11 Best MSW Trauma Programs – 2024


Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA

Are you a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree looking for a new career or considering transitioning to a new role? Do you enjoy helping others? Are you moved with compassion and empathy for others experiencing difficult life situations? If so, have you considered becoming a trauma-informed social worker?

MSW trauma programs offer excellent opportunities for individuals with a baccalaureate degree to earn a master’s in social work and specialize in caring for clients dealing with trauma. If this sounds interesting, you may wonder, “What are the best MSW trauma programs?” In this article, I will answer that question.

As you read on, you will learn about the 11 best MSW programs for 2024 and discover what it takes to earn your degree through them. I will share information with you about admission requirements, program costs, curriculum, and field training. You will also discover the earning potential and job outlook for program graduates and answers to frequently asked questions to help you decide if this is a path you wish to pursue.



RECOMMENDED ONLINE MSW PROGRAMS

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN MSW TRAUMA PROGRAM?


The goal of the best MSW trauma programs is to prepare students with knowledge and experiences relevant to a trauma-informed social work model. These programs offer a rich curriculum that includes classroom instruction and clinical practice opportunities to help you develop essential skills associated with trauma-informed social work. MSW trauma programs aim to equip students capable of advocating for and educating clients about trauma and effective coping strategies and to help promote positive outcomes, despite difficult life challenges.



5 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN MSW TRAUMA PROGRAM


When you earn your degree through MSW trauma programs, you will develop several skills and abilities to help you perform your job. Program faculty and preceptors will work with you to lay a foundation for growing and learning about trauma-informed care and to help you develop the skills and abilities needed to be effective in your role. The following are five of the most important skills and abilities you will gain in an MSW trauma program.

1. You will learn to demonstrate culturally competent care to trauma victims:

An individual’s culture often influences their response to traumatic events. In MSW trauma programs, you will study cultural diversity and the importance of providing culturally competent care to clients on an individualized level.

2. You will learn strategies for teaching effective coping to deal with trauma:

As a trauma-informed social worker, you will work with clients and help them learn ways of coping with the trauma of their lives. In your program, you will learn about communication, coping strategies, and human responses to trauma, which will help you develop coping strategies specific to each client’s needs.

3. You will develop the skills needed to advocate for trauma victims:

Trauma can occur from a variety of situations other than physical or emotional abuse. Some people experience trauma due to the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a natural disaster. When you earn your degree through MSW trauma programs, you will learn of ways that you can advocate for clients based on their situation and needs. You may work to facilitate housing for a client whose home was lost in a fire, arrange for substance abuse counseling, or speak up on behalf of offenders being poorly treated in a correctional facility.

4. You will learn to use active listening to promote a trusting client/provider relationship:

Active listening is essential for social workers to identify and understand client needs. Program faculty and practical training preceptors will help you learn techniques that promote active listening, including knowing which questions to ask based on the situation, paraphrasing and summarizing, and asking open-ended questions that promote client feedback. When clients feel you are genuinely interested in what they think and feel, establishing a trusting relationship that is conducive to promoting positive outcomes.

5. You develop and hone critical thinking skills:

As a social worker, you gather information from unbiased communication and observation and objectively evaluate the data, which requires critical thinking. MSW trauma programs will teach you how to use communication, observation, and research to gather important information about clients and their situations. They will also prepare you to use the information you gather to make critical decisions about client care.



5 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS


Before committing to a college or career path, it is good to weigh the pros and cons. As a nurse, I have worked with social workers for years, and I can tell you that I truly respect them. I cannot tell you from personal experience about the advantages of MSW trauma programs or being a trauma-informed social worker. However, I would like to share some of the advantages my social worker friends have shared with me and why they feel their decisions for this path were right for them.

1. You get to help people through difficult life situations:

One of the greatest things about MSW trauma programs is that they prepare you for a career where you can truly make a difference. Although trauma is overwhelming, and the job requires a lot of you, you will have opportunities to help people through some of the most challenging times in their lives.

