Become a Social Worker in Oklahoma

Start your social work career with the grasslands of the Great Plains, the legendary Ferris Wheel on the Oklahoma River, and a statewide network of more than 9,900 social workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

This guide for how to become a social worker in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, you can embark on a meaningful, fulfilling career helping others in the Sooner 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 an Oklahoma Social Worker

Before becoming a social worker in Oklahoma, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree in social work and a social work license, depending on what career path you choose. Oklahoma offers five 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 licenses in Oklahoma, summarized from the Oklahoma Board of Licensed Social Workers.

1. Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree

To become a licensed social worker in Oklahoma, 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 Oklahoma through full-time, part-time and online formats. 

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

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

Licensed social work associate (LSWA): A person with an accredited bachelor’s degree in social work who has passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor’s exam. Generally, LSWAs can provide basic non-clinical social work services.

Licensed master’s social worker (LMSW): Someone with an accredited master’s degree in social work who has passed the ASWB master’s exam. LMSWs can provide social work services under supervision.

Licensed social worker (LSW): A person with an accredited master’s or doctoral degree in social work who has passed the ASWB advanced generalist exam. Also required: 4,000 hours of supervised social work experience.

Licensed social worker with a specialty of administration (LSW-ADM): A person with an accredited master’s or doctoral degree in social work who has passed the ASWB advanced generalist exam and earned 4,000 hours of supervised social work experience. This is much like the LSW license, withadditional the additional requirement of knowledge of social work administration.

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): A person with an accredited master’s or doctorate in social work who has passed the ASWB clinical exam and earned 4,000 hours of supervised social work experience. LCSWs may provide clinical social services independent of supervision.

3. Get Licensed

Once you’ve completed your hours and experience, you may apply to become a licensed social worker in Oklahoma. 
Learn more on how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in Oklahoma

There are seven accredited BSW and MSW degree programs in Oklahoma. 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, and is the minimum requirement for licensure as an LSWA in Oklahoma. There are five universities offering CSWE-accredited BSW programs in Oklahoma:

To obtain other licenses in Oklahoma, a minimum of an MSW is required. Some individuals increase their education and experience in social work by pursuing Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degrees. 

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Oklahoma

MSW programs in Oklahoma 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 two fully accredited MSW programs in Oklahoma. 

Online MSW Programs in Oklahoma

There is one online MSW program in Oklahoma that is fully accredited. Online MSW programs offer the same curriculum and coursework as traditional on-campus Oklahoma programs. Students are taught by the same professors and also complete fieldwork as part of the program. 

Social Work Licenses in Oklahoma 

Oklahoma has five types of licenses for social workers: licensed social work associate (LSWA), licensed master’s social worker (LMSW), licensed social worker (LSW), lLicensed social worker with a specialty of administration (LSW-ADM), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). While you may practice entry-level social work with a BSW, the Oklahoma Board requires an MSW or DSW to practice more specialized social work. All information on LSWA, LMSW, LSW, LSW-ADM and LCSW below was retrieved from the Oklahoma Board of Licensed Social Workers.

Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA) in Oklahoma

Becoming an LSWA enables you to practice basic generalist social work services under the supervision of a licensed social worker.

  • Education Requirement: Bachelor of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB bachelor’s exam
  • License Renewal: 16 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW) in Oklahoma

Becoming an LMSW enables you to practice graduate-level, non-clinical social work under the supervision of an LCSW.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: None
  • Exams: ASWB master’s exam
  • License Renewal: 16 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in Oklahoma

Becoming an LSW enables you to practice non-clinical social work services without supervision after licensure.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: 4,000 hours of supervised social work
  • Exams: ASWB advanced generalist exam
  • License Renewal: 16 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Social Worker with a Specialty of Administration (LSW-ADM) in Oklahoma

Becoming an LSW-ADM enables you to practice administratively focused, non-clinical social work services without supervision after licensure.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: 4,000 hours of supervised administrative social work
  • Exams: ASWB advanced generalist exam
  • License Renewal: 16 hours of professional development in continuing education

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Oklahoma

Becoming an LCSW enables you to practice clinical social work services independently including diagnosis, counseling and psychotherapy.

  • Education Requirement: Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree
  • Field Requirements: 4,000 hours of supervised clinical social work
  • Exams: ASWB clinical exam
  • License Renewal: 16 hours of professional development in continuing education

Social Work Salaries in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in OklahomaAnnual Mean Social Work Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers
5,860
$43,580
Healthcare Social Workers
2,280
$52,820
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
840
$40,990
Social Workers, All Other
510
$62,040

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

Oklahoma Social Work Scholarships 

For those just starting on their path to social work, there are statewide 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 LSWA, LMSW, LSW, LSW-ADM or LCSW in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Social Worker 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 disadvantaged people in Oklahoma and beyond.

Oklahoma Social Work FAQs

Does Oklahoma offer social work license reciprocity?

Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma social work license, provide their official ASWB exam scores, and pay an application fee on the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers site.

What are the social work continuing education requirements in Oklahoma?

Social workers must renew their license every year. Licensees must earn 16 hours of continuing education, including three hours in social work ethics. 

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

Search for your social work license at the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers site. Search by your name to find your license number, license status and your professional information.

Last updated May 2022.