How to Become a Social Worker in Mississippi
Mississippi Social Work License Requirements
The profession of social work is primarily focused on offering health services to disadvantaged communities and peoples. Practicing social work covers a wide range of expertise that may require knowledge of topics including mental health, disabilities—physical and mental—and the ability to help people access public services. Due to the specialized knowledge needed to practice social work, social workers are required to be licensed by the state in which they work and reside.
In Mississippi, there are three types of licensure available to potential social workers:
- Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
- Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Continue reading to learn more about the rules and regulations established by the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Social Work & Marriage and Family Therapists. Listed below is a summary of the general requirements for each level of licensure including specifics about the education, examination and supervised work experience a candidate must accumulate to be eligible for licensure.
|Education Requirements||Supervised Experience||Exam|
|Licensed Social Worker (LSW)||Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from a College or University Accredited by the CSWE or SACS|
No Supervised Experience Required
|ASWB Basic Level Exam|
|Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW)||Master’s or Doctorate Degree from a CSWE-Accredited Program||No Supervised Experience Required||ASWB Intermediate Level Exam|
|Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)||Master’s or Doctorate Degree from a CSWE-Accredited Program||1,000 Hours of Clinical Work Experience with Clients.||ASWB Clinical or Advanced Level Exam|
Read more about social work degrees in Mississippi.
A Licensed Social Worker (LSW) is an individual who is licensed to practice social work at the baccalaureate level. All applicants for an LSW must meet the following general requirements:
- Education: Applicants seeking to become a licensed social worker (LSW) in the state of Mississippi must have completed a bachelor’s degree in social work from a college or university that has been accredited by either the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Proof of degree must be provided to the Mississippi Board of Examiners (MBOE) for approval.
- Exam: Approval to become an LSW in Mississippi is contingent on the applicant receiving a passing grade in the basic level exam developed and administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.
For more information, view Rule 2.2, C of the Mississippi State Board of Examiners.
A Licensed Master Social Worker is an individual who holds a master's or doctorate level degree in social work and a license to practice social work at the masters level. Listed below are the prerequisites for the performance of service at the MSW level:
- Education: Becoming a licensed master’s social worker in Mississippi requires possession of either a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited educational institution or a doctorate in social work (D.S.W. or Ph.D.). Proof of the degree that the applicant has earned must be sent directly to the MBOE from the awarding institution.
- Exam: Potential social workers seeking master’s level licensure must have received, and must prove as such, a passing grade in the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) intermediate level exam.
See below for additional general requirements.
A Licensed Certified Social Worker is the highest level of social worker license available in Mississippi, which means that the requirements to become a LCSW are more expansive than the other two license types. To hold an LCSW, an individual must be in good standing, have fulfilled the requirements of the LMSW, and completed the requirements of the Mississippi Board of Examiners for post-masters supervised experience. Listed below are the primary requirements for an LCSW application:
- Education: A LCSW in Mississippi must already be a licensed master’s social worker in good standing at the time of application. This means that a LCSW must have the same educational level as a LMSW: a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited school or a doctorate in social work.
- Exam: All applicants seeking to become a LCSW must have passed the ASWB at either the advanced or clinical level. Evidence of a passing grade must be submitted to the MBOE.
- Experience/Supervision: LMSWs seeking to become a LCSW must contract with a MBOE approved licensed certified social work for supervision of clinical work experience needed to be granted licensure. The applicant will complete at least 1,000 hours of clinical work experience that must be comprised of face to face contact with clients. The supervisor must perform four separate evaluations that take place over a 24-month period but shall not exceed 36 months. For more details about supervision and work experience requirements, consult the Guide to Supervision for Licensed Master’s Social Workers provided by the MBOE.
- References: The applicant must supply three character references from professionals who have directly worked with the applicant. Only one of these reference letters can come from the applicant’s LCSW supervisor.
In addition to the specific requirements mandated for each type of license, there are general requirements that apply to all three. They are as follows:
- Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.
- Applicants must submit to a criminal history and Mississippi Sex Offender Registry check.
- Applicants cannot have been convicted of a felony related to social work in the previous ten years.
The Importance of CSWE Accreditation
The Council on Social Work Education provides accreditation for colleges and universities across the country that offer social work programs. Accreditation is achieved in a multi-step process that ensures that the training future social workers are receiving is of the highest standard. Without the proper training and guidance, social workers will not be properly prepared to serve their communities effectively. Being trained in a CSWE accredited program ensures that social workers are capable and knowledgeable public servants.
Social Work Career Outlook In Mississippi
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics gathered data for employment and wages in Mississippi for all industries, including social work, in May of 2014. According to the data collected, there were almost 5,000 professional social workers employed across Mississippi. There were 2,720 child, family and school social workers, 1,900 social workers in a healthcare setting, 790 substance abuse social workers and 500 specialty social workers. Child, family and school social workers earned a average annual salary of $34,190 and healthcare social workers earned a average annual salary of $44,390. For more information on the state occupational employment data and wage estimates, please visit the Mississippi Occupational Employment Statistics page with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.