Online Social Work Programs in Alabama
Alabama social work professionals provide support services to assist their clients with many challenges. Depending on education, training, and licensure, social workers may offer case management, investigate needs, and connect clients to appropriate support resources. Some may also provide clinical services for individuals with mental health conditions or issues with addiction. The field also offers competitive wages in the state. The U.S. Census Bureau reported a per capita income of $25,746 in 2017, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found social workers earned a mean salary of $36,700 and up to $59,860.
Demand for social workers is steady. BLS projects a 10.2% increase in employment for child and family social workers, along with 16.3% employment growth for mental health and substance abuse social workers through 2026. Some areas of the state offer strong hiring and pay opportunities. The southeastern portion of Alabama ranks among the top-paying nonmetropolitan regions for other social workers, with a mean wage of $74,070, and a prime area for healthcare social workers, with 2.28 social workers per 1,000 jobs.
Social Work Programs by Degree Level
Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs
Online Master's in Social Work Programs
Online Doctorate in Social Work Programs
Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in AlabamaThe Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners governs the state's licensing laws. All social workers need to complete the licensing requirements for their level of education and professional duties, with the state offering bachelor's, master's, and clinical licenses. The board processes applications, ensuring candidates meet all requirements and also enforces license renewal and standards of professional conduct.
When considering social work programs in Alabama, look for schools with regional institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Alabama offers a bachelor social worker license, but these professionals must complete 24 months of supervised work in their practice areas before practicing independently.
An individual completing a social work graduate program in Alabama can qualify for a licensed master social worker (LMSW) certification, which does not require any supervised practice. Both programs should offer internship and practicum opportunities, especially if your career goals include providing clinical services.
Exam Application Process and Requirements
After completing a social work program in Alabama, graduates must apply to the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners to begin practice. The application includes the fee based on the specific license, transcript review, and personal history. Once the state receives the request, applicants become license eligible and may begin offering social work services under the supervision of licensed providers.
The Alabama board must approve the applicant's request to sit for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) national exam, which tests applicants knowledge of casework and clinical services. Applicants have two years to take the exam and submit their passing scores. An individual with a bachelor's degree can then complete 24 months of supervised practice before practicing independently. An LMSW does not require ongoing supervision once the state issues their license.
Licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) candidates must begin with an LMSW license. After receiving that credential, applicants complete 24 months of supervised social work. Then, candidates can apply for their LICSW, giving them one year to practice while preparing for the ASWB exam. LICSWs may also seek private independent practice, so long as they document three years of full-time experience.
Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal
Your Alabama social work license remains valid for two years. Renewal requires payment of the appropriate state fees and 30 hours of continuing education. Social workers can complete this requirement by attending industry conferences, educational seminars related to casework or other services, or taking additional graduate-level courses in their field.
At least three hours must focus on professional ethics and three hours in clinical social work education. Alabama allows social workers to complete up to 20 hours through self-study or home study programs. Alabama offers a 60-day grace period to renew a license, but social workers must complete all continuing education credits before their licenses expire.
Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Alabama?
Online programs make earning a degree in social work convenient and flexible, especially for students unable to travel to campus or attend regularly scheduled classes. Many online programs offer asynchronous courses with assigned readings, class discussions, and research projects.
Internships and hands-on practicums are a staple of high-quality social work graduate programs in Alabama. Distance programs in the state maintain this requirement, often helping students arrange for appropriate supervised practice sites close to their home. Individuals completing graduate programs often qualify for more advanced social work roles and clinical provider eligibility.
Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Alabama as reported by National Center for Education Statistics. We cover online bachelor's in social work, online master's in social work, and online doctorate in social work programs. All programs are regionally and CSWE-accredited. All are 100% online.
Online Social Work Programs in Alabama
Troy University offers an online master of social work. The public university is known for its online programs, which serve traditional students, nontraditional students, and military service members alike. The university's online social work program emphasizes experiential learning and hands-on practice through the integration of coursework, community projects, and a required practicum experience. Graduates qualify to work as social workers in the fields of child and family, healthcare, mental health and substance abuse, and behavioral disorders.
Troy University Online Bachelor of Social Work
- Credits and Courses: 120 credits are required to graduate, distributed over 36 online courses. Online courses follow a traditional, 9-week semester schedule. Most online courses are asynchronous.
- Completion Time: Full-time students can finish the online MSW in four years.
- Field Education: 400 hours. Troy University's online MSW requires a supervised practicum with a social services agency.
- Transfer Policies: Transfer students must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prior credits may transfer on an individual basis.
- Online Student Support: Online students benefit from student resources for online learners through the Canvas platform.
- Cost: $338/credit
- Admission Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and scores of at least 20 on the ACT or 1030 on the RSAT. Conditional admission may apply for applicants with a minimum 2.5 GPA and a minimum ACT score of 17 or RSAT score of 910. Candidates older than 25 are not required to submit ACT or SAT scores.
Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS). Troy University's online social work program is CSWE-accredited.
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama School of Social Work offers a primarily online version of their traditional on-campus MSW and DSW degrees. At both its Tuscaloosa campus and online, the University of Alabama provides MSW students with three track options: a full time, one-year advanced standing track, for those with a bachelor of social work from a CSWE-accredited university; a full-time, two-year track comprising 60 credits; and a part-time track, which takes at least three years to complete.
The University of Alabama will offer a primarily online DSW starting in the fall of 2019.
University of Alabama's Online Master of Social Work
- Concentrations: Social work with children, adolescents, and their families; social work with adults and their families.
- Credits and Courses: 42-60 credits are required to graduate. Online courses require in-person skills labs.
- Completion Time: Full-time students can finish the online MSW in two years. Part-time students typically take three or more years to graduate. Advanced-standing students with CSWE-accredited BSWs may complete the program in as little as one year.
- Field Education: 500 hours. The school of social work requires students to complete experience at a social service agency related to concentration area.
- Transfer Policies: The university evaluates transfer credit equivalencies on an individual basis. It does not grant academic credit for life experience or previous work experience.
- Online Student Support: Online students may access a student services team for online learners.
- Cost: $420/credit
- Admission Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Students who don't meet these GPA requirements must submit GRE or MAT scores
University of Alabama's Online Doctor of Social Work
- Concentrations: Clinical track, organizational leadership track.
- Credits and Courses: 45 credits are required to graduate. Coursework takes place primarily online, but students must participate in 4-5 day on-campus residency programs each summer.
- Completion Time: Full-time students can finish the online DSW in three years.
- Field Education: The doctor of social work program requires a current work placement at a social services agency.
- Transfer Policies: The university evaluates transfer equivalencies on an individual basis.
- Online Student Support: Online students access a student services team for online learners.
- Cost: $420/credit
- Admission Requirements: Applicants must have completed an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program, earned a minimum 3.0 GPA in previous coursework, and demonstrate three years of post-MSW work experience.
The University of Alabama is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The University of Alabama's primarily online social work program is CSWE-accredited.