Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Texas

Interested in earning a social work degree in Texas? Check out our list of the best MSW programs and then learn more about how to become a social worker in Texas.
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Texas social workers make a difference at child welfare agencies, schools, and healthcare agencies across the Lone Star State. An accredited master's degree in social work can help you launch your social work career and join their ranks.

With 19 accredited MSW programs in Texas, how can you find the right fit? First, consider your interests, budget, and career goals. Then, check out our research on the best MSW programs in Texas to learn more about programs. Finally, apply to programs and compare financial aid packages.

After earning your MSW degree, you'll meet the education requirement for three social work licenses in Texas.

At a Glance: Social Work Programs in Texas

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    19 colleges offer CSWE-accredited MSW programs in Texas.
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    $10,753 was the average tuition for a CSWE-accredited MSW program in Texas as of the 2021-2022 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
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    4,230 MSW degrees were granted in Texas in the 2020-2021 academic year, per NCES.

Popular Online Master of Social Work Programs

CSWE-Accredited MSW Programs in Texas

MSW Programs in Texas
University Location Available Concentrations Enrollment Type
Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Angelo State University San Angelo, TX
  • Advanced Generalist Practice
  • Clinical Practice
Full-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Baylor University Waco, TX
  • Diversity
  • Gerontology
  • Congregational Social Work
  • International Social Work
  • Trauma, or Integrated Behavioral Health
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, TX Hispanic Children and Families Full-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX Advanced Generalist Practice in a Rural Context Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Tarleton State University Stephenville, TX Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Texas A&M University-Commerce Commerce, TX Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Texas A&M University-Kingsville Kingsville, TX Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
  • Health and Mental Health
  • Children and Families
Full-Time, Advanced Standing Option
Texas State University San Marcos, TX Advanced Practice Leadership Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
Texas Woman's University & University of North Texas Collaborative Denton, TX Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University of Houston Houston, TX
  • Clinical Practice
  • Macro Practice
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
  • Direct Practice in Aging
  • Direct Practice in Children & Families
  • Direct Practice in Health
  • Direct Practice in Mental Health & Substance Misuse
  • Community and Administrative Practice
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
  • Clinical Social Work
  • Administration and Policy Practice
Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX Social Work in the Border Region Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX Cultural Competence Full-Time, Part-Time, Advanced Standing Option
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
  • Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families, and Groups
  • Administration and Community Practice
Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option
West Texas A&M University Canyon, TX Full-Time, Part-Time, Online, Advanced Standing Option

How to Become a Social Worker in Texas

In Texas, social workers need a license to practice. The state issues four different social work licenses, and your education and career goals will determine which one you'll need.

With a bachelor's degree, you can become a licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW). Social workers with a master's degree from an accredited program qualify for three social work licenses: licensed master social worker (LMSW), licensed master social worker — advanced practice (LMSW-AP), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

If you're interested in clinical roles, including child and family social worker, school social worker, or healthcare social worker, you'll need an LCSW credential. The following chart explains how to become a social worker in Texas.

Requirements in Social Work
Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker Licensed Master Social Worker Licensed Master Social Worker — Advanced Practice Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Degree Requirement BSW MSW or DSW MSW or DSW MSW or DSW
Exam Requirement Bachelors Masters Advanced Generalist Clinical
Minimum Post-Graduate Supervised Experience Required 3,000 hours 3,000 hours 3,000 hours 3,000 hours
Minimum Direct Supervisor Contact Required N/A N/A 100 hours 100 hours
Minimum Hours of Face-to-Face Supervision Required N/A N/A N/A N/A
Minimum Time to Accrue Required Hours 2 years 2 years 2 years 2 years

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

All Texas social workers need a bachelor's degree. If you're pursuing the LBSW credential, you will need a bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. If you're pursuing one of Texas's three other social work licenses, you will need a graduate degree in social work.

If you're planning to attend MSW programs in Texas, you can major in any subject for your bachelor's degree. However, majoring in social work can give you advanced standing for your MSW program. That means you can earn your degree in less time while also saving money.

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

A master's degree means more career options for social workers. With your MSW degree, you can become a child and family social worker, a substance abuse social worker, or a clinical social worker.