2. You can open your own business:

With a Master of Social Work in Trauma degree, you will have the knowledge, skills, and credentials needed to open a business. You could open a consulting firm offering services to private clients dealing with trauma, work with criminal offenders to help identify trauma patterns and help create plans for recovery, or open a private counseling practice.

3. There is a good demand for trauma-informed social workers:

While it is unfortunate that there is a need for professionals who deal with trauma, the good news is it means good job opportunities for you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase in jobs for social workers in this field, at least through 2031.

4. You can choose to specialize:

Trauma-informed social work is a specialty in and of itself, but you are not limited to such a broad scope. Many graduates of MSW trauma programs specialize further. For example, you could become a trauma-informed MSW who specializes in Military Social Work, Violence and Domestic Abuse, or Child and Family Social Work. Some graduates earn several specialty certifications, which is an excellent way to boost a resume and make you a more viable candidate for jobs.

5. You will have a job that makes you feel proud:

Everyone wants to have a job that makes them feel accomplished and worthwhile, and being a social worker does. Although your clients’ situations may be troubling or even leave you feeling disheartened, at the end of the day, the job you do is something to be proud of.



2 MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS


MSW trauma programs offer both advantages and disadvantages. I believe it is important to consider what you want from a career and decide if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages before committing. The following are two main disadvantages associated with MSW trauma programs and the careers that follow.

1. It is sometimes difficult to remain objective:

One of the biggest disadvantages of MSW trauma programs is that remaining objective can be challenging. In your program and in practice after graduating, you will see people at their best and worst. If you must work with offenders, there may be times when your personal feelings about what they have done make it difficult to be objective.

2. The role of a trauma MSW is emotionally taxing:

Although the job you do as a trauma-informed social worker will be rewarding, and you can make a difference in others' lives, it can also be an emotionally overwhelming role. The best advice I can give you is to be intentional about practicing self-care. Self-care will help promote physical and emotional well-being, which is essential if you want to do an effective job. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, rest, and exercise, and having time for family and friends can help you create a work/life balance.



WHO ACCREDITS MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS?


As you research the best MSW trauma programs, one of the key factors to consider is whether the programs are accredited. When you earn your degree through an accredited program, you can feel assured that the education you receive meets quality standards, which means you can feel confident in your ability to perform in your new role after graduation. In your search for programs, look for the ones accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

S.NO.Accrediting Agency
1Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)



WHEN DO MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS START?


MSW trauma programs start at different times, depending on the school where the program is offered. You will find some schools that begin classes once a year, and others offer three or more start dates. The location of the school, the number of program faculty, and number of applicants are some of the main factors that determine how often schools offer their programs.

The MSW trauma programs offered at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, begin in the fall each year.

At Winona State University, classes for the regular standing MSW program begin in the fall semester. Advanced standing students begin in the summer semester.

Virginia State University begins classes for its program in the fall semester of each academic year.

The University of Northern Iowa offers three start dates yearly in the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

Barry University’s MSW trauma programs begin in the spring and fall semesters.



HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS?


The curriculum plans for MSW trauma programs often require students to complete between 35 and 60 credits. Students in standard or traditional MSW programs complete the most credits. Those with a Bachelor of Social Work who pursue advanced standing program options receive credit for previous college coursework. The following are some examples of the credit requirements for some of the nation’s top programs.

Students in the regular MSW trauma program track at Widner University complete 57 credits. The advanced standing track requires 36 credits.

The MSW trauma programs at Carlow University feature 60-credit curriculum plans.

At Pennsylvania Western University, students in the regular standing MSW program complete 60 credits. The advanced standing pathway requires 33 credits.

The program offered at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, requires advanced standing students to complete 36 credits and traditional program students to complete 60 credits.

At Virginia State University, students with a previous bachelor’s degree in social work are eligible for advanced standing and complete 45 credits. Students with a non-social work bachelor’s degree complete 60 credits.



