Become a Social Worker in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is the birthplace of Harley-Davidson and home of Noah’s Ark Family Park, one of the largest water parks in the United States. You may know Wisconsin for these iconic landmarks, but the state is also home to 11,800 social workers making an average salary of $52,935 a year. 

This career guide for how to become a social worker in Wisconsin explains educational requirements, how to get licensed, Wisconsin social work organizations to join and more. Once you complete the steps to become a Wisconsin 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

info

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

info

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

info

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

info

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

info

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

info

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

info

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

info

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

info SPONSORED

Common steps to Become a Wisconsin Social Worker

Wondering how to become a social worker in Wisconsin? Education, field experience and licensure can help you achieve your social worker career goals. To become a licensed social worker in Wisconsin and advance your career, follow these steps, summarized by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

Steps to Becoming a Certified Social Worker

Being a certified social worker in Wisconsin requires an accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree or higher. This license is intended for entry-level positions in social work.

1. Complete the application

This application, provided by the DSPS, is required for all social work licensure applications. It includes a fee of $150 for those seeking initial credential and requires certification of education and completion of the Wisconsin Statutes and Rules Examination. If you are licensed in another state, you should also include letters from the applicable state licensing board, and the fee is $135. If there are any existing or pending convictions, as well as malpractice suits, additional paperwork forms must be completed along with the licensure application.

2. Pass the ASWB exam

If looking to become a certified social worker, you are required to complete the basic or bachelor’s examination offered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The registration fee is $230.

3. Receive your license

Once you have completed the previous steps, you will receive your certification as a social worker in Wisconsin. 

Steps to Become an Advanced Practice Social Worker (APSW)

If you are looking to become an APSW in Wisconsin, you must have completed an accredited degree program for a Master of Social Work (MSW) or a Doctor of Social Work (DSW).

1. Complete the application

Much like the application for a certified social worker, application for APSW licensure includes a initial credential, certification of education and completion of the Wisconsin Statutes and Rules Examination. If you are licensed in another state, you should also include letters from the applicable state licensing board, and the fee is $135. If there are any existing or pending convictions, as well as malpractice suits, additional paperwork forms must be completed along with the licensure application.

2. Pass the ASWB exam

If looking to become an APSW, you are required to complete the intermediate or master’s examination offered by the ASWB. The registration fee is $230.

3. Receive your license

Once you have completed the previous steps, you will receive your license as an APSW in Wisconsin. 

Steps to Become an Independent Social Worker (ISW)

If you are looking to become an ISW, you must have completed an accredited MSW degree or higher. 

1. Complete clinical social work experience

You need at least 3,000 hours of supervised social work practice in order to apply for this license in Wisconsin.

2. Complete the application

The application process for ISW is the same as for previous licenses. However, in addition to providing the required documentation, you must also provide verification of supervised clinical hours in social work. If you are licensed in another state, you should also include letters from the applicable state licensing board, and the fee is $135. Additional forms are required if you have any existing or pending convictions, as well as malpractice suits.

3. Pass the ASWB exam

If looking to become an ISW, you are required to complete the advanced generalist examination offered by the ASWB. The registration fee is $260.

4. Receive your license

Once you have completed the previous steps, you will receive your license as an ISW in Wisconsin. 

Steps to Become a Clinical Social Worker (CSW)

Pursuing a CSW license in Wisconsin means you need to earn either an MSW or DSW with a concentration in clinical social work. This means you completed at least one course in psychopathology in social work and two theory and practice courses such as psychopharmacology, case management or clinical assessment.

1. Complete clinical social work experience

You need at least 3,000 hours of supervised social work practice in order to apply for this license in Wisconsin, including at least 1,000 hours of face-to-face experience.

2. Complete the application

The application process for a CSW requires the same documentation as with an ISW. Official transcripts should also be included. If you are licensed in another state, you should also include letters from the applicable state licensing board, and the fee is $135. Additional forms are required if you have any existing or pending convictions, as well as malpractice suits.

3. Pass the ASWB exam

If looking to become a CSW, you are required to complete the clinical ASWB examination. 

4. Receive your license

Once you have completed the previous steps, you will receive your license as a CSW in Wisconsin.

Learn more about how to become a social worker.

Social Work Degree Programs in Wisconsin

There are 15 accredited bachelor’s degree programs in Wisconsin. A bachelor’s degree in social work can enable a student to enter an advanced standing program in an MSW program, where you may be able to complete an MSW in around one year. A BSW also prepares students for entry-level social work positions, such as caseworkers or mental health assistants. A minimum of a bachelor’s in social work is needed in order to become a social worker in Wisconsin.

An MSW is required for most licenses offered in Wisconsin. There are five fully accredited MSW programs in the state. Some social workers pursue a doctorate in social work, which may open pathways to leadership roles and social work research. 

Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, Master of Social Work degree programs offer a variety of concentration options. There are full-time, part-time and advanced standing MSW programs available as well, so you can find a tailored program that best suits your needs.

Online MSW Programs in Wisconsin

Unfortunately, there are no CSWE-accredited online MSW programs offered by schools based in Wisconsin. That being said, aspiring social workers in Wisconsin may nevertheless be able to attend online MSW programs offered by schools in other states, depending on their specific admissions requirements.

Learn more about advanced standing online Master of Social Work programs, online MSW programs for aspiring Clinical Social Workers and online Master of Social Work Programs

Social Work Salaries for Wisconsin

Wisconsin Social Work CareersNumber of Social Workers in Wisconsin Annual Mean Social Work Salary
Child, family and school social workers
5,310
$48,910
Healthcare social workers
4,290
$59,000
Mental health and substance abuse social workers
2,450
$51,070
Social workers, all other
1,450
$59,850

Information on the above social work salaries in Wisconsin was retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – Wisconsin in May 2022.

Learn more about social work salaries.

Wisconsin Social Work Scholarships

If you’re interested in attending a social work degree program in Wisconsin, there are social work scholarships that can help you pay for school. Be sure to check with your preferred university for other available financial aid options.

Wisconsin Social Work Organizations

Social workers in Wisconsin can connect with a variety of social work organizations. These groups provide networking opportunities, news and research about social work in the state, and job listings. If you are pursuing a degree in social work, your university may also offer social work organizations for students.

  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Wisconsin Chapter: Founded in 1955, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) works to enhance the development of its members. The Wisconcin chapter supports social workers in strengthening their relationships with the people of Wisconsin through the promotion of quality practice.
  • Wisconsin School Social Workers Association (WSSWA): This organization promotes the development of school-aged children and their families through social work practice. They also help promote legislation that ensures the health and well-being of children and the quality of the social work profession.

FAQ

Does Wisconsin have social work reciprocity?

According to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, Wisconsin does have licensure by reciprocity, which allows social workers to apply for a license in Wisconsin based on an active license in another state.

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

According to the Wisconsin DSPS, the social work continuing education (CE) requirements in Wisconsin are 30 hours of CE in the first full two-year period after licensure. Four of those 30 hours must be in ethics and professional boundaries. These requirements do not apply to the first license renewal.

Learn more about continuing education for social workers.

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

Look up your social work license in Wisconsin through the DSPS Credential/License Search. Users must enter their last name, first name, credential/license number and profession.

Last updated March 2022.