Become a Social Worker in New Jersey

The New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area has the highest employment level for child, family and school social workers, healthcare social workers and mental health and substance abuse social workers in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2021.

If you want to learn how to become a social worker in New Jersey, this guide outlines education and licensing requirements as well as options for social work programs and New Jersey social work organizations to join. First, take a look at the steps required to be a social worker in New Jersey.

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Howard University


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


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


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


Master of Social Work (MSW)

Aspiring direct practitioners can earn their MSW online from Simmons University in as few as 9 months. GRE scores are not required, and the program offers full-time, part-time, accelerated, and advanced standing tracks.

Syracuse University


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.

Case Western Reserve University


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.


Common steps to Become a New Jersey Social Worker

The journey to become a social worker in New Jersey starts with education. There are entry-level social work careers available, but to advance as a social worker in NJ, there are additional educational and exam requirements. The information below was retrieved from the New Jersey State Board of Social Work Examiners

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. Complete Accredited Social Work Education 

All social work education requirements in NJ should be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). To become a certified social worker (CSW) in NJ, a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is required for application. To become a licensed social worker (LSW) or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is required. You will be required to complete clinical hours or an internship experience as part of your accredited social work degree program. Each license type requires different clinical hour requirements.

2. Pass the ASWB Exam — for LSW and LCSW Applicants

Before applying to the state of NJ for licensure as an LSW or LCSW in New Jersey, social workers are required to submit passing scores on exams from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) for either the master’s exam for LSW licensure or clinical exam for LCSW licensure. 

3. Gain Clinical Experience — for LCSW Applicants 

According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) New Jersey Chapter, to apply for a LCSW license in NJ, social workers must be able to provide documentation for 3,000 hours of clinical experience within two to four consecutive years after earning their MSW degree. These hours must have been completed under the supervision of an appropriate and approved supervisor. In most cases, NJ social workers will be licensed as an LSW while gaining these hours.

4. Apply for Licensure 

Unless you have applied for the CSW license after submitting proof of your completed BSW degree, you likely have completed and passed the appropriate ASWB exam for the LSW and LCSW license requirements and completed clinical hours for the LCSW application. Once your education, exam and hours are complete, you may submit your application to the State Board of Social Work Examiners.

Social Work Degree Programs in New Jersey

The path to an education in social work in New Jersey can vary. There are many social work degrees to choose from. 

Some students start with an associate level degree to get general coursework requirements completed before enrolling in a New Jersey bachelor’s degree program. Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, for example, offers an Associate in Arts in Human Services with introductory social work courses.

As of May 2021, New Jersey offers the following CSWE-accredited or in candidacy for accreditation programs: 10 BSW programs and eight MSW programs. A BSW degree may include general social work coursework and an internship or supervised fieldwork. An MSW degree enables students to choose a concentration and specialize in an area of social work. MSW programs also include an internship or supervised practicum.

Choosing your social work degree level depends on your licensing goals. As mentioned above, a BSW is required for CSW applications but an MSW is required for LSW and LCSW applications.

New Jersey also has a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program at Rutgers University. Although DSW programs are not yet accredited by the CSWE, they have launched a pilot plan to begin accrediting professional practice doctoral degrees in social work. Getting your DSW may lead to careers in social work research or leadership positions in large-scale social work organizations. Outside of NJ, there are several online DSW programs that may accept NJ residents.

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs

There are several MSW programs in New Jersey that are accredited by the CSWE or currently in candidacy for accreditation. Most programs offer both full-time and part-time options. All offer advanced standing MSW programs, which means if a student already has a BSW, they can apply that coursework towards the MSW program and accelerate their program. The following are all fully CSWE-accredited MSW programs in New Jersey:

Online MSW Programs New Jersey

There are a few online MSW programs offered by the NJ universities above. Of those, Fairleigh Dickinson University offers only an online MSW program and not an on-campus counterpart.

You may also consider online programs outside of the state, such as other online clinical social work programs or an online MSW program with no GRE requirement. Be sure to review your ideal university program’s requirements for residency.

Social Work Licenses in New Jersey

The three types of social work licensure in New Jersey include licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed social worker (LSW) and certified social worker (CSW). Each type of license enables a social worker to qualify for certain duties. Information below was retrieved from the State Board of Social Work Examiners NJ Administrative Code Title 13, Chapter 44G (PDF, 432 KB).

