Becoming a Social Worker in the South Carolina

South Carolina's social workers are licensed at multiple levels. You can enter the field with either a bachelor's or master's degree. The higher levels of practice require at least a master's, and some require additional post-degree practice.

Here is a guide to getting your social work education in South Carolina and getting your career underway.

If You Are a High School Student

Step 1:

Concentrate on preparing for the ACT or SAT and doing well in the courses required for general university admission. It is a good idea to volunteer or participate in a service project.

Step 2:

Apply to the university and attend orientation or set up an advisor meeting. Complete lower division coursework, maintaining an acceptable GPA -- typically the minimum is set somewhere between a 'B' and 'C'. You will take general studies and introductory social work courses. Biology and human development are typical prerequisites.

Step 3:

Apply to the social work college when you are in your third or fourth semester. The timeline varies by school. You may be asked to make a commitment to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) code at this time.

Step 4:

Complete upper division social work courses and field placements.

Step 5:

Apply to the South Carolina Board of Social Work Examiners to become a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker. You will take the Association of Social Work Boards examination at the bachelor's level.

Find more detailed South Carolina Social Work Licensure information here.

You can instead opt to continue straight into a Master of Social Work program. If you have advanced standing, you may complete a master's program through one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. It is feasible to be a student and a social worker -- some schools even have special programs or accommodations for social workers who are currently out in the field.

If You Have a College Degree

Step 1:

Research schools well in advance, and take steps to make yourself competitive. An undergraduate social work degree is not a requirement, but schools favor candidates with related volunteer or work experience. Social work schools look for a GPA of at least 3.0 but may consider GRE scores or other indicators of academic success when a candidate seems promising in other ways.

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.

Step 2:

Attend an information meeting (in-person or virtually) and submit application materials. Schools typically require reference letters and a resume in addition to one or more essays.

Step 3:

Complete social work courses. If you do not have previous social work education, your degree will take the equivalent of two academic years; some schools allow you to enroll part-time on either a three- or four-year-plan. You will take generalist or foundation coursework and then coursework in your concentration. If you will be applying for licensure as a clinical social worker, make sure your program includes the clinical courses required by the South Carolina Board. If you will be pursuing the advanced practice license, make sure you have sufficient coursework in community and organizational social work.

Step 4:

Apply to the South Carolina Board to become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). Take the ASWB national board examination at the master's level -- you may apply as early as your final semester.

Step 5:

Secure a position. Make sure that you have the required supervision, and that you get your plan approved by the Board.

Step 6:

Complete the required 3,000 hours of supervised experience. Meanwhile, complete the ethics training that South Carolina requires of licensees.

Step 7:

Take the examination that is required for independent work in your practice area. If you are seeking the Licensed Independent Social Worker-Clinical Practice (LISW-CP) license, take the ASWB clinical exam. If you are seeking the Licensed Independent Social Worker-Advanced Practice (LISW-AP) credential, take the advanced generalist exam.

Find more detailed South Carolina Social Work Licensure information here.

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