Social Work Licensure in Michigan
At minimum, those seeking social work licensure in Michigan must obtain a bachelor's degree and apply for a limited form of licensure that is necessary to complete the in-the-field requirements for full licensure. Most licenses require candidates to have a master of social work degree, but some allow a bachelor's degree. To obtain licensure, students are expected to pay an application fee and pass exams. Requirements for social work professionals in the state of Michigan are rather fluid in that students with a degree in social work are able to concentrate in a desired field and determined the licenses they'd like to procure.
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Types of Social Work Degrees in Michigan
Michigan offers four levels of social work degrees. First, an associate of social work takes two years to complete and allows students to work as social work assistants. Second, a bachelor's takes four years to complete and qualifies students for jobs like probation and substance abuse social workers. Third, a master's takes about two years to complete and opens up job opportunities in clinical social work. Finally, a doctorate takes about three years to complete and prepares graduates for careers in higher education.
Bachelor's Degree in Social Work
Students who pursue a bachelor's degree in social work meet the minimum requirements for licensure in the state of Michigan. In this program, students learn about the foundation of the field and the areas of social work in which they can practice. Upon graduation, they may be employed as probation officers, certified social workers, and substance abuse social workers. Bachelor's programs are a stepping stone to master's programs.
Master's in Social Work
Master of social work programs take roughly two years to complete and allow students to work as clinical social workers or open private practices. Those with a master's usually find themselves in a higher pay bracket than social workers with a bachelor's degree. Several scholarship opportunities and affordable programs are available to students who wish to pursue a master's in social work.
Doctorate Degree in Social Work
Doctoral social work programs require students to spend at least two additional years working on advanced coursework and another year on the dissertation. Students who earn the doctorate are eligible to work as social work professors, and in virtually any social work career, they will be in the highest pay bracket available.
How to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Michigan
Michigan offers four social work licensures. First, licensed bachelor social workers must have a bachelor of social work degree, be granted limited licensure to gain 4,000 supervised in-the-field experience, and pass the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) bachelor's exam. Second, licensed graduate social workers must have a master of social work degree, have their limited licensure to finish 4,000 hours of supervised in-the-field experience, and pass the ASWB master's exam. Third, licensed certified social workers must have a bachelor's degree, be granted their limited licensure to complete in-the-field requirements, and pass a board exam. Fourth, private independent practice certification social workers must have a master's, complete in the field experience, and pass an exam.
Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
- Bachelor of Social Work Degree: To obtain their LBSW, students must complete a bachelor of social work, which prepares them to interact with clients and introduces them to areas of social work. Students should note the importance of earning a degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
- Limited Licensure for Experience: Licensure requires 4,000 supervised hours of in-the-field experience, which must be preceded by a limited licensure.
- ASWB Bachelor's Exam: The ASWB administers this exam, which was created to ensure that social work professionals know best practices and foundational skills for serving patients. In Michigan, the exam costs $230 to complete.
Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
- Master of Social Work Degree: To become a LGSW, individuals are required to have a master of social work degree from a CSWE-accredited institution. In this program, students consider specialized areas of social work and choose one that fits their interests.
- Limited Licensure for Experience: To achieve licensure, individuals must complete 4,000 hours of supervised in-the-field experience, indicating they are capable of working in the field and know how to communicate with clients and other professionals.
- ASWB Master's Exam: The ASWB administers this exam, which demonstrates students' academic and real-world knowledge. The exam costs $230.
Licensed Certified Social Worker
- Master of Social Work Degree: To become a licensed certified social worker, individuals must first earn their master of social work degree, which introduces them to the areas of social work and requirements for licensure in those areas.
- Limited Licensure for Experience: Individuals must complete in-the-field supervised work experience to learn how to handle clients.
- Pass a Board Exam: To earn their licensed certified social worker certification, students must demonstrate proficiency in their chosen field by passing a board exam. Application and exam fees are required.
Private Independent Practice Certification
- Master of Social Work Degree: The first step to earning private independent practice certification is to earn a master of social work. In the program, students focus on areas of specialization in the field.
- Limited Licensure for Experience: To achieve private independent practice certification, individuals must apply for limited licensure, which introduces them to real-world social work settings and allows them to apply skills from their degree program.
- Pass a Board Exam: Individuals must pass a board exam to demonstrate competencies in the social work field. Application and exam fees are required.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Michigan?
