Social Work Degrees in Arizona

Social work is a hands-on practice of social justice, which is carried out by alleviating inadequate living conditions of those in need. These professionals serve clients by providing counseling, education, access to resources, and therapy. Social workers often examine parenting skills, relationship dynamics, community and home environments, and family structure. Interacting with people is at the core of social work, and professionals should anticipate working with people of all ages from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Earning a social work degree opens up many opportunities for graduates, and Arizona has one of the largest labor forces for social work

There are many ways to earn a social work degree in Arizona. Coursework for social work programs target applicable psychology content, sociology, federal and state policies, statistics, inclusion and diversity, leadership, ethics, and much more. Earning a social work degree opens up many opportunities for graduates, and Arizona has one of the largest labor forces for social work.

As a licensed social worker, you can find work in many settings, including human service agencies, hospitals, and community development organizations. This career path also prepares graduates for administration and leadership roles in government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. To become a licensed clinical social worker in Arizona, you will need to have at least a master's degree in social work.

Professionals are prepared for social work positions with a bachelor's and master's degree. At the bachelor's level, students should select a program that has a regional accreditation or one that is supported by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This degree is good for entry-level social work positions and provides a foundation for advancement. If a practitioner would like more extensive training and a competitive advantage among other professionals, or if you have a bachelor's degree in a different field, obtaining a master's degree in social work is the next step. A master's degree is mandatory for professionals who plan to become clinical social works.

Students must pass the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) exam in order to practice. Exams are offered at the bachelor's, master's, and clinical levels. The clinical exam requires that students have a minimum of 3,200 hours and two years of experience before applying. There is no permanent social work license, and professionals need to apply for renewal every two years, which requires 30 credit hours of continuing education to ensure practitioners are aware of current methods and practices. If a social worker's license is not renewed within two years of expiring, they will permanently lose it.

An associate degree in social work takes two years to complete and prepares students for support positions. A four-year degree qualifies students to take the first ASWB exam to become a licensed practitioner. This exposes emerging professionals to higher-paying, entry-level positions. A master's degree prepares learners for the ASWB exam and to become a licensed social worker. Many master's degrees also prepare students to become clinical social workers. Students can earn this degree in one year through accelerated programs. Doctoral programs are terminal and can be completed in three years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social work positions are projected increase by 16% from 2016 to 2026.

Associate Degree
Students explore psychology and sociology content. This degree also introduces students to concepts regarding human welfare and the personalized needs of communities, families, and individuals. Graduate qualify for social work support jobs, such as community outreach associate, intake specialist, probation officer, social work assistant, and case management assistant.
Bachelor's Degree
Students are trained to work with underserved populations. Coursework focuses on topics such as human behavior, social welfare policies, culture and diversity training, and methods of research. This degree level prepares students for entry-level positions in social work. Graduates can obtain positions such as case manager, adoption agency administrator, juvenile court liaison, and mental health assistant.
Master's Degree
Coursework provides a base knowledge of social policy, clinical practice, and relevant psychology topics. Second-year students focus on their specialization areas, which could be youth and families, mental health, or aging societies. A master of social work qualifies professionals for administrative titles such as program director, clinical group worker, family practitioner, and marriage and family therapist.
Doctoral Degree
This degree teaches students advanced clinical practices, research, and leadership to ensure they are capable of creating impact, influencing emerging leaders, and actively improving social work practices. This degree is terminal, providing access to senior-level positions such as a clinical director, nonprofit executive, clinical social worker, and university professor.

Social work is a field that allows practitioners to create impact in many ways by working with people from all backgrounds and ages. It is also a field that allows students to explore a specific cause or passion along with the foundational information, which leads to graduates becoming subject-matter experts. Concentrations prepare students for specialized professions, including medical facilities, schools, nonprofit organizations, the military, local government, research facilities, and universities. Below is a list of concentrations that you may encounter.

Child and Family Social Worker

In this role, you will advocate for children and families who are in need. This may entail applying for food stamps or identifying suitable housing arrangements. These social workers intervene when clients are in dangerous situations.

