Master of Social Work Programs in Florida

A career in social work lets you change lives for the better. Here, we outline the steps and requirements to become a licensed social worker in Florida.
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Updated on September 6, 2023
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For you, helping others means more than donating to good causes, volunteering, and performing other acts of service. You want to make it your life's work. You can turn this passion into a lifelong career by exploring MSW programs in Florida.

Earning a social work degree in Florida from a master's program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) lets you enter this growing field. You must also meet other requirements, such as holding a state-issued license. Use this article to explore accredited MSW programs in Florida and start your journey toward a career in social work.

At a Glance: Social Work Programs in Florida

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    12 colleges offer CSWE-accredited MSW programs in Florida.
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    $9,585 was the average tuition for a CSWE-accredited MSW program in Florida as of the 2021-22 academic year.
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    2,499 MSW degrees were granted in Florida in the 2020-21 academic year.

CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in Florida

MSW Programs in Florida
University Location Available Concentrations Enrollment Type
Barry University Miami Shores, FL Trauma Informed Clinical Practice Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL Community-Based Social Service Administration Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL Medical Social Work Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Florida International University Miami, FL Advanced Clinical Practice Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
  • Clinical Social Work
  • Social Leadership
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Saint Leo University St. Leo, FL Advanced Clinical Practice Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Southeastern University Lakeland, FL Advanced Clinical Practice Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL Advanced Clinical Practice Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University of South Florida Tampa, FL Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
University of West Florida Pensacola, FL Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option

Popular Online Master of Social Work Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How to Become a Social Worker in Florida

You don't need to commit to a costly master's or doctorate to enter the social work field. A bachelor's lets you explore many entry-level positions. However, these jobs offer a lower average salary than those requiring a graduate degree and license.

CSWE-accredited MSW programs in Florida train the next generation of licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) and certified master social workers (CMSWs). Recent graduates start their journey as registered clinical social workers. This provisional license lets you gain the supervised experience necessary to become an LCSW or CMSW.

If you hold a license from another state, answering how to become a social worker in Florida involves applying by endorsement. You must also meet specific continuing education (CE) requirements and pay a fee.

Check the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work website after reviewing the table below. Requirements may have changed since this article's publication.

Requirements in Social Work
Registered Clinical Social Worker Licensed Clinical Social Worker Certified Master Social Worker
Degree Requirement MSW MSW or DSW MSW or DSW
Exam Requirement None: Provisional license for practice under supervision Clinical Advanced Generalist
Minimum Postgraduate Supervised Experience Required n/a 1,500 hours 3,000 hours
Minimum Direct Supervisor Contact Required n/a 100 hours n/a
Minimum Hours of Face to Face Supervision Required n/a 1,500 hours n/a
Minimum Time to Accrue Required Hours No less than 100 weeks 2 years

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work or a Related Field

Don't fret if you hold a bachelor's degree in something other than social work. Top MSW programs in Florida accept bachelor's degrees in related subjects, such as those in the humanities. Contact school admissions representatives to learn which degrees they accept.

A bachelor's in social work may offer advantages when enrolling in an MSW program. Many CSWE-accredited programs offer advanced standing, letting you graduate up to a year sooner than your peers. Degree-seekers in both tracks complete the same core curriculum Florida requires to become a registered clinical social worker.

Step 2: Earn a CSWE-Accredited Master's Degree in Social Work

You'll need to earn a CSWE-accredited master's in social work in order to seek licensure in Florida. In addition to a bachelor's degree, admissions requirements often include GRE scores, recommendation letters, personal statements, and resumes. After applying to an MSW program, contact schools admissions to make sure they received all required materials.

Typical two-year programs feature coursework in evidence-based social work practice, clinical interventions, and social welfare policy and services. You also complete many clinical rotations. Accredited programs' classes and hands-on experiences meet Florida's licensure requirements.

Some programs let you choose a specialization, concentration, or track. Your choice affects your future career prospects significantly. Work with academic advisors to select the one that best aligns with your career goals.

You need more than a master's degree to pursue your dream career. Your education and training have just begun.

