Online Social Work Programs in Florida

Social workers provide are in high demand in Florida. According to a 2019 Walden University Dissertations and Doctoral Studies report, Florida tops the list of states with the highest need for licensed clinical social workers, with the most shortages in central Florida.

As of May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the largest number of social worker jobs in Florida were in healthcare social work at 10,660, with a mean annual wage of $50,950. Child, family, and school social work jobs totaled 9,010, with a mean annual salary of $42,640. Mental health and substance abuse social worker jobs followed at 3,760, with a mean annual salary of $44,100.

Social Work Programs by Degree Level

Online Master's in Social Work Programs

Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Florida

The The Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling licenses Florida social workers. Applicants who want to provide clinical services must become licensed clinical social workers. The following section describes the educational requirements and the application process for licensure.

Education Requirements

Florida applicants must hold a degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The online master's degree programs in social work at Florida State University, Saint Leo University, University of Central Florida, and University of South Florida boast accreditation from CSWE.

Clinical social workers must hold a master's in social work (MSW) with 24 semester or 32 quarter hours of required coursework, a supervised field placement, and two post-graduate years of supervised employment by a licensed clinical social worker.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

Clinical social worker candidates become licensed two vias: by endorsement or by passing an exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Applicants pay a $180 processing fee. For the exam, candidates submit an online application, official academic transcripts, a letter verifying clinical practicum hours, verification of clinical experience, and certification of completion of continuing education requirements.

Those applying by endorsement submit an online application, official academic transcripts, a certification/license verification form (if they hold or have held a license from another state), ASWB exam scores, and certification of completion of continuing education requirements. Applicants can find all required forms on the licensing board's website and information about registered clinical social worker intern licenses.

Once they receive board approval, applicants register on the ASWB's website for the exam. The fee totals $260 for the clinical exam, and ASWB sells exam preparation materials online to registered applicants.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

Licensed clinical social workers with active licenses receive renewal notices 90 days prior to the expiration date. They can renew online or by mail. The renewal fee is $120 for active license holders, while inactive license holders pay $170 to reactivate.

Each renewal cycle, licensed clinical social workers must complete 25 general continuing education (CE) hours, plus two hours of medical errors training and three hours of ethics and boundaries training. Every third cycle requires three hours of laws and rules, two hours of domestic violence, and four hours of qualified supervisor training, which are included in the 25 hours of general CE.

Why Choose an Online Social Work Program in Florida?

Online MSW programs offer high-quality distance learning opportunities for those unable to attend classes in person. Online programs offer the flexibility and convenience of virtual courses, but in-person attendance is required for practicums, internships, or on-campus trainings. Finally, social work jobs in Florida should meet or exceed BLS's nationwide growth projection of 16% through 2026, meaning the state will continue to provide ample employment opportunities for graduates.

Ranking Methodology

Here is our list of online social work degree programs in Florida as reported by the 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, and all are available entirely online.

Online Social Work Programs in Florida

Florida State University

FSU, a public institution established in 1851 in Tallahassee, Florida, now boasts more than 40,000 students at 16 campus locations. The university offers a traditional and advanced standing MSW program online for distance students. Located in the Florida State University College of Social Work, this program prepares graduate students for work in substance abuse counseling, government agencies or NGOs, hospitals, veterans affairs offices, private practices, and corporations.

Faculty delivers the majority of courses asynchronously online. Some courses may require students to visit the campus in Tallahassee. Each student must complete a field education experience each semester. Depending on their enrollment status, enrollees may need to spend 14-32 hours per week in the field.

FSU's Master of Social Work

  • Credits and Courses: A traditional MSW student must complete 61 credits for graduation, while an advanced standing student needs 39 credits. Most students take two classes at a time.
  • Completion Time: Traditional and advanced standing MSW students typically take two years to complete their program.
  • Field Education: A traditional student must complete two field placements, while an advanced standing student only needs to finish one field placement. Each learner needs a 3.0 GPA or higher to engage in field placements.
  • Exam Preparation: This program prepares students for the LCSW exam.
  • Online Student Support: Distance students can take advantage of virtual services through the career center, including portfolio assistance, mock interviews, career search assistance, and general career advising. FSU also offers academic support through the academic center for excellence.
  • Cost: $444/credit in-state; $625/credit out-of-state.
  • Admission Requirements: Each incoming student needs a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA or higher. A student who already possesses a bachelor's degree in social work needs to apply to the advanced standing program. The applicant's official transcripts should reflect a history of liberal arts courses in mathematics, English, history, humanities, and natural science. Prospective students also need to submit their GRE scores.