School Social Worker

Working full time at a school, this role requires collaboration between school employees, children, and families. You will create action plans to enhance student performance and social skills, while intervening when danger or neglect is present.

Healthcare Social Worker

This position is carried out within hospitals and the homes of patients. Educating clients about their diagnoses is a major responsibility in addition to helping them acclimate into their home environment.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker

The primary task of this position is to uncover hidden ailments, while providing information and solutions to people with mental illnesses or addictions. Job settings include hospitals, residential treatment centers, and clinics.

All states use the ASWB licensing exams. While there are four tests offered, many states do not use all of them. In Arizona, the three levels offered are the clinical (LCSW), master's (LMSW), and bachelor's (LBSW) exams. Professionals with an LSBW may practice non-clinical social work under direct supervision unless 3,200 hours of supervised social work experience has been completed within a two year timeframe.

Arizona allows applicants to take the exam twice per year

It is important to note that clinical practice requires social workers to have at least a master's degree. At the master's level, graduates will also need to complete 3,200 hours of supervised social work experience within a two year time period, and 1,600 of those hours must be direct client interaction. Once a graduate has begun the licensing process, they qualify for a temporary license to begin working. Arizona allows applicants to take the exam twice per year. If the test is failed, the temporary license immediately expires and the applicant will have to apply for another temporary license after reapplying for the exam.

Social workers can also obtain certifications from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). However, these certifications are not the equivalent of a license because they do not legally support the practice. Certificates enhance the credibility of a licensed social worker because they are voluntary and represent that a social worker has a deeper knowledge of a specific content area than what is covered under a typical license. Furthermore, certificate issues by NASW are designed to meet ethical practice standards, which are often sought out by employers. Certificates are typically renewed every two years.

Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials

Prospective social work students should consider state licensure requirements, cost, and location when researching programs. In general, an undergraduate degree in social work costs about $55,000 from a public university. At the graduate level, students can anticipate paying around $35,000 for their degree, which can be completed in two years. Students can continue their education by obtaining a doctorate in social work, which costs between $30,000 and $60,000 and can be completed in two years.

Learners with busy schedules and family or work obligations should check whether a program is offered online or in a hybrid format. These formats allow for more scheduling flexibility, and many online programs are taught asynchronously.

Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in Arizona?

The CSWE evaluates online social work degrees across the United States. Students who are unable to attend school face-to-face can enroll in online social work programs in Arizona. Arizona State University offers a hybrid CSWE-accredited bachelor's program. For in-person coursework, students can choose to attend in Phoenix or Tucson, and fieldwork can be completed throughout Arizona. ASU also offers an online MSW program, which can be completed in two years if attended full time. At Northern Arizona University, a completely online BSW is offered. This university is also accredited by CSWE. All accredited online degrees undergo the same evaluation process as in-person programs. The CWSE does not accredit associate or doctoral programs, so if online degrees are offered at these levels, students should look into the school's regional accreditations.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in Arizona?

A BSW takes four years of full-time study to complete, while an MSW takes about two years of full-time study to complete. Learners can earn a DSW in two to six years. There are a few factors that will affect program length. Programs that allow students to finish work at their own pace can often be completed at an accelerated pace by taking more than the average amount of credits per term. Other program are offered in a synchronous, cohort format, which requires student to complete course material at the same pace as their peers. These types of programs often take longer to complete.

How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in Arizona?

Arizona State University offers a BSW and an MSW. A bachelor's degree takes four years to complete and in-state tuition costs $43,168, while the online program costs $49,752. ASU in-state graduate program fees are $23,336 for on-campus learning and $24,972 for online learning. Northern Arizona University also offers an accredited BSW program on campus and online. Tuition at the Flagstaff campus costs $41,560 for Arizona residents, while online students pay $42,456.

Students should also factor in costs to obtain licenses. Each exam has an application fee, a license fee, an ASWB fee, and a renewal fee. Each license requires hours of continued education, which is an additional cost that varies depending on the institution it is completed at. In Arizona, the LCSW application fee is $250, the license fee is $250, and the ASWB fee is $260. Every two years the license must be renewed, which costs $350, along with 30 of continuing education. The LMSW exam requires $250 for the application, $100 for the license, $230 for the ASWB, and $350 for the renewal. The LBSW is $250 for the application, $100 for the license, $230 for the ASWB, and $350 for the renewal.

