CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree Programs in North Carolina

counseling session one on one

North Carolina is home to an expansive range of degree programs for aspiring social workers. This is one of the top reasons why the state is such a great place to build a social work career. However, while a large number of offerings means more opportunities for students, it also means students must use their discernment when making choices for their educational journey. This can impact not only your academic experience but the course of your career.

As you narrow your social work degree program options, make sure that every school on your list is CSWE accredited, as these are the only schools that will leave you eligible for licensing.

If you’re serious about establishing a long-lasting career as a social worker, this is not optional.

Why is this? One needs only to consider the complex duties of a social worker to understand why Master and Bachelor of Social Work programs are held to high standards of quality control. After all, social workers are frequently called upon to help individuals and families in crisis, meaning their work requires rigorous training and a great depth of knowledge. Accreditation confers that a degree program provides the proper foundations from which students can take on the delicate responsibilities of a social worker.

If you are concerned this might limit the social work degree opportunities for you, fear not: there are excellent CSWE accredited MSW programs throughout the state of North Carolina, including online options, part-time options, and more.

To learn more about accredited MSW programs in North Carolina, read on.

About the CSWE

Programs receive their accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which is the national organization overseeing social work education across the United States. This means that CSWE accreditation is what you need to look out for when reviewing schools.

Within the CSWE, the Commission on Accreditation (COA) develops and designs the accreditation standards by which programs are evaluated. The accreditation process itself is overseen by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the CSWE Office of Social Work Accreditation (OSWA), which involves site visits and self-studies by degree programs.

As you can see, accreditation does not come easily to schools, and is supervised by multiple bodies within the CSWE. This is why only those who have attended CSWE accredited MSW programs in North Carolina are eligible to receive social work licensing in the state.

Finding Accredited MSW Programs in North Carolina

Though looking for a CSWE accredited school may narrow your search, students with a wide variety of educational needs should be able to find a program that suits them within these parameters. This is because many top accredited social work programs understand that students have a wide variety of requirements in order to make school work for them.

More than ever, there are accredited Master of Social Work programs in all available formats and timelines to help people enter the social work profession in the way that works for them.  

This means that it’s important to go into the application process knowing what setup is right for you.

diverse group in mental health therapy session

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Your MSW Program

Full-time. Part-time. Online. In-person. The number of educational formats available to social work students is a huge asset to anyone looking into an MSW program, as it means you’re more likely to find an opportunity that fits into the rest of your life. However, it also means you need to be thoughtful about what your needs really are.

Here are some of the best questions to ask yourself as you begin looking into accredited Master’s of Social Work programs:

  1. Do I have time to attend graduate school full-time for two years?
  2. Would I need to leave my job in order to attend an MSW program full-time?
  3. If I continued to hold my current job, would I have the time and energy to complete an MSW program part-time?
  4. Would it be easier to manage my current responsibilities if I were attending school remotely?
  5. Would I benefit from not having to commute to school in order to attend class?
  6. Would I be more inclined to take advantage of school resources if I were attending class in-person?

In answering these questions, you will be in a better position to determine what type of MSW program will work best for you.

Accredited Online MSW Programs

toddler and dad in session with social worker

Virtual conferencing has been an incredible boon to educators and students alike, making it easier to provide a first-class education to students no matter where they are.

In the state of North Carolina, there are plenty of CSWE accredited online schools that can allow you to earn your MSW without needing to report to campus.

Online degree programs exist for all levels of social work education, from BSW to MSW to even doctorate degrees. These programs offer the same coursework as a traditional in-person class, and can be assumed to be as rigorous and intensive as on-campus programs. However, they make receiving a social work education far more accessible to students throughout North Carolina and the rest of the country. Students who wish to hold their jobs or have major responsibilities such as children or family care can benefit greatly from the convenience of scheduling flexibility and the hours saved on commute time.

Online education options aren’t just good for students, though. These options are good for the social work field overall, as more students attending MSW programs means more social workers entering the profession on the other side. That’s one reason why many accredited MSW programs have expanded their offerings in recent years to include online class options.

Accredited online Master of Social Work programs are available on a part-time and full-time basis. Just like with traditional programs, there are also Advanced Standing MSW programs available online for those who hold BSWs, allowing them to bypass the first year of foundational coursework and obtain their MSW in just one year.

It is worth noting that while online programs offer classes online, this does not extend to your mandatory field work hours. In most cases, social work students will be expected to complete their field work hours in person, as most social work roles require direct face-to-face interactions with clients. This is important to consider as you plot out your schedule to complete your MSW education. You will likely be able to select a social work organization that is convenient to where you live.

Taking the next steps to become a social worker

Are you ready to take the reins on your dream career as a social worker? Take a look at our featured programs to see some of the top CSWE accredited online MSW programs available in North Carolina. You’re sure to find an option that will meet your needs while setting you on the path to make a difference in the lives of others.


Can I become a social worker in North Carolina without attending a CSWE accredited MSW program?

In short, no. You will not be eligible for your mandatory licensing exams if you did not attend a CSWE accredited school for your degree. This means attending accredited MSW programs, online or in person, should be non-negotiable as you consider your educational options.

How do I know if an online MSW program is accredited?

Because CSWE accreditation is so crucially important to the social work licensure process, most MSW programs will make this information very easy to find on their websites and informational materials. You can also consult our lists of the best and cheapest CSWE accredited online programs to confirm that the program that appeals to you is properly certified.

Is there any disadvantage to attending an online MSW program as opposed to an in-person option?

As a credential, a CSWE accredited MSW program online will hold just as much weight as a degree received from an in-person program. In other words, there is no difference between an in-person or online program in the eyes of a prospective employer. From a student’s perspective, the coursework in the two types of program will also be the same, meaning you will not miss out on particular subjects or assignments if you attend school virtually.

However, prospective students should think carefully about their own learning styles as they choose between online and in-person MSW programs. Some students may find that they are far more attentive if they attend class in person, while other students may feel that the effort needed to get to campus on a more fixed schedule is too draining. Similarly, those who attend in-person programs may have better access to professors for mentorship and other professional opportunities, meaning those who are considering online school should ask themselves if they would be able to account for missing these opportunities. In short, what’s right for one social work student may not work at all for another, meaning there is no “best” MSW degree option. What’s best is whatever will allow you to thrive while pursuing your degree.

If I am in an online MSW program, can I complete my field work hours virtually?

In most cases, no. Because field work hours are intended to give you an on-the-ground perspective on the social work profession, most programs will require you to complete your field work hours in person. This is an important and rewarding part of your MSW program that many students find adds encouragement and clarity to the process of becoming a social worker. This means it should be a serious consideration as you plan your schedule as a student.