Florida State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Florida State University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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Saint Leo University

Saint Leo is a private Roman Catholic university established in 1889. The school boasts approximately 13,100 students and offers one of the best graduate schools in Florida for social work. Online learners take advantage of its online MSW program. At Saint Leo, students explore social work practices with couples, families, and military service members. As a result, alums can pursue social work careers that deal with social justice and human rights issues regarding marginalized communities, underserved populations, and high-risk individuals.

The school offers advanced standing programs for full- and part-time students who already possess BSWs. Additionally, an online student with a bachelor's degree in any field can follow a two-year, full-time track or a three-year, part-time track. Only students residing in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, and Virginia may apply for the online MSW program at Saint Leo.

Saint Leo's Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The school offers a concentration in advanced clinical practice.
  • Credits and Courses: MSW students follow a synchronous course schedule and attend weekly evening classes via webcam. Students must also attend a one-weekend seminar on campus during the summer and set aside time each week to complete internship hours. Required classes include psychopathology, leadership skills, and evidence-based social work research methods. An advanced standing student must complete 32 credits, while each regular enrollee must complete 62 credits.
  • Completion Time: Depending on which section of the program students enroll, MSW students need 2-3 years to complete the program. Advanced standing students may complete the program in as little as 12 months.
  • Field Education: Each master's student needs to complete at least one field internship for graduation.
  • Online Student Support: Students can take advantage of various career services and coaching, including access to the Handshake program online. Additionally, each distance learner enjoys one-on-one support from a student adviser.
  • Cost: $495/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Each applicant for the advanced standing section of the program needs a 3.25 GPA or higher and a BSW. All other applicants need 3.0 GPAs and baccalaureate degrees in any discipline. Applications must also include three letters of recommendation. An applicant with a 3.0 GPA or higher does not need to submit GRE scores.

Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Saint Leo University's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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University of Central Florida

UCF is a state university in Orlando, Florida. The school offers over 80 online academic programs and serves approximately 69,000 students. UCF is also one of the top graduate schools in Florida for social work. Located in the college of health professions and sciences, this online MSW program helps graduate students explore issues in social and economic justice, human rights, and marginalized communities.

Its master's program best serves part-time students who do not already possess a BSW but have a bachelor's degree in another field. UCF social work alums often pursue careers as counselors, grant writers, researchers, medical social workers, substance abuse counselors, and therapists.

UCF's Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: The school offers a clinical specialization.
  • Credits and Courses: The 62-credit program for regular online students requires classes such as clinical practices with families, social work research, diverse client populations, and human behavior in the social environment. An advanced standing student needs to complete 32 credits in total.
  • Completion Time: A part-time online student can complete requirements over nine semesters. An advanced standing learner who possesses a BSW can complete the degree in four semesters.
  • Field Education: Each regular learner can complete 14 credits of field experience seminars, including generalist field education and clinical field education. An advanced standing student must complete only eight credits of field education.
  • Exam Preparation: Students prepare for the Florida state licensure exam.
  • Transfer Policies: An incoming student may transfer up to nine credits toward the MSW.
  • Online Student Support: Online students can take advantage of remote library access, writing center services, and financial and academic advisers through the online connect center. The center for distributed learning offers technical support services, professional development workshops, and one-on-one tutoring.
  • Cost: $487/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Each prospective student must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA or higher. An application also needs to include a professional resume, three letters of recommendation, writing sample, and professional statement. Applicants do not submit GRE scores.

University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). University of Central Florida's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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University of South Florida

USF, a research university in Tampa, Florida, was established in 1956. Today, it offers more than 130 graduate programs and boasts approximately 51,000 students, and is one of the largest public schools in the state. As one of the best graduate schools in Florida for social work, USF offers a competitive online advanced standing MSW program. The program helps students develop a high level of standards and ethics in the practice of social work.

Graduate students can develop essential methodologies to support individuals, families, and occupational groups with a variety of clinical social work services. The school accepts both full-time and part-time distance students from all 50 states. Each prospective student must possess a BSW to apply.

USF's Advanced Standing Master of Social Work

  • Concentrations: This school offers a concentration in clinical social work.
  • Credits and Courses: Required classes for advanced standing students include psychopathology, field instruction, social work practices with individuals, and evaluations of clinical practice. Online students need 35 credit hours for graduation.
  • Completion Time: Most learners can complete the program in eight semesters.
  • Field Education: Each advanced standing student must spend 20 hours per week in their field education placement.
  • Online Student Support: Resources for distance students include counseling services, professional development coaching, writing assistance, tutoring services, and a writing lab.
  • Cost: $431/credit in-state; $877/credit out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: Each advanced standing applicant must possess a bachelor's degree in social work from an accredited Institution. The applicant's official transcripts must show that they earned no lower than a "B-" in any social work courses. Overall, an applicant should possess a 3.0 GPA and provide a resume, two essays, an internship evaluation, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants do not submit their GRE scores.

University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). University of South Florida's online social work programs are CSWE-accredited.

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