Becoming a Social Worker in Missouri

You can begin your social worker education in Missouri at either the bachelor’s or master’s level. A bachelor’s in social work is not a prerequisite for a master’s, but can be a time saver. Here is a guide to get you started on the journey.

social work students

If You Are a High School Student

Step 1:

Take a general college prep curriculum at the high school level. Meanwhile look for experience in the field. You may have the opportunity to do job shadowing through a local hospital.

Step 2:

Seek a school with a CSWE-accredited social work program. Apply first to the college or university. Declare a social work or pre-social work major and meet with an adviser to make sure you are on track with prerequisites.

Step 3:

Complete pre-professional requirements. Some schools have a 40 hour volunteer requirement. Volunteer hours may or may not be earned in conjunction with academic credit -- this depends on the school. Undergraduate social work schools typically require a GPA of 2.5, but some set the minimum lower.

Step 4:

Complete professional coursework. Your practicum experiences may be especially helpful for making contacts in the work world.

Step 5:

Apply to the Missouri State Committee for Social Workers for licensing as a Provisional Baccalaureate Social Worker. You will take the bachelor’s examination through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). You will also have a criminal background check.

Step 6:

Take a position. Work under appropriate supervision until you have accrued 3,000 experience hours. This will take two to four years.

Step 7:

It is also an option to continue on to a master's degree program. If your GPA is 3.0 or higher, and you are an otherwise strong candidate, you will have advanced placement options. Depending on the school you select, you may cut your master's program in half.

It's fine to work in the field for a few years before applying, but most Master of Social Work (MSW) programs place a limit of five to seven years on advanced placement.

If You Have a College Degree

Step 1:

Choose the most appropriate MSW program. Programs may have a clinical, administrative, or advanced generalist perspective. Some have a particular approach (e.g. family health) or offer specialized tracks.

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.

In Missouri, the type of license you earn depends on your post-graduate practice. However, the program you select will have some bearing on where you will be placed as a student intern and where you will eventually find employment.

Step 2:

Take steps toward admission. Some Missouri social work programs require the GRE. Most require references and an autobiographical statement. Volunteer experience can be helpful.

Step 3:

Complete foundations, specialty, and elective coursework. Take advantage of opportunities to meet with the program coordinator and discuss which internships or field placements will be most relevant to your career goals. If you are not in the advanced placement track, expect to do at least 900 hours of fieldwork.

Step 4:

Apply to Missouri to take the ASWB master's level examination and be credentialed as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW).

Step 5:

Work in a position appropriate to your intended license (macro or clinical). You will need to put in at least 3,000 hours before you can be eligible for an independent license. Your supervisor will fill out evaluations for the Board.

If you have met other requirements, passing the ASWB clinical exam will qualify you for state licensing as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Passing the ASWB advanced generalist examination will qualify you for licensing as a Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW).

Find more detailed Missouri Social Work Licensure information here.