Become a Social Worker in Louisiana

Get started on a career in social work alongside the bayous of Atchafalaya National Wildlife Reserve, the jazz of the French Quarter and a statewide network of 3,950 social workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

This guide for how to become a social worker in Louisiana 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 Louisiana, you can embark on a meaningful, fulfilling career helping others in the Creole State. 

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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Common Steps to Become a Louisiana Social Worker

Before becoming a social worker in Louisiana, you must earn a minimum of a bachelor’s in social work and a social work license depending on what career path you choose. There may be additional requirements such as a background check and clinical supervision based on your goals. Below are the steps on how to obtain licensure in Louisiana, which was retrieved from the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners.

1. Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree

To become a licensed social worker in Louisiana, you will have to complete a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited BSW or Master of Social Work (MSW) program. You can pursue these degrees in Louisiana through full-time, part-time and online formats. 

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

Louisiana has four levels of social workers, according to the state’s licensing board, with increasing requirements:

Registered social worker (RSW): A person with an accredited bachelor’s degree in social work. RSWs can provide basic non-clinical social work services.

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

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): A person with an accredited master’s or doctorate degree in social work who has passed the ASWB clinical exam. This person must have also completed 5,760 hours of postgraduate social work and 3,840 hours of supervised postgraduate social work. LCSWs may provide clinical social services independent of supervision.

3. Get Licensed

Once you’ve completed the requirements, you may apply to become a licensed social worker in Louisiana. 
Learn more about how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in Louisiana

There are 13 accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degree programs in Louisiana. A bachelor’s degree in social work allows a student to enter an advanced standing MSW program, which can be completed in around one year. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions and is the minimum requirement for licensure as an RSW in South Carolina. There are seven schools in South Carolina offering accredited BSW programs:

In order to obtain other licenses in Louisiana, however, a minimum of an MSW is required. Some individuals further their education and experience in social work by pursuing a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree. 

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Louisiana

MSW programs in Louisiana 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. Here are the fully accredited MSW programs in Louisiana.

Online MSW Programs in Louisiana

Louisiana offers online MSW programs that are fully accredited. Online MSW programs offer the same curriculum and coursework that traditional on-campus Louisiana programs do. Students are taught by the same professors and complete fieldwork as part of the program.

Social Work Licenses in Louisiana 

Louisiana has three types of licenses for social workers: registered social worker (RSW), Licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). While you may practice entry-level social work with a BSW, the Louisiana Board requires an MSW or DSW to practice more specialized social work. All information on RSW, LMSW, and LCSW below was retrieved from the State Board of Social Work Examiners.

Registered Social Worker (RSW) in Louisiana 

Becoming an RSW means that you’ll be able to practice general social work services without supervision but must work in an organization or agency.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelor of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: None
  • License Renewal: 20 hours of professional development in continuing education

Organizations will be given authority to pre-approve social work continuing education for five (5) years. After five (5) years, the organization shall reapply to the Board if interested in maintaining designation as a pre-approving body. 

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Louisiana

Becoming an LMSW allows you to practice advanced non-clinical social work independently and perform clinical social work under supervision.

  • Education Requirement: Master of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB master’s exam
  • License Renewal: 20 hours of professional development in continuing education

Organizations will be given authority to pre-approve social work continuing education for five (5) years. After five (5) years, the organization shall reapply to the Board if interested in maintaining designation as a pre-approving body. 

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Louisiana

Becoming an LCSW allows you to practice clinical and non-clinical social work including assessment, diagnosis, treatment and case management independently. 

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: 5,760 hours of postgraduate social work and 3,840 hours of supervised postgraduate social work
  • Exams: ASWB clinical exam
  • License Renewal: 20 hours of professional development in continuing education

Social Work Salaries in Louisiana

Louisiana Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in LouisianaAnnual Mean Social Work Salary
Child, family and school social workers
390
$45,010
Healthcare social workers
1,680
$55,060
Mental health and substance abuse social workers
1,290
$46,820
Social workers, all other
590
$57,450

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

Louisiana 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 grants and loans to help you become an RSW, LMSW, CSW or LCSW in the state of Louisiana.

Louisiana Social Work 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 welfare, child welfare, elderly welfare, healthcare reform and other issues affecting the disadvantaged populations in Louisiana and beyond.

Louisiana Social Work FAQ

Does Louisiana offer social work license reciprocity?

Louisiana doesn’t have formal license reciprocity with other states; out-of-state applicants holding equivalent or more stringent licensure may be eligible for endorsement from another jurisdiction. To apply for licensure, supply a criminal background check, your official transcript, official ASWB exam scores and verification from the state you previously held a license for submission (PDF, 97.4KB).

What are the social work continuing education requirements in Louisiana?

Social workers must renew their license every year through 20 hours of continuing education and a fee. Three hours of the 20 must be within professional ethics for all licensees. LCSWs must complete 10 hours in clinical content training as a part of their 20 hours. Explore the approved continuing education courses in Louisiana. 

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

Search for your social work license at the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners search. The site’s options allow you to search for your name and find your license number, license status and details surrounding your professional information.

Last updated May 2022.