Master of Social Work 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...
By
portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
Read Full Bio

Contributing Writer

An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D., has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a writer and consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern...
Updated on April 26, 2024
Edited by
portrait of Lorraine Mumby
Lorraine Mumby
Read Full Bio

Editor & Writer

Lorraine Mumby is an editor for BestColleges who focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is passionate about equipping students with the tools to succeed and have meaningful, equitable educational experiences. Lorraine has a bachelor's degre...
Reviewed by
portrait of Melissa Bronstein, LICSW
Melissa Bronstein, LICSW
Read Full Bio

Contributing Reviewer

Melissa Bronstein, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and psychotherapist. Melissa has a virtual private practice in Massachusetts where she specializes in supporting high-achieving young professionals with anxiety and chronic he...
Learn more about our editorial process

www.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.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

Interested in earning a social work degree in Texas? Check out our list of MSW programs and then learn more about how to become a social worker in Texas.

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.

But with 18 accredited MSW programs in Texas — accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) — 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.

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 Tech University Lubbock, 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.

Degree Requirements by Social Work Career
  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 Bachelor's Master's Advanced Generalist Clinical
Minimum Postgraduate Supervised Experience Required N/A N/A 3,000 hours 3,000 hours
Minimum Direct Supervisor Contact Required N/A N/A 100 hours 100 hours

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

If you're planning to attend an MSW program in Texas, you can major in any subject for your bachelor's degree. However, majoring in social work can give you advanced standing in 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 typically means more career options for social workers. With your MSW degree, you can become a child and family social worker, a substance use social worker, or a clinical social worker.

In Texas, you must attend a program accredited by CSWE to qualify for a social work license. There are 18 MSW programs in Texas with CSWE accreditation.

What are the admission requirements for the best MSW programs in Texas? Although specific requirements vary, you'll likely 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 around two years of full-time study. However, students admitted with advanced standing can graduate in as little as one year.

Step 3: Pursue Postgraduate 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 an LMSW license while they complete the clinical hour requirement to upgrade their license.

First, you'll need to 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'll 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 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. 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' online licensing system. The system notifies applicants of the required documents.

Texas Social Worker FAQs

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 around eight years meeting the educational and experience requirements.

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 $50,630 in 2023, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Healthcare social workers earned an average of $64,120 the same year.

Location also affects earning potential.

For example, some of the lowest-paid social workers in Texas are mental health and substance misuse social workers based in El Paso. These social workers reported an annual mean wage of $42,490. Alternatively, many of the highest-paid Texas social workers live in Austin, where healthcare social workers reported an average salary of $71,520 per year.

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 April 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.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.