HOW LONG ARE MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS?


MSW trauma programs can take as little as 18 months and up to four years or longer to complete. On average, however, most students complete the programs in two years. Whether you enroll part-time or full-time and the number of credits you are eligible to transfer will determine how long it takes you to earn the degree.

At Boston University, the traditional MSW trauma program can be completed in two years. Students in the accelerated pathway typically graduate in 18 months.

At the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, the traditional MSW trauma-informed program can be completed in two years full-time or three years part-time. The advanced standing pathway takes 12 months if you enroll full-time or 18 months if you pursue the degree part-time.

Western Michigan University offers standard and advanced standing program options, as well. The standard pathway takes two years full-time or three years part-time. The advanced standing option can be completed in 10 months full-time or two years part-time.

Barry University’s MSW trauma programs are available part-time or full-time and offer traditional or advanced standing options. The traditional pathway takes 16 months to complete if you enroll full-time or 28 months if you enroll part-time. The advanced standing program takes 16 months part-time or seven months full-time.

At Widener University, you can complete the MSW trauma program in two to four years, depending on whether you pursue the regular or advanced standing track and whether you enroll part-time or full-time.



HOW MUCH DO MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS COST?


MSW trauma programs can cost between $25,000 and $75,000. Your total cost will be determined by whether you pay out-of-state tuition, the type and amounts of fees assessed, and whether you receive scholarships or grants.

Tuition at the University of Buffalo is calculated on a per-credit basis and varies based on whether you are a New York resident or live out-of-state. In-state students pay $755.75 per credit, and out-of-state students pay $1,154.75 per credit. The traditional pathway requires 60 credits, which means tuition costs between $45,345 and $69,285. Advanced standing students complete 35 credits, which makes tuition range between $26,451.25 and $40,416.25.

At Western Michigan University, in-state students pay $764.76 per credit, and out-of-state students pay $1,147.14. The standard MSW pathway is a 60-credit pathway. Advanced standing students complete 39 credits. Therefore, tuition costs between $29,825.64 and $68,828.40, based on which path you choose and whether you are a state resident or non-resident.

At Barry University, tuition costs $1,020 per credit, regardless of where you reside. The accelerated and standard MSW trauma programs require 32 and 63 credits, respectively, which means tuition costs from $32,640 to $64,260.

The traditional MSW program at Widener University costs an average of $53,751. Advanced standing students pay approximately $33,948.

Tuition at Carlow University costs $750 per credit. Students complete between 45 and 60 credits, based on whether they are in the traditional or advanced standing pathway, which makes tuition cost between $33,750 and $45,000.



WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS?


One of the main criteria MSW trauma programs consider when evaluating candidates for admission is past academic history and success. The programs require you to submit official transcripts for evaluation as part of the admission process. On average, most schools require prospective students to have a college GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

However, the criteria may be different from one school to another. For example, at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, a 3.0 GPA is preferred, but in some cases, applicants with a 2.75 to 2.99 GPA may be extended an invitation for admission. Other schools accept a 3.0 GPA for students in the traditional or standard MSW program but may require a 3.2 or higher grade point average for candidates seeking advanced standing.



WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS?


Admission to MSW trauma programs is often competitive. In addition to meeting the minimum grade point average requirement, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary institution. Each school will also request various documents and supplemental information, such as college transcripts, letters of recommendation, a goals statement, or an admissions essay. As you begin applying to schools, be sure to follow application instructions carefully for each school and turn in a complete, error-free application.

Candidates seeking admission to the MSW trauma program at Barry University must meet the following criteria. You must have a CSWE-accredited bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited or internationally recognized college or university and have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 and a GPA of 3.0 or higher for all social work courses. You must provide two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a final field evaluation from your undergraduate field placement.

