Becoming a Social Worker in New Jersey
You may begin your social worker education in New Jersey at either the bachelor’s or master’s level and continue until you reach your desired practice level. A master’s is required for clinical/mental health practice.
If You Are in High School
Use your high school years to prepare for university admission. You do not need to take any courses that are not part of the standard college prep curriculum. You do need to develop the foundational skills to succeed in college-level social work prerequisites like biology.
It is also a good idea to begin volunteer work at this stage.
Select a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or holds candidate status. In most cases, you will not apply immediately to the social work program. You will apply to the university and begin general studies and prerequisite courses. You may be classified as a pre-social work major at this stage.
Apply to the social work program, following the timeline set by the school. Often this is the spring of sophomore year. Some schools require references.
Complete coursework and fieldwork. You typically begin fieldwork in your junior year and do a longer and more intensive field experience as a senior. The scheduling varies but you may spend a day in the field during the latter part of your junior year and a couple days a week during your senior year. Schools often give students a say in where they are placed. There may be a consultation and an interview.
After graduation, apply to the New Jersey Board to become a Certified Social Worker (CSW). There is no exam required at this level. You will need to be fingerprinted.
You may work full-time in the field or return to school for a master's. With a recent BSW, you may cut the coursework requirements of a Master of Social Work (MSW) in half. Many schools base advancement placement credit largely on GPA. Some rely more on detailed information about your field placement.
If You Have a College Degree
Assess your readiness for graduate school. A BSW is not necessary for admission to the traditional MSW track, but schools look for multiple indicators of future success. This includes volunteer and paid experience. You typically need three academic or professional references.
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.
Select the most appropriate program. MSW programs offer different concentrations, for example, ‘international and community development’ or ‘clinical practice with individuals and families’. Some schools offer additional certificates like play therapy. Some social workers like to earn an adjunct addiction certification (LCADC).
Complete your MSW degree requirements. You will spend the first year of a two-year program taking generalist social work courses. Your second year will be spent pursuing your concentration. You will do at least 900 hours of fieldwork, most of it in your final year.
When you reach your final semester, apply to the New Jersey Board. You will need to take the master's examination through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). After you materials have been processed, you will become a Licensed Social Worker (LSW).
Begin practice as a social worker. If you are pursuing clinical licensure, you will need to work under supervision for at least two years post-degree.
Take the ASWB clinical exam. You do not need to wait until you have finished your supervised practice.
When you have met all requirements, you may apply to the New Jersey Board to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).