Deciding to pursue an Advanced Standing MSW degree is just the first step toward achieving your career goals – finding the right school for you should be subsequent on your list. With online, hybrid, and traditional options available, selecting a great Advanced Standing MSW school and program has never been easier. Our state-by-state guide will help you explore all your options to make an informed decision that aligns with your circumstances and needs.

How to Choose an Advanced Standing MSW Program

Embarking on the journey to pursue an Advanced Standing Master of Social Work (MSW) program is a significant step toward a fulfilling career in social work. Selecting the right program involves carefully considering various factors, ranging from program format to accreditation and specialization options.

Online vs. Traditional Programs

Online Advanced Standing MSW programs offer flexibility for those with existing professional or personal commitments. Consider the balance between asynchronous and synchronous components, the availability of resources, and the level of interaction with instructors and peers. Assess your ability to manage self-paced learning and ensure the program aligns with your technological preferences and capabilities.

Traditional, on-campus programs provide a more immersive and in-person learning experience. Evaluate the program’s location, campus facilities, and the opportunity for face-to-face interactions with professors and classmates. Consider your preferred learning environment and the potential benefits of networking within a physical community.

Hybrid programs combine the flexibility of online coursework with the interactive aspects of occasional campus visits and are often available for those who want the best of both worlds.


Accreditation is a crucial factor in assessing the quality and legitimacy of an Advanced Standing MSW program. Look for programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), as this accreditation ensures adherence to the highest standards in social work education. Employers often prioritize candidates with degrees from accredited programs, enhancing your professional credibility.

Curriculum & Specialization Options

Explore each Advanced Standing MSW program’s curriculum to ensure it aligns with your career goals and interests. Assess the availability of elective courses, the structure of field education, and the integration of theory and practical skills. Additionally, investigate specialization options, such as clinical social work, macro social work, or specific populations (e.g., children and families, healthcare), to tailor your education to your desired focus area.

Internship & Field Experience Requirements

Field education or internships are integral components of an Advanced Standing MSW program. Evaluate the program’s approach to field education, including the availability of diverse placement options, supervision quality, and the level of support the program provides in securing internships. Consider how the program facilitates the application of theoretical knowledge in real-world social work settings. Field experience requirements for an Advanced Standing MSW program can top 500+ hours, but this will vary from program to program.

Program Length & Time Commitment

Prospective students should know the time commitment required for an Advanced Standing MSW program. Whether pursuing the program full-time or part-time, evaluate how it aligns with your current professional and personal obligations. Accelerated programs can often be quite intensive and move quickly. Consider the following:

  • Full-time programs offer an accelerated path to graduation and are typically completed in one year
  • Part-time options provide flexibility for those balancing multiple responsibilities but will extend the time needed to complete the degree

Financial Considerations

Assess the program’s tuition and fee structure, considering your financial capacity and available resources. Explore scholarship opportunities, financial aid options, and any partnerships with organizations that may offer tuition assistance. Factor in the potential return on investment regarding career advancement and earning potential post-graduation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for social workers is expected to be favorable, with a projected 7% growth rate between 2022 and 2032, which is faster than average for all careers. Experienced social workers with advanced degrees can expect to earn at the top of the pay scale.

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