Admission to Widener University’s MSW trauma programs requires possessing a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. In some cases, applicants with a lower GPA may be offered provisional admission, but this is on a case-by-case basis. Candidates seeking admission to the advanced standing pathway must have a BSW, a 3.3 GPA for all social work courses taken, and must provide a letter of recommendation from their BSW field instructor or field director. Applicants for both the traditional and advanced standing pathways must complete an online application, undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, and a professional resume and must participate in an admissions interview.

At Western Michigan University, prospective students must submit college and university transcripts demonstrating successful undergraduate performance. Candidates seeking admission to the standard MSW program must have a bachelor's degree and a cumulative college GPA of 3.0. Those seeking admission to the advanced standing MSW pathway must have a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2. You must fill out a WMU online application, pay a $50 application fee, and submit a resume, three professional references, and supplementary statement essay questions.

Carlow University requires candidates for its MSW trauma programs to have a baccalaureate degree, Candidates must complete an online application, provide official transcripts from all post-secondary schools they attended, and have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, you must prepare a personal essay, resume, or curriculum vitae and provide two letters of recommendation. To be considered for the advanced standing MSW pathway, you must have a Bachelor of Social Work and a preferred GPA of at least 3.2.

To be considered for admission to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, you must have a four-year undergraduate degree. A college GPA of 3.0 is preferred. However, students with strong applications whose GPA is 2.75 to 2.99 may be offered conditional admission. You must provide transcripts from all higher education institutions, a current resume, professional statements for three writing prompts, and contact information for two professional references. If you have a BSW, you may apply for the MSW advanced standing option.



WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS?


MSW trauma programs feature rigorous curriculum plans. You will learn about social and economic justice, how one’s environment and culture impact their trauma responses, and how to communicate with clients to meet their individual needs. The following are examples of some classes at some of this article’s featured schools.

At Pennsylvania Western University, you will take classes including Trauma Theory & Interventions, Trauma-Informed Practice Evaluation, Social Work Practice with Organizations & Communities, Differential Assessment & Psychopathology, and Human Behavior & the Social Environment.

The curriculum for the MSW trauma programs at Virginia State University includes classes such as Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Poverty, Oppression & Trauma, Diversity & Cultural Competency in Social Work Practice, Trauma & Attachment Theory, Principles & Practices of the Social Work Profession, and Social Science Research Methods.

Students pursuing the MSW in Trauma-Informed Care at Winona State University study in classes including Human Behavior Across Diverse Contexts, Trauma-Informed Clinical Social Work Practice, Social Work Practice, Laws, & Policies, Multidimensional Clinical Assessment, and Understanding Social Work Research.

The program at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, features classes such as Perspectives on Trauma & Human Rights, Social Welfare History & Policy, Theories of Organizational Behavior & Development, Theories of Human Behavior & Development, and Scientific Methods in Social Work.

At Western Michigan University, students take classes, including Advanced Seminar in Culture, Ethnicity, & Institutional Inequality in Social Work Practice, Social Change & Community Analysis, Psychopathology for Social Work Practice, Leadership & Management in Human Services, and Organizations, Communities, & Societies: A Change Perspective.



WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS?


MSW trauma programs feature opportunities for in-person learning in various settings. Practical or field training, often referred to as a social work internship or residency, gives you the chance to apply your social work knowledge and skills in a clinical setting with the support and supervision of a licensed preceptor. These experiences allow you to integrate the foundational knowledge and skills you obtain in the classroom into clinical practice while maintaining an atmosphere of learning.

At Boston University, students in the traditional MSW trauma program complete 1,200 field training hours, 480 in a foundational field internship, and 720 in an advanced field internship. Advanced standing students complete one internship that consists of 720 field training hours.

If you pursue your degree through the regular standing program at Winona State University, you will complete 1,000 hours of practical training. 400 hours are completed in the foundation practicum and 600 hours in the clinical practicum. Advanced standing students need only complete the 600-hour clinical practicum.

