Becoming a Social Worker in New Mexico

You may pursue a social work education in New Mexico – and achieve state licensing – at either the bachelor’s or master’s level. One degree is not a prerequisite for the other. However, if you make your career decision early, it will take you less time to achieve the highest level of licensing.

social work students

If You Are a High School Student

Step 1:

Prepare for university admission. Meanwhile, seek out volunteer experiences. New Mexico social work schools value both human service experience and experience working with diverse populations.

Step 2:

Look for a school with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Apply for general university admission.

Step 3:

Schedule an appointment with a student services coordinator. Take liberal arts courses and introductory social work courses. Make sure to fulfill the culture requirement – this will save you from having to take an additional test later.

Step 4:

Apply to the social work program and begin upper level coursework. BSW programs have a generalist focus, but some allow you to take specialized coursework in areas like child advocacy.

Earn a solid grade point average in social work courses. This is especially important if you are considering master's level study. MSW programs typically favor applicants with at least a 3.0. Some schools set requirements higher for advanced standing.

Step 5:

Apply for licensure as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW). You will take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) board examination at the bachelor’s level. You will also take a test of New Mexico laws and rules.

Find more detailed New Mexico Social Work Licensure information here.

If You Have a College Degree

Step 1:

Take preliminary steps toward application. Volunteer or human experience may benefit you in both direct and indirect ways. Schools often expect the essay or personal statement to include very specific markers of potential. New Mexico State University, for example, has prospective MSW students write a page about a "significant experience" from their employment or volunteer service.

If your undergraduate GPA was below the desired level, you may have the opportunity to demonstrate aptitude by taking a few graduate level courses.

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 2:

Select a school that has a concentration that interests you and allow plenty of time to complete your application package. MSW programs typically require three references.

Make sure that you have completed any prerequisites by your intended start date. Your school may require biology and statistics.

Step 3:

Complete degree requirements. If you have a BSW, you may be finished in as little as a year. If you do not, expect to spend a year completing generalist coursework and another year completing coursework in a concentration or sub-concentration. Some New Mexico schools have special programs like bilingual social work.

You typically spend a couple of days a week acquiring experience in a social service setting. Some schools may give you the opportunity to complete fieldwork through more intensive summer experiences.

Step 4:

Apply to the Nevada Board to become a Licensed Master Social Worker. You will take the ASWB master’s level examination and a state jurisprudence examination.

Step 5:

Complete your post-degree supervised practice requirement. You will need to accrue 3,600 hours over a period of two to five years. Although all independent level social workers have the same license, individual practitioners are not typically deemed qualified to work independently in all areas of the field. The Board recognizes specific practice areas like clinical social work and medical social work.

Step 6:

When all requirements have been met, you will become a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW). You will take the ASWB exam that is most appropriate for your practice area: advanced generalist or clinical.

Step 7:

You may choose to work under supervision in another practice area later and have that added to your license.

Find more detailed New Mexico Social Work Licensure information here.