Become a Social Worker in Arizona

Interested in learning what is required to become a social worker in Arizona? If so, this guide will be of use. With just over 15,000 social workers in Arizona and a mean salary of $61,360 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2021, Arizona offers a strong community and possible careers for those looking to go into social work. Continue reading and learn how to become a social worker in the Grand Canyon State. 

Arizona offers three types of social work licensure options: licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Below are the steps on how to obtain licenses in Arizona, which was retrieved from the Arizona State Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (AZBBHE) as of October 2021. Those applying for licensure in Arizona with an existing license from another state may also apply if the license is of equivalence. Renewal of any Arizona license requires 30 hours of professional development in continuing education every two years.

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Steps to Become a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) in Arizona

Applicants seeking licensure as a licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) in Arizona must have completed a bachelor’s degree in social work or social welfare from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). An LBSW will be able to practice non-clinical social work independently but may only practice clinical social work under board-licensed supervision.

1. Complete the LBSW Application 

This includes providing a copy of your driver’s license or other valid ID, official transcripts from your undergraduate institution and employment history. Fees include a $250 nonrefundable application fee, a $40 payment for fingerprint processing and a $50 payment for a temporary license (if eligible).

2. Undergo a Criminal Background Check 

Fingerprints or a valid DPS clearance card must be provided alongside your application. An additional payment of $17 for a background check is also required. 

3. Pass the ASWB Examination 

To be an LBSW, you need to receive a passing score on the bachelors, masters, advanced generalist or clinical examination offered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Steps to Become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Arizona

Those looking to become an LMSW in Arizona must have completed a CSWE-accredited master’s degree program in social work or related fields. Becoming an LMSW allows you to practice more advanced social work and in a non-clinical environment.

1. Complete the LMSW Application  

The application process for the LMSW is the same as for the LBSW. This includes providing the same documentation and payments. 

2. Undergo a Criminal Background Check 

Fingerprints or a valid DPS clearance card must be provided alongside your application. An additional payment of $17 for a background check is also required. 

3. Pass the ASWB Examination 

To be an LMSW, you need to receive a passing score on the masters, advanced generalist or clinical examination offered by the ASWB.

Steps to Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Arizona

Pursuing a clinical license requires the completion of either a Master of Social Work ( MSW) or a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program, accredited by the CSWE. The license also requires additional clinical hours and experience. Becoming an LCSW allows you to provide clinical services independently but must remain under supervision for non-clinical cases. 

1. Complete the LCSW Application

Along with providing the necessary documentation and payment needed for the LBSW and LMSW applications, the LCSW also requires a minimum of two years of supervised work experience and clinical supervision hours. Verification of these hours must be included in the application, unless the applicant is submitting an exemption request.

2. Undergo a Criminal Background Check 

Fingerprints or a valid DPS clearance card must be provided alongside your application. An additional payment of $17 for a background check is also required. 

3. Pass the ASWB Examination

To be an LCSW, you need to receive a passing score on the clinical examination offered by the ASWB.

Social Work Degree Programs in Arizona

Although you must have either a master’s or doctoral degree in social work or social welfare to obtain an Arizona social work license, a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) can help you earn an advanced standing position in your graduate studies, accelerating your time to complete the degree.

The following are accredited BSW programs in Arizona:

For students ready for graduate studies, a handful of schools throughout Arizona offer an accredited MSW program. Depending on your track option of full-time, part-time or advanced standing, you can finish an MSW in as little as a year. Based on your undergraduate social work degree, you may need to take some prerequisite courses. Foundation classwork involves human behavior, research and clinical practice.  

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs 

You must possess a minimum of a graduate degree to obtain an LMSW or LCSW in Arizona. As a student, you should expect to develop core knowledge, skills and values necessary for a social work professional. The following are some of the CSWE-accredited MSW programs in Arizona:

Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs 

If you prefer to take your MSW courses online, there are a few options in Arizona. This flexible educational path is ideal for students with a busy schedule and needs to balance work, home life and school. The following online MSW programs offer classes 100% online and traditional (full-time and part-time) and advanced standing MSW programs to fit your needs.

Social Work Salaries in Arizona

Arizona Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in ArizonaAverage Mean Social Work Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers
7,740
$43,660
Healthcare Social Workers
3,670
$60,790
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
3,030
$43,720
Social Workers, All Other
1,250
$61,360

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

Arizona Social Work Scholarships 

For those just starting on their path to social work, there are statewide scholarships and programs in place to assist you. While each state has different offerings, below are some financial assistance options to help you on your path to become an LBSW, LMSW or LCSW in the state of Arizona.

Arizona 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 populations in Arizona and beyond.

The NASW Arizona Chapter is dedicated to promoting the quality and effectiveness of social work practice in a state rich with diversity.

AZ Social Workers Network is a grassroots, community-focused space for social workers and professionals to connect with others by creating mentorship opportunities, fundraising, sharing resources and career advancement outlets between students, recent graduates and seasoned professionals.

FAQs

Does Arizona offer social work license reciprocity?

Arizona doesn’t have formal license reciprocity with other states, though the AZBBHE does provide two paths to a License by Endorsement for social workers who have an active, in-good-standing license in another state. To apply, you’ll need to prove your equivalent license has been active for a minimum of one year with proof of Arizona residency or three years without proof of residency

What are the social work continuing education (CE) requirements in Arizona?

Social workers must renew their license every two years. Renewal means completing at least 30 hours of CE per year and paying a $325 fee. Certain types of licenses may require CE that relates to that particular scope of practice (PDF, 178 KB). Find CE events at the NASW Arizona Chapter site.

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

Search for your social work license with the AZBBHE Directory and Verifications Search. The site’s options will allow you to search your name and find your license number, license status and details surrounding your professional information.

Last updated May 2022.