The traditional MSW trauma program at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, requires 900 field placement hours, 420 hours in foundational training, and 480 hours in advanced placement training. The advanced standing pathway requires 480 hours of field training.

At Western Michigan University, students in the standard MSW trauma program complete 900 practical training hours. The training is divided into 400-hour and 500-hour internships. Advanced standing students complete a 500-hour internship over two semesters.

Students in the advanced standing MSW trauma program at Barry University complete 580 hours of clinical education. The traditional pathway consists of 1,000 hours of clinical training.



WHAT ARE THE BEST MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?

(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 11 Best online and campus MSW Trauma Programs in the nation for the year 2024.)


1. Boston University - Boston, MA


Programs Offered:

Traditional MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


2. University at Buffalo, State University of New York - Buffalo, NY


Programs Offered:

Traditional MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


3. Western Michigan University - Kalamazoo, MI


Programs Offered:

Standard MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


4. Barry University - Miami Shores, FL


Programs Offered:

Traditional MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


5. Widener University - Chester, PA


Programs Offered:

MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


6. University of Northern Iowa - Cedar Falls, IA


Programs Offered:

Foundation MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


7. Carlow University - Pittsburgh, PA


Programs Offered:

MSW and Advanced Standing MSW

MSW Concentrations Offered:

Direct Practice and Macro Practice

Advanced Standing MSW Concentrations Offered:

Direct Practice and Macro Practice


8. Pennsylvania Western University - Edinboro, PA


Programs Offered:

Regular MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


9. University of Colorado, Colorado Springs - Colorado Springs, CO


Programs Offered:

MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


10. Virginia State University - Petersburg, VA


Programs Offered:

Regular Standing MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


11. Winona State University - Rochester, MN


Programs Offered:

Regular Standing MSW and Advanced Standing MSW


VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY



WHERE DO GRADUATES OF MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS MOSTLY WORK?


MSW trauma programs prepare you for work in a variety of settings. Where you work will depend on the type of trauma care you want to provide. For example, you may want to work with victims of crime or prefer to treat offenders and help address the reasons for their behavior. You may prefer to work in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or nursing home. The following are three top places where graduates of MSW trauma programs work.

1. Correctional Facilities:

Trauma-informed MSWs often work in correctional facilities and detention centers. In this setting, you will work with incarcerated individuals to identify the source of trauma that may have led to their behavior and develop plans for remediation.

2. Hospitals:

In hospitals, graduates of MSW trauma programs may work with victims of violence or abuse or find resources for clients who have experienced an accident or other traumatic event.

3. Department of Children and Family Services:

Another common setting where trauma-informed social workers may be employed is the DCFS. Here, MSWs work with children and families to identify past traumatic experiences and help clients develop healthy coping mechanisms.



5 BEST JOBS FOR GRADUATES OF MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS


Like there are many work settings to choose from, there are also several popular jobs for graduates of MSW trauma programs. The list below includes five of the best jobs for graduates of these programs.

1. Clinical Social Worker:

Clinical Social Workers diagnose and treat mental health and behavioral disorders. As a CSW with a trauma-informed specialty, you will work with clients to identify past traumatic events and determine their long-term effects. You will assist patients and their loved ones as they learn safe, effective coping mechanisms to deal with their trauma.

2. Trauma-Informed Therapist:

The role of a trauma-informed therapist is to provide ethical, evidence-based treatment for clients who have experienced a traumatic event. The job requires you to establish a therapeutic relationship with clients and their caregivers, conduct biopsychosocial assessments, and develop individualized treatment plans aimed at helping clients learn ways of expressing their thoughts and feelings and how to cope with the trauma of their past.

3. Children and Family Services Social Worker:

As a children and family services social worker, you will provide social services and assistance to children and their families designed to maximize family well-being. You will offer guidance to parents who need to learn proper parenting skills and may assist parents with arranging adoptions or finding foster homes for abandoned or abused children.

