Become a Social Worker in Maryland

There are many reasons to become a social worker in Maryland. One is the cost of living compared to nearby Washington, D.C. Sperling’s Best Places to Live ranks U.S. cities’ cost of living, putting the U.S. average at 100. According to their findings, it costs less to live in Maryland than in Washington, D.C.; Maryland’s cost of living is 113, and the District of Columbia’s is about 154 on their scale. This means you can work and live close enough to enjoy the nation’s capital without paying as much. 

If you want to make a move to this exciting state or already reside there, here’s a guide to becoming a social worker in Maryland.

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 Maryland Social Worker

Below you’ll discover how to become a social worker in Maryland in four steps.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree. 

With a bachelor’s degree, you are qualified for general entry-level social work, such as case management or working as a mental health assistant, the BLS reports. You need a master’s degree at minimum to become a clinical social worker. It helps for your degree to be in social work, but other common majors are sociology, psychology or a related health services field. 

2. Choose the best school(s) for you, and apply for a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. 

Check their admissions requirements. This can be a local or state university if you want to attend in person or an online university if you wish to study virtually. Some factors that may affect your choice of school will be accreditation, faculty, curriculum, cost and financial aid availability, whether the class schedule is flexible enough to fit your lifestyle and the program resources available to you.

3. Complete an MSW degree program. 

Which program is right for you? If you attend school full time, programs typically take two to three years to finish. If your bachelor’s degree is in social work from a university that has a Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation or is a candidate for such accreditation, you may be eligible for an advanced-standing master’s degree program, which could take as little as 12 to 18 months to complete. Other requirements for such a program may include GPA, recommendations, field experience and an application. Students who attend school part time will take longer to complete their programs.

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

Maryland has four levels of social workers, according to the state’s department of health (PDF, 36.6KB), with increasing requirements:

  1. Licensed bachelor social worker (LBSW): A person with a CSWE-approved bachelor’s degree in social work who has passed a state approved required examination. LBSWs can provide basic non-clinical social-work services.
  2. Licensed master social worker (LMSW): A person with a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program who has passed a state approved required examination. LMSWs can provide social work services under supervision.
  3. Licensed certified social worker (LCSW): To become an LCSW in Maryland, you must have earned a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program, completed 3,000 hours of supervised social work experience as an LMSW in two years and passed a state approved required examination. LCSWs can provide non-clinical social-work services independent of supervision and clinical social-work services with supervision.

Licensed certified social worker-clinical (LCSW-C): The highest level of license for social workers in Maryland requires you to have a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program, have completed 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work in two years with at least 1,500 of those hours consisting of direct patient contact, have completed 12 hours of clinical coursework (in some cases, this will have been completed during the master’s program) and have passed a state approved required examination. LCSW-Cs may provide clinical social services independent of supervision.

Social Work Degree Programs in Maryland

Choosing your social work degree program is an important decision. An associate’s degree with a social work focus can help students complete coursework that prepares them for an entry-level administrative role in social work or can help them earn a BSW more quickly. Eight Maryland schools offer bachelor’s degrees in social work. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) can help prepare you for a future master’s program and could accelerate your graduate level education. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions, such as caseworkers or mental health assistants.

Below are the colleges and universities in Maryland offering accredited BSW programs:

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Maryland

Some universities in Maryland offer accredited master’s degrees in social work. The number of credits needed to graduate vary and involve a combination of required foundation courses, specialization courses and supervised field placements. 

Online MSW Programs in Maryland

Some universities in Maryland offer accredited online master’s degrees in social work. The number of credits needed to graduate vary and involve a combination of required foundation courses, specialization courses and supervised field placements. 

Social Work Licenses in Maryland

In order to become a social worker in Maryland, you must have proper licensure. There are four social work licenses in Maryland, with an ascending level of requirements, according to the state’s department of health. Licensure can be earned by examination or endorsement. If you haven’t passed a social work licensure exam yet, you’ll be required to apply for licensure by examination. If you have previous social work experience or are already licensed in another state, you may be eligible for licensure by endorsement.

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW):

  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exam: ASWB bachelor’s exam
  • License Renewal: Every two years, with continuing education documentation

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW):

  • Education Requirements: A master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exam: ASWB master’s exam 
  • License Renewal: Every two years, with continuing education documentation

Learn more about an LMSW License

Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW):

  • Education Requirements: Becoming an LCSW in Maryland requires a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Field Requirements: 3,000 hours of supervised experience over two years
  • Exam: ASWB advanced generalist exam
  • License Renewal: Every two years, with continuing education documentation

Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C): 

  • Education Requirements: A master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program with at least 12 hours of clinical coursework
  • Field Requirements: 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work in two years with at least 1,500 of those hours consisting of direct patient contact and 100 hours of periodic direct face-to-face supervision
  • Exam: ASWB clinical exam 
  • License Renewal: Every two years, with continuing education documentation

Social Work Salaries for Maryland

The nationwide median salary for social workers was $51,760 per year in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The typical social worker salary in Maryland tends to be higher, in part because of its proximity to the District of Columbia. Here are specifics for Maryland, from the BLS:

Maryland Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in MarylandAverage Social Work Salary
Child, family and school social workers
5,620
$62,440
Healthcare social workers
3,420
$62,560
Mental health and substance abuse social workers
2,870
$53,890
Social workers, all other
1,520
$68,040
Social work teachers, postsecondary
170
$84,600

Information on the above social work salaries in Maryland was obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’  State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – Maryland as of May 2022. 

Maryland Social Worker Scholarships 

Below are some state-level social worker scholarships for Maryland. However, don’t limit your scholarship search to what you see here. You can search online and use your library’s reference section to find social work scholarships offered by individual city, state or local agencies; religious and other foundations; community organizations; and professional associations affiliated with social work. Here are some places to start:

Maryland Social Work Organizations 

There are a number of social work organizations for Maryland students and social workers, ranging from general to specific in their scope. Most offer special benefits to their members, and many have fees to join. Here are some primary ones:

  • Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work (GWSCSW): The GWSCSW is a nonprofit organization for clinical social workers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. According to the website’s mission statement, it strives “to promote the highest standards of clinical social work practice through education, advocacy, and community.”
  • Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners: This is the state’s licensing agency and part of the Maryland Department of Health. Refer to its website for information on license application and renewal and continuing education. 
  • National Association of Social Workers – Maryland Chapter: According to its website, NASW-MD uses “advocacy, education, engagement, and collaboration” to “support social workers and their professional development, advance social justice, promote the social work profession, and advocate for professional social work standards.”
  • The Network for Social Work Management – Baltimore Chapter: The Network for Social Work Management provides leadership training, networking opportunities and job search assistance for social work managers. Contact the Baltimore Chapter chair for more information.

FAQ

Does Maryland offer social work license reciprocity?

Social work license reciprocity in Maryland is not available. However, if you’re a licensed social worker in another state, you may apply for licensure by endorsement for a Maryland license equivalent to the one you currently hold.

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

Social workers in Maryland must complete 40 credit hours of continuing education every two years, according to the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners. For LBSWs, the requirement is 30 hours. Up to 20 hours (15 for LBSWs) can be through home study. Three CE units every two years must focus on ethics and professional conduct.

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

To look up your social work license in Maryland, visit the Maryland Department of Health’s license verification page. Enter your last name and license number to discover your license status.

Last Updated: May 2022