Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Georgia
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Social workers advocate for children, help patients navigate the healthcare system, and provide critical services for communities. Earning your master's degree in social work from an accredited program can launch your career as a social worker in Georgia.
How can you find the right MSW program? Consider your budget, interests, and career goals. The best MSW programs in Georgia offer an affordable route to a social work career. In 2022, Georgia MSW students paid an average tuition rate of around $7,000 per year. After earning your MSW degree, you'll qualify for a social work license.
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At a Glance: Social Work Programs in Georgia
7 colleges offer CSWE accredited MSW programs in Georgia.
$7,070 was the average tuition for a CSWE accredited MSW program in Georgia as of the 2021-22 academic year.
770 MSW degrees were granted in Georgia in the 2020-21 academic year.
CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in Georgia
|University||Location||Available Concentrations||Enrollment Type|
|Albany State University||Albany, GA||Children, Families, and Vulnerable Adults||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|Clark Atlanta University||Atlanta, GA||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Georgia State University||Atlanta, GA||Community Partnerships||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|Kennesaw State University||Kennesaw, GA||Full-Time|
|Savannah State University||Savannah, GA||
||Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option|
|University of Georgia||Athens, GA||
||Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option|
|Valdosta State University||Valdosta, GA||Full-Time, Part-Time, 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 Georgia
In Georgia, not all social work jobs require a license. You can become a caseworker, mental health assistant, or community coordinator without a license.
However, most social work jobs require a state-issued license. For example, all clinical social workers need a license. This includes child and family social workers, healthcare social workers, and school social workers.
The Georgia Secretary of State issues social work licenses at two levels. Both require a master's degree. The licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) credentials qualify Georgians for advanced social work roles.
While both licenses require an accredited master's degree, clinical social workers also need 3,000 hours of supervised experience. The following chart compares the requirements for an LMSW and LCSW license. The next section walks through the steps to become a social worker in Georgia.
|Licensed Master Social Worker||Licensed Clinical Social Worker|
|Minimum Post-Graduate Supervised Experience Required||2 years||3,000 hours|
|Minimum Direct Supervisor Contact Required||n/a||120 hours|
|Minimum Hours of Face to Face Supervision Required||n/a||n/a|
|Minimum Time to Accrue Required Hours||2 years||3 years|
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work or a Related Field.
If you want to become a social worker in Georgia, you'll need a bachelor's degree. That's because Georgia's two social work licenses require a master's degree, and you need a bachelor's degree to get into graduate programs.
But what major should you choose? Future social workers can major in any field for their bachelor's degree. However, there are key benefits to earning a social work degree.
First, you'll gain valuable preparation for your MSW program. Second, many MSW programs in Georgia offer advanced standing for social work majors. That means you can graduate faster — and also save money on your MSW degree.
Step 2: Earn a CSWE Accredited Master's Degree in Social Work.
Licensed social workers in Georgia need a master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). When researching colleges in Georgia for social work, make sure to check for CSWE accreditation. There are seven CSWE-accredited MSW programs in Georgia.
Most admission requirements for MSW programs include a bachelor's degree from an accredited school, a resume or CV, a personal statement, and 1-3 recommendation letters. Some programs also ask for GRE or MAT scores. Most programs set a minimum GPA for admission.
Earning your MSW degree typically takes two years for full-time students. Advanced standing students can finish in as little as one year. MSW programs include a practicum for learners to gain hands-on experience.
Step 3: Pursue Post-Graduate Experience.
With your MSW degree, you can apply for your LMSW license in Georgia. However, you'll need supervised clinical experience to earn your LCSW license.
In Georgia, clinical social workers need 3,000 hours of supervised experience after earning their MSW degree. Georgia also requires 120 hours of direct supervisor contact to receive an LCSW license.
Prospective clinical social workers may meet these requirements while holding an LMSW license. Georgia requires a minimum of three years of experience for the LCSW credential. Social workers have up to nine years to meet the post-graduate experience requirement.
Applicants with a doctorate in social work or a related field can receive an LCSW license with 2,000 hours of supervised experience.
Step 4: Take and Pass the Required Licensing Exams.
You'll also need to pass a licensing exam to become a social worker in Georgia. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) administers the licensing exams.
Candidates for the LMSW credential must pass the ASWB master's exam. Candidates for the LCSW credential must pass the ASWB clinical exam.
These ASWB exams include 170 multiple-choice questions that measure your knowledge of social work principles. The exam also covers the social work research process, crisis intervention, treatment planning, and other key social work topics.
If you pass, you can apply for your Georgia social work license. If you fail, you can retake the exam. However, Georgia only lets you retake the exam three times.
Step 6: Submit Your Application for Social Work Licensure
After meeting the degree, exam, and experience requirements, you can apply for your social work license in Georgia. The application requirements and process vary depending on whether you're applying for your LMSW or LCSW credential.
For the LMSW license, you'll need official transcripts, two professional references, a background check, and a national exam passing score report.
For the LCSW license, you'll need verification forms for your post-graduate experience, two professional references, a background check, and official transcripts. You'll also need the national exam passing score report for the ASWB clinical exam.
If you hold a license in another state, you'll need to provide verification. Georgia charges a $100 application fee. The state typically processes applications within 20 business days.
Still Have Questions About Social Work Programs in Georgia?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in Georgia?
Becoming a social worker in Georgia takes 6-8 years. Social workers need a bachelor's degree, which typically takes four years, plus a master's in social work, which takes another two years. After graduating with an MSW, you can apply for the licensed master social worker credential.
To become a clinical social worker, you'll need 3,000 hours of supervised experience after completing an MSW. That takes at least three more years after meeting the educational requirement. In total, clinical social workers spend around 10 years earning their licenses.
How Much Does a Social Worker in Georgia Make?
Social work salaries vary by job title, location, and experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that child, family, and school social workers made an average salary of $48,200 in Georgia in May 2021. And the BLS reports that healthcare social workers earned $54,710 on average in the same year.
Location also impacts salaries. The lowest-paid social workers in Georgia are mental health and substance misuse social workers in rural South Georgia, as per the BLS. These social workers made an average salary of $39,450 per year as of May 2021. The highest-paid social workers work in other specialties in the Augusta area, where they earned an average annual pay of $78,030.
In Georgia, Is a Career in Social Work Worth It?
Is a career in social work a good investment? Many career paths pay higher salaries, but few offer the same opportunity to help others. However, before committing to a social work career, it's important to do your research.
First, consider the cost of a social work degree. Fortunately, Georgia offers less expensive tuition rates. You can also research financial aid for social workers. Next, look into salary data for your area. Compare your earning potential with the cost of living. In more affordable areas like Decatur County, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment is $650 a month, according to RentData.org, while more expensive areas like Fulton County cost nearly $1,200 a month.
Finally, consider hidden benefits. For example, you may qualify for public service loan forgiveness. And public sector social workers benefit from government employee perks like a pension system.