Interested in becoming a licensed social worker in Illinois? Check out our directory of accredited MSW programs in Illinois for more information about degree and licensure requirements.
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- Earning an MSW in Illinois prepares you to become a licensed social worker (LSW) or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
- In Illinois, you need an MSW to provide independent clinical services as an LCSW.
- You need an MSW accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to apply for Illinois licensure.
Earning an MSW in Illinois can open the way to rewarding career opportunities. Projections Central posits that the demand for licensed social workers will continue to expand across the state; Illinois will need more than 2,500 new social workers between 2020 and 2030.
Explore our directory of the state’s accredited MSW programs to learn about requirements, licensing, and salary potential.
CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in Illinois
Whether you are enrolling in an MSW right after earning a bachelor’s degree or returning to school while working in the field. Illinois offers several options to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
|University||Location||Available Concentrations||Enrollment Type|
|Aurora University||Aurora, IL||Addictions, Child Welfare, School Social Work, Forensics, Gerontology, Health Care, Leadership Administration, Military and Veteran Social Work||Full-Time; Part-Time; Online; Advanced Standing Option|
|Chamberlain University||Addison, IL||Crisis and Response Interventions, Medical Social Work, Trauma||Full-Time; Part-Time; Online; Advanced Standing Option|
|Chicago State University||Chicago, IL||N/A||Full-Time; Part-Time|
|DePaul University||Chicago, IL||N/A||Full-Time|
|Dominican University||River Forest, IL||Aging, Adulthood and Gerontology; Children, Youth and Family; Global Social Work Practice for Immigrants and Refugees; Health and Well-Being; Military; School Social Work||Full-Time; Part-Time; Online; Advanced Standing Option|
|Erikson Institute||Chicago, IL||Children, Adolescents & Adults, Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health||Full-Time; Part-Time; Online; Advanced Standing Option|
|Governors State University||University Park, IL||N/A||Full-Time; Part-Time; Advanced Standing Option|
|Illinois State University||Normal, IL||Child and Family Practice, School Social Work||Full-Time; Advanced Standing Option|
|Lewis University||Romeoville, IL||N/A||Full-Time|
|Loyola University Chicago||Chicago, IL||Advanced Clinical Practice, Migration Studies||Full-Time; Part-Time; Online; Advanced Standing Option|
|Northeastern Illinois University||Chicago, IL||Practice with Children, Youth, and Families, Leadership and Change||Full-Time; Part-Time; Advanced Standing Option|
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||Carbondale, IL||Health/Mental Health or Children, Youth & Families||Full-Time; Online|
|Southern Illinois University Edwardsville||Edwardsville, IL||N/A||Full-Time; Advanced Standing Option|
|University of Chicago||Chicago, IL||N/A||Full-Time|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Urbana, IL||N/A||Full-Time; Part-Time; Online; Advanced Standing Option|
|University of Illinois Chicago||Chicago, IL||N/A||Full-Time; Part-Time; Advanced Standing Option|
|University of St. Francis||Joliet, IL||N/A||Full-Time; Part-Time; Online; Advanced Standing Option|
Featured Online Social Work Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What to Expect from an MSW Program in Illinois
Illinois is home to several MSW programs featuring flexible learning formats. All seventeen of the CSWE-accredited MSWs in the state offer traditional two-year, campus-based programs for full-time students that require approximately 60 credits.
Most programs accept students with bachelor’s degrees in non-social work fields. Twelve Illinois schools offer advanced standing admission to applicants with accredited BSW degrees, enabling them to finish their degree in one year.
Eight schools offer online or hybrid options designed for working professionals and those with personal responsibilities that make it difficult to attend a traditional program. Eleven schools provide part-time plans of study.
In addition to preparing students for generalist social work practice, several MSW programs in Illinois allow students to pursue concentrations that enhance career prospects, including in-demand specialties in addictions, school social work, child welfare, and gerontology.
How to Apply to an MSW Program in Illinois
For admission to most MSW programs in Illinois, you need a minimum 2.75 GPA, official transcripts, and letters of recommendation. For many schools, GRE scores are optional. You may also have to submit a personal statement and take part in an interview.
Traditional two-year programs in the state will consider students with a bachelor’s in a non-social work field such as psychology, sociology, or counseling as long as they meet prerequisites in research, math, and sciences.
You need an CSWE-accredited BSW for admission to an advanced standing MSW program. You should always check with your intended school to make sure you meet their specific admission requirements.
What You Can Do With an MSW in Illinois
While you can enter non-clinical entry-level social work jobs with a bachelor’s degree, earning an MSW is a necessary step for obtaining advanced licensure in Illinois.
Once you earn your degree from a CSWE-accredited MSW program, you may apply for LSW or LCSW licenses through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
If you have a CSWE-accredited MSW, you can become an LSW in Illinois without taking the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination or completing supervised field hours. However, the scope of practice for LSW license holders is restricted. LSWs in Illinois cannot practice independently or provide clinical services unless supervised by an LCSW.
LCSWs can provide unsupervised clinical services for an organization or agency or in private practice. For MSW-holders, the LCSW license requires 3,000 hours of supervised experience and a passing score on the ASWB clinical-level exam.
Salaries for licensed social workers in Illinois vary by education, type of employer, specialty, and professional experience.
The salaries for social workers in all specialties range from $53,879 to $65,630 annually. The highest paid social workers, those in the 90th percentile with graduate degrees and work experience, earn between $83,470 and $97,050 a year.
Everything Else You Need to Know About MSW Programs in Illinois
Is an MSW worth the degree?
Earning an MSW can enhance your career opportunities, increase your salary, and provide long-term job security. An MSW is required for all advanced social work licenses and for independent clinical practice.
What do you need to be a social worker in Illinois?
You may find entry-level employment in social work with a bachelor’s degree. However, with an MSW, you can qualify for an LSW or LCSW license. If you want to provide clinical services, you need an MSW, 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervision, and a passing score on the ASWB clinical examination.
What can you do with an MSW in Illinois?
Licensed social workers in Illinois find employment in an array of settings, including government agencies, social service organizations, hospitals, public health clinics, and schools. You may work as a case manager or administrator, provide treatment and therapy directly to clients, or serve in policy or advocacy roles.
What is the salary for social workers in Illinois?
Social workers in child, family, and school specialties earn an average annual salary of $60,740 in Illinois. Specialists can earn $65,630 a year in less common but high demand areas such as forensic, criminal justice, and military social work.