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Social Work Education Across Idaho

May 2, 2024

In a region where social workers are desperately needed, ISU continues to make an impact through the social work program, and the addition of an online program option.

This spring students will graduate from the Bachelor of Art in Social Work (BASW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs, which recently began offering an online program option. ISU has embraced the mandate to provide MSW and BASW education state-wide.

ISU MSW Program Director, Darci Graves, Phd, says that In January of 2023 the MSW program received approval from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for an expansion of its initial accreditation. This expansion allowed the social work program to formally launch an online option. The online option allows individuals anywhere in the state of Idaho to pursue a MSW at ISU. 

“This program expansion was done in an effort to address the growing demand for social workers in the state of Idaho and in response to the Idaho State Legislature’s indication that growing the number of social workers in the state is a key priority,” Graves says. “We are very enthusiastic about the ability of the MSW program to reach students in every corner of the state of Idaho.“

The MSW program at ISU offers a clinically focused specialty track that prepares students to become Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) in their future practice. These individuals are charged with entering the Idaho workforce to address the vast shortage of qualified mental health care providers in the state.

Graves says that increasing the number of social workers in rural spaces depends heavily on ISU’s ability to recruit students who already reside in these areas and allow them to remain embedded in their communities.

BASW Program Director, Ines Jindra, PhD, says that the social work program is popular for both in-person students and those choosing the online option. Additionally, while many of the online BASW students come from other regions of the state, quite a few of the online students are local to the Pocatello area, highlighting the accessibility and flexibility of the program options.

Jindra reports that 21 of the 23 on-campus students are from Pocatello, Chubbuck, Inkom, and Idaho Falls. A total of 28 students applied to the online program. Of these students, 12 are from the Pocatello/Chubbuck area, 6 students are from the Idaho Falls area (Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, or Rigby), 3 students are from the Twin Falls area (Twin Falls, Gooding and Kimberly), and 7 are from the Boise/Meridian area (Boise, Meridian, Nampa or Caldwell).

The social work program is seeing an influx of applications from people across the state, showing a promising future for the impact of social work education and qualified workers in the state of Idaho. 


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