Becoming a Social Worker in Georgia

You may begin your social worker education in Georgia at either the bachelor's or master's level. The highest levels of practice require a Master of Social Work (MSW). Whatever your current level of education -- high school to post-graduate -- here's a guide to get you started.

If You Are a High School Student

Step 1:

Meet with an advisor to plan a college preparatory curriculum. There are no special classes you need to take at this time. However, you may opt for sociology or human development. Advanced placement psychology could cover one of your university-level prerequisites, depending on the school you choose.

Step 2:

Meanwhile, begin seeking out volunteer experiences. Some Georgia social work schools seek recommendations/ references even at the BSW level.

Step 3:

Apply for university admission. There can be advantages to selecting a school with a CSWE-accredited program. You may become a pre-social work major, but you will need to apply to the department before you can take upper division coursework.

Step 4:

Meet with an advisor to plan lower division studies. You will need to maintain a grade point average of at least 2.0 to 2.75, depending on the school – a higher GPA is better as some programs are selective.

You may need to have a criminal background check at some point along the way.

Step 5:

Put in a strong performance in your social work coursework and practicum or internship. The internship can provide you with professional contacts. A GPA of 3.0 or above will be an asset if you plan to continue on to master’s level study.

Step 6:

Earn your Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). You may take an entry-level position or continue your studies at the master's level. You will not apply to Georgia for licensure at this time (though you will seek licensure if you accept a position in certain other states). You may choose to become a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for professional resources.

Find more detailed Georgia Social Work Licensure information here.

If You Are a College Graduate

Step 1:

Enhance your resume, if needed, through volunteer work. Look ahead to see if you will need any prerequisites (for example, biology or statistics).

Step 2:

Select the MSW program that best meets your needs. If you have a relatively recent BSW, look for a program that will grant you advanced placement -- you could be finished in one calendar year. If you were not a social work major, you can opt for a part-time or full-time program and be finished in four to eight semesters. There are online options.

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.

Consider the concentrations offered; you may pursue clinical mental health social work, family social work, or policy studies and administration. Some social work schools offer adjunctive certificates in areas like addiction treatment.

Step 3:

Complete your studies. Use your 900 hour practicum experience to make connections out in the work world.

Step 4:

Seek licensure as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) through the Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists. Arrange to take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination at the master’s level.

Step 5:

If your practice area is clinical social work, work under supervision for three years; then seek the higher (independent) license. You will need to take the ASWB board examination at the clinical level.

At this point, you can receive the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) designation. This is the highest license offered. However, you can pursue voluntary certifications through the National Association of Social Workers. Earning a PhD or DSW will increase your opportunities in some areas.

Find more detailed Georgia Social Work Licensure information here.