Directory of Social Work Programs in Arizona

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Social work is a diverse field that allows professionals to work with people in many different settings. There are many career paths to explore depending upon personal interests. Social work positions include counseling, intervention, and community development. Practitioners can be found in hospitals, military bases, and nursing homes. Social workers are empathetic people who provide assistance and solutions to underserved populations. Below, are a few common social work careers.

Child, Family, and School Social Worker

These professionals uncover problems within a child's home and develop intervention plans the are in the best interest of the minor. Solutions might include coursework to improve parenting skills or alternative homes for children.

Healthcare Social Workers

Practitioners of this specialty are in high demand due to the rising elderly population. These clients require professionals who understand how to handle new treatments and educate their families on strategic methods to provide quality care.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Social workers in this field are passionate about uncovering effective treatment for people with mental illness and addiction issues. These professionals work to prevent people with illnesses from ending up in correctional facilities that do not address their needs.

Social and Community Service Managers

These professionals develop innovative ways to engage the aging population in activity and work to provide around the clock care if the client does not have family to support them.

Medical and Health Service Managers

Social workers fulfilling these roles organize and manage medical processes and records. They are also responsible for developing departmental goals and communicating with other department heads.

Median Salaries and Employment For Social Work Specialties in Arizona

  Employment Annual Mean Wage
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 1,570 $46,810
Healthcare Social Workers 280 $67,450
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers 620 $47,350
Social Workers, All Other 190 $59,270
Source: BLS

Because there is a growing need for professionals in all areas of social work, students have many opportunities to apply to scholarships. While some of the scholarships are specific to Arizona or particular schools in Arizona, there are many national organizations who offer funds to aspiring social workers at varying levels.

Social Work Scholarships

Ann Weaver Nicholas Scholarship Endowment $500

Who Can Apply: Students who are interested in promoting social change to underserved populations are welcome to apply. Students who can prove a financial need or who are currently raising children as single parents are encouraged to apply. View Scholarship

American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work Varies

Who Can Apply: ABE is a national organization that supports qualitative practice of social work. Any graduate student in their first or second year may apply. View Scholarship

Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial MSW Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Graduate-level students working with American Indians, Alaskan Natives, or Hispanic populations are welcome to apply. Candidates should also have experience working with nonprofit or grassroots organizations in the United States. View Scholarship

Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial MSW Scholarship $5,500

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available to students completing their MSW who are interested in mental health practice, specifically working with the African American community. View Scholarship

The Senior Care Scholarship $3,000

Who Can Apply: Students who are interested in working with aging populations can apply for this award. Students must be permanent residents of the United States or Canada and be currently enrolled in courses at an accredited university. View Scholarship

Bethesda Scholarship $3,000

Who Can Apply: Lutheran students pursuing an undergraduate degree in a content area that serves populations with intellectual and developmental disabilities may apply. Students should be classified as a freshman, sophomore, or junior at an accredited university. View Scholarship
  • NASW-Arizona Chapter The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has more than 120,000 members. NASW's mission is to improves and uphold professional standards. This organization provides resources for social workers to assist with improving professional practices in all specialty areas.
  • City of Phoenix The city of Phoenix provides information and access to housing programs and social services to victims of crime, parents, and individuals with disabilities. As a local resource, Arizona social work professionals have access to relevant resources to help their clients.
  • Social Work Helper This organization is dedicated to providing tools, current information, and supporting social justice. Social Work Helper believes in an interdisciplinary approach to discuss relevant topics and spread news. Professionals are welcome to submit articles, resources, and provide feedback to improve the quality of the newsletters and website.
  • Arizona Center for Disability Law ACDL is a nonprofit organization that focuses on protecting the rights of people with disabilities. ACDL provides legal services, free information, training, and outreach services to the community.
  • Clinical Social Work Association CSWA is a national organization that provides vital services, products, and support for social workers on the clinical path. Members of this organization consist of professionals at varying levels of their career, which makes it a great resource for networking and mentoring.