4. Substance Abuse Social Worker:

Many people with a history of trauma turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping. If you want to help clients learn better coping mechanisms and overcome addictive behaviors and substance abuse, you could become a substance abuse social worker. In this role, you will assess and treat individuals and families impacted by mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse. You may offer individual or group therapy, case management services, education, and crisis intervention.

5. Adoption Specialist:

Adoption specialists advocate for children in need of permanent homes and families. In this role, you may advise families looking to place children for adoption or those who wish to adopt a child. You will act as a mediator between birth parents and adoptive parents and may speak in legal proceedings throughout the adoption process.



WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?


New graduates of MSW trauma programs can expect an entry-level salary, according to ZipRecruiter, of $39,300. This income is equal to $18.89 per hour, $756 per week, or $3,280 per month.

Hourly$18.89
Weekly$756
Monthly$3,280
Annual$39,300
(Source: Ziprecruiter.com)



WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS EXPECT?


The average income for graduates of MSW trauma programs is $31.29 per hour, $1,252 per week, or $5,420 per month. This pay is equivalent to $65,078 annually.

Hourly$31.29
Weekly$1,252
Monthly$5,420
Annual$65,078
(Source: Ziprecruiter.com)



10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates of MSW trauma programs can expect a positive ten-year job outlook. The BLS reports jobs in this industry will grow by at least 11.09% between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than most other jobs reported.

2021-31
+11.09%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



3 MAIN REASONS BEHIND THE DEMAND FOR GRADUATES OF MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS


Graduates of MSW trauma programs have an excellent job outlook. Several factors contribute to the demand for trauma-informed social workers, including the following.

1. Society Has a Clearer Understanding of the Long-Term Effects of Trauma:

There was a time when people felt embarrassed or ashamed to talk about trauma and the effects it had on their lives. Today, however, as we learn more about how traumatic events affect choices and behaviors, society is more open to seeking advice from professionals who can help deal with those issues. Because society is more educated and has a clearer understanding of how trauma impacts lives and how effective coping strategies can help lead to healthier, happier lives, the need for trauma-informed social services is in demand.

2. Increased Crime Rates Leaving More People Victimized:

According to a Gallup poll, at least 15% of American adults have reported being victimized by a crime each year since 2017. The impact of crime on victims can have long-lasting, far-reaching effects, leaving many people in need of counseling services to help deal with the trauma. Graduates of MSW trauma programs are trained to help people in these situations, which makes the demand for their services so great.

3. COVID-19:

It goes without saying that the impact of the coronavirus has been, and continues to be, felt worldwide. From high death rates, fear of reinfection, worry about the efficacy of vaccines, and various other theories surrounding the pandemic, individuals have experienced major trauma. The need for qualified people to help those who have been traumatized work through their grief, fear, and anxiety is another of the main reasons for the demand for trauma-informed social workers.



IS THE COST OF AN MSW TRAUMA PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?


No matter what career you consider, a crucial factor in decision-making is whether you will make enough money to make it worth your educational investment. To determine whether the cost of MSW trauma programs is worth the return on investment, compare the cost of the programs to your earning potential and possible benefits.

For instance, the top programs featured in this article cost between $25,000 and $75,000. If you receive scholarships or grants, your program cost could be reduced. The entry-level salary for graduates of these programs is $39,300, and the average annual salary with experience is $65,078. Most social worker jobs also come with benefits, such as insurance, paid sick leave, paid vacation, and retirement plans. Benefits packages can add tens of thousands of dollars of worth to your total compensation.

If you compare the cost of the programs before aid to your earning potential, even with the higher-priced programs and earning an entry-level salary, you could begin to see financial gain within the first three years of graduating. Additionally, if you choose a less expensive program and take advantage of financial assistance opportunities, you could see a return at a faster rate. With these factors in mind, the cost of an MSW trauma program is worth the return on the investment.



