Master's in Social Work Programs in Iowa

There are a handful of schools throughout Iowa that offer standard and advanced standing master's degree programs in social work. Graduates of these programs are prepared for a social work careers in a variety of settings. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Clarke University

Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in social work in the last seven years can earn a Master of Social Work at Clarke University through the one- to two-year advanced standing program (36 credit hours, day or hybrid formats); students whose BSW is older than seven years can complete the advanced standing bridge course (three credit hours) and continue onto the advanced standing program. Students with a degree outside of social work complete 64 credit hours of coursework through the hybrid program (part-time, three years) or the traditional day program (full-time, two to three years). Clarke also offers an articulation MSW program for graduates of two partner schools that allows students to transfer up to six courses into the Clarke program.

Saint Ambrose University

The Master of Social Work program at Saint Ambrose University has an empowerment social work focus, which emphasizes change through the use of available resources and strengths. Students who have earned a BSW may qualify as advanced standing students and will be required to complete 36 credit hours of coursework (one year, full-time), while standard students are required to complete 60 credit hours in as few as 18 months (full-time) or as many as four years (part-time). Students can also purse a dual degree in business administration (MBA) or public health (MPH).

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa has four Master of Social Work programs with a general focus on social change and family, which are available at multiple campuses. The regular standing program is for students without a social work degree and consists of 60 credit hours, while the advanced standing program is available to students with a BSW or a BA in Social Work and requires 48 credit hours. The 41-credit accelerated advanced standing program is available to students with a social work bachelor's degree who meet GPA and other admissions requirements; there's also an online MSW program.

University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa has two MSW programs with a trauma-informed care concentration that emphasizes rights, strengths, and dignity of all people. Advanced standing students can earn their degree in one year of full-time study (37 credit hours), and foundation students can finish the program in two years of full-time study (60 credit hours).

School Name Programs Offered Average Graduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
Clarke University Advanced Standing MSW
Articulation MSW
Hybrid/Weekend MSW
Traditional Day MSW
Saint Ambrose University Advanced Standing MSW
University of Iowa Accelerated Advanced Standing MSW
Advanced Standing MSW
Regular Standing MSW
Online MSW
$9,785 in-state
$28,726 out-of-state
University of Northern Iowa Advanced Standing MSW
Foundation MSW
$9,159 in-state
$19,633 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Admittance Requirements for Master of Social Work Programs in Iowa

In order to pursue an MSW in Iowa students should have a bachelor's degree. Students who have a bachelor's degree in social work can typically enter advanced standing tracks or programs and bypass foundation course requirements. Schools often require students to have earned a certain undergraduate GPA, such as a 3.0, and completed some prerequisite courses (including statistics, the humanities, and behavioral or social sciences). Students may also need to submit letters of recommendation, a resume, and an essay expressing goals and commitment to social work.

What Can You Do with an MSW in Iowa?

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers work with patients to help them comprehend medical diagnoses and make necessary arrangements in their homes and lifestyles. They may also consult with doctors about how illness or disease affects patient status and can specialize in specific fields of healthcare, such as hospice or geriatric care. In order to perform a broad range of duties and qualify for clinical positions, social workers need a master's degree and state licensure.

Child, Family, or School Social Worker

Child and family social workers help children and families in need by finding them available services and intervening when there are unsafe conditions in homes. School social workers collaborate with school administrators and educators, as well as parents, to create plans of action for student success. Although some lower-level positions only require a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in social work expands career responsibilities and prepares graduates for licensure, which is necessary for clinical roles.

Mental Health or Substance Abuse Social Worker

Mental health and substance abuse social workers assist clients who may have mental illnesses and/or addiction issues. They typically provide referrals to relevant programs and assistance. Graduates of a master's degree program in social work may qualify for supervised positions, but will also need licensure in order to practice clinical social worker functions.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Healthcare Social Workers $56,200 17%
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $46,270 7%
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $44,840 18%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Students can earn a master's degree in social work at one of several schools in Iowa in as little as one or two years. Students become prepared for careers working in a variety of social work fields, such as mental health, healthcare, and families.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • University of Pennsylvania

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    • Iowa: Davenport
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