Becoming a Social Worker in Florida
You can be a generalist social worker with only a bachelor’s degree (BSW). In order to be a clinical social worker, you will need a master’s (MSW). You may begin your social work education in Florida as an undergraduate or graduate.
If You Are in High School
Prepare for university admission. A general college prep curriculum is fine at this stage, but you may opt to take classes in psychology and sociology.
You can also begin volunteer service. Some social work schools consider volunteer service or relevant work experience even at the undergraduate level.
If you plan to pursue social worker education in Florida at the undergraduate level, enroll in a school with a program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Begin taking general studies and foundation courses. Make an appointment with a program coordinator or advisor to prepare for admission to the social work program. You may take some social work foundation courses before formal admission.
Apply to the social work program. A solid GPA will help you get accepted. An application essay and references may also be required.
Maintaining a good GPA will be helpful if you plan to continue in a master's program. A GPA of 3.0 may be sufficient, but some master’s programs set the standard higher for awarding advanced placement credit.
You may take a position at the BSW level in Florida without applying for state licensing. Decide if you want to work full-time or continue for a higher degree. In order to be awarded advanced placement in a master’s program, you typically have to apply within five or six years of completing your degree.
If You Have a College Degree
Take advanced steps to prepare for admission to the MSW program. How much preparation you will need to do will depend on your background as well as the particular program you opt for; some are highly selective.
Some schools like master's level applicants to have experience as employees in human services. However, alternative experiences, for example, significant volunteer service may suffice. If you want to devote some time to service before applying, you might look into Americorps. Many Florida counties make placements in human service settings; the Volunteer Florida website can be a good starting place.
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.
Select a school that has a CSWE-accredited program that will prepare you for your intended practice area. If you are seeking a career as a clinical social worker, you must have 24 semester hours of clinical coursework. Some Florida MSW programs offer sub-concentrations or corresponding certificates in areas like children's services or elder services. Others offer dual majors in areas like maternal child health.
Your undergraduate degree will probably cover most prerequisites; however, there may be a class or two that you need to take -- for example, biology.
Complete the application process. This may entail an essay, personal statement, and interview.
If you do not have advanced standing, you will do the equivalent of two year of full-time study: one year of social work foundations courses and one year of coursework in your specialty.
To be licensed as a clinical social worker (LCSW), you must work under supervision for two years following graduation. You will apply to the Florida Board for intern status.
Licensure as an LCSW also requires passing scores on the clinical examination offered by the Association of Social Work Boards.
You may need to take additional classes in HIV/AIDS, laws and rules, and medical errors before receiving your clinical license.