Online Social Work Degrees in Texas

Earning an online social work degree in Texas offers numerous benefits, including top schools and programs, four social worker license levels, favorable employment projections, and relatively low costs of living. As is the case across the country, Texas is in dire need of mental health professionals, including social workers, to ease the shortage and provide clients with the help they need.

Find out how to become a social worker in Texas, and learn more about getting your social work degree online in this comprehensive guide.

Featured Online Programs in Social Work

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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The Best Social Work Programs in Texas

If you want to become a social worker, you can find several top-ranked traditional or online MSW programs in Texas. Find the right CSWE-accredited program to fit your needs.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Location-markerEdinburg, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,233
  • Out-of-state$17,049
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate82%
  • Students Enrolled32,441
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment97%
  • AccreditationYes

University of Houston

  • Location-markerHouston, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,449
  • Out-of-state$20,665
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate63%
  • Students Enrolled47,090
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment96%
  • AccreditationYes

Baylor University

  • Location-markerWaco, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$44,544
  • Out-of-state$44,544
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate68%
  • Students Enrolled19,297
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes

Texas State University

  • Location-markerSan Marcos, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,326
  • Out-of-state$19,778
  • Retention Rate77%
  • Acceptance Rate85%
  • Students Enrolled37,812
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment93%
  • AccreditationYes

Angelo State University

  • Location-markerSan Angelo, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,412
  • Out-of-state$14,228
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Acceptance Rate78%
  • Students Enrolled10,775
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment55%
  • AccreditationYes

Becoming a Social Worker in Texas

The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners authorizes social work licensure and determines educational and experience requirements for each license level.

The state recognizes four social work licenses. The licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) requires a bachelor of social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). A CSWE-accredited master of social work (MSW) is the minimum educational requirement for:

  • The licensed master social worker (LMSW)
  • The licensed master social worker in advanced practice (LMSW-AP)
  • The licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)

To practice social work in Texas, you must pass the state’s jurisprudence exam and submit an application, official transcripts, and a criminal background check to the state board.

Candidates must also pass the bachelor’s, master’s, or clinical licensing exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), depending on what license they apply for. They must also pass the Texas Social Work Jurisprudence Examination. This exam covers legal and ethical considerations that affect the profession.

How Much Will It Cost to Get My Degree in Social Work?

Overall cost is one of the most important considerations when choosing a school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, average tuition and fees have risen steadily over the past decade for first-time undergraduates attending public or private four-year institutions. The cost of graduate programs has also increased, with average tuition rates rising from $15,010 in 2010-11 to $20,510 in 2021-22.

The price of a social work degree in Texas varies considerably by type of institution, degree level, and program length. At a large public university, Texas residents in a typical 60-credit MSW program may pay $400-$500 per credit hour, compared to almost $1,000 for out-of-state students. Tuition rates at private schools run higher.

Students should always budget for additional costs, such as license application and ASWB exam fees, especially in the final term of their studies.

While online programs may save students money on living, on-campus fees, and transportation expenses, distance learners may not qualify for some forms of financial aid or scholarships. Students also have to budget for traveling to and from fieldwork sites.

How Much Will I Make as a Social Worker in Texas?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers in Texas earned the following wages as of May 2023:

Salaries for Social Workers in Texas by Specialty
Occupation Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage
Child, family, and school social workers $24.34$50,630
Healthcare social workers $30.83$64,120
Mental health and substance use social workers$22.91$47,660
All other social workers $39.05$81,230
Source: BLS, 2023

Social worker salaries can vary by industry, geography, cost of living, and supply and demand. Texas salaries lag behind those nationally. However, healthcare social workers are the exception with higher pay. Industrywide, home healthcare services tend to pay higher wages to mental health and substance use social workers.

In two of Texas’ metropolitan areas, San Antonio-New Braunfels and Killeen-Temple, the BLS category of all other social workers lists salaries that rank among the top ten in the country. World Population Review lists Texas as having the 17th lowest cost-of-living index in 2024, which adds value to paychecks. Pay rates may also increase to combat Texas’s continuing shortage of mental healthcare professionals.

Job Outlook with a Social Work Degree

In 2022, just 32.5% of the need for mental healthcare professionals was met in Texas, according to the Bureau of Health Workforce. This shortage includes social workers and correlates with the growth projections in the table below. The Lone Star state far outpaces the national growth projections, indicating a favorable job outlook for graduates of online social work degrees in Texas.

Nationwide trends help explain the increasing demand for social workers. These include an aging population that needs connection with resources like treatment, medication, and social services. More people need help with addiction stemming from opioid use, which in Texas accounted for 56% of drug-related overdose deaths in 2021. Nationally, more drug users are sent to treatment programs in addition to or instead of jail.

Job Outlook for Social Workers by Specialty
Occupation2022-2032 Growth Projections (U.S.)2020-2030 Growth Projections (TX)
Child, family, and school social workers+5%+14.4%
Healthcare social workers+10%+19.4%
Mental health and substance misuse social workers+11%+18.3%
Social workers, all others+7%+13.8%
Source: BLS, Projections Central, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Social Work

This page’s information — not including school descriptions — was reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Page last reviewed on April 26, 2024.