Social Work Degrees, Schools, and Careers in Louisiana
Louisiana usually doesn’t make headlines for education due to a stark and unfortunate lack of resources, but it has a perhaps surprisingly wide array of social work degree options to choose from. There are 11 accredited social work degree programs in the Bayou State according to the Council on Social Work Education and most of those programs are Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree programs. There are just four schools in the state offering a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree, which is required in Louisiana and any other state in the country for clinical licensure. The options are diverse as the group of schools offering some sort of degree program include huge state universities, small private colleges, historically black universities and prestigious private universities as well.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the professional social work industry in Louisiana is tiny compared to the size and population of the state. As of May 2022, Louisiana is home to less than 4,000 professional social workers employed across the state. The vast majority of those social workers are healthcare social workers (1,690) but there are also approximately 890 substance abuse social workers, 550 child and family social workers and 720 specialty social workers. The annual average salary of social workers in Louisiana ranges between $46,580 for substance abuse social workers and $62,460 for specialty social workers.
The Louisiana Board of Social Work Examiners is obviously the organization in Louisiana responsible for approving licensure for social work licensure in the state. It approves three levels of licensure. The licenses are:
Registered Social Worker: Applicants for this license must graduate from a CSWE-accredited BSW program. They must apply for and pass the examination to become a Registered Social Worker. There are no field requirements for this license. Individuals pursuing the RSW must take and pass the Bachelor’s Level Examination given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
Licensed Master Social Worker: Applicants for this license must graduate from an accredited MSW program. They must also apply for and pass the examination to become a Licensed Master Social Worker. There are no field requirements for this license. Individuals pursuing the LMSW must take and pass the Master’s Level Examination given by the ASWB.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Applicants for this license must graduate from an accredited MSW program. They must also gain field work experience before applying to take the examination to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This includes at least 5,760 post-degree social work practice. At least 3,840 of those hours must be in a setting practicing social work under a clinical supervisor who is board-approved. Individuals pursuing the LCSW must take and pass the Clinical Level Examination given by the ASWB.
Louisiana Social Work Degrees, Schools, and Careers
All four of the Louisiana schools that offer an MSW program are ranked among the Top 200 social work schools in the country according to U.S. World News & Report. Tulane University actually only offers an MSW degree and it has been accredited since 1927. Considering how long the program has been around, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it ranked No. 44 in the country. It offers concentrations in addictions, mental health, housing services and disabilities among other things. Louisiana State University also offers only an MSW degree and it has been accredited since 1940. It offers concentrations in gerontology and direct practice and is ranked No. 79 in the country.
Southern University – New Orleans and Grambling State are the other two schools that offer MSW programs and they are ranked No. 187 and No. 200 respectively. Both schools are historically black colleges that have a rich history in social work. Grambling State’s program has been accredited since 1998 and offers concentrations in things like criminal justice and gerontology. Southern’s program has been accredited since 1985 and it also offers concentrations in social policy and advanced generalist as well as other topics.
All of those schools offer undergraduate degree programs as well, but there are other schools in the state that only offer BSW degree programs. Those schools include Louisiana College, Northwestern State University, the University of Louisiana-Monroe and Southern University and A & M College.
Online Social Work Schools in Louisiana
Louisiana has been slow adopting to online education and online degree programs in particular. There aren’t any accredited online social work degree programs in the state but there are schools that offer accredited online degree programs to students in Louisiana. For example, the University of Houston offers a hybrid weekend MSW program that has minimal face-to-face requirements.
Humboldt State University offers a full-time online BSW option with very few in-person and on-campus requirements. Western New Mexico University is the other online BSW degree provider that is accredited. Students looking for online MSW programs have more options because schools like Northeastern University, Arizona State, and Fordham University all offer online MSW programs that do not have stringent on-campus requirements for any part of the program.
Career Opportunities for Social Workers in Louisiana
There is a good mix of industries in Louisiana. According to their website, the Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest employer of social workers in the country and Louisiana is a good example of that. The office in Shreveport is currently looking for a qualified social workers. The state of Louisiana itself is looking for multiple social workers as is the Louisiana Civil Justice Center in New Orleans. There are a number of healthcare organizations such as CorrectCare Solutions, East Jefferson Hospital, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and Geo Group.
For more information about the process of becoming a social worker in Louisiana, visit our page on Louisiana social worker license requirements.
2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job market trends and salary figures for social workers, child, family, and school social workers, healthcare social workers, mental health and substance abuse social workers, and social workers (all other) are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed July 2023.
Child, Family, and School Social Workers Salary in Louisiana
|Baton Rouge, LA||$28,440||$36,070||$51,080||$62,130||$72,670|
|Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA||$49,420||$54,920||$69,510||$87,190||$94,170|
|New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA||$41,660||$50,270||$55,180||$60,050||$63,930|
|Shreveport-Bossier City, LA||$32,310||$36,000||$48,830||$62,110||$73,160|
Table data taken from 2020 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211021.htm)
Healthcare Social Workers Salary in Louisiana
|Baton Rouge, LA||$35,660||$40,820||$48,570||$57,690||$67,370|
|Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA||$28,160||$38,570||$49,680||$60,750||$72,270|
|Lake Charles, LA||$36,050||$41,170||$46,000||$52,750||$60,090|
|New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA||$39,590||$43,460||$49,700||$57,910||$63,280|
|Shreveport-Bossier City, LA||$25,990||$30,660||$42,770||$48,090||$57,280|
Table data taken from 2020 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211022.htm)
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers Salary in Louisiana
|Baton Rouge, LA||$21,560||$24,990||$38,840||$52,330||$61,020|
|Lake Charles, LA||$20,930||$25,330||$30,420||$42,630||$54,190|
|New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA||$25,810||$32,150||$40,590||$50,470||$60,200|
|Shreveport-Bossier City, LA||$26,150||$38,450||$47,770||$58,920||$71,440|
Table data taken from 2020 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211023.htm)