Becoming a Social Worker in Colorado
You can begin your social work career in Colorado with just a bachelor's. With a master's degree, or MSW, you can become a mental health practitioner or take on other advanced practice roles. You do not need a BSW to pursue an MSW, but the path is often shorter if you have one.
Here is a guide to getting a social worker education in Colorado and beginning a career in social work.
If You Are in High School
Meet with an advisor to plan a college prep curriculum. Meanwhile, do some career exploration or volunteer work. You may have the opportunity to get involved with an organization like the Volunteers of America Youth Action Team.
If you will be earning your undergraduate degree in social work, look for a school that has a CSWE-accredited social work program. Apply for admission to the university and begin general studies coursework.
Prepare for formal admission to the BSW program. Often this does not occur until you are nearing completion of lower division coursework. You may be asked to submit letters of recommendation. There will be a minimum GPA of 2.0; many schools set the requirement at 2.5.
Continue to excel once admitted to the BSW program. Your senior year will include an extended field experience. You may have the option of joining social work student groups like the Phi Alpha Honor Society.
Once you have graduated, you will be allowed to use the title ‘social worker’. You will not seek Colorado licensure at this stage. You have the option of joining the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). This can help you make professional contacts and stay on top of the profession.
If You Have a College Degree
Look ahead to learn admission requirements. Some MSW programs set a minimum number of human services volunteer or employment hours. You may visit the website of the Colorado Department of Human Services for volunteer opportunities.
Select a master's program. Colorado MSW programs offer a variety of concentrations. Some programs are termed ‘advanced generalist’. Other schools offer more specialized tracks like health and wellness.
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.
Get in touch with a program coordinator well before the end of the application cycle. Complete any prerequisite coursework and submit your application materials. Your MSW program may require one or more of the following prerequisites: biology, statistics, or human development. You do not necessarily have to be finished with the course(s) to apply.
You will spend at least two years completing a master's if you do not have a prior degree in social work. If you do have a BSW, you may finish in as little as a year. The last year will consist of coursework in your concentration.
Upon graduation, you will be eligible to seek licensure through the Colorado State Board of Social Work Examiners as a Licensed Social Worker (LSW). You must have this designation if you are in training as a clinical social worker. You have the option of pursuing it if you are in 'macro' social work.
You will take an online laws and rules test and then a national board examination. The examination is administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). At this stage, you have the option of taking the master's level exam or one of the advanced exams (clinical or advanced generalist).
If you are pursuing licensure as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), you will work under supervision until you have accrued 3,360 hours; this will take two to five years depending on whether you work full-time or part-time. You will practice treating people who are challenged by emotional disorders or dysfunctional behaviors.
After you have completed your experience requirement, you will take the clinical or advanced generalist exam (if you have not done so already).