Online Masters Social Work Degree at Walden University
Since you are here you might be asking yourself what someone with a masters in social work (MSW) does. An MSW degree is a diverse degree offering opportunity in a large variety of fields, including direct counseling, case management, hospice care, and more. It has been my goal since my undergraduate days to become a therapist. So I was excited to find out in 2014 that I had been granted admission as a part time student in an online masters social work degree at Walden University. The part time program takes 3 years. I graduate this August! So I am in the final stretch of this degree program.
First, I started out in Walden’s marriage, couple, and family counseling program but after 3 quarters decided to apply for the MSW program and was accepted. My decision was based off of talking to coworkers at the job I was working at the time. Almost all of our QMHP’s at my work told me a social work degree was more competitive, and the majority of them had a MSW. I did a lot of research before I decided to switch, so when I applied I knew that this was the path I wanted to take.
Walden University Now CSWE Accredited!
When I started at Walden’s MSW program they only had candidacy phase of the accreditation process. It was a risk for me to enter a program without full accreditation but I decided to take the risk and it paid off. Walden University Social Work Program is now a CSWE accredited program! They achieved CSWE in early 2016. They are now the only fully online university to offer an accredited online MSW program. If Walden University social work program is of interest to you, I highly recommend reading the rest of this. I am about to give you a brutally honest review of my experience.
Walden University Online & It’s Negative Reviews
I decided to write this review because when I was searching for an online masters social work degree I kept running into negative reviews about Walden University Online and its programs. These reviews made me nervous to apply, and I almost didn’t. Once I read deeper into the reviews I was seeing online, I noticed a common thing, and that was that most of the negative reviews were from students that were in Walden’s doctoral programs. Almost none of the negative reviews had to do with their behavioral health programs. I did not find many reviews for the masters in social work program outside of Facebook groups, but seeing virtually no negative reviews did make me feel better.
Some things to keep in mind when looking at these Walden University Reviews
- Walden Univ has an open acceptance policy for most of its programs. That means that for most programs if you apply it is likely you will be accepted, granted you have met the program requirements (GPA, application packets, references check).
- Walden univ is a for profit university and an online school – this means they have more space for students and are willing to fit more students into their online classrooms. However, that does not mean the student is necessarily ready for the level of work graduate school entails.
- Walden univ does make the effort to help students gain the skills they need to excel. The downside though is that they do not screen students as carefully as the brick and mortar schools. This can be good and bad. This means students that are not at graduate level do get accepted. Some of these students are able to adjust while others aren’t as successful. Some of the negative reviews I saw online appeared to be students were unfortunately failed out.
- Walden University Social Work program is still new. It’s only been available since early 2013, and it got CSWE accreditation in 2016. The kinks still need to be worked out. Their program is constantly improving. Not everyone likes change!
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My Experience at Walden University Online
By now I have been at Walden University Distance Learning Social Work Program long enough to be able to give an accurate review. Overall my experience has been very good. I have not had a single professor that I hated or had a terrible experience with. I have had professors who have pushed me past what I “thought” my abilities were, and in the end I learned that I am capable of a lot more than I let myself think. I definitely thought it would be easier because its an online program, and would be more flexible. The truth is, getting a masters in social work online is not easy. In many ways it’s been more difficult then going to a physical campus.
The work load is heavy at times. I easily study 20+ hours a week for some classes, and easier classes I can get by with just a few hours a week. The amount of time you study will depend on the program concentration and your level of expertise in the field. On average I would have to say I study 10 to 15 hours a week. Several of my classmates have had babies while in this program, and have managed to stay on track with their graduation requirements. Most students work full time while going to school. Personally, I work part time as a emergency substitute teacher.
Walden University online social work program is fast paced but prepares its students for the real world. Even if you do not have experience in this field you will come out prepared. You will leave the program with a well rounded education. Walden Univ fully prepares its student to be professional social workers ready to take on the world with its focus on diversity and cultural awareness.
Field/Internship process leaves much to be desired but I had no issues securing the first half of internship for Field 1 &2. I am on track for starting final field/internship 3 & 4 in February 2017. The main complaint students have with the field process is that students have to find their own placement. Networking is key in this area. There is a lot of information to write down for the field process so I will create a separate post for that. Talking with other students who have gone through field helps.
Cost of a Walden Online Degree in Social Work
Finally, cost. Walden University Social Work Program is not inexpensive but it is less than other for profit universities. Simmons College is $970 a credit hour. USC Online is $100,000 a year. When you look at it that way Walden Uni is comparably less when you look at other MSW online degree programs. Right now, Walden’s MSW program is $540 a credit hour. The school goes by a quarter basis. You have to do 2 residencies, usually out of state unless you are lucky enough to live in a state they are held. Residencies ran around $1200 plus hotel & food. I will write a post about residencies experiences later this year.
*UPDATE – there has been some changes to the residency process. I am waiting for students to attend the new process before I write about this section of the program. It definitely deserves its own post.
Overall my experience has been pleasant. Would I recommend Walden to other students? Yes I would!