone project requirement. 

North Carolina Central University 

NCCU features a traditional MSW program and an advanced study program. The traditional, two year program requires the completion of 58 credit hours, while the one year, advanced study program requires 35 credit hours to be completed. There is also a field experience requirement, which involves students in the field for 3 days a week during their second year of the program. The first year consists of 29 credit hours of foundational courses. For students in advanced study, the field requirement is completed during their one year in the program. Both traditional and advanced study students take courses in subjects such as child welfare, leadership and administration, mental health, forensic social work, and more. They also learn how to evaluate the social work practice as a whole. 

North Carolina State University (NC State) 

NC State’s traditional MSW program is two years long and requires the completion of 60 credit hours. In the first year of the program, students will take foundational courses in subjects such as social justice, human behavior, and generalist social work practice. They will also begin their internship requirement at 24 hours a week in the field. This internship requirement is continued in the second year of the traditional program. Along with foundational courses, students will choose a minimum of 6 credit hours worth of electives. The advanced standing MSW program option is 12 months of full-time study and requires the completion of 39 credit hours. NC State offers social work students in the MSW program the chance to apply for awards such as the Behavioral Health Workforce Expansion training, which can allow one to potentially earn a stipend of $10,000. 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)

The UNC Chapel Hill MSW program features three different ways in which a student can enroll in the program. This includes the standard, two-year MSW program, the three year MSW program, and the 12-month advanced standing program. In the two-year format, students complete 29 credit hours in their first year, and 32 in their second. In the second year, students will choose a concentration, the options including DIrect Practice or Community, Management, and Policy Practice. The three year program incorporates a flexible curriculum that is designed for students who have jobs or need an alternate schedule for many other reasons. In this version of the MSW program, students take two years to complete the Generalist curriculum as opposed to the standard one year. The 12-month advanced standing program involves completing 13 credit hours in the summer. Students in the programs will also complete the required fieldwork component. Individuals in the 12-month and two-year program will begin this right away, while those in the three-year program will begin their hours in the second year. The GRE is not required to apply to UNC Chapel Hill. 

University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte)

There are multiple options offered at UNC Charlotte for their MSW program. One option is the one-year advanced standing program, which is 39 credit hours. 33 of the credits are completed in the classroom, while six of the credits go towards the field placement requirement. Another option is the two-year plan of study, which is 60 credit hours. 48 of the credits are completed in curriculum courses, and the other 12 credits count towards the fieldwork. The university also offers the MSW program via online education, which has a two-year and a three-year plan. The 60-credit, three-year online version of the program is for students who need a program that is not full-time due to work or other obligations. The GRE is not required to apply to UNC Charlotte’s MSW program.  

University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNC Pembroke) 

UNC Pembroke offers full-time, part-time, hybrid, and online options for their MSW program, which is designed with working students in mind. Students can apply for either the traditional or the advanced standing degree pathway. The traditional program, offered fully online or as a hybrid format, is 50-62 credits long and takes 24-36 months to complete depending on if a student is attending part-time or full-time. The advanced standing program, offered in a hybrid format, is 35 credits and takes 12-24 months to complete. The traditional program requires students to have a minimum GPA of 2.75 from their bachelor’s degree program, while the advanced standing program requires a minimum GPA of 3.2.

University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC Wilmington) 

There are three degree pathways offered at UNC Wilmington: full-time, part-time, and advanced standing. The full-time and part-time programs involve the completion of 62 credit hours. Students will also complete 900 hours of fieldwork. Those who qualify for and enroll in the advanced standing program will complete 39 credit hours of coursework and 600 hours of fieldwork. To be admitted into the program, students should have earned a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate program. The GRE is required for some applicants, but it can be waived for students who previously earned at least a 3.25 GPA at the last institution they attended or for those who already have a graduate degree in another field. 

Western Carolina University (WCU) 

The MSW program at Western Carolina University is offered either full-time or part-time and takes 2-4 years to complete. There is also an advanced study program available. When enrolled, students will complete 62 credit hours of coursework. Students who are in the standard, full-time program or the three or four year part-time program will complete the fieldwork requirement at two different placements. Those enrolled in the advanced study program will complete the fieldwork at one placement. The GRE is not required to apply to the MSW program at WCU. The Department of Social Work also offers the opportunity to earn a $10,000 stipend in a student’s final year of the program. 

Online MSW Programs in North Carolina

There are several online MSW programs in North Carolina for students who need a more flexible option to a traditional, in-person learning format. Online courses allow students to work around other obligations such as a full-time job. Below is an overview of North Carolina universities offering an online option for their MSW program. 

Appalachian State University 

The online MSW program at Appalachian State University is designed to teach graduate students advanced social work practice and intervention skills to help their community. There are two concentrations offered: Individuals and Families, and Community and Organizational Practice. Students will complete the program by participating in both synchronous and asynchronous courses. The field placement requirement must be completed in-person at a local agency, and includes an online seminar component. The completion time depends on if a student is enrolled in the one-year, full-time program or the two-year, part-time program. To enroll in the program, students must have earned a 3.2 GPA minimum in their previous undergraduate program. 

