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Colorado Social Work Programs and Degrees Guide

By: SocialWorkGuide.org Staff
Last Updated: April 2020

Social workers in Colorado help people cope with problems in their daily life. Clinical social workers also treat behavioral and mental issues. This rewarding career path reflects strong demand, with a growing number of social work jobs opening in Colorado each year. While the projected national job growth for social workers sits at 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Colorado social workers benefit from higher job growth projections.

This page explores the employment outlook for Colorado social workers, the state's licensure process, and the benefits of pursuing an online social work degree.

Online Social Work Degree Programs in Colorado

University Degree Program
Metropolitan State University of Denver - CO Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW)
University of Denver - CO Master's in Social Work (MSW)
Metropolitan State University of Denver - CO Master's in Social Work (MSW)
Colorado State University-Fort Collins - CO Master's in Social Work (MSW)

Employment Outlook for Social Workers in Colorado

Projected Job Growth and Average Salaries for Social Workers in Colorado
Social Work Career Job Growth (2016-26) Average Annual Salary
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers 32.4% $46,980
Healthcare Social Workers 35.7% $52,150
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 22.9% $51,060
Social Workers, All Other 20.2% $54,600
Median Salaries for Social Workers by Degree Level (U.S.)
Bachelor of Social Work $49,000
Master of Social Work $52,000
Doctor of Social Work $68,000

Social Work Licensure in Colorado

Candidates for a Colorado social work license apply through the State Board of Social Work Examiners. Colorado offers two options for social work licenses: licensed social worker (LSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Candidates for the LSW license must hold an MSW degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Applicants must pass an ASWB exam at the master's, advanced, or clinical level.

Candidates for the LCSW must pass the ASWB advanced or clinical exam and complete additional postgraduate supervised experience. Colorado requires 3,360 hours of professional experience over a minimum of two years. Both licenses require passing scores on the Colorado Mental Health Professions online jurisprudence examination. Social workers licensed in other states can apply for licensure by endorsement.

For more social work licensing information in your state, visit https://www.socialworkguide.org/licensure/colorado.

Should You Earn an Online Social Work Degree in Colorado?

The flexibility of an online social work degree helps students earn their degree while saving time and money. Online social work programs appeal to current social workers pursuing career advancement, working professionals considering a career change, and students with work or family obligations. The flexible schedule, designed for working students, means students earn their degree faster while balancing work and school.

During an online social work program, students build career-ready skills. The curriculum covers social work research, social welfare evaluation, and leadership skills in human services. Online students also complete an internship or practicum to gain hands-on training. Students often complete their internship at a local site, working with a licensed social worker approved by the program. The fieldwork component helps social work students build their local network while strengthening their professional experience.

An accredited online social work degree meets the same high academic standards as a traditional degree.

In Colorado, choosing an online social work program can save students thousands of dollars. Colorado residents benefit from lower in-state tuition rates at public institutions. In addition, some schools charge a lower flat rate or offer in-state tuition to all distance learners, regardless of their state residency. Online students also save on transportation, parking, and childcare costs.

An accredited online social work degree meets the same high academic standards as a traditional degree. Similarly, social work degrees from accredited programs meet Colorado's licensure requirements. Many schools provide identical diplomas for online and on-campus students. As a result, an online social work program offers an accessible, convenient route to career advancement.

Online Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) Programs in Colorado

Metropolitan State University of Denver -- Bachelor of Science in Social Work

A public university located in Denver, Colorado, Metropolitan State University of Denver boasts more than 21,000 students each year. The campus rests at the former townsite of Auraria, which was founded in 1858, making it one of Denver's oldest universities. MSU Denver has international relationships with universities in China, Ethiopia, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

MSU Denver's bachelor of science in social work program allows degree-seekers to pursue entry-level careers in the social and human services fields. Social work bachelor's students at the university can complete their programs on campus or through hybrid and online formats. Students in the fully online program take asynchronous and synchronous courses, with asynchronous work allowing learners more flexibility and synchronous programs requiring them to log on at specific times to satisfy requirements.

The hybrid format combines face-to-face classes with online courses, using a specific schedule for each individual course and requiring students to travel to campus for some components.

Accreditation

  • Metropolitan State University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver's bachelor of science in social work is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.

Admissions

  • Other Admission Requirements: Applicants need to submit ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts.

Tuition

  • Average Undergraduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $362/credit; $834/credit
  • Average Graduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $478/credit; $669/credit

Academics

  • Online Social Work Programs: BSSW and MSW
  • Program Length: 120 credits/four years
  • Information Relevant for Transfer Students: Transfer students must complete the admissions application, provide official transcripts, and hold a grade of "C-" or higher in each transferable course.

