What You Need to Know About Getting Your Master’s of Social Work in Illinois

As a social worker, the places you can work and the things you can do are seemingly endless. Social workers are there after tragedies strike families, schools, or entire communities to help counsel victims and survivors through difficult times. Social workers assist children and families through adoptions, court cases, and foster care placements. They even play an important role in reuniting families after days, months, or even years of being separated.

As a social worker, you can choose to work with those who are battling drug addictions, homelessness, or mental disorders. You could choose to be a counselor in a high school or university, or you could start your own private practice. You could specialize in helping veterans and their families, or you could focus on individuals who are transitioning out of a religion. You could even work as a court advocate for people with special needs who have to go to trial.

The possibilities for social workers are seemingly endless. As long as there are people who need help, there will be a need for social workers. And with the rise of mental health awareness around the world, now is a great time to consider getting into the field.

Social worker careers are in demand across the United States. If you have decided to go back for your Master’s of Social Work, you are making an excellent career choice that will help you build your future in a solid profession.

Taking that next step can be difficult and confusing, especially with all of the programs available. You want to know what the best MSW programs in Illinois are, without the spam and scams that go with researching, and that’s where we step in to help.

Opportunities abound for social workers in Illinois

Illinois has a rich and unique history that attracts many people, young and old, to take up residency in this diverse state. However, this same diversity brings its own set of problems.

The influx of immigrants in Illinois, particularly in big cities like Chicago, have made the need for social workers a crucial job position. As a result, problems like sex trafficking and hate crimes have become huge issues. As of 2005, Chicago has been designated by the FBI as one of thirteen locations of “High Intensity Child Prostitution.”

Because of this and other daily struggles, Illinois is in need of caring and trained social workers to help those who are less fortunate to be guided into better lives. If this is something you feel strongly about, getting your MSW is an important step you need to take to be able to make a difference in the world.

Whether you are looking for something on your own schedule and in the convenience of your home, or something more hands on and regimented, there are verious programs available that fit your specific needs. MSW programs in Illinois can be found both online and on campus, with an abundance located directly in the big city of Chicago.

To help you decide which option is best for you, we have broken down programs available to you both on campus and online.

MSW programs with a campus in Illinois

No matter how young or old you are, many people are attracted to the idea of a regular classroom setting, where they can sit with other learners and have direct, immediate feedback from the teacher. These people prefer a campus program where they can earn their MSW. Campus options are widely spread out and available throughout the state, and depending on your location, one of these accredited Illinois MSW programs may be the right choice for you.

Dominican University, located in River Forest, was initially accredited in 2001 and most recently in February 2017. With a strong focus on arts and culture, this school has a social work program geared towards preparing students to embody the values of social workers, such as dignity of self and others and integrity.

Governors State University, located in University Park and most recently accredited in June 2015, offers MSW programs “dedicated to the idea that social justice and human rights go hand-in-hand.”

Illinois State University has a special School of Social Work located in Normal, IL, noting that through their program students have a “particular commitment to outreach to the poor, the disenfranchised, and the vulnerable.”

Southern Illinois University Carbondale, located in Carbondale, was initially accredited in 1998 and most recently in June 2010. Offering children, youth and families; health and mental health; a school social work certificate program, as well as a certificate in gerontology, this school offers many grants and hands-on opportunities to receive practice.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, located in Edwardsville, offers both Micro and Macro Practices for their Graduate Concentrations.

University of St. Francis, in Joliet, offers both the MSW and social work certificate programs. USF boasts of its ability to assist its students through the financial aid process with its many scholarships.

If, however, none of these campuses are convenient for you, or the idea of an in-class environment is not your learning style, you have many other options as well.

Check out this article to learn more about an on-campus vs an online MSW program.

Online MSW programs in Illinois - Fitting your future into your present circumstances

For many people, the desire to return to school is offset with the reality of needing to work to survive. Not only are finances an obstacle, but squeezing just one more thing into the day seems impossible, much less trying to shove returning to school in there.

That is where online courses have become a lifesaver for people across the world. There are so many options available, at such varied rates and schedules, that just about anyone can go back to school. However, as this Noodle article says, classes come with the need for self-discipline and responsibility. You also need to be careful when picking out your school, as choosing the right school can make a big difference for the rest of your future career.

However, as you are looking for online MSW programs in Illinois, here are 25 online options for you to scan through and compare them to your requirements:

Aurora University, both with a campus located in Aurora, IL and with an online option available, this university was accredited first in 1987 and most recently in February 2017. With exam passing rates higher than the national average, and multiple areas available for specialization of your degree, Aurora University is an option for both distance and campus learners.