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The online MSW program at University of North Carolina at Charlotte prepares students to become professional leaders in the social work profession. There is a two-year, advanced standing program option and a three-year option for those who want to complete their degree in the online program. Students in the advanced standing online program will fulfill their field placement requirement in their second year. Those in the three-year online program will complete those requirements in their second and third year. 


University of North Carolina at Pembroke 

The online MSW program at University of North Carolina at Pembroke varies in length depending on if students enroll in the part-time or full-time program, and it varies from 50-62 credit hours. Individuals enrolling in the full-time online program will complete the curriculum in two years. Those in the part-time online program will complete the curriculum in 36 months. In order to enroll in this program, students must have earned a 2.75 GPA minimum in their bachelor’s degree program. 

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in North Carolina

Broad overview of the following MSW advanced standing programs including department highlights, notable faculty and advanced standing admission requirements.Each university should have 70-150 words each. 

The advanced standing MSW program may be a great option for those who qualify so they can earn a social work master’s degree more rapidly. This can be beneficial for individuals who are looking to advance their skills or their career prospects. The universities in North Carolina offer this option through their CSWE-accredited MSW programs. 

Qualifications for advanced standing MSW programs require that students have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited institution. When the undergraduate program was completed, students should have also maintained a GPA. The GPA minimum is set by each individual university, but often starts at 3.0 or higher for the advanced standing program.

Below is an overview of some of the advanced standing programs in the state. 

North Carolina Central University 

The advanced standing program at North Carolina Central University is designed to prepare students for a social work career and similar job fields by teaching advanced skills so that graduates will be prepared to serve their communities. The program requires the completion of 35 credit hours. Six of these credits are completed over the summer, 16 credits are completed in the fall, and 13 credit hours are finished in the spring semester. Students will also complete a field practicum and seminar in the fall and spring semester portion of the program. Students must first successfully complete the bridge courses in the summer to move on to the fall and spring portion. 

North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The advanced standing program at North Carolina at Chapel Hill begins with 13 units worth of bridge courses in the summer. Once a student has successfully completed the courses, they will move on to the fall and spring semesters of the rest of the program. Students will choose between two concentrations: Direct Practice (DP) or Community, Management, and Policy Practice (CMPP). The DP concentration is for individuals who want to work as a therapist with individuals or families in private practice or a variety of agencies. The CMPP concentration is for students who want to work in the community, such as providing advocacy or developing policies. In the advanced standing program. 

NC State University 

The advanced standing program at North Carolina State University involves completing 39 credit hours over a 12-month period of full-time study. The program starts with 7 credit hours of courses in the summer. Students will then complete 32 credit hours in the following fall and spring semesters at 16 credits each. There is also a five-unit advanced social work internship requirement which begins in the summer at the start of the program. This involves 24 hours a week working in the field to apply knowledge learned in courses. 

How to Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in North Carolina 

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

You should earn their MSW, DSW, or PhD in social work from a CSWE-accredited university. This can take 2-6 years to complete after an individual earns their bachelor’s degree. Earning one of these advanced degrees prepares an LCSW candidate to best assist their clients through clinical practice, including mental healthcare. 

  1. Earn a LCSWA license. 

Applying as a Licensed Clinical Social Work Associate (LCSWA) allows you to practice social work under the supervision of a licensed social worker. This helps you fulfill other requirements that are needed towards licensure, such as your clinical employment hours. The application and requirements are available through the NCSWB. 

  1. Complete supervised clinical employment requirement. 

Once you have earned their graduate degree, you will need to complete 3,000 hours of paid employment in social work to prepare for the exam and practice seeing clients face-to-face. The 3,000 hours must be completed in two years, minimum, and six years at the most. This requirement is completed under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker. 100 hours of supervision are required as well. 

  1. Register for the ASWB Clinical Exam. 

One of the final steps to earning an LCSW license is registering to take the exam that is given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). You will need to pay a fee to register for this exam after receiving approval from the North Carolina Social Work Licensing Board (NCSWCLB).

  1. Take the ASWB Clinical Exam. 

You must take the clinical-level exam within two years of receiving your LCSWA license. The ASWB website contains information to help students study and prepare for the exam, such as the Candidate Handbook.

  1. Earn your license. 

Once you have passed the exam, they will need to submit an application to the Board along with paying for the fee. The application outlines what documents are needed, such as transcripts from your graduate program and supervision documentation. Once the Board approves your application, you will be granted your license and will be able to begin your practice in social work.

Does North Carolina have Social Work License Reciprocity? 

North Carolina does NOT have social work license reciprocity with other states according to the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board (NCSWCLB). However, when an individual is applying for licensure in the state, it may be determined via assessment that they have substantially equivalent qualifications to be granted licensure. For licensure to be granted via substantial equivalency, the individual coming from another state must have earned their license or certificate by examination. 