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New Jersey

Becoming an LCSW in New Jersey allows you to engage in clinical social work supervision of individuals. LCSWs can also provide all social work services performed by certified social workers and licensed social workers.

  • Education Requirements: MSW from a CSWE-accredited program or one that’s in candidacy for CSWE accreditation or a doctorate in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution
  • Field Requirements: Two years of full-time clinical social work, meaning 3,000 hours under direct supervision of an LCSW subsequent to earning an MSW
  • Exam: ASWB Clinical Exam
  • License Renewal: Every two years

Learn more about how to become an LCSW.

Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in New Jersey

A licensed social worker (LSW) in New Jersey can provide all the social work services a CSW can perform, as well as clinical social work services when supervised by an LCSW.

  • Education Requirements: MSW or doctorate in social work from an institution accredited by the CSWE or in candidacy for accreditation by the CSWE
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exam: ASWB master’s level exam
  • License Renewal: Every two years

Certified Social Worker (CSW) in New Jersey

A certified social worker (CSW) in New Jersey can provide social work services including assessment, administration, client-centered advocacy, consultation and counseling, planning and community organization, research and policy.

  • Education Requirements: BSW from a CSWE-accredited program, or one in candidacy
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exam: None
  • License Renewal: Every two years

Social Work Salaries for New Jersey

The average social worker salary in New Jersey depends on factors like experience, work setting and title. The table below contains the BLS May 2021 state occupational wage estimates for social workers in New Jersey.

New Jersey Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in New JerseyAnnual Mean Social Work Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers
Healthcare Social Workers
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
Social Workers, All Other
Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary

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

Learn more about different social work salaries.

New Jersey Social Work Scholarships

If you’re interested in attending social work school in New Jersey, there are social work scholarships in New Jersey that can help you pay for school.

You may also check with your preferred university or for more scholarship opportunities through the Grants, Financial Aid and Scholarships listings.

New Jersey Social Work Organizations

Social work organizations in New Jersey provide networking opportunities, job leads and resources for future and current social workers in New Jersey. Connect with a relevant chapter to meet other New Jersey social workers and stay up to date with the latest news and developments in the field.

  • NASW, New Jersey Chapter: The National Association of Social Workers, New Jersey chapter provides resources for current and future social workers via professional development, advocacy, continuing education offerings and more.
  • New Jersey Society for Clinical Social Work (NJSCSW): NJSCSW also provides opportunities for professional development via continuing education, conferences, legislative initiatives and advocacy for the field of clinical social work.
  • New Jersey Association of School Social Workers (NJASSW): The NJ Association of School Social Workers provides information on certification in the state, professional events and resources, as well as news and updates regarding the field and education.
  • Network for Social Work Management, New Jersey Chapter: The Network for Social Work Management has several U.S. chapters including New Jersey, and provides professional development to support social work leaders, networking opportunities and job search resources.


Does New Jersey have social work reciprocity?

No, there is no endorsement licensure or social work license reciprocity in New Jersey. You’ll have to apply and become licensed in New Jersey to practice social work in the state.

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

The social work CE requirements in New Jersey vary depending on the type of licensure a social worker has. All licensed New Jersey social workers applying for license renewal must complete at least one credit of CE related to topics concerning prescription opioid drugs. According to the State Board of Social Work Examiners NJ Administrative Code Title 13, Chapter 44G (PDF, 432 KB):

  • LCSWs must complete a minimum of 40 credits of CE, with at least 20 of the 40 credits in courses or programs related to clinical practice. Of the 20 remaining credits, five must be related to ethics, and three must be related to social and cultural competence.
  • LSWs must complete a minimum of 30 credits of CE, with five relating to ethics and three relating to social and cultural competence. 
  • CSWs must complete a minimum of 20 credits of CE, with five relating to ethics and three relating to social and cultural competence.

Learn more about continuing education for social workers.

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

To find social work license verification in New Jersey, social workers can either use the general public access via the State Board of Social Work Examiners – License Verification or the Department of Law and Public Safety intranet.

Last updated in May 2021.