Social workers help individuals overcome obstacles within daily lives. From abuse and neglect to navigating healthcare during a severe illness, social workers can bring families and individuals together through services and agencies that help them cope with life circumstances. Clinical social workers can also diagnose mental, behavioral, and emotional issues through counseling.
the Connecticut Department of Social Services launched an initiative to improve social work services and build the public and private partnerships necessary to achieve lasting change in the community
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the need for social workers to grow by 16% through 2026. In fact, the Connecticut Department of Social Services launched an initiative to improve social work services and build the public and private partnerships necessary to achieve lasting change in the community. Social workers provide essential services to communities facing issues of addiction, poverty, and crime. These jobs may be found in treatment facilities, schools, social welfare offices, hospitals, or jails.
In addition to being compassionate and able to work with a variety of individuals, social workers need excellent communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills. A social work degree in Connecticut can help you join the ranks of these dedicated professionals. While many schools offer associate and bachelor's degrees in social work, related disciplines, such as sociology or psychology, can be helpful when pursuing advanced study. Prospective students interested in clinical social work must also plan on earning at least a master's degree and passing a rigorous national exam in social work ethics and practice.
How to Become a Social Worker in Connecticut
Many prospective social workers start their education with a bachelor's degree. The curriculum offers a broad overview of the field and helps students prepare to work with individuals and families in need of support or intervention services. Students may benefit from courses in closely related fields, such as child development, psychology, and sociology. Students gain a high-level understanding of social justice and the social service delivery system. Most students complete a practicum or supervised field work to gain a better understanding of what their work will entail.
States require clinical social workers to earn at least a master's degree to prepare students for evaluating and treating clients. The advanced education also qualifies students for professional designations upon graduation, which can be helpful when looking for employment. Many programs offer specialized tracks that allow students to gain more experience and understanding in a particular practice area, such as urban issues or age-related services.
While an undergraduate degree in social work may be helpful, many schools do not require it for admission to a master's program. Master's programs also require students to complete internships, working closely with licensed social workers or assisting community organizations. Following graduation, Connecticut law requires prospective social workers to apply for a license as a master's level social worker (MLSW), paying required fees and passing the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) master's-level exam. Before earning the title of licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), individuals must complete 3,000 hours of clinical practice, pay appropriate fees to the state's Department of Public Health, and pass the ASWB's clinical-level examination. License applications do require a background check. Once licensed, social workers must complete 15 hours of continuing education each year, including specified training in issues related to veterans mental health.
Types of Social Work Degrees in Connecticut
Students seeking a social work degree in Connecticut have the option of earning a two-year associate degree or up to a doctoral degree requiring at least six years of study. While entry-level jobs as residential aides or social work assistants may accept an associate degree, Connecticut requires minimum education standards to work with clients in a clinical setting. The state requires a minimum of a master's degree for MLSW licensure or LCSW licensure. Applicants must also complete lengthy periods of supervised practice.
While continued higher education may cost more, advanced degrees provide social workers with opportunities for higher paying and more diverse career opportunities. Online social work programs in Connecticut can allow students to continue working while pursuing additional education. Many programs also offer specializations that would qualify students to work with specific populations, which may provide greater job satisfaction and command a higher salary.
- Associate Degree
- While earning this degree, students gain a basic understanding of the principles and ethics of social work and introductory courses in psychology or sociology. The two-year degree also includes general education requirements in English, history, and science. Once complete, students may find work as an assistant in a social welfare agency or a residential counselor.
- Bachelor's Degree
- The final two years of a four-year bachelor's program offer in-depth study of social work practice, introduction to research methods, supervised field practice, and study of social welfare policy and services focused on at-risk populations. The undergraduate degree prepares students for generalist social work positions that do not involve clinical practice.
- Master's Degree
- Students may complete a master's degree in as little as one year if they have earned a bachelor's degree in social work. The curriculum includes a focus on evaluating, diagnosing, and treating clients through supervised field work and research projects. Connecticut accepts a master's degree for initial licensure in clinical social work.
- Doctoral Degree
- Students seeking advanced study in clinical social work or conducting research in the field may consider a doctoral degree. The degree may require two to three years to complete but prepares graduates for supervisory or leadership positions within social work organizations, such as director or management level jobs or a career in teaching and education.
Finding a Social Work Program in Connecticut
Students enjoy a variety of options when considering social work schools in Connecticut, from associate degrees at community colleges to schools offering doctoral degrees. A bachelor's degree in social work exposes students to the interconnecting fields of sociology, human behavior and development, policy, and research methods. Graduate programs often award undergraduates in social work with advanced standing in master's programs. This can shorten the time necessary to earn the master's degree by as much as a year.
When considering education options, look for schools accredited by the CSWE, as this is a requirement for licensure in Connecticut. Some schools offer specializations in areas of healthcare, urban service, and child and adolescent welfare, which allows students to stand out from other applicants when seeking employment. Master's programs often include internship opportunities and hands-on work experiences with agencies located close to the university. Doctoral programs focus more on research and applied social work practice.
Tuition varies by the type of college selected. Public community colleges offering associate degrees often boast the lowest tuition rates, while private universities may charge per semester. Online social work degrees may offer an alternative for students looking to balance work and family demands with continued education.
Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in Connecticut?
Online social work degrees provide prospective social workers the opportunity to complete their education without the need to commute to campus or attend classes at set times each week. Earning an online degree does not affect a student's ability to apply for a clinical license in Connecticut, so long as the program holds accreditation from the CSWE. The CSWE ensures schools meet industry standards for a rigorous and relevant educational experience and properly prepares graduates to take their place among the ranks of social work professionals. The accreditation process includes self-studies and site visits to the home campus.
In addition to the specialized accreditation, students should make sure any school they attend is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Students starting their degrees at a community college may want assurance their core academic credits will transfer to a four-year school.
Individuals seeking to work in clinical social work must plan on earning at least a master's degree. Online program coordinators can work with students to find field experience sites close to their homes, working with area schools, counseling centers, or healthcare facilities. When possible, schools seek to place students in facilities that match their career goals as closely as possible.See The Best Online MSW Programs
How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in Connecticut?
Schools offering accredited social work degrees must ensure students take relevant courses and complete required hours in hands-on learning experience. An associate degree requires 60 credits, completed in two years if attending school full time, while a bachelor's degree typically requires 120 hours with 40 or more hours related to the major.
Earning an undergraduate degree in social work may qualify students