In Texas, you must attend a program accredited by the CSWE to qualify for a social work license. There are 19 MSW programs in Texas with CSWE accreditation.

What are the admission requirements for the best MSW programs in Texas? You'll need a bachelor's degree, a resume or CV, 2-3 letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Some programs also require standardized test scores from the GRE or MAT. Most programs set a minimum GPA requirement for admission, as well. You can research the average GPA for admitted students to find a program that matches your academic record.

Most MSW programs require two years of full-time study. Students admitted with advanced standing can graduate in as little as one year.

Step 3: Pursue Post-Graduate Experience.

During the last semester of your MSW program, you can start the application process for an LMSW license. However, if you're interested in an LMSW-AP or LCSW license, you'll need to complete 3,000 supervised clinical hours.

Most social workers hold the LMSW license while they meet the clinical hour requirement to upgrade their license.

First, you'll find an approved supervisor. In Texas, that means a licensed social worker who holds board approval to supervise other social workers. Next, you'll track your clinical hours on the Clinical Supervision Verification Form, which you will submit with your application to upgrade to an LCSW license.

Finally, you'll need to pass the required licensing exams to qualify for your social work license.

Step 4: Take and Pass the Required Licensing Exams.

All Texas social workers must pass a licensing exam. At every licensure level, you'll need passing scores on the Texas Jurisprudence Examination. This also applies to graduates from out-of-state social work programs.

Texas uses the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exams. For the LBSW license, you'll pass the ASWB bachelor's exam. The LMSW license requires passing scores on the ASWB master's exam. LMSW-AP candidates must pass the ASWB advanced generalist exam. And clinical social workers must pass the ASWB clinical exam to earn the LCSW credential.

When signing up to take an ASWB exam, you can select Texas as your licensure state. The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners will automatically receive your scores. If you originally took your ASWB exams to apply for licensure in another state, ASWB can transfer your scores to Texas.

Step 5: Submit Your Application for Social Work Licensure

The application requirements and process for a social work license in Texas depend on the level. For an LBSW or an LMSW license, you can submit your application after earning your degree and passing the required ASWB exam.

These licensure applications also require a National Practitioner Data Bank self-query report, fingerprinting for a background check, and official transcripts.

If you're upgrading to an LMSW-AP or an LCSW license, you'll need to pass the required ASWB exam and complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience. Then you can submit your license upgrade application with the Clinical Supervision Verification Form.

Applicants submit their materials through Texas's online licensing system. The system notifies applicants of required documents.

Still Have Questions About Social Work Programs in Texas?

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

Becoming a social worker in Texas takes a minimum of four years. All social workers need a bachelor's degree, which meets the requirements for a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker credential.

However, many social work jobs require a master's degree, which adds extra time. Typically, earning an MSW degree takes two years. Clinical social workers also need 3,000 hours of supervised experience after graduation. That adds two years. As a result, clinical social workers typically spend eight years meeting the educational and experience requirements.

How Much Does a Social Worker in Texas Make?

Social work salaries vary by job title, experience, and location. For example, child, family, and school social workers in Texas reported an average annual salary of $49,310 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Healthcare social workers earned an average of $64,840 the same year.

Location also affects earning potential. The lowest-paid social workers in Texas are mental health and substance misuse social workers in El Paso. These social workers reported an annual mean wage of $39,820. The highest-paid Texas social workers live in Austin, where social workers in other specialties reported an average salary of $77,180 per year.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

Is it worth it to become a social worker in Texas? Most social workers are motivated by helping others rather than maximizing their earning potential. Still, it's important to consider whether social work is the right fit for you.

First, research the total cost of a social work degree. MSW programs in Texas charge an average of around $11,000 per year in tuition, according to NCES. Make sure to factor in financial aid.

Then research the average salary in your field and area. Compare the earning potential with the cost of living. On average, you'll spend around $830 a month for a two-bedroom apartment in El Paso County, compared to $1,350 in Dallas County and $1,435 in Travis County.

Finally, consider the hidden benefits of social work careers. You may qualify for public service loan forgiveness as a social worker. And for public sector jobs, you may qualify for government employee benefits like a pension.

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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