Master of Social Work Programs in Florida

A career in social work lets you change lives for the better. Learn more about accredited MSW programs in Florida.
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Updated on July 1, 2024
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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.

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.

CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in Florida

MSW Programs in Florida
University Location Available Concentrations Enrollment Type
Ana G. Mendez University Orlando, FL Advanced Clinical Practice Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Barry University Miami Shores, FL Trauma Informed Clinical Practice Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL Macro Social Work Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL Advanced Clinical Practice 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 N/A Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University of South Florida Tampa, FL Advanced Clinical Practice Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
University of West Florida Pensacola, FL N/A Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option

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, becoming 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's website after reviewing the table below to learn more. 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 traditional and accelerated 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 to seek licensure in Florida. In addition to a bachelor's degree, admission requirements often include GRE scores, recommendation letters, personal statements, and resumes. After applying to an MSW program, contact your school's admissions department to make sure they received all of your required materials.

Typical two-year programs feature coursework in evidence-based social work practice, clinical interventions, and social welfare policy and services. You'll also complete field placements or practicums, gaining hands-on experience in the field. The classes and hands-on experiences of accredited programs meet Florida's social work licensure requirements.

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

However, you need more than a master's degree to pursue an advanced career and social work. In many ways, your education and training have just begun.

Step 3: Pursue Postgraduate Experience

MSW programs in Florida provide you with at least a year of supervised experience. However, following graduation, you must pursue an additional two years of supervised experience to meet Florida CMSW 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. Regular one-on-one meetings let you reflect on your strengths and areas of improvement. Your supervisor also acts as an important 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 post-master's 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. Candidates must pay a $230 exam fee.

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 can turn your previous education, experience, and passing exam score into a license by applying on the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work's website. This process only takes a few minutes once you've gathered all of the required materials.

Your application must include official transcripts, a practicum letter, ASWB exam scores, and up-to-date contact information. Florida charges an initial application fee.

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 7-8 years of education and training to become a licensed clinical social worker in Florida. A typical bachelor's degree in social work or another subject requires four years of full-time study, although you may be able to graduate sooner if you took Advanced Placement classes in high school or take college courses over the summer.

A master's typically takes 1-2 years to earn, depending on your enrollment status and your previous academic experience.

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

Comparison of Social Work Annual Mean Salaries in Florida (May 2023)
Job Title Jacksonville Orlando Tampa Miami
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $52,060 $51,200 $51,560 $51,350
Healthcare Social Workers $60,500 $60,750 $63,290 $65,900
Mental Health and Substance Use Social Workers $52,830 $52,850 $48,950 $56,680
Social Workers, All Other $57,120 $59,280 $70,350 $63,470
Source: BLS

Your social worker salary depends on many factors, such as the city where you work and your specific field. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the typical salary for mental health and substance use social workers is nearly 16% higher in Miami than it is in Tampa.

You can work to increase your earning potential by gaining additional experience and pursuing professional certifications to improve your resume.

Projections Central projects that certain social work jobs in Florida will grow faster than average in the coming years. For example, between 2023 and 2025, child, family, and school social workers (6.2%) and healthcare social workers (5.6%) are projected to grow faster than the average job in Florda (5.2%).

Completing an MSW program in Florida can help you advance your social work career, fulfill your passion for helping others, and make a long-term impact on your community. An advanced degree can also lead to higher wages. According Payscale (June 2024), national average salaries for professionals with a BSW are $46,460, while those with an MSW earn $54,910 annually.

Graduates of MSW programs in Florida can also look into public service loan forgiveness programs to reduce student debt and boost the overall ROI of their degree.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed May 24, 2024.

BestColleges.com 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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