Becoming a Social Worker in Minnesota

You may pursue your social work education in Minnesota at either the baccalaureate or master’s level, but it must be done through an accredited social work program. Your training will continue beyond degree conferral and into the beginning of your career years; whatever your license level, you will work under supervision until you have met post-graduate requirements.

Here is a guide to becoming a social worker in Minnesota.

If You Are a High School Student

Step 1:

Take a college prep curriculum. Courses in psychology, sociology, and human development are optional at this level. It is a good idea to do job shadowing, volunteering or other career exploration.

Step 2:

If you will be pursuing licensure at the bachelor's level, enroll in a Bachelor of Social Work program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). If you plan on pursuing licensure at the master's level, the BSW can still be a good idea -- if you perform well enough, you can shorten your MSW program by as much as two semesters.

Enroll in a college or university and take general studies and supporting coursework. Your school may require sociology, psychology, and biology. You typically take one to two social work courses before you obtain upper division standing.

Step 3:

Apply to the social work school at the appropriate time. Many schools have an application process even for those students who are already enrolled at the university.

Step 4:

Complete upper division social work courses and field experiences.

Step 5:

As you approach graduation, apply to the Minnesota Board for your License Social Worker (LSW) credential. You will take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) licensing examination at the bachelor's level.

Find more detailed Minnesota Social Work Licensure information here.

Step 6:

Take a position. You will need supervision by a licensed social worker until you have accrued 4,000 experience hours; there will be paperwork due upon license renewal.

You may instead opt to continue your social work studies at the master’s level.

If You Have a College Degree

Step 1:

Make yourself a competitive candidate. If your resume and personal statement don’t reflect sufficient knowledge or commitment to the field, consider volunteer service.

Step 2:

Select an MSW program that will prepare you for your intended practice area. If you will be pursuing licensure as a clinical social worker, look for a program that has a significant amount of clinical coursework. Minnesota requires 360 clock hours (or 24 semester hours) of coursework in particular areas related to clinical practice. If your degree program does not include all required coursework, you will need to make it up later through a combination of coursework and continuing education.

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:

Prepare application materials: resume, references, autobiographical statement. You may be asked to submit an additional academic writing sample. Step 4: Complete coursework and field experiences. Your social work school may offer specialties or sub-concentrations that do not affect licensing.

Step 5:

Apply to the Minnesota Board for your Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) credential. You will take the ASWB master's social work examination. Step 6: Take a position in your practice area, working under appropriate supervision. You must be under supervision until you have accrued at least 4,000 hours of experience. Meanwhile, make up any educational deficiencies (if seeking clinical licensure). This must be done before you can achieve independent licensing; a maximum of 90 hours may be continuing education.

Step 7:

Take the required examination. Credentialing as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) requires passing scores on the ASWB clinical exam. Credentialing as a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) requires passing scores on the ASWB advanced generalist exam.

Find more detailed Minnesota Social Work Licensure information here.