Becoming a Social Worker in Arizona
You can do your social work education in Arizona at either the undergraduate or graduate level, but you may have a shorter path if you begin at the bachelor’s level.
Your training may end after you’ve earned your social work degree or may continue a couple years longer; it depends on the level and type of practice you seek.
If You Are in High School
Take college prep or honors courses. There are no prerequisites you need to take at this stage that are specific to social work, but you may opt for classes in sociology and psychology.
You can beginning getting field-related experience. One option is the Cesar E Chavez Leadership Institute. It's a free program on the ASU campus that lets you explore community service and leadership.
Apply to a regionally accredited institution. You will probably want to select a school with a strong CSWE-accredited social work program. (You can defer social work education to graduate school if you plan to pursue clinical social work, but make sure you have plenty of liberal arts coursework and any specific prerequisite courses, and that your experience will make you a strong candidate. The requirements at that level will be more stringent.)
Complete general studies and prerequisite courses and prepare for admission to the major. Your prerequisite work may put you out into the field, doing social service work. You may be required to submit references.
Give some thought to what area of the field you want to work in. If you are interested in child welfare social work in Arizona and you are a top candidate, you may be eligible for educational funding; this depends on what school you select.
Your social work coursework will be concentrated in the last two or three years of the program. You will put in substantial hours as an intern. If you plan to continue your social work education at the graduate level, your academic performance will help determine how much advanced placement credit you get.
You will need to take a licensing exam. It is offered through the ASWB. Most people take the bachelor’s level exam at this stage, but Arizona will also accept higher level exams.
Decide whether you want to enter the field full-time or continue on for a master's. LBSWs generally work in an employer-employee capacity. It is possible to earn an authorization for independent practice of nonclinical social work, though, after accruing 3,200 hours of experience.
If You Have a College Degree
You can become a Master or Clinical Social Worker even if your initial degree was not in social work. If you have experience that is closely related, you may even be able to test out of a small amount of coursework. You may be required to show related volunteer work or employment. Many municipalities have a webpage that will put you in touch with organizations seeking volunteers. If you are in the greater Phoenix area, you can search Hands on Greater Phoenix.
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.
Depending on your undergraduate studies, you may need to take a prerequisite or two – for example, statistics.
You will select a concentration in direct service work or macro service work. If you don’t have advanced placement, your program will take two years full-time, or the equivalent.
After graduation, you will need to pass an ASWB licensing exam at the master’s level or higher. You may opt for the advanced generalist or clinical exam if you feel prepared.
If you are interested in clinical social work, you will need to work at least 24 months under supervision before you can be licensed at the independent level. You will need to pass the ASWB clinical exam.