Becoming a Social Worker in Michigan

You can begin your social worker education in Michigan at virtually any level and you can take it just as far as you want to go. Generalist practice requires at least a bachelor’s (BSW); advanced practice requires a master’s (MSW). You don’t have to have a BSW to earn an MSW, but it can make the path a little shorter.

social work students

If You Are in High School

Step 1:

Concentrate on getting into the university of your choice. There are no pre-professional courses you need to take at this stage, but you may consider taking psychology or human development. Meanwhile, begin career exploration.

Step 2:

Enroll in the university and begin pre-professional studies. Your college will set a general studies core requirement. You will probably take one social work course before admission to the major. There may be additional prerequisites.

Conversely, you can opt for an associate’s degree in social work or a related field; it will qualify you as a social services technician in Michigan, not a social worker. However, you may have the opportunity to transfer in a number of credits. Many professional social work programs don’t admit students until they’re getting ready for their junior year.

Step 3:

If you don’t work yet, seek out volunteer experiences. Some Michigan schools require human services experience. The requirement is generally modest -- 40 hours or so. Those that do not set the requirement may still ask for a professional reference. The Michigan Community Service Commission maintains a volunteer page that you can visit to look for opportunities.

Step 4:

Maintain a solid GPA throughout your studies. A GPA of 2.3 to 2.5 is often required for entrance into upper division social work courses; an upper division GPA of 3.0 is typically required of those who seek advanced placement in a master's level social work program.

Step 5:

When you complete requirements, apply for the limited Licensed Bachelor Social Worker credential. You will need to have a criminal background check.

Step 6:

Put in at least 4,000 hours of post-degree experience.

Step 7:

While under limited licensure, take and pass the bachelor's level exam offered throughout the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

When all requirements have been me, you will be an LBSW.

Find more detailed Michigan Social Work Licensure information here.

If You Have a College Degree

Step 1:

Assess your readiness. Your resume, references, and personal statement will be important at this stage; significant volunteer service is sometimes an asset. If your GPA is less than 3.0, your application packet will need to be especially strong in other areas.

Step 2:

Research programs and select one with an appropriate a concentration. At the broadest level, your concentration may be clinical or macro -- this distinction is officially recognized by the Michigan Board. You may visit the Board site for a description of the scope of practice of each. Your choice of concentration will not have a direct impact on licensing in Michigan, but will indirectly influence it as you will need to accrue supervised experience in your intended practice area.

You may also have the opportunity to choose a specialty or sub-concentration based on the population you intend to work with. Your selection will not affect licensing.

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.

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 3:

Complete coursework and university supervised field experiences.

Step 4:

Apply for limited licensure as a clinical or macro social worker and take a position. You will need to work under supervision for at least two years.

Step 5:

Take the ASWB licensing exam that is required for independent practice. For clinical social workers, it is the clinical exam; for macro social workers, it is the advanced generalist exam.

When all requirements have been met, you will be licensed as a Licensed Master Social Worker – Macro or Licensed Master Social Worker – Clinical.

Find more detailed Michigan Social Work Licensure information here.

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