Becoming a Social Worker in Maine

There are many paths to becoming a social worker in Maine. However, some are quicker than others, particularly if you aspire to advanced practice. Here’s a guide to getting your social worker education in Maine and getting started on your career.

social work student

If You Are a High School Student

Step 1:

Take a general college preparatory curriculum. Meanwhile, volunteer or participate in career exploration through organizations like Maine AHEC.

Step 2:

Choose a school. Consider undergraduate programs that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Maine will license you as a social worker with a degree in a related field – something that not all states will do. However, some opportunities are reserved for social workers with CSWE-accredited degrees. Without one, you will not be able to enter a master's level program with advanced standing.

Step 3:

Meet with a college counselor to plan your studies. Make sure your grades are adequate for admission to the social work major and that you apply for admission to the BSW program at the appropriate time.

Step 4:

Excel in your social work coursework and practicum experiences. (Expect to have both your practicum evaluations and grades considered if you apply for advanced standing in a graduate social work program.)

Step 5:

Apply for the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) credential. You will need to take the Association for Social Work Boards licensing examination at the bachelor’s level.

If you do not have a CSWE-accredited degree, you will apply first for the Licensed Social Worker Conditional credential (LSW-X). You will not be eligible for the standard LSW license until you have two years of post-degree practice. You will need supervision until you have accrued 3,200 work experience hours.

Find more detailed Maine Social Work Licensure information here.

If You Are a College Graduate

Step 1:

Consider whether you are ready to apply to an MSW program. A social work degree is not a prerequisite; nor is human services experience a requirement for all social work programs. However, some prefer it. If you have a strong professional and academic background and references who will speak to your personal qualities, you may be ready. Otherwise, consider volunteer experiences.

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.

Step 2:

Apply to your selected school. Make sure that it offers the concentration you want. Maine stipulates that clinical social workers complete MSW programs that include a clinical focus; there must be at least seven total courses in personality theory and clinical methods. You can eventually be eligible for clinical licensure if your MSW program doesn’t have a clinical focus. However, the path will be longer.

Meanwhile, complete any additional requirements. Your school will look for a strong liberal arts background and may require specific prerequisites, for example, biology. However, you may go through the application process before you've completed them.

Step 3:

Complete your courses and internships. If you do not have advanced standing, your program will take you two to four years (depending on whether you select a part-time or full-time option). If you have advanced standing, your program will take one to two years.

Step 4:

Apply to be a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) or Licensed Master Social Worker - Clinical Conditional (LMSW-CC). The LMSW-CC designation is for individuals who are pursuing clinical licensure.

You will take the master's level ASWB exam at this stage, regardless of intended license.

Step 5:

Take a position appropriate to your license type. If you are an LMSW-CC, your position must give you practice diagnosing and treating emotional disorders.

You will need to work under supervision for at least two years in order to move up to the higher license level: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). You will need to take the clinical exam through the ASWB.

Find more detailed Maine Social Work Licensure information here.