Become a Social Worker in Missouri

Start your social work career alongside the scenic Ozark National Riverway, the St. Louis Arch and a state-wide network of over 15,500 social workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Missouri also has one of the highest concentrations of jobs for healthcare social workers across the United States. 

This guide for how to become a social worker in Missouri 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 Missouri, you can embark on a meaningful, fulfilling career helping others in the Show Me 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 Mossouri Social Worker

Before becoming a social worker in Missouri you must obtain a bachelor’s degree in social work and a social work license, depending on what career path you choose. Missouri offers four types of social work licenses, and there may also be additional requirements such as a background check and clinical supervision based on your goals. Below are the steps on how to obtain social work licenses in Missouri, which was summarized from the Missouri Committee for Social Workers.

1. Earn a CSWE-accredited social work degree

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

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

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

Licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW): A person with an accredited bachelor’s degree in social work that has passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor’s exam. 

Licensed master social worker (LMSW): A person with an accredited master’s degree in social work that has passed the ASWB master’s exam. 

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): A person with an accredited master’s or doctorate degree in social work that has passed the ASWB clinical exam. Those looking to attain this license must have also earned 3,000 hours of supervised social work experience.

Licensed advanced macro social worker (LAMSW): A person with an accredited master’s or doctorate degree in social work that has passed the ASWB advanced generalist exam. Those looking to attain this license must have also earned 3,000 hours of supervised macro social work experience.

3. Get licensed

Once you’ve completed your hours and experience, you may apply to become a licensed social worker in Missouri.

Learn more on how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in Missouri

There are 23 accredited BSW and MSW degree programs in Missouri. A bachelor’s degree in social work online or on campus may 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. There are 16 accredited BSW programs in Missouri.

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

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Missouri

MSW programs in Missouri 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. There are four fully accredited MSW programs in Missouri.

Online MSW Programs in Missouri

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

Social Work Licenses in Missouri

Missouri has four types of licenses for social workers: Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW). While you may practice entry-level social work under the title of “social worker” with a bachelor’s degree, the Missouri Committee  requires an MSW or DSW to practice more specialized social work. All information on LBSW, LMSW, LCSW and LAMSW requirements below was retrieved from the Missouri Committee for Social Workers.

Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) in Missouri

Becoming an LBSW allows you to practice general, non-clinical social work under the supervision of an advanced social worker.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelor of Social Work Degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB Bachelor’s Exam
  • License Renewal: 40 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Missouri

Becoming an LMSW allows you to practice general, master’s-level social work independently.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctor of Social Work Degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB Master’s Exam
  • License Renewal: 40 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Missouri

Becoming an LCSW allows you to practice both clinical and macro/administrative social work services without supervision after licensure.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctor of Social Work Degree
  • Field Requirements: 3,000 of supervised clinical social work
  • Exams: ASWB Clinical Exam
  • License Renewal: 40 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW) in Missouri

Becoming an LAMSW allows you to practice both clinical and macro/administrative social work services without supervision after licensure.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctor of Social Work Degree
  • Field Requirements: 3,000 of supervised macro social work
  • Exams: ASWB Advanced Generalist Exam
  • License Renewal: 40 hours of professional development in continuing education

Social Work Salaries in Missouri

Missouri Social Work CareerNumber of Social Workers in MissouriAverage Mean Social Worker Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers
7,200
$41,070
Healthcare Social Workers
5,010
$51,340
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
1,710
$43,210
Social Workers, All Other
1,710
$50,870

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

Missouri Social Work Scholarships

For those just starting on their path to social work, there are state-wide 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 LBSW, LMSW, LCSW or LAMSW in the state of Missouri.

Missouri 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 issues such as welfare, child welfare, elderly welfare, health care reform and other issues affecting the disadvantaged populations in Missouri and beyond.

  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Missouri Chapter: Over 1,400 members represent NASW throughout the state, living and working in rural, suburban and urban counties. This chapter works in a wide range of settings amongst diverse populations. 
  • School Social Workers Association of Missouri: Established in 1980, the School Social Workers Association of Missouri was started by volunteer school social workers who saw the need to advance, grow and strengthen the profession. 
  • Missouri Society for Clinical Social Work: This society provides quality continuing education and professional development for Clinical Social Workers in the St. Louis Area. The organization continues to grow with its membership to support the needs of clinical social workers through networking forums, events and advocacy.

FAQs

Does Missouri offer social work license reciprocity?

Missouri allows licensure by endorsement. Out-of-state applicants must have an equivalent social work license in another state, meet the educational prerequisites for the equivalent Missouri social work license, provide their official ASWB exam scores and pay application fees on the Missouri Committee for Social Workers site.

What are the social work continuing education requirements in Missouri?

Social workers must renew their license every two years. Additionally, licensees must earn 30 hours of continuing education including three hours of professional ethics and two in suicide prevention. To renew, complete the online renewal form (PDF, 226 KB) and pay the associated fee.

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

Search for your social work license at the Missouri Committee for Social Workers site 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 in May 2022.