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What Is CSWE Accreditation?

A CSWE-accredited program can help you get the most out of your social work degree.

A career in social work gives you the opportunity to give others the support and services they need to improve their lives. It can be a very rewarding career—particularly if you have the skills necessary to provide services at the highest level. One way to acquire those skills is by earning a bachelor's in social work (BSW) or a master's in social work (MSW) from a CSWE-accredited program. Learn how this accreditation can help ensure you receive a quality social work education.

What Is the CSWE?

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 members as well as graduate and undergraduate programs. The CSWE is recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation as the only accrediting agency for social work education in the U.S.

What Is CSWE Accreditation?

What Is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a process by which an outside agency evaluates a university and certifies that it meets established educational standards. CSWE accreditation means that the CSWE’s accreditation board has reviewed a university’s BSW and MSW degree programs and found that it meets the highest standards for social work education.

Why Is Accreditation Important?

When you enroll in an accredited social work degree program, you can be confident in the quality of your coursework, assessments, and criteria for graduation meet the highest standards. CSWE accreditation is as rigorous for its online programs as it is for campus-based programs, meaning you can choose either approach with the confidence that you’ll receive a top-quality social work education.

What Are the Criteria for CSWE Accreditation?

The CSWE accreditation standards are both extensive and rigorous.1 For a master’s of social work online or campus-based program to receive accreditation, it must meet standards in four broad categories:

  • Program mission and goals
  • Explicit curriculum, including core competencies, critical thinking, and ethical principles
  • Implicit curriculum, including diversity, student development, and faculty
  • Assessment

Once a university’s BSW or MSW degree program proves it meets CSWE standards for every aspect of every category, the program is eligible to receive accreditation.

Where Can I Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree?

Walden University offers a CSWE-accredited online BSW and MSW program. This program allows you to expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CSWE's Commission on Accreditation is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.

The minimum academic credential required to obtain licensure to practice as a social worker in many states is successful completion of a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or Master of Social Work (MSW) program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Walden University’s BSW and MSW programs are accredited by CSWE. State licensing boards are responsible for regulating the practice of social work, and each state has its own academic, licensure, and certification requirements.

Walden recommends that students consult the appropriate social work licensing board in the state in which they plan to practice to determine the specific academic requirements for licensure. Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide information relating to the state-by-state requirements for licensure. However, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all licensing requirements for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of its coursework or programs will permit an individual to achieve state licensure, authorization, endorsement, or other state credential as a social worker.