Become a Social Worker in New Mexico

Start your social work career with the trails of White Sands National Park, the ancient Pueblo of Taos and a statewide network of 4,000 social workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, all areas of social work in New Mexico are expected to grow between 6.4% and 20% by 2030, depending on social work title. 

This guide for how to become a social worker in New Mexico covers educational requirements, how to get licensed, social work organizations to join and more. Once you complete the steps to become a social worker in New Mexico, you can embark on a meaningful, fulfilling career helping others in the Land of Enchantment.

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 New Mexico Social Worker

Before becoming a social worker in New Mexico, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in social work and a social work license depending on what career path you choose. New Mexico offers three types of social work licenses. 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 each type of license in New Mexico; this information was retrieved from the New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners.

1. Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree

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

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

New Mexico has three 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 or related field who has passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor’s exam.  Those looking to pursue this license must also pass the state’s cultural coursework.

Licensed master social worker (LMSW): A person with an accredited master’s degree in social work who has passed the ASWB master’s exam. Those looking to pursue this license must also pass the state’s cultural coursework.

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): A person with an accredited master’s or doctoral degree in social work who has passed the ASWB advanced generalist or clinical exam. Those looking to obtain this license must have also completed 3,600 hours of supervised social work experience.  Those looking to pursue this license must also pass the state’s cultural coursework.

3. Get Licensed

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

Learn more on how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in New Mexico

There are seven accredited BSW and MSW degree programs in New Mexico. A bachelor’s degree in social work online or on campus can allow you to enter an advanced standing MSW program that you can often complete in about one year. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions. There are four universities offering accredited BSW programs in New Mexico:

In order to obtain higher level licenses in New Mexico, 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 New Mexico

MSW programs in New Mexico 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 three fully accredited MSW programs in New Mexico.

Online MSW Programs in New Mexico

There are four fully accredited online MSW programs in New Mexico. These online MSW programs offer the same curriculum and coursework that traditional on-campus New Mexico programs do. Students are taught by the same professors who teach on campus, and they complete fieldwork as part of the program.

Social Work Licenses in New Mexico

New Mexico has three types of licenses for social workers: licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). While you may practice entry-level social work with a bachelor’s degree in social work, the New Mexico Board requires an MSW or a DSW to practice more specialized social work. All information below on LBSW, LMSW and LCSW credentials was retrieved from the New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners.

Licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) in New Mexico

Becoming an LBSW allows you to practice general, non-clinical social work and provide client advocacy, case management and more.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelor of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB bachelor’s exam
  • License Renewal: 30 hours of professional development in continuing education with six hours in cultural competency

Licensed master social worker (LMSW) in New Mexico

Becoming an LMSW allows you to practice clinical social work under the supervision of an LCSW or another board-approved social work provider.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB master’s exam
  • License Renewal: 30 hours of professional development in continuing education with six hours in cultural competency

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New Mexico

Becoming an LCSW allows you to practice clinical or non-clinical social work independently after receiving licensure.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: 3,600 hours of supervised clinical social work
  • Exams: ASWB clinical or advanced generalist exam
  • License Renewal: 30 hours of professional development in continuing education with six hours in cultural competency

Social Work Salaries in New Mexico

New Mexico Social Work CareerNumber of Social Workers in New MexicoAverage Mean Social Worker Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers
2,170
$46,870
Healthcare Social Workers
870
$60,320
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
490
$52,810
Social Workers, All Other
470
$61,000

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

New Mexico Social Work Scholarships

There are statewide scholarships and programs in place to assist those just starting on their path to social work. While each state has different offerings, below are some grants and loans to help you become an LBSW, LMSW or LCSW in the state of New Mexico.

New Mexico 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 New Mexico and beyond.

  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)–New Mexico Chapter: This chapter serves members and advocates for sound social policy by empowering professional social work practice in many settings including family service agencies, community mental health centers, schools, hospitals, employee assistance programs and more.
  • Student Social Work Association (SSWA) at New Mexico State University: SSWA is a service organization, which means it is committed to serving others in and around its own community and in other communities where there is need. They provide services to all corners of New Mexico.
  • New Mexico Health Care Association: The New Mexico Health Care Association is a professional trade association for facility-based long-term care providers. Its mission is to support members and promote individual quality of life for the people they serve.

FAQs

Does New Mexico offer social work license reciprocity?

New Mexico allows out-of-state licensure. Applicants must have an equivalent social work license in another state, meet the educational prerequisites for the equivalent New Mexico social work license, provide their official ASWB exam scores and pay a fee on the state’s Board of Social Work Examiners site.

What are the social work continuing education requirements in New Mexico?

Social workers must renew their license every two years. Additionally, social workers must complete 30 hours of continuing education, including six hours in cultural awareness training. To renew, complete the online renewal form and pay the associated fees.

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

Search for your social work license using New Mexico’s Board of Social Work Examiners 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.