Become a Social Worker in Florida

There are more than 30,000 social workers in Florida, including child, family, school, healthcare, mental health and substance abuse social workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2021, only four states had more healthcare social workers and only one had more social workers in the category all other, which excludes school, family and child social workers and mental health and substance abuse social workers.

This career guide for how to become a social worker in Florida explains educational requirements, how to get licensed, Florida 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.

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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Common Steps to Become a Florida Social Worker

Wondering how to become a social worker in Florida? Education, field experience and licensure can help you achieve your social worker career goals. To become an LCSW in Florida and advance your career, consider these general steps, summarized from the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling

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.

1. Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree

To become a licensed social worker in Florida, you will have to complete a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program. All three licenses offered in Florida require an MSW degree: certified master social worker, registered clinical social worker intern, and licensed clinical social worker.

2. Complete Post-Graduate Field Hours

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and MSW programs will include social work field experience, but you’ll need to meet certain field experience requirements for social work licensure in Florida. To become fully licensed as an LCSW, you must have two years of post-master’s supervised experience under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker.

3. Get Licensed

Once you’ve completed all requirements according to the board, you may apply to become an LCSW in Florida. 

Learn more on how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in Florida

There are more than 30 social work degree programs at the associate, bachelor, master and doctorate levels to help you become a social worker in Florida. 

An associate degree with a social work focus can help students complete coursework that prepares them for an entry-level administrative role in social work. There are Florida social work associate degrees available at schools like Seminole State College of Florida, Miami Dade College, Eastern Florida State College and St. Petersburg College.

There are 14 CSWE-accredited BSW programs in Florida. A bachelor’s degree in social work can enable a student to enter an advanced standing program in an MSW program, where you may be able to complete an MSW in about one year. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions, such as caseworkers or mental health assistants.

To become a licensed social worker in Florida as a registered clinical social worker intern, licensed clinical social worker or certified master social worker, an MSW is required. There are 12 CSWE-accredited MSW programs in Florida. 

Some social workers pursue a doctorate in social work, which may open pathways to leadership roles and social work research. Florida has social work/social welfare doctorate programs at:

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Florida

MSW programs in Florida teach students advanced social work theories and practical knowledge. MSW programs include coursework on human development, social work policy, intervention and social work practice for poverty, oppression and trauma.

MSW students in Florida also complete a social work practicum where they’re able to get real social work practice under the supervision of a licensed Florida social worker. There are full-time, part-time and advanced-standing MSW programs available in Florida. The following are CSWE accredited or in candidacy MSW programs in Florida.

Online MSW Programs in Florida

There are six online MSW programs in Florida that are accredited by the CSWE and offered on at least a part-time basis with an advanced standing option.

The online MSW programs typically offer the same curriculum and coursework as traditional on-campus Florida programs. Students may also be taught by the same professors and complete fieldwork as part of the program.

Learn more about MSW Programs:

Social Work Licenses in Florida

There are three types of social work licenses in Florida: the registered clinical social work intern, the licensed clinical social worker and the certified master social worker. A registered clinical social work intern may provide clinical social work under the supervision of an LCSW. An LCSW may provide independent, unsupervised clinical social work services. 

A certified master social worker is not licensed to provide clinical services. Rather, it’s an administrative license for areas of expertise including agency administration, program planning, staff development, research, community organization and services, social planning and human services advocacy.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Florida

The LCSW in Florida is a license for those who have completed post-MSW clinical experience or who have held an independent license to practice in another state.

  • Education requirements: CSWE-accredited MSW program and official transcripts. 
  • Field requirements: Two years of post-MSW supervised experience under the supervision of an LCSW
  • Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) clinical exam.
  • License renewal: Every two years.

Learn more about how to become an LCSW.

Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW) in Florida

The certified master social worker license is a social work administrative license that does not allow for providing clinical services.

  • Education requirements: CSWE-accredited MSW and official transcripts. 
  • Field requirements: Three years of experience in the field of social work, two years of which must have been post-MSW under the supervision of an LCSW or certified master social worker.
  • Exam: ASWB generalist exam.
  • License renewal: Every two years.

Registered Clinical Social Worker Intern

The registered clinical social worker intern license is for those who work under an LCSW, with intern work experience counting toward two years of post-MSW clinical experience.

  • Education requirements: CSWE-accredited MSW and official transcripts. 
  • Field requirements: Applicants must have completed a supervised field placement in the MSW program during which the applicant provided clinical services directly to clients.
  • Exam: None.
  • License renewal: None.

Social Work Salaries in Florida

Social worker salaries in Florida will depend on your role, environment and location. However, the BLS reports that, generally, the higher the educational attainment, the greater the earning potential.

Florida Social Work CareerNumber of Social Workers in FloridaAverage Mean Social Worker Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers
13,130
$48,890
Healthcare Social Workers
9,010
$58,420
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
4,030
$44,130
Social Workers, All Other
3,860
$55,270
Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary
70
$77,420

Information on the above social work salaries in Florida was retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics – State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Florida as of May 2021.

Learn more about different social work salaries.

Florida Social Work Scholarships

If you’re interested in going to social work school in Florida, there are social work scholarships that can help you pay for school. Be sure to check with your preferred university for other financial aid options.

Florida Social Work Organizations

Social workers in Florida can connect with a variety of social work organizations in the state. These groups provide networking opportunities, news and research about social work in Florida and job listings. Your university may also offer social work organizations for students.

  • Florida Association of School Social Workers (FASSW): FASSW’s name was adopted in 1990. The organization advocates for the presence of social workers in the education system in Florida and provides professional development opportunities.
  • Florida Society of Oncology Social Workers (FSOSW): The FSOSW provides social work clinicians, administrators, educators and researchers in the oncology field with support, advocacy, networking and professional development opportunities.
  • NASW, Florida Chapter: The NASW chapter in Florida focuses on social worker needs and advocacy within the state via different task forces, such as veterans and military families, behavioral health, child welfare, and more.

FAQs

Does Florida have social work reciprocity?

No, there is no social work license reciprocity in Florida. However, social workers who want to obtain licensure in Florida may apply for licensure by endorsement. The applications are reviewed individually to determine if Florida social work license requirements have been met.

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

Social work continuing education (CE) requirements in Florida depend on the license. 

  • For a registered clinical social worker Intern, there are no CE requirements. 
  • For an LCSW, 30 CE hours are required, including 25 general hours. 

There are certain requirements depending on the year of renewal for other required hours. For a certified master social worker, there are 30 CE hours required, including 25 general hours and hours in other subjects like medical errors, ethics and boundaries, laws and rules, and domestic violence, depending on when the license is renewed.

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

To look up social work license verification in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Health Medical Quality Assurance Search Services.

Last updated in May 2022.