Becoming a Social Worker in Montana
Montana licenses social workers at just one level, the highest one: clinical practice. However social workers practice at multiple levels, and you will find Bachelor of Social Work programs in-state.
You can begin your social worker education in Montana at whatever stage you choose and continue until you reach your desired level of practice.
If You Are a High School Student
Concentrate on the coursework required for general college admission (including four years of English, three of math, and three of social studies). Biology is also a good choice.
Meanwhile, begin to explore career interests. You may have the opportunity to do job shadowing through organizations like AHEC.
Research post-secondary options. Montana does not require licensure for baccalaureate level social workers. However, there can be advantages to selecting a school that has a social work program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, particularly if you plan to continue on to a graduate social work program in the five to six years following graduation. (Other behavioral science or liberal arts studies should provide preparation for graduate school; however, they won't make you eligible for advanced placement.)
If you opt to study social work, admission will be a two-step process; professional studies are concentrated in the second two to two-and-a-half years of the degree plan.
You can attend community college first, but meet with a college counselor early in the process and maintain a solid grade point average throughout. You may need to take psychology sociology, biology, and multicultural studies. You typically take one or more introductory social work courses before formal admission. Montana social work schools set GPA requirements between 2.0 and 2.75 for admission to BSW programs; the requirement may be as high as 3.0 for key courses.
Apply for upper division standing within the social work program and complete professional courses and social work practicums.
You will not seek licensure through the Montana Board at this time, though some states would require you to apply for a license before using the title "social worker". You may elect to become a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Seek employment at the BSW level or begin master’s level study.
If You Have a College Degree
Prepare for admission. You do not have to have a degree in social work. A liberal arts background is fine. The admission committee will consider volunteer and paid employment as well as academic aptitude. You will need several references.
If you will be seeking clinical licensure, look for a graduate social work program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). There are three accredited MSW programs in Montana; there are options for online learning though in-state and out-of-state schools.
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.
Complete coursework and university-supervised practicum experiences. You will begin with foundational coursework unless you are a recent BSW graduate. You will progress to courses in your chosen concentration, for example, clinical studies. You may create a portfolio of academic papers, case studies, grant proposals etc.
Take an appropriate position after graduation. If you are in training as a clinical social worker, your position must include mental health services. Work under supervision for at least two years. You will need to accrue 3,000 hours of experience.
Apply to the Montana Board for licensure. You will need reference letters as well as records of your supervision.
Take the clinical social work examination through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). This is the final step that will qualify you as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).