Georgia Social Work License Requirements
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- States regulate social work licensing requirements, renewal standards, fees, and penalties
- Becoming a licensed social worker in Georgia requires a master's degree
- The Peach State employs roughly 14,150 social workers
Georgia sets the bar high when it comes to licensing social workers. The Peach State is one of only nine states that require at least a master's in social work (MSW) to get licensed. However, only one license in Georgia requires supervised work experience. Do you want to join the roughly 14,150 social workers employed in Georgia?
This guide details the step-by-step process of becoming a licensed social worker in Georgia. Here you can find out what degree you need to get licensed and other Georgia social work licensure requirements.
Georgia State Board of Social Work
The Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists — which operates under the Secretary of State — governs social work licenses. You can become a clinical social worker or master social worker in Georgia.
The board determines all Georgia social work licensure requirements, including renewal timelines, continuing education hours, and penalties.
Featured Online MSW Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Georgia Social Work Education Requirements
A college education is the first step toward social work licensure in any state. Georgia requires an advanced social work degree from an accredited program for both of the licenses available.
Bachelor's Degree in a Related Field
Licensed social workers in Georgia can start their careers by earning a bachelor of social work degree (BSW) or studying any related field such as sociology or psychology. It will take at least four years of full-time studies to obtain a BSW.
Earning a BSW provides a fundamental understanding of social welfare, research methods, and human behavior in the social environment. The BSW courses on statistics and human behavior in the social environment serve as prerequisites for an MSW program. Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited BSW degrees also require at least 400 fieldwork hours.
Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW)
Plan to spend at least 2-3 years obtaining an MSW degree. The curriculum builds on what you've learned during a BSW program, with the option of pursuing an advanced generalist or specialized practice.
You'll focus on advancing your clinical social work practice with common coursework, such as scientific methods for social work, theories of human behavior and development, and advanced interventions.
The required fieldwork depends on your standing. Advanced standing students who hold a BSW and prior field instruction hours complete less fieldwork hours than traditional standing students. CSWE-accredited MSW programs require at least 900 hours of practicum experience.
Requirements for Initial Georgia Social Work Licensure
Prospective social workers can choose from two different credentials in Georgia. Your career aspirations will influence which license you pursue. Below, we explore more about Georgia social work requirements, including the degree and clinical hours required.
Licensed Master Social Worker (MSW)
Before you can do social work in Georgia, you need to get licensed. An MSW permits you to provide counseling, evaluation, and prevention and intervention services to individuals, couples, and families.
You can also supervise bachelor's-level social workers with this license. The process of social work licensures includes:
- Earn a master's of social work from CSWE-accredited program
- Complete an application, submit required documents, and the $100 fee
- Meet all requirements to take the national exam
- Pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) master's exam
Clinical Social Worker (CSW)
In Georgia, clinical social workers have the authority to provide psychotherapy services in schools, private practices, and healthcare facilities. This license also allows CSWs to provide psychosocial evaluations to treat behavioral, mental, and emotional conditions. To get a CSW license, you need to:
- Obtain a CSWE-accredited master's of social work
- Submit an application to the Secretary of State with supplemental materials and a $100 fee
- Complete 3,000 post-MSW hours of supervised experience over 36-108 months.
- Meet the requirements to sit for the ASWB clinical social worker exam
- If you hold a doctoral degree, show proof of 2,000 hours of post-MSW experience, working in clinical social work over 24-72 months.
Transferring Your Social Work License to Georgia
Licensed social workers who want to relocate to Georgia must apply by exam waiver. The state does not offer a licensing reciprocity with other jurisdictions.
If you hold a social work license in another state and have passed the ASWB exam, you can transfer your license by completing the application for verification of licensure form. Clinical social work licenses must also include proof of supervised work experience.
Both licenses require social workers from other states to submit two professional references and a background check form. Clinical social workers also need to submit a post-graduation direct experience verification form, a notarized application, and a postgraduate directed experience verification form.
How to Maintain Your Social Work License in Georgia
After you get your initial social work license in Georgia, you must maintain your credential. The LCSW and LMSW licenses expire every two years on September 30. You can start the license renewal process through the Georgia's Board's online system. It costs $100 to renew and $150 for a late renewal. You can also opt for a paper renewal and send your application via mail.
The Georgia Board requires that licensed social workers complete 35 continuing education requirements every two years. Five of the required hours must be in ethics.
You'll need to keep proof of your attendance in case of an audit. Acceptable continuing education credits include academic coursework, independent study, and synchronous online webinars.
Frequently Asked Questions About Social Work in Georgia
Do social workers need to be licensed in Georgia?
Yes. Social workers in Georgia not only need to get licensed, but they also must earn a CSWE-accredited MSW degree. While most states have a bachelor's-level credential for social workers, Georgia does not.
What is the fastest way to become a social worker in Georgia?
Schools often offer advanced standing to students with a BSW degree, which cuts down the number of credits and fieldwork hours needed to earn a graduate degree in social work.
Are social workers in demand in Georgia?
Yes. Social workers are in demand in Georgia. Expected job growth in Georgia depends on the specialty area in social work. Projections Central estimates social work employment to grow by 7.6% to 25.8% from 2020 to 2030. Mental health and substance use social workers in Georgia are projected to see the largest increase of any state over the next decade.
How long does it take to become a licensed social worker in Georgia?
Earning a bachelor's degree and then a master's in social work takes 6-7 years. However, colleges often offer accelerated BSW/MSW dual programs that allow you to graduate with two degrees in five years.