Arizona State University, located in Arizona, has online programs that are open to anyone in the United States, with no campus visits required. Their programs are already specialized for you in the field of Advanced Generalist.

Asbury University, with a main campus in Kentucky, has online programs open to anyone in the United States, with the exception of Massachusetts and New Jersey. However, an annual residency of one year is required, which you need to keep in mind if you are looking into this school.

Boise State University, in Idaho, has fully online programs with no campus visits required. Boise State’s programs are available to anyone in the United States except for those residents of D.C., Florida, and Kentucky.

Boston University in Massachusetts has online social work programs that specialize in Clinical Social Work Practice and Macro Social Work Practice. Boston University’s online programs are open to students anywhere in the United States except the U.S. territories or U.S. military bases overseas.

Columbia University, located in New York but with online MSW programs in social work, are open to anyone in the United States and specialize in Advanced Clinical Practice or Social Enterprise Administration.

Delaware State University, with a main campus in Delaware, has a fully online MSW program that specializes in Advanced Generalist and is open to all students in the United States.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is fully online and available to students anywhere in the United States. The MSW degree at Edinboro has a specialization in Family Social Work and Practice.

Indiana University’s MSW programs are open to students anywhere in the United States and their degree is specialized in Advanced Generalist.

Louisiana State University is a little more strict on their enrollment offerings, with their online programs open to students anywhere in the United States except Delaware, Washington, DC, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina. They are also set up somewhat uniquely, with their social worker programs designed in asynchronous 7-week modules with six start dates per year.

Our Lady of the Lake University, located in Texas, has a distinctly specialized focus in Direct Practice with Hispanic Children and Families, with their MSW programs offered fully online. However, it is only open to students from all U.S. states excluding Delaware, all US territories, and all US military bases overseas.

Portland State University in Oregon offers online programs set up in three-year cohorts. Because of this setup, a mandatory three day on-campus visit is required before the start of each academic year. However, the program is open to students across the country and specializes in Practice and Leadership in Communities and Organizations.

Rutgers University, located in New Jersey, offers programs online to students anywhere in the United States, with a specialization in Clinical Social Work.

Simmons College, in Massachusetts, has an online program available to anyone in the United States and is both self-paced and regimented uniquely. The programs are weekly 90-minute sessions of both synchronous and asynchronous course work. These programs allow for practices which are specialized in Clinical Social Work, with additional specialized areas in mental health and substance abuse, Child and Family Welfare, Trauma and Interpersonal Violence, and Health and Aging.

Temple University, with a main campus in Pennsylvania, offers MSW programs online but mandates a three day campus visit to discuss placement the second year prior to classes resuming in August. This school offers specialization in Trauma, Health/Mental Health, Children and Families, Humanitarian Social Work, and Military Social Work.

University at Buffalo (State University of New York) uniquely offers programs to both United States and Canadian citizens online. Their MSW programs offer specializations in Trauma-Informed and Human Rights Perspectives.

University of Arkansas has an online MSW program that specializes in Multi-System Life Courses offered to students anywhere in the United States.

University of Denver, with a main campus in Colorado, offers social work programs to students anywhere in the United States. MSW’s from this university come with a specialization in Mental Health and Trauma.

University of Houston, located in Texas, offers online MSW programs to students nationwide with a specialized practice in the area of Clinical with optional emphasis in Health and Behavioral Health.

University of Louisville, out of Kentucky, offers unique online or hybrid options to students anywhere in the United States. Their specialized areas are in Military Social Work, Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Gerontology, Mental Health Counseling, and Psychology Oncology.

University of Southern California offers a unique program with live online classrooms that are open to students anywhere in the United States.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville, this university is the focus for anyone in the United States looking for specialization in Clinical or Macro (Management, Leadership, and Community Practice). Another attractive option available is that of certificates online for MSW students in Gerontology, Veterinary Social Work, and School Social Work.

Walden University, with a main campus in Minnesota, offers online programs to both students in the United States and those learning internationally. However, there are two four-day residencies required. Specializations are in Advanced Clinical Practice, Military Social Work, Social Work in Health Care, and Social Work with Children and Families.

Western New Mexico University offers courses both online and through Poly-com to anyone in the United States. Poly-com is a form of online communication similar to Skype.

