Become a Social Worker in Michigan 

Michigan has had some tough times in recent years: Detroit’s bankruptcy, Flint’s water issues, state budget shortfalls. Nevertheless, there is plenty to love about the state, and there are good reasons for social workers to choose it. The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area has one of the highest employment levels for child, family and school social workers and mental health and substance abuse social workers. More so for child, family and school social workers, Bay City and Muskegon also hold some of the highest concentrations of jobs and location quotients of the field.

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 Michigan Social Worker

Social work licensure regulation in Michigan is managed by the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) – Michigan Board of Social Work agency. Michigan offers several different types of social work licenses: Limited Social Service Technician (L-SST), Social Service Technician (SST), Limited Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker (L-LBSW), Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker (LBSW), Limited Licensed Master’s Social Worker (L-LMSW), Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW) and two designations for LMSW: Clinical or Macro. These licenses account for varying levels of education and experience.

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.

Below, we list the common steps to become a Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW).It is the highest designation in the state retrieved from LARA – Michigan Board of Social Work.

1. Complete a CSWE-Accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) 

To become a full master’s level social worker in Michigan, you must have completed a master’s degree in social work from a program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

2. Complete Post-Graduate, Supervised Social Work Experience

LARA requires applicants for the LMSW designation to complete 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised social work experience over at least a two-year period. If the experience is gained in Michigan, applicants must have gained the experience as a Limited LMSW. The hours must be completed in a setting that matches the chosen designation of the license—either clinical, macro or both.

3. Apply for and Pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Exam

Depending on your chosen designation, you must pass the ASWB Clinical exam or ASWB Advanced Generalist (macro) exam.

4. Submit Required Application Materials

Submit all of your materials and application fee to LARA for processing. Among other materials, a criminal background check may be required as a part of your application.

Social Work Degree Programs in Michigan 

Michigan offers many CSWE-accredited or in candidacy social work programs: Twenty-one universities offer a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program and 12 universities offer a Master of Social Work (MSW) program.

Since the LMSW designation is offered in two specializations, clinical or macro, you may find that master’s degrees in social work offer these pathways within the state.

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Michigan

Many of the MSW programs in Michigan offer advanced standing MSW options—available for students who have already earned their bachelor’s degree in social work. Several of the universities below offer many different concentrations, from school social work to global social work practice.

Online MSW Programs in Michigan

Michigan offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) programs online:

Social Work Licenses in Michigan

Michigan’s social work licenses are set up in such a way that for each level, there is a limited level preceding it during which an individual accrues field experience hours. Information below was retrieved from Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) – Michigan Board of Social Work.

Limited Social Service Technician (L-SST) 

  • Education/Work Requirements: Two years of college in any field from a regionally accredited university and must be currently employed or offered employment in a human, social services or social work environment.
  • Field Requirements: N/A
  • Exam: N/A

Social Service Technician (SST) 

  • Education/Work Requirements: Associate’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program, including four human services courses OR current employment in a social or human services setting with at least 2,000 hours of supervised social work experience completed over at least a one-year period OR completed two completed years of college with at least four courses related to human services needs.
  • Field Requirements: N/A
  • Exam: N/A

Limited Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker (L-LBSW) 

  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program.
  • Field Requirements: N/A
  • Exam: N/A

Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker (LBSW)

  • Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program.
  • Field Requirements: 4,000 hours of supervised post-bachelor’s experience.
  • Exam: ASWB bachelor’s exam 
  • License Renewal: First license expires on the first April 30 after licensure. After that, it expires every three years on April 30. 

Limited Licensed Master Social Worker (L-LMSW) 

  • Education Requirements: A master’s or doctoral degree at a CSWE-accredited program.
  • Field Requirements: N/A
  • Exam: N/A

Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW) 

  • Education Requirements: A master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program.
  • Field Requirements: 4,000 hours of post-master’s supervised social work experience.
  • Exam: ASWB clinical exam or advanced generalist exam

Learn more about an LMSW License

L-LMSW or LMSW Specialty Designations

  • Must have either an active license in specialty—via endorsement—or current Limited LMSW license.
  • 2,000 hours of post-degree social work experience required over a one-year period in the specially designated area.

Social Work Salaries for Michigan

Michigan Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in MichiganAnnual Mean Social Work Wage
Child, Family and School Social Workers
13,530
$51,900
Healthcare Social Workers
5,530
$59,390
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
4,070
$52,700
Social Workers, All Other
1,130
$62,290
Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary
610
$75,100

Information on the above social work salaries in Michigan was retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Michigan in May 2021.

Learn more about different social work salaries.

Michigan Social Worker Scholarships 

There are many opportunities to gain financial support for your social work degree in Michigan. Social work scholarships, grants and fellowships may help support your career pathway. Make a point of searching for scholarship possibilities with local and state agencies, your library’s reference section, community organizations, faith-based organizations and professional associations affiliated with social work. Here are some places to start:

Michigan Social Worker Organizations 

Michigan students and social workers will find many organizations available. Here are some primary ones:

FAQs

Does Michigan offer social work license reciprocity?

Those who have valid social work licenses in another state and can document that they have completed at least 4,000 hours of post-degree supervised work experience can have their ASWB scores sent to the Michigan Board and apply for a full LMSW license by endorsement.

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

Michigan social workers renew their licenses every three years and must complete at least 45 hours of continuing education in programs or courses approved by the board. At least five of those hours must be in ethics, and at least two must be in pain management. 

How do I verify a social worker license in Michigan?

To verify a license in the state of Michigan, you can use the searchable database offered by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) – License Verification.

Last updated in May 2022.