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Online MSW Programs in New York

By the OnlineU team | Updated 11/6/2023

Online MSW programs educate enrollees so they are prepared to pursue employment in the social work field. Instructors lead courses in areas like social welfare policy, social work advocacy, human behavior, and the social environment. To qualify for these programs, an applicant must hold a bachelor's degree in any field

By the OnlineU team | Updated 11/6/2023

Online MSW programs educate enrollees so they are prepared to pursue employment in the social work field. Instructors lead courses in areas like social welfare policy, social work advocacy, human behavior, and the social environment. To qualify for these programs, an applicant must hold a bachelor's degree in any field

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Master of Social Work Online Programs in New York

Individuals who choose to pursue social work at the bachelor's level can qualify for advanced standing in their master's programs, which may shorten degree timelines to just one year. Standard track enrollees may take two or more years to complete their MSWs.

To learn about online MSW programs and social worker requirements in other states, explore our list of CSWE-accredited online MSW programs by state below: 

CSWE-Accredited Online MSW Programs by State

Can You Get an MSW Online in New York?

Yes — you can earn an online MSW in New York. The schools listed above offer online MSW programs in New York, including online pathways with a hybrid delivery. This means that classes may combine in-person and distance learning.

How Do I Prepare for an MSW Program?

To prepare for an online MSW program in New York, start with your education. Students who know their long-term goals can begin preparing by pursuing a bachelor's degree in the field. Similarly, enrollees can seek internships to develop experience and familiarity with social work before pursuing licensure.

New York Online MSW Admission Requirements

Candidates for online MSW programs in New York must possess bachelor's degrees from accredited universities. Some schools offer advanced standing pathways for applicants who have completed bachelor's degrees in social work (BSWs). Most programs require candidates to possess strong GPAs in the 3.0 range. An applicant may also have to provide letters of recommendation or a statement of purpose.

MSW Careers in New York

Individuals seeking social work jobs in New York can pursue employment in several specialized roles. Social workers can specialize in different patient populations based on factors such as age, condition, or industry. The following section explores three social work jobs in New York.

Healthcare Social Workers

Median Annual Wage: $60,280
Job Growth: 9%+

These social workers in the healthcare sector advocate for patients and assist in providing access to treatment, services, and education for their condition. They assess each client's needs by communicating with family members, caretakers, and medical professionals. Healthcare social workers also help patients with admission to inpatient and outpatient care.

Child, Family, and School Social Workers

Median Annual Wage: $50,820
Job Growth: 5-8%

Child, family, and school social workers help children and their families navigate issues relating to education, abuse, and illness. These professionals assist students who experience difficulties with learning, social skills, or conduct. They may also make referrals for patients to meet with specialists and other healthcare professionals.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Median Annual Wage: $51,240
Job Growth: 9%+

Mental health and substance abuse social workers provide treatments for patients with addiction, emotional, or mental health issues. They communicate with medical professionals to deliver the best treatments for each client. These social workers may guide clients in individual or group settings.

New York Social Work Licensure

Social work licensure in New York functions similarly to other states, with a few key differences. The state draws a distinction between "licensure" and "registration." In New York, a license lasts a lifetime, but licensed social workers must become registered to practice professionally. 

Graduates of MSW programs can take the licensure exam upon meeting the requirements of their intended license. For example, Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) candidates can take the licensing exam after completing an MSW and required courses. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) applicants must have three years of supervised professional experience before taking the exam. General requirements for both licenses include passing the respective exam, completing additional coursework on the identification and reporting of child abuse, and being at least 21 years of age. The New York State Education Department oversees social work in the state, but candidates take exams with the national Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Social Work License Reciprocity in New York

Reciprocity for social work licenses from other states varies depending on the license type. Unfortunately, LMSWs cannot receive licensure by reciprocity, but out-of-state licensees can still apply for licensing if they meet the same qualifications required by New York. 

As an LCSW from another state, social workers can practice New York social work through reciprocity if they've practiced for at least 10 years in the past 15 years. 

An out-of-state LCSW applicant still needs to submit applications, documentation verifying their degree, clinical exam scores, and other details regarding their current license and practice. The application process for both LCSWs and LMSWs requires a fee.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Social work licenses in New York must be renewed every three years. Both LMSWs and LCSWs must complete 36 hours of formal continuing education during the three-year period. New social workers do not, however, need to complete continuing education during the first three-year registration period since the licensing requirements were just completed. 

The courses taken must be administered by a provider approved by the New York State Education Department, and the subject matter must focus on the professional practice of social work. Social workers may also earn continuing education hours for activities such as teaching a course or making a technical presentation at certain professional conferences.

Licensed Master of Social Work

Candidates can pursue LMSW licensure by passing the master's exam with the ASWB. For eligibility, an individual must possess an MSW, complete training in child abuse identification, and submit an application. 

LMSWs cannot practice independently as social workers in New York — though they can see patients, LMSWs can only perform their work under the supervision of other professional social workers.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LCSW requirements encompass all of the same steps as LMSWs with a different exam and additional required experience hours. After earning MSWs, prospective LCSWs can take the ASWB Clinical exam after accruing three years of supervised experience in state-approved settings. Many LCSWs fulfill this requirement by working as LMSWs.

FAQs About Social Work in New York

How Do I Become a Social Worker in New York?

To become a social worker in New York, an individual can start by earning an MSW and pursuing LMSW licensure. Each LCSW candidate must be at least 21 years old, possess 12 credits of clinical courses in addition to their MSW, and have completed at least three years of relevant supervised work in a social work setting. Prospective LCSWs must also pass the necessary clinical exams and complete child abuse reporting courses or training with a state-approved provider.

How Much Does a Social Worker Make in New York?

The BLS reports that the average social worker salary in New York is $78,540. This average refers to income for healthcare social workers; mental health and substance abuse social workers; child, family, and school social workers; and all other social workers.

How Long Does It Take to Get Your MSW in New York?

Degree timelines vary for social workers in New York based on their previous education and training. Individuals with BSWs can qualify for advanced standing pathways, allowing them to complete their MSWs in just one year. Prospective MSW enrollees with bachelor's degrees in unrelated fields may take two or more years.

MSW Resources

Current and future social workers in New York can join member organizations and access professional development resources for the field. The following sites offer information on advocacy opportunities, continuing education, and licensure requirements.

The New York State School Social Workers' Association

NYSSSWA advocates for the profession by improving awareness about the importance of social work in New York. The organization allows social workers to share their resources and perform research in the field. With membership, individuals can access professional resources, representation with other social work organizations, and statewide conferences.

New York State Society for Clinical Social Work

NYSSCSW helps set and maintain best practices for social work through local chapters in the state. This association promotes advanced social work education, collaborates with national social work organizations, and advocates on behalf of social workers to the public. Members can improve their professional identities and complete education programs.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) - New York Chapter

The NASW New York chapter promotes social justice and advocates for strengthening social work within the state. Site users can explore continuing education events, explore advocacy opportunities, and research licensure requirements. Membership allows social workers to advance their careers and connect with professional peers.

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