Step 3: Pursue Postgraduate Experience

MSW programs in Florida provide you with one year of supervised experience. Following graduation, you must pursue an additional two years of supervised experience to meet Florida LCSW licensing requirements.

Responsibilities vary by your specialization and employer. Professionals working in family counseling interview patients, lead group sessions, and maintain paperwork. They also refer patients to outside resources, such as therapists or psychiatrists.

You receive regular feedback from your licensed supervisor. Monthly one-on-one meetings let you reflect on your strengths and areas of improvement. Your mentor also acts as your first resource when dealing with unfamiliar situations, such as when you believe patients' lives are in danger.

Step 4: Take and Pass the Required Licensing Exams

A master's degree and two years of supervised experience qualify you to sit for the Association of Social World Boards (ASWB) clinical exam. You register and pay on the ASWB website before making an exam appointment with Pearson VUE. American candidates must pay a $230 exam fee as of November 2022.

The ASWB clinical exam covers many content areas, such as human growth and development, human behavior in the social environment, and diversity and discrimination. Take advantage of the comprehensive content checklist and recommended readings to create a study plan.

The 170-question computerized exam includes 20 pre-exam questions that do not count toward your final score. The exam does not tell you when these questions appear. All states use the same passing score.

Step 5: Submit Your Application for Social Work Licensure

Congratulations on passing the ASWB clinical exam! You turn your education, experience, and passing exam score into a license by applying on the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work website. The process takes only a few minutes once you gather all required materials.

Your application must include official transcripts, a practicum letter, ASWB exam scores, and up-to-date contact information. Florida charges a $180 initial application fee as of November 2022.

Florida issues initial licensure determinations within 30 days of receiving your completed application. A file number helps you track your application through this process. Use the resources on the Florida board website if you have questions.

Step 6: Complete Required Post-Licensure Coursework

Becoming a social worker in Florida also involves taking three state-mandated CE classes. Florida requires these classes for initial applicants and professionals relocating from another state. You have six months after receiving your license to complete them.

An eight-hour laws and rules class trains you in Florida state laws applicable to social workers. The HIV/AIDS class prepares you to work with people with this disease. Finally, the two-hour domestic violence class helps you identify and assist victims of domestic abuse.

Authorized CE providers offer convenient class times and locations. Providers send your certificates of completion to the state board. However, retain CE paperwork for your records.

Florida Social Worker FAQs

How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in Florida?

You need approximately eight years of education and training to become a social worker in Florida. A typical bachelor's degree in social work or another subject requires four years for full-time students. You may graduate sooner if you took Advanced Placement classes in high school or take college classes over the summer.

A master's takes only two years if you hold a bachelor's in social work. You may need an additional year if your bachelor's was in another subject.

You can take the ASWB examination after completing two years of supervised work experience. After passing this exam, you can apply for licensure and work independently as an LCSW.

How Much Does a Social Worker in Florida Make?

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Your social worker salary depends on many factors, such as the city where you work and in what field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that mental health and substance abuse social workers living in Tampa earned Florida's lowest average social work salary in 2021, only $42,710. This figure falls below the profession's median U.S. salary by approximately $8,000.

Professionals living in Miami made significantly more in 2021, with an average salary of $44,280. This salary exceeds the national median by approximately $20,000. Note that recently licensed social workers may make less money.

You can also increase your earning potential in other ways. Gaining experience and professional certifications improve your resume and may qualify you for more lucrative jobs.

In Florida, Is a Career in Social Work Worth It?

You know that more lucrative jobs exist, but MSW programs in Florida let you enter a career where you can fulfill your passion for helping others. Other benefits include making a long-term positive impact on your community.

Consider your potential quality of life by researching Florida counties' average rents. Workers in Miami-Dade County paid approximately 30% more for a two-bedroom apartment than their peers in Duval County. You can prepare to live in a higher-cost-of-living area by earning your master's from a lower-cost public university.

Other ways to make MSW programs in Florida a good return on investment include researching public service loan forgiveness programs. You may qualify by working for a government agency or nonprofit and making at least 120 on-time monthly loan payments. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers this benefit to qualifying employees. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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