Obtaining a Master of Social Work Online in Alabama
Generally, an Alabama MSW online takes about two years to complete. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, preferably in a social work field. Some professional social work experience may also help their applications stand out.
To learn about online MSW programs and social worker requirements in other states, explore our list of CSWE-accredited online MSW programs by state below:
CSWE-Accredited Online MSW Programs by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Can You Get an MSW Online in Alabama?
Those interested in learning how to become a social worker in Alabama might wonder whether getting an Alabama MSW online is possible. The short answer is yes, online MSW programs in Alabama are readily available. In fact, reputable colleges, like the University of Alabama, Troy University, and the University of North Alabama, offer MSW programs online.
In today's digital world, earning a degree online is generally considered as respectable as earning one in person. Online MSWs teach the same content as face-to-face programs and give learners practical experience that they can apply to their current or future workplaces. They're also designed to assist students with successfully passing their licensure exams with in-depth curricula led by skilled instructors.
How Do I Prepare for an MSW Program?
Before applying to an MSW program in Alabama, students should read through the school's admission requirements. Many schools require transcripts and a minimum GPA. However, others may require college entrance exams, like the GRE or GMAT, if a student's GPA doesn't meet its minimum requirements.
Applicants should also research financial aid opportunities or speak with a school's financial aid advisor. Applying for grants and scholarships or taking out student loans can help make graduate studies more affordable. Also, students can meet with an admissions counselor to determine what, if any, previously earned credits may apply to their master's degree to reduce their tuition further.
Alabama Online MSW Admission Requirements
Online MSW programs in Alabama usually require applicants to send their official transcripts from an accredited bachelor's degree program, preferably relevant to social work. Some admissions departments may require additional preparation coursework for students without a social work background. Candidates who don't meet the school's minimum GPA for admissions can sometimes still be considered if they pass the GRE or GMAT. Schools may also request a resume or statement of relevant social work experience and letters of recommendation from professional or academic sources.
MSW Careers in Alabama
Earning an Alabama MSW online can lead to several exciting careers in social work. Below are a few examples:
Clinical Social Worker
Clinical social workers diagnose and treat mental and behavioral illnesses. They also identify opportunities within their communities to address the prevention of mental health disorders. As clinical therapists, these social workers may work with individuals or families and coordinate treatment plans with healthcare providers as needed.
Health Education Specialist
Health education specialists educate their communities about health and wellness. They visit schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, and other community organizations to address health concerns, discuss resources, and provide training.
Social and Community Service Manager
As supervisors for one or multiple community programs, social and community service managers work with executives, stakeholders, and community leaders to implement, analyze, and improve current programs. They also supervise staff and budgets relevant to their assigned programs.
Alabama Social Work Licensure
To get an Alabama social work license, candidates must first complete a bachelor's in social work or master's program in social work approved by the CSWE. Depending on the chosen education level, candidates can then pursue the relevant licensure, including LBSW, LMSW, or LICSW.
The Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners is the governing board for licensure within the state. Candidates can apply to take their exam online through the Alabama Board of Social Work website, along with an official transcript that certifies their education. They may only take the exam after the board has approved their application and deemed them eligible for licensure. Candidates have up to one year to complete the exam after becoming eligible.
Licensed Master of Social Work
To become an LMSW in Alabama, a candidate must hold a master's or doctoral degree from a CSWE-accredited university and take an exam for the master's level. This process begins with an application for eligibility to take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Masters Exam. The Alabama state licensing board requires transcripts and documentation of a degree, along with a $75 fee for the application. Once a candidate is deemed eligible to get their license, the next step is to schedule and pass the examination.
The Master's Exam costs $230 and may be taken at any Pearson View testing center. The state licensing board will automatically receive the results of an exam and grant licensure with a passing score. LMSW holders can practice independently or pursue clinical work.
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
The LICSW is the highest level of licensure available for Alabama social work. This role requires a master's or doctoral degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited university and a current LMSW license. Additionally, candidates must have two years of post-graduate social work experience before seeking eligibility.
This licensure process begins with 24 months of work experience supervised by an LICSW, with a minimum of four hours each month. Once they complete the work experience, candidates can apply to take the ASWB Clinical Exam. Upon approval, candidates have one year to complete the exam and receive a passing grade. This clinical level exam costs $260 and is available at any Pearson View testing center.
LICSWs who wish to operate or practice in an independent clinic must also receive a Private Independent Practice (PIP) license. This license is optional and carries additional requirements beyond the LICSW. Candidates must have two years of full-time or three years of part-time work experience in a specified area of social work under a PIP-certified LICSW. Once they meet this work requirement, the LICSW can apply for PIP licensure and pay the $75 fee. No further testing is needed.
Social Work License Reciprocity in Alabama
To practice social work in Alabama, professionals with out-of-state licensure must apply for reciprocity in Alabama. They must also have a current license with all qualifications met. The licensure requirements of the home state must be equivalent to Alabama's requirements. Applicants must pay the $75 fee and apply online or by mail. The board also requires out-of-state applicants to provide a Verification of License form used to review licensing in the previous state.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Alabama social workers must fulfill 30 hours of continuing education every two years to renew their licenses. They may complete 20 of these hours through self-study or home-study programs. Three hours are required in ethics, and three hours must be in clinical social work education. Supervisors must also have three hours of supervision education to fulfill their requirements for renewal.
FAQs About Social Work in Alabama
How Do I Become a Social Worker in Alabama?
Alabama social workers must complete either a bachelor's or master's degree in social work before sitting for a licensure exam through the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners. License holders must renew their license every two years after completing at least 30 hours of continuing education.
How Much Does a Social Worker Make in Alabama?
According to BLS data from May 2021, the average social worker salary in Alabama is $69,050. However, your experience, education, and location within the state can influence your annual salary.
How Long Does It Take to Get Your MSW in Alabama?
A bachelor's degree in social work in Alabama typically takes four years to complete. This step is necessary to pursue an MSW, which usually adds another two years of coursework for full-time students.
Joining a professional organization can help Alabama MSW students expand their networks and gain valuable resources to advance their careers. The Alabama Society for Health Care Social Workers (ASHCSW) is one such organization that encourages regulation and growth for social work in healthcare settings. The Alabama Society for Clinical Social Work (ASCSW) is another option dedicated to mentorship and continuing education for the state's social work professionals.