Becoming a Social Worker in Mississippi

You can begin your social worker education in Mississippi at virtually any point. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program will prepare you for generalist social work; a Master of Social Worker (MSW) program will prepare you as a specialist. You do not need a BSW to pursue an MSW, but having one can save you time.

If You Are a High School Student

Step 1:

Meet with a guidance counselor to plan a college preparatory curriculum. Also do some career exploration. Hospitals like St. Dominic's include social work in their job shadow program.

Step2:

Enroll at an accredited college or university and begin pre-professional coursework. Prerequisites may include developmental psychology and human growth and development. You will take one or two social work courses before you are admitted to the BSW major. There may be a small amount of fieldwork -- this will help you confirm your interest in the field.

Step 3:

Apply to the social work department. Reference letters may be required.

Step 4:

Make the most of your undergraduate social work education. Start networking. You may join the social work club association or Phi Alpha honor society; you may also join the National Association of Social Workers as a student member.

Learn about any special opportunities that may be available. If you are enrolled in a Mississippi social work school and are interested in becoming a family service protection specialist, you may qualify for a loan scholarship.

Step 5:

When you are finished with requirements for your BSW, you will be eligible to apply for the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) credential. You will take the national board examination at the bachelor's level; it is offered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Find more detailed Mississippi Social Work Licensure information here.

Step 6:

Work full-time or continue on for a master's. You will have the most advanced placement options if you make your graduate school decision within about five years. Advanced standing candidates often need references from undergraduate supervisors.

If You Are a College Graduate with a Bachelors Degree

Step 1:

Take steps to make yourself a competitive candidate. If you don’t have a strong professional background, or aren’t knowledgeable about social services, you may benefit from volunteer service.

Step 2:

Allow plenty of time for the application process. Schools typically require three recommendation letters, a resume, and one or more pieces of writing (personal statement, essay, or academic writing sample). You may be required to have a criminal background check at this time.

Statistics, psychology, sociology, and/or biology may be required as prerequisites.

The University of Southern California School of Social Work offers one of the only CSWE accredited online Master's of Social Work degrees in the country. Click Here to contact the USC School of Social Work and request additional information.

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 program requirements. If you do not have an undergraduate social work degree, your program will be about 60 semester hours. You may have the opportunity of being part-time-or full-time and completing requirements in four to eight semester hours. The foundations year (which is sometimes skipped by recent BSW graduates) is followed by advanced generalist studies or studies in a concentration.

Step 4:

As your graduate program winds down, take steps toward licensure as a Master Social Worker (LMSW) through the Mississippi State Board of Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists. You will have a criminal background check. You’ll take the national board examination at the master's level through the ASWB.

Step 5:

Take a position in your practice area and work under supervision for two to three years.

Step 6:

Take the licensing exam required for your practice area. If you are vying for clinical licensure take the clinical examination; you will become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or LCSW. If you are in macro practice take the advanced generalist exam; you will be licensed as a Licensed Certified Social Worker or LCSWMac.

Find more detailed Mississippi Social Work Licensure information here.

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