Social Work Coursework

  • Field Education/Practicum Required?: No
  • Capstone/Thesis Required?: No
  • Core Courses: Quantitative literacy, arts and humanities, global diversity, natural and physical sciences
  • In-Person Requirements: None

Student Support

  • Technical Support: Yes

Online Master's in Social Work (MSW) Programs in Colorado

University of Denver -- Master of Social Work

A private research university located in Denver, Colorado, the University of Denver was founded in 1864. It's the oldest independent private research university in the Rocky Mountain region. The 125-acre campus, which sits south of downtown Denver, includes an arboretum, plus six colleges and six schools offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including one of the premier online social work programs in Colorado.

Colorado social work students can pursue a master of social work at DU, which features a curriculum that builds knowledge and skills in the field and prepares students for several social work career paths. The master's degree features two online tracks: a traditional program and an advanced-standing opportunity.

The traditional MSW option allows degree-seekers to complete the program in as little as 21 months, including foundational courses, concentration courses, and two field internships. The advanced-standing option includes 60 credits of coursework and can be completed in 18 months, comprising two foundation courses, the concentration curriculum, and a field internship.

Concentrations allow degree-seekers to choose an area of specialty in either mental health and trauma or health and wellness. Distance learners can complete their internship requirements locally.

Accreditation

  • The University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • The University of Denver's master of social work is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.

Admissions

  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor of social work degree
  • GRE required?: No
  • Other Admission Requirements: Applicants must provide official transcripts with their applications.

Tuition

  • Average Undergraduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $9,800/year
  • Average Graduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $51,336/year

Academics

  • Online Social Work Programs: BSSW, MSW
  • Program Length: 60-90 credits/18-21 months

Social Work Coursework

  • Tracks/Concentrations: Traditional or advanced standing
  • Field Education/Practicum Required?: Yes
    • Foundation year - 12 hours/week
    • Concentration year - 15 hours/week
  • Core Courses: Clinical social work skills, integrated social work practice for social justice, human behavior in the social environment
  • In-Person Requirements: Field internship

Student Support

  • Technical Support: Yes

Metropolitan State University of Denver -- Master of Social Work

Metropolitan State University of Denver, a public university located in Denver, Colorado, has campuses in Auraria, at the Community College of Denver, and at the University of Colorado Denver. In 1965, the university began as an opportunity school to give students from all backgrounds the chance to earn degrees. Around one-third of learners at this university belong to minority groups.

MSU Denver offers a master of social work program that combines research, academics, and field experiences into a curriculum that emphasizes scientific inquiry, global awareness, ethical decision-making, and cultural sensitivity. The university allows learners to choose between on-campus, hybrid, and online formats, making it one of the more flexible online social work programs in Colorado.

The online MSW program at MSU Denver is the state's most affordable master of social work program and one of the most affordable options in the United States. The program prepares students to become scientifically informed, ethical leaders, focused on both community and clinical practice. Colorado social work degree-seekers enjoy the program's social justice focus, which prepares them for careers as therapists, clinicians, and activists.

Accreditation

  • Metropolitan State University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • MSU Denver's master of social work program is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.

Admissions

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in social work
  • GRE required?: No
  • Other Admission Requirements: Along with their admissions applications, prospective students must provide official transcripts.

Tuition

  • Average Undergraduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $362/credit; $830/credit
  • Average Graduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $1,420/three credits; $1,990/three credits

Academics

  • Online Social Work Program: BSSW; MSW
  • Program Length: 60 credits/two years
  • Information Relevant for Transfer Students: Students cannot transfer in more than nine graduate-level credits.

Social Work Coursework

  • Tracks/Concentrations: Advanced Practice
  • Field Education/Practicum Required?: Yes
    • Foundation year - 16 hours/week
    • Concentration year - 20 hours/week
  • Capstone/Thesis Required?: No
  • In-Person Requirements: 240 hours of field placement requirements

Student Support

  • Technical Support: Yes

Colorado State University -- Master of Social Work

Colorado State University, a public research university in Fort Collins, Colorado, is the flagship university of the Colorado State University system. CSU offers bachelor's and master's programs across a variety of fields. These include 150 programs of study, dispersed among 55 departments and eight colleges.

The master of social work program at CSU features a concentration in advanced generalist practice, offered in two formats: an on-campus option at Fort Collins and a hybrid option combining online courses with off-campus components. The hybrid format includes two intensive learning weekends each semester, which must be completed in person in Fort Collins, Denver, or Boulder/Longmont.

Distance learners can specialize their master's degrees in social work by also earning certificates. Certificate options include the PreK-12 school social worker certificate, the Nonprofit Administration certificate, the military and veteran culture certificate, the conflict resolution and mediation certificate, and the advanced clinical behavioral health certificate.