Because of education and experience requirements, it takes at least a couple of years to become a licensed social worker in the state of Michigan. This timeframe also depends on the type of licensure an individual wishes to pursue. For example, if an individual is pursuing a licensure that requires a master of social work degree, it would take them six years to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees and then an additional two or more years to gain the 4,000 hours of required in-the-field experience for licensing.
Out of State Licensing Reciprocity in Michigan
Out-of-state students may transfer their social work licensure to the state of Michigan. In many fields, if an individual wishes to move to another state, he must undergo application and licensing requirements from scratch, but Michigan offers flexibility: It gives prospective LBSWs and LMSWs the chance to apply as long as they are currently endorsed or registered and in good standing in a different state.
To apply for endorsement, individuals must pay a $40 fee and fill out a detailed application, a process echoing requirements for an LBSW or an LMSW. Being a social worker in the state of Michigan definitely affords individuals with flexibility and understanding, even if they are coming from a state with outside licensure.
In the state of Michigan, social work licenses must be renewed once every three years. Under the Public Health code and State Board, LBSWs and LMSWs are required to complete 45 hours of continuing education at each of their three-year renewal times. Five of these hours must be in ethics, and one must be in pain and symptom management. Professionals can complete continuing education requirements via the ASWB and the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative. LSSTs, LLMSWs, LLBSWs, and RSSTs are not required to complete continuing education requirements to maintain their license.
Accredited Social Work Programs in Michigan
Michigan social workers who earn their degree from an accredited program in the state of Michigan have an advantage over those who earned their degree from another state. When a student attends an accredited social work program in Michigan, she also completed practicum and internship requirements in the state; this means she has firsthand experience there. Additionally, if she went to school in Michigan, she is probably aware of the requirements the state has for licensing.
What Can You Do With a Social Work Degree?
Michigan offers several career opportunities to individuals with a social work degree. At each degree level, more job opportunities become available. Associate of social work students can work as social and human service assistants, bachelor of social work students can work as certified social workers, and master or doctoral of social work students can work in clinical social work and healthcare social work. The field is full of professionals who are dedicated to helping their clients. Social work professionals strive to continue their development and education in order to provide the best possible care to their clients.
- Social Worker: Social workers help patients dealing with daily problems to cope. Additionally, they work with people who struggle with behavioral, mental, and emotional issues. They diagnose and treat their patients and provide a plan of action to keep them stable. They work in a number of settings including schools, mental health clinics, hospitals, and private practices.
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker: Mental health and substance abuse social workers evaluate and provide treatment to people struggling with emotion, mental, or substance abuse issues. They provide individual and group therapy, case management, and crisis intervention.
- Child, Family, and School Social Worker: Child, family, and school social workers provide assistance and social services to children and families to improve their social and psychological well-being. They work in schools to provide service to students in crises, arrange adoptions or foster homes for abused or abandoned children, and counsel pregnant teenagers.
- Healthcare Social Worker: Healthcare social workers provide psychosocial support to individuals and families coping with acute, chronic, or terminal illnesses. They advise family caregivers, educate and counsel patients, and refer additional services based on the situation. They work closely with patients and their families, usually in hospitals, to ensure they are able handle the medical crisis in question.
- Social and Human Service Assistants: Social and human service assistants offer client services of all types to individuals and families in need. They work closely with social workers and human service workers in a variety of settings including nonprofit organizations, for-profit agencies, and local and state governments.
Salary Expectations for Social Workers in Michigan
Graduates of social work programs in Michigan earn salaries based on their level of education and career choice. For example, social workers who work in healthcare are able to earn a higher salary than other areas of social work, and those with a master's are able to earn a higher salary than professionals with an associate or bachelor of social work degree.
Average Salary for Social Workers in Michigan
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||$49,190|
|Healthcare Social Workers||$56,500|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker||$50,650|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||$29,820|
Professional Organizations for Social Workers in Michigan
Professional social work organizations in the state of Michigan are composed of members who are social workers within the state, so they can network to share new ideas, discuss trends in the industry, and explore potential job opportunities.
- National Association of Social Workers Michigan: NASW is the largest membership organization for social workers in the United States. The Michigan division offers training seminars and networking events for members to connect with one another to share ideas, job opportunities, and discuss the standards and trends in social work.
- Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative: The MSWCEC supports social workers in Michigan by providing continuing education programs and training seminars, and by developing practice needs to ensure professionals are meeting the necessary guidelines set in place in the social work licensure law.
- Michigan Association of School Social Workers: MASSW supports school social workers in Michigan and advocates for the needs of students. The organization promotes the professional growth and educational development of members to make sure they are using the highest standards of practice.