Become a Social Worker in Alaska

Start your social work career with the high altitudes of Mount Denali National Park, the icebergs of Glacier Bay, and a statewide network of over 1,700 social workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job prospects are promising, with all areas of social work in Alaska expected to grow 8.1% by 2030. 

This guide for how to become a social worker in Alaska explains educational requirements, how to get licensed, social work organizations to join and more. Once you complete the steps to become a social worker in Alaska, you can embark on a meaningful, fulfilling career helping others in the Last Frontier.

Information below was retrieved May 2022 and is only meant to be a high-level overview. Requirements may change, always check with the state licensing board for complete and up to date information.

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Howard University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The online Master of Social Work program from Howard University School of Social Work prepares students for advanced direct or macro practice in culturally diverse communities. Two concentrations available: Direct Practice and Community, Administration, and Policy Practice. No GRE. Complete in as few as 12 months.

University of Denver

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The University of Denver’s Online MSW Program is delivered by its top-ranked school of social work and offers two programs. Students can earn their degree in as few as 12 months for the Online Advanced-Standing MSW or 27 months for the Online MSW.

Fordham University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Fordham’s skills-based, online MSW program integrates advanced relevant social work competencies, preparing students to serve individuals and communities while moving the profession forward. This program includes advanced standing and traditional MSW options.

Simmons University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Aspiring direct practitioners can earn their MSW online from Simmons University in as few as 12 months. GRE scores are not required, and the program offers full-time, part-time, accelerated, and advanced standing tracks.

University of Southern California

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The MSW@USC is the online Master of Social Work from top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. USC offers virtual and in-person field education, and students focus on adults, youth or social change.

Syracuse University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Syracuse University’s online Master of Social Work program does not require GRE scores to apply and is focused on preparing social workers who embrace technology as an important part of the future of the profession. Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks are available. 

Baylor University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Complete the Master of Social Work online program at Baylor University in as few as 12 months. Serve populations in Texas and around the world while ethically integrating faith and social work practice. No GRE required.

Case Western Reserve University

info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

In as few as a year and a half, you can prepare for social work leadership by earning your Master of Social Work online from Case Western Reserve University’s school of social work.

info SPONSORED

Common Steps to Become an Alaska Social Worker

Before becoming a social worker in Alaska, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree in social work and a social work license, depending on what career path you choose. Alaska offers three types of social work licenses. There may be additional requirements based on your goals, such as a background check and clinical supervision. Below are the steps to obtain both licenses in Alaska, according to the Alaska Board of Social Work Examiners.

1. Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree

To become a licensed social worker in Alaska, you will have to complete a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). You can pursue these degrees in Alaska full time, part time or online.

2. Fulfill your social work supervised experience requirement and pass your national/state exams

Alaska has three levels of social worker, according to the state’s licensing board, with increasing requirements:

Licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW): A person with an accredited bachelor’s degree in social work who has passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor’s exam. 

Licensed master social worker (LMSW): A person with an accredited master’s degree in social work who has passed the ASWB master’s exam.

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): A person with an accredited master’s or doctoral degree in social work who has passed the ASWB clinical exam. Those looking to pursue this license must also complete at least 3,600 hours of supervised social work over 10 years.

3. Get Licensed

Once you’ve completed your hours and experience, you may apply to become a licensed social worker in Alaska. 
Learn more about how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in Alaska

Social work degree programs in the United States are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In Alaska, CSWE has three accredited bachelor’s and master’s social work degree programs. 

A bachelor’s degree in social work online or on-campus can enable a student to enter an advanced standing program in an MSW program, where you may be able to complete an MSW in around one year. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions. There are two universities offering accredited BSW programs in Alaska:

To obtain higher level licenses in Alaska, however, a minimum of an MSW is required. Some individuals advance their education and experience in social work by pursuing Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degrees.

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Alaska

MSW programs in Alaska teach students advanced social work theories and practical knowledge. MSW programs may include coursework on topics such as human development, social work policy, and intervention. There is one fully accredited MSW program in Alaska.

Online MSW Programs in Alaska

There are two online MSW programs in Alaska that are fully accredited. Online MSW programs offer the same curriculum and coursework as traditional on-campus programs. Students are taught by the same professors and also complete fieldwork as part of the program.

Social Work Licenses in Alaska 

Alaska has three types of licenses for social workers: licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). While you may practice entry-level social work with a bachelor’s degree, the Alaska board requires an MSW or DSW to practice more specialized social work. All information on BSW, MSW and CSW below was retrieved from the Alaska Board of Social Work Examiners.

Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (BSW) in Alaska

Becoming an LBSW allows you to practice non-clinical social work and accept positions in client advocacy or case management after receiving licensure.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelor of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB bachelor’s exam
  • License Renewal: 45 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Alaska

Becoming an LMSW allows you to practice clinical social work under the supervision of an LCSW, or another board-approved social work provider.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB master’s exam
  • License Renewal: 45 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Alaska

Becoming an LCSW allows you to practice clinical or non-clinical social work independently after receiving licensure.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work
  • Exams: ASWB clinical or advanced generalist exam
  • License Renewal: 45 hours of professional development in continuing education

Social Work Salaries in Alaska

Alaska Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in AlaskaAnnual Mean Social Work Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers
1,430
$61,580
Healthcare Social Workers
250
$60,320
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
250
$54,160
Social Workers, All Other
490
$58,560

Information on the above social work salaries in Alaska was retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Alaska in May 2022.

Alaska Social Work Scholarships 

For those just starting on their path to social work, there are statewide scholarships and programs to assist you. While each state has different offerings, below are some grants and loans to help you become a BSW, MSW or CSW in Alaska.

Alaska Social Worker Organizations

There are countless local and national associations and organizations with goals to promote, develop and protect the practice of social work and social workers. Better social work means better solutions for issues such as welfare, child welfare, elderly welfare, health care reform, and other issues affecting disadvantaged people in Alaska and beyond.

  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Alaska chapter: This chapter is committed to promoting the social work profession, advancing social work practice, shaping public policy, advocating to enhance the well-being of individuals, families and communities in Alaska while promoting social justice.
  • The Alaska Community Foundation: Established in 1995 to cultivate, celebrate and sustain all forms of philanthropy to strengthen Alaska’s communities. They connect people who care with causes that matter by encouraging and nurturing philanthropy through building and managing permanent endowments, convening stakeholders and working with partners to strengthen Alaskan communities.
  • Alaska Public Health Association: This group works to identify, raise awareness and advocate for public health in Alaska. ALPHA educates, guides and influences issues affecting the public’s health by partnering with other public health advocates on targeted initiatives and more.

Alaska Social Work FAQs

Does Alaska offer social work license reciprocity?

Alaska allows out-of-state licensure by credentials. Applicants must have an equivalent social work license in another state, meet the educational prerequisites for the equivalent Alaska social work license, provide their official ASWB exam scores and pay a fee on the state’s Board of Social Work Examiners’ site.

What are the social work continuing education requirements in Alaska?

Social workers must renew their license every two years. Additionally, social workers must complete 45 hours of continuing education, including six hours on substance abuse and three in professional ethics training. To renew, complete the online renewal form and pay the fee.

What is the best way to look up my social work license in Alaska? 

Search for your social work license at the Alaska Board of Social Work Examiners’ site. Search by your name to find your license number status and professional information.

Last updated May 2022.