Widener University offers MSW programs to anyone in the United States, as well as service members who may be stationed throughout the world, with specializations in Advanced Clinical with focus on trauma and its impact on mental health.

Chicago - the hub of MSW programs in Illinois

The abundance of MSW programs located in Chicago are enough to warrant this windy city its own section. Offering both online and on campus programs, Chicago is central to many learners. By going to school in this abundant location, it gives its students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural experience that it naturally offers.

Chicago State University offers flexible evening and weekend schedules with student-centered classes. Specializations include Direct Practice With Families, Program Planning, and Administration and School Social Work.

DePaul University also offers classes on weekday evenings and weekends, with low faculty-to-student ratios to give students extra support and mentoring opportunities.

Loyola University Chicago has MSW programs available in both English and Spanish. LUC offers two tracks for their MSW programs: “1) the clinical track, which includes health, children and families, school social work, mental health specialities, as well as subspecialties in advanced family treatment, gero-ed, forensic mental health, migration studies, and 2) the leadership and development track, which emphasizes skills in administration, nonprofit management, grant-writing, staff supervision, and program development.”

University of Chicago offers MSW programs through the School of Service Administration, requiring you to be accepted through the SSA first, and then by the Program of Study that you are interested in. Once you have a Master’s degree in social work, SSA also offers a Post-Master’s School Social Work Endorsement Certificate Program.

University of Illinois at Chicago offers its Chicago MSW programs via the Jane Addams College of Social Work, a college that claims to be at the “forefront of social work” and takes community participation and action to the next level.

Prepare to help others with your social work career in Illinois

Whether you are looking into Illinois MSW programs online or on campus, in Chicago or in another city, social work is a calling that is in desperate need of people like you - who care and are willing to do what it takes to make a difference.

With all of the opportunities available to make your Master’s of Social Work both convenient and affordable, why not start now?

Works Cited

“Human Trafficking in Illinois Fact Sheet,” (n.d.) Retrieved April 5th, 2018 from https://socialwork.uic.edu/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/FINAL_-_Human_TraffickinginIllinoisFactSheet-November2015_2_121.pdf.

Dominican University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.dom.edu/.

Governors State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.govst.edu/.

Illinois State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.socialwork.ilstu.edu/.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale Maters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://ehs.siu.edu/socialwork/.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.siue.edu/artsandsciences/socialwork/.

Aurora University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://gwc.aurora.edu/academics/graduate/social-work/index.html#.WsZwYYjwZEY.

Arizona State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://socialwork.asu.edu/MSWonline.

Asbury University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://www.asbury.edu/academics/departments/msw?utm_source=cswe&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=cswe.

Boise State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://hs.boisestate.edu/socialwork/msw-online.

Boston University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://onlinemsw.bu.edu/.

Columbia University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://socialwork.columbia.edu/the-student-experience/online-campus/.

Delaware State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://wilmington.desu.edu/.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.edinboro.edu/academics/schools-and-departments/graduate-studies/programs/social-work/index.html.

Indiana University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://mswdirect.iu.edu/.

Louisiana State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.lsu.edu/chse/socialwork/academics/msw-online.php.

Our Lady of the Lake University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://onlineprograms.ollusa.edu/msw.

Portland State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://www.pdx.edu/ssw/msw-program.

Rutgers University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://online.rutgers.edu/master-social-work/.

Simmons College Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://socialwork.simmons.edu/.

Temple University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://cph.temple.edu/msw.

University at Buffalo Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/education/master-of-social-work-online.html.

University of Arkansas Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://fulbright.uark.edu/departments/social-work/.

University of Denver Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://onlinemsw.du.edu/.

University of Houston Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.uh.edu/socialwork/academics/msw/online-program/.

University of Louisville Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://louisville.edu/online/programs/masters/master-of-science-in-social-work?utm_source=cswe.

University of South California Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://msw.usc.edu/.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.csw.utk.edu/mssw/onlinemssw.htm.

Walden University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://www.waldenu.edu/masters/master-of-social-work.

Western New Mexico University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://socialwork.wnmu.edu/?lang=en.

Widener University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from https://onlineprograms.widener.edu/.

Chicago State University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.csu.edu.

DePaul University Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://socialwork.depaul.edu.

Loyola University Chicago Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.luc.edu/schools/socialwork/.

University of Chicago Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.ssa.uchicago.edu/.

University of Illinois at Chicago Masters in Social Work, n.d. Retrieved April 5, 2018 from http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/college/.

Nedda
Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.