Specializations allow degree-seekers to tailor their degrees to fit their professional goals and personal interests, cultivating the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success after graduation.

Accreditation

  • Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Colorado State University's master of social work is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.

Admissions

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in social work
  • GRE required?: No
  • Other Admission Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate human service experience.

Tuition

  • Average Undergraduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $12,058/year; $30,780/year
  • Average Graduate Tuition per Credit (In-State/Out-of-State): $13,156/year; $28,424/year

Academics

  • Online Social Work Programs: MSW
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Information Relevant for Transfer Students: Credits from CSWE-accredited programs can transfer.

Social Work Coursework

  • Tracks/Concentrations: Advanced generalist practice
  • Field Education/Practicum Required?: Field experience required
  • Capstone/Thesis Required?: No
  • Core Courses: Principles and philosophy of social work, theoretical foundations for social work, social welfare policy and advocacy
  • In-Person Requirements: Some classes on campus

Student Support

  • Technical Support: Yes

Accreditation Information for Colorado Social Work Schools

School Graduation Rate1 Transfer-Out Rate1 Associate’s SW Program Bachelor’s SW Program Graduate SW Program CSWE Accred.5 US News Best Social Work Grad Schools Ranking3 Net Price*1
Colorado Mesa University N/A N/A No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $8,008
Colorado State University-Fort Collins 65% 10% No Yes Yes Yes #54 tie $14,511
Colorado State University-Pueblo 32% 15% No Yes No Yes Not Ranked $11,785
Metropolitan State University of Denver 24% 32% No Yes Yes Yes #128 tie $9,145
University of Denver 76% N/A No No Yes Yes #17 tie $33,625

*The net price is calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics by subtracting the average amount of aid (including grants and scholarships) from the total published cost of attendance for in-state/in-district students, which includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses. To gain a better understanding of how to interpret the statistics discussed in this table, see our list of important definitions.

Directory of Social Work School Programs

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Schools with an asterisk (*) have programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Colorado Mesa University*
1100 North Ave
Grand Junction, CO 81501
(970) 248-1020
http://www.coloradomesa.edu

Colorado State University-Fort Collins*
301 Administration Building
Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100
(970) 491-1101
http://www.colostate.edu

Student Review: “I had a great time in the Masters of Social Work program at Colorado State University. The program is considered “generalist”, so we got to learn a little bit about many different subjects/aspects of social work. My professors were wonderful, and I was lucky to receive a Graduate Research Assistant position which helped me pay for school. Assignments were usually interesting and relevant, and the small class size led me to meet some lifelong friends. There were several options to choose from in terms of the classes you could take or the potential final projects you could engage in. I would definitely recommend CSU for a Masters of Social Work. I have been successful in my social work career in large part to the great start I got at Colorado State University.” – Student at Colorado State University
stars-4

Colorado State University-Pueblo*
2200 Bonforte Blvd
Pueblo, CO 81001-4901
(719) 549-2100
http://www.csupueblo.edu

Metropolitan State University of Denver*
890 Auraria Pkwy
Denver, CO 80217-3362
(303) 556-3058
http://www.msudenver.edu

University of Denver*
2199 S University Blvd
Denver, CO 80208
(303) 871-2000
http://www.du.edu

University of Northern Colorado
501 20th St
Greeley, CO 80639
(970) 351-1890
http://www.unco.edu

Student Review: “I rather enjoyed the Social Work program at UNC. The professors had a wealth of experience from a variety of fields (not all of them social work, per se, but sociological research mostly). The lectures were generally quite lively and engaging (a generous and lively amount of participation was encouraged) and the coursework load was, honestly, minimal. It’s the kind of program a student can get a LOT out of, if they’re willing to put in the effort. At the same time, it’s also unfortunately easy to cruise-through with minimal effort as well (a good number of students in my field of study appeared to be doing just that). What the program decidedly lacked was the amount of practical experience necessary to seriously pursue work in the field immediately after graduation. I found it extremely difficult citing any real-world experience in my supposed field of expertise, as a result (I’m a teacher now, but not in the field of social work, as I’d intended). The good thing was that that the limited outside work I had to do enabled me to pursue work on the side while I finished up my degree, which is a godsend for anyone paying their tuition without assistance, like I had to. Overall, it’s a decent program for a decent price, but don’t expect miracles or the ability to land a job instantly after graduation.” – Student at University of Northern Colorado
stars-4

Schools with an asterisk (*) have programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Kiplinger’s Best College Values: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-kiplinger-s-best-values-in-private-colleges/index.php?table=all
3. US News & World Report Social Work Best Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/social-work-rankings
4. Social Work Guide’s Top Online MSW Programs 2018: /degrees/masters/online/
5. Council on Social Work Education: https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Directory-of-Accredited-Programs.aspx