Social Work Careers in North Carolina 

Social work can be a challenging but rewarding career. Earning a MSW degree can allow you to work in a variety of locations and in a variety of social work jobs and other careers. Below is an overview of popular social work careers in North Carolina. The pay may depend on where you are located in the state, what kind of organization you work for, and any other qualifications you might have. 

Child and Family Social Worker

A child and family social (CFS) worker typically performs duties related to helping improve the functioning of families and increase the wellbeing of children. They may assist with finding foster homes for children in crisis who have been abused, arranging adoptions, and help connect families to resources. A CFS worker may also work with parents to help connect them with classes and other resources to improve their parenting. Day-to-day duties also include writing case notes, contacting external agencies on behalf of clients, and other various tasks. 

Median Annual Salary: $49,150 

Public Health Social Worker 

Public health social workers may work directly with individuals and families as well as entire communities. They are familiar with health problems and the social issues that go along with them. Job duties might include collecting data, performing research, providing public education, supporting families, and more. This type of social worker might work in hospitals, government agencies, residential facilities, and other organizations providing medical care. 

Median Annual Salary: $61,690

Medical Social Worker 

A medical social worker, also sometimes known as a healthcare social worker, provides support to patients who are experiencing illnesses as well as their families. They also perform job duties such as coordinating patient care with internal services and external organizations, help with patient discharges, review new admissions, and more. They are trained to handle crises and provide resources to patients who may need it. This type of social worker is qualified to work at a number of healthcare and medical organizations.

Median Annual Salary: $60,840

School Counselor

A school counselor works to help provide families and students resources to address the emotional and behavioral health of a student or connect them to services that are needed. They may also affect the way a school operates by providing feedback to other faculty and administration. Most importantly, school counselors provide emotional support to their students, especially if the student is experiencing a crisis or challenging mental health situation. 

Median Annual Salary: $45,160

MSW Salary in North Carolina 

There are a variety of salaries that a social worker can make in North Carolina. This depends on a number of factors. The section below reviews these factors and the salary that social workers make in North Carolina.

Average Salary for Social Workers in North Carolina

According to O*Net Online, the salary for social workers in North Carolina is as follows: 

  • Healthcare Social Workers: $60,840 annually
  • Child, Family, and School Social Workers: $49,150 annually
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers: $49,130 annually
  • All Other Social Workers: $69,190 annually

How Much Does an MSW Make in North Carolina? 

The average salary for a social worker with a master’s degree is about $67,378 as of 2023. MSWs have the potential to earn a higher salary due to their advanced degree, which means they have gained more knowledge and skills that can be applied to the job. Additionally, some MSWs may become licensed, which would increase the salary potential even more. 

Tips for Increasing Salary Potential 

To increase your salary potential as a social worker, there are several factors to take into account. These include: 

  • Education. Earning a master’s degree or another advanced graduate degree is one way to increase your salary potential. This is because more job opportunities are open to you, whether as a social worker or another career. For example, individuals who become Licensed Clinical Social Workers can become therapists and open their own practice, which may lead to a higher potential salary than working for a specific organization. 
  • Experience. Your potential salary may increase as you gain more experience in the field. You may also earn other certifications as you work in your job, which may help you increase your salary. 
  • Location in North Carolina. Some areas in North Carolina may pay social workers higher than other areas. For example, cities like Charlotte, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Lumberton, and Durham are more likely to pay their social workers higher than other cities in the state. 
  • Area of Practice. Not every job that a social worker may enter into is the same. Choosing certain areas of practice may create the opportunity for a higher salary. For example, some of the highest paying social work careers include therapists, medical social social policy analysts, and administrators of nonprofits. However, this may depend on the state. 

Social Work Job Outlook in North Carolina 

In the United States, overall employment for social workers is projected to grow 9% in the next decade. Comparatively, the job outlook for social workers in North Carolina is about 11% according to O*Net Online for social workers in general, social workers with a master’s degree, and LCSWs. This job outlook is much faster than average, meaning that there may be a good chance of future employment for individuals in social work programs. 

What is the Typical Cost of a MSW in North Carolina

The typical cost for a masters in social work program in North Carolina is around $20,000-$32,000 on average, which includes fees as well. The cost may be much higher (up to double or more) for students attending from out-of-state. Some examples of university tuition include:

  • Appalachian State University
    • $19,058 for in-state residents
    • $30,037 for out-of-state residents
  • Fayetteville State University
    • $17,521 for in-state residents
    • $29,129 for out-of-state residents
  • North Carolina State University
    • $31,675 for in-state residents
    • $51,995 for out-of-state residents

MSW Scholarships and Grants 

There are several options to explore to help fund your MSW program. Scholarship opportunities online include: 

Individual North Carolina universities may offer grants, scholarships, or other financial aid options for their graduate students. You can explore this option by emailing the universities that you are interested in or exploring their website, especially the school of social work section. 

Another way to potentially obtain financial assistance is through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application is to be filled out every year that you are in school to make the most out of financial aid that may be available to you. The application determines if you are eligible for any grants or federal loans based on a number of factors such as income and family size. 

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