How to Become a Social Worker in Georgia
Social Work is a specialized profession that provides counseling, assessment, intervention and support services to individuals, families, couples and communities who are dealing with psychosocial issues or require assistance obtaining social and health services. The practice of social work is guided by knowledge of social systems, human behavior and social resources, and is strictly regulated to protect the health, safety and welfare of people.
In Georgia, there are two social work licenses available to those who have met the educational, training and experience requirements established by the State Board:
Each license has specific requirements that authorize the licensee to perform different levels of social work service. See below for a summary of the basic eligibility requirements and board rules for licensure:
|Education Requirement||Supervised Experience||Exam|
|Master's Social Worker (MSW)||Master's Degree in Social Work
||No Supervised Experience Requirement||ASWB National Master Social Work Examination|
|Clinical Social Worker (CSW)||Master's Degree in Social Work||Three Years, Full-Time /3000 Hours||ASWB National Clinical Social Work Examination|
Learn more about social work degrees in Georgia.
The rules and regulations of the State of Georgia authorize a licensed Master’s Social Worker to provide counseling, evaluation, intervention and prevention services to individuals, families, couples, groups, and organizations. To apply for licensure, all candidates must possess the following qualifications:
1. Master's Degree in Social Work- All applicants must provide an official college transcript certifying completion of a Master’s degree in Social Work from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
2. Supervised Experience - Persons who have completed a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program may practice social work for a period of up to one year, while preparing to take the master’s social work licensing examination, if they are under the supervision and direction of an approved LCSW. Accumulating supervised work experience (prior to the exam) is not a requirement to sit for the ASWB exam, but it is a very common practice.
3. ASWB Master Social Work Examination- All candidates for licensure must apply to take the Association of Social Work Board's national exam within one year of graduation. Applicants must successfully pass the exam within three attempts. Applicants who fail the exam three times must discontinue the practice of social work, and inquire with state board to determine a future course of action.
1. CSWE-Accredited Master's Degree in Social Work - Applicants must hold a CSWE-accredited master’s in Social Work degree (MSW) from a program that is fully accredited, conditionally accredited, or is in candidacy for accreditation at the time the degree was granted.
2. Supervised Experience - Candidates must document three years of post-degree, full-time supervised experience (a minimum of 3,000 hours), over a period of no less than 36 months, and no more than 108 months. The licensee must practice in a clinical social work setting under the supervision and direction of a licensed clinical social worker for a minimum of 2,000 hours during this period. For a complete summary of the licensure requirements for clinical social workers, see the Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage & Family Therapists.
3. ASWB Clinical Social Work Examination - Candidates who meet the supervised experience requirements must apply with the ASWB to sit for the National Clinical Social Work exam. Applicants who successfully pass the exam will be authorized to offer a full range of health and psychosocial services in settings including private practice.
Note: An individual who holds a Doctoral degree (PhD) in any of the following disciplines, may substitute this degree program work for one year of supervised experience: Social Work, Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychiatric Nursing, Medicine, or Applied Psychology. In this case, a prospective licensee must provide evidence of 2000 hours in the practice of social work under the supervision of a Clinical Social Worker. This experience must be obtained in no less than 24 months (2 years) and no more than 72 months (6 years). For more details, please see the licensure rules and procedures posted by the Georgia State Board.
The Importance of CSWE Accreditation
The Council of Social Work Accreditation develops accreditation standards and administers a multistep accreditation process for post-secondary and graduate level programs. All 50 states across the country require licensees to attend a CSWE-accredited program, to ensure that graduates are prepared with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to successfully practice Social Work. Persons without a CSWE-accredited degree may apply with the state board for an exemption, however most exemptions are reserved for individuals who are licensed to practice medicine, or psychology.