BONUS! 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE APPLYING TO THE BEST MSW TRAUMA PROGRAMS


MSW trauma programs can lead to great careers, but the programs and social work careers are not for everyone. Before you settle on a program or commit to trauma social work as a career, there are several things worth considering. The following are five questions you should ask yourself, and weigh the answers carefully to help determine if this is the right path for you.

1. “How do I deal with personal trauma or loss?”

As a nursing instructor, I encourage students to practice self-care because it is difficult to care for others if you are not emotionally or physically well. If you are thinking of a career as a trauma social worker, you must be honest with yourself about how you deal with trauma in your life. It is important to understand your trauma responses and have effective coping strategies if you want to help others do the same.

2. “What motivates me to become a social worker?”

As rewarding a career as social work is, it is also challenging. You will have days when you feel like you cannot get anything right. There will be days when, despite your best efforts, your clients do not have the outcome you hoped for. When this happens, your drive to continue working must be stronger than the feelings of disappointment that make you feel like giving up.

3. “Can I keep an objective attitude?”

One of the challenges of trauma social work is remaining objective in situations that are clearly unjust. If you struggle to keep your opinions to yourself or easily pass judgment on others, a different career may be worth considering.

4. “What type of trauma social work do I want to do?”

There are many social work specialties, and with a trauma-informed social work degree, you can focus your career on a specific client population. Think carefully about what you want from your career and the type of clients you want to serve before committing.

5. “How good am I at setting boundaries?”

Graduates of MSW trauma programs work with clients from all walks of life who have experienced diverse levels of trauma. Empathy and compassion, which are essential social work characteristics, make it possible to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. However, to be effective and to protect your own well-being, you must set healthy boundaries in your client/provider relationships.



MY FINAL THOUGHTS


Social work is a profession that offers endless opportunities to serve and help others. Trauma-informed social work takes that service to a whole new level, caring for individuals who have experienced trauma, loss, and pain. If you have considered a career as a trauma social worker, you may have found this article wondering, “What are the best MSW trauma programs?”

Throughout this article, you learned about the 11 best MSW trauma programs for 2024 and gained insight into the opportunities the programs afford graduates. If you feel a career in trauma social work is for you, I encourage you to reach out to some of these schools and get information for yourself. The world needs dedicated people who want to help heal others from the trauma in their lives.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. What Is The Best MSW Trauma Program In The Nation?

The best MSW trauma program in the nation is offered at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Boston University - Boston, MA


2. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into MSW Trauma Programs?

Most MSW trauma programs require applicants to have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. This requirement varies among schools. Therefore, it is crucial that you verify admission criteria with each school where you plan to apply.


3. Do I Need Any Work Experience To Get Into MSW Trauma Programs?

While MSW trauma programs require work experience, most do not. If you have opportunities for social work-related work or volunteering, it is great to take advantage of them.


4. What Is The Typical Cost-Per-Credit For MSW Trauma Programs?

The cost-per-credit for MSW trauma programs varies among schools, with schools charging from $700 to $1,200 per credit.


5. How Much Do New Graduates Of This Program Make Per Year?

New graduates of MSW trauma programs earn approximately $39,300 per year.

$39,300


6. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Make Per Hour With Experience?

On average, graduates of MSW trauma programs with experience earn $31.29 per hour.

$31.29


7. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Per Month With Experience?

The average monthly pay for graduates of this program with experience is $5,420.

$5,420


8. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of MSW Trauma Programs Make Per Year With Experience?

The average annual income for graduates of MSW trauma programs with experience is $65,078.

$65,078


9. Is An MSW Trauma Program Hard To Complete?

MSW trauma programs can be challenging. The programs feature a rigorous curriculum and field training requirements. However, with hard work and dedication, it is possible to succeed!


10. What Are The 3 Best Alternative Degree Options For MSW Trauma Programs?

There are several excellent alternative degrees for MSW trauma programs. Some of the most popular are school social work, military social work, and substance abuse counseling.


Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).