Online Social Work Programs in Mississippi

Professionals and students interested in pursuing social work jobs in Mississippi can find meaningful positions in both rural and urban communities. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, Mississippi houses approximately 5,000 social worker positions. These include child, family, and school social workers; substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors; healthcare social workers; and other less common roles.

While Mississippi does not include any urban or rural hotbeds for social workers in terms of job concentration or high wages, many communities throughout the Magnolia State benefit from the services of these professionals. The following includes an overview of social work requirements in Mississippi and how students may benefit from online programs.

Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Mississippi

The Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists handles all matters related to Mississippi social work, including licensure and education requirements. The board currently awards three types of licensure: licensed social worker (LSW); licensed master social worker (LMSW); and licensed certified social worker (LCSW), which includes either a clinical or a macro specialization.

Education Requirements

LSW licensure serves as the initial professional certification in the social work field in Mississippi. To earn LSW licensure, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in social work earned from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), or another reputable accrediting body. To engage in clinical practice and gain LCSW licensure, an applicant must possess a master's degree from a CSWE-accredited school and hold LMSW licensure in Mississippi.

Exam Application Process and Requirements

To earn initial licensure in the form of an LSW, applicants pay a $25 application fee to the board and fill out a verification of education form indicating that they have earned a suitable bachelor's degree. Next, they must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor's-level exam, which costs $230.

Each applicant must register for the exam through the ASWB website, pass a criminal background check, and pay the accompanying $50 processing fee for fingerprints. LSW applicants do not need supervised experience to become certified.

A candidate looking to earn LCSW licensure must complete two years of supervised experience and pass the ASWB clinical or advanced generalist exam. Each of these exams costs $260. LMSW candidates must pass the ASWB master's-level exam, which costs $230. All ASWB exams include 170 multiple-choice questions, 150 of which are counted toward a tester's final grade.

Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal

Similar to most states, social workers in Mississippi must renew their licenses every two years, whether they hold an LSW, LMSW, or LCSW. In Mississippi, renewal for the LSW costs $70, while renewal for the LMSW or LCSW costs $100. During each renewal period, all social workers in Mississippi must complete 40 hours of continuing education, including two hours of cultural diversity courses and four hours of ethics courses.

Why Choose an Online Social Work Program?

While online social work programs in Mississippi do not currently exist, Mississippi residents can take online classes in neighboring states at a discounted rate through the Southern Regional Education Board's (SREB) Academic Common Market. SREB includes over 1,900 different graduate and undergraduate programs at schools in 15 different states. Mississippi residents may wish to enroll in online programs to maintain their jobs and avoid paying expensive costs associated with commuting or moving.