Becoming a Social Worker in Alaska
You can do your social work education in Alaska at either the bachelor’s or master’s level – or both, if you choose. If you begin your social work studies at the bachelor’s level, you can start working sooner. You may also have a shorter path to a higher practice level.
Here are some tips for you, whatever your current level of education.
If You Are in High School
Your priority at the high school level is academic skills for general college admission. Admission to the social work major is a separate process from general college admission. You will have a chance to take the specific prerequisites after you have begun college.
It’s a good idea to do some career exploration at this stage. You may have the opportunity to shadow a professional through an organization like Interior Alaska AHEC.
Look for a university with an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). A bachelor's in social work will qualify you for licensure as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker and provide a foundation for practice at higher levels. A bachelor's in social work is not a prerequisite for getting a master's or doing mental health practice as a social worker. However, having the CSWE-accredited undergraduate degree can cut in half the time that you spend earning your graduate degree.
Meet with an advisor and make sure you are on track for admission to the major.
If you plan to continue on for a master's, a high GPA will be helpful. The University of Alaska, like other schools, awards advanced placement to BSW graduates who meet academic requirements. The UA generally requires GPAs of 3.5 or above in core social work courses for advanced placement, though exceptions are occasionally made; some CSWE-accredited may set the requirement lower.
After you complete degree requirements, you will begin the application process for Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker. You will need to pass a national licensing exam through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), but can be issued a temporary license to begin work while you're waiting to take it.
If You Have a College Degree
If you do not have a bachelor's in social work, plan on putting in the equivalent of two full-time years. You may need to spend some time acquiring volunteer experience before seeking admission. The admission committee will look for positive academic and professional references and strong writing skills as well as commitment to the profession.
You may need to complete a few prerequisites: human development, biology, and/or statistics. Begin preparations early as some schools have only one admission cycle a year.
Social work programs at the master level include a year of foundation courses and a year of specialized coursework. You will decide if you want to pursue clinical or nonclinical social work; a clinical program will prepare you for mental health practice. There may be a separate adjunct application for specialized programs.
The Simmons College School of Social Work ([email protected]) is the nation’s oldest school of social work and is offering an innovative Online Master of Social Work program. You can complete this CSWE-accredited Master's in Social Work program in as little as 15 months. There is no GRE required for acceptance to this program. Request information.
The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited online Master's in Social Work. The GRE is not required to apply to the [email protected] program. A Bachelor's degree is required. Learn more about this program.
Fordham University's top-ranked School of Social Work offers an online MSW program that prepares students for relevant, integrated practice with all populations. GRE scores not required. Request information today.
Capella University is now offering an online Master of Social Work that is in CSWE candidacy status. The MSW program helps prepare students to enter the general or clinical practice role (in most states). Capella also offers an online Doctor of Social Work. Click Here to contact Capella University about their Master of Social Work program or Doctor of Social Work program.
After you have completed your academic coursework and university-based internship, you will apply to the Alabama Board for licensure as a Master Social Worker. You will need to pass a national board examination through the ASWB.
If you are vying for clinical licensure, you will need to work under supervision for at least two years, applying the social work principles identified by the Board. You will also need to pass an additional licensing exam, the ASWB Clinical Exam. At this point, you can be licensed as a Clinical Social Worker.
You may pursue additional voluntary credentialing in your specialty area through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).