Become a Social Worker in Rhode Island

There are more than 6,000 social workers in Rhode Island, including child, family, school, healthcare, mental health and addiction social workers. In Rhode Island and beyond, social workers can have the satisfaction of making a difference in their communities by connecting clients with services, resources and other professionals to overcome challenges like intergenerational poverty, mental health conditions, and domestic abuse. 

This career guide for how to become a social worker in Rhode Island explains educational requirements, how to get licensed, Rhode Island social work organizations to join and more. Once you complete the steps to become a Rhode Island social worker, you can embark on a meaningful, fulfilling career helping others.

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

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.

  •  Minimum completion time: 16 months
  • Online classes taught by USC faculty 
  • Virtual field training to build skills and confidence

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.

  • Complete the Online Advanced-Standing MSW in as few as 12 months if you have a BSW; if you do not have a BSW, the Online MSW Program may be completed in as few as 27 months.
  • No GRE Required
  • Mental Health and Trauma or Health, Equity and Wellness concentrations

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.

  •  Traditional and advanced standing online MSW options are available.
  • There are four areas of focus: Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy.
  • Pursue the degree on a full-time or part-time track.

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.

  • Prepares students to pursue licensure, including LCSW 
  • Full-time, part-time, and accelerated tracks 
  • Minimum completion time: 12 months

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. 

  • Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks
  • No GRE required
  • Concentrate your degree in integrated practice or clinical practice

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.

  • Address injustice from a strengths-based perspective
  • Ethically integrates faith and social work practice
  • Serve as a trusted resource for clients, no matter their personal background
  • Complete the MSW online program in as few as 12 months

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.

  • Concentrations: Direct Practice and Community, Administration, and Policy Practice
  • Complete at least 777-1,000 hours of agency-based field education
  • Earn your degree in as few as 12 months

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.

  • CSWE-accredited
  • No GRE requirement
  • Complete in as few as one and a half years

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Common Steps to Become a Rhode Island Social Worker

Wondering how to become a social worker in Rhode Island? Education, field experience and licensure can help you achieve your social worker career goals. To become an LCSW in Rhode Island and advance your career, follow these steps, summarized from the Rhode Island 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. Earn a CSWE-Accredited Social Work Degree

To become a licensed social worker in Rhode Island, you will have to complete a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Both licenses offered in Rhode Island — licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) — require an MSW degree. 

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

To pursue either of the two social work licenses in Rhode Island, you must have an accredited master’s in social work degree, pass the Association of Social Work Boards’ (ASWB) clinical exam, complete at least 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience, and collect two letters of recommendation.

3. Get licensed

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

Social Work Degree Programs in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island there are four CSWE-accredited social work degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels to help you become a social worker in Rhode Island. 

A bachelor’s degree in social work can enable a student to enter an advanced standing MSW program you may be able to complete in about one year. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions, such as caseworkers or mental health assistants.

To become a licensed social worker in Rhode Island as a registered clinical social worker intern, licensed clinical social worker or certified master social worker, an MSW is required. There is one CSWE-accredited MSW program in Rhode Island. 

Rhode Island has social work/social welfare doctoral programs at:

BSW Programs in Rhode Island

BSW programs in Rhode Island teach students advanced social work theories and practical knowledge. Areas of practice include work with children and families, people with substance use disorders and/or mental illness, those experiencing trauma, people who are elderly, people with disabilities and many other, often marginalized, populations.There are full-time and part-time BSW programs available in Rhode Island. The social work majors involve experiential learning as a key component. They complete their fieldwork in the fall and spring semesters of their senior year (16 hours per week for 14 weeks). Students may choose to complete some of their internship hours in the summer.

Online MSW Programs in Rhode Island

MSW programs in Rhode Island teach students advanced social work theories and practical knowledge. MSW areas of practice include clinical or macro practice. Students also complete three required practice courses, three electives, one professional development course and two advanced research courses. In both foundational and advanced years, students must complete a field internship. Many students opt to take electives during summer session or early spring to lighten their course load in the final year of graduate study.

There are full-time, part-time and advanced standing MSW programs available in Rhode Island.

Learn more about MSW Programs:

Social Work Salaries in Rhode Island

Social worker salaries in Rhode Island depend on your role, environment and location. The BLS reports that, generally, the higher the educational attainment, the greater the earning potential. 

Rhode Island Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in Rhode IslandAverage Mean Social Work Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers
1,710
$63,550
Healthcare Social Workers
620
$73,230
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
560
$68,400
Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary
70
$81,360

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

Learn more about different social work salaries.

Rhode Island Social Work Scholarships 

For those just starting on their path to social work, there are social work scholarships available to pursue a social work degree in Rhode Island. Be sure to check with your preferred university for other available financial aid options.

Rhode Island Social Work Organizations

Social workers in Rhode Island can connect with a variety of social work organizations in the state. These groups provide networking opportunities, news and research about social work in Rhode Island and job listings. Your university may also offer social work organizations for students.

FAQs

Does Rhode Island have social work reciprocity?

No, there is no social work license reciprocity in Rhode Island. However, social workers who want to obtain licensure in Rhode Island may apply for licensure by endorsement. The applications are reviewed individually to determine if Rhode Island social work license requirements have been met.

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

Social workers must renew their license every two years on May 1. Additionally, licensees must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education during each renewal period. At least three of these hours must cover cross-cultural practice to include the alleviation of oppression and minimum of three hours covering professional ethics.

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

To look up social work license verification in Rhode Island, visit the State of Rhode Island Department of Health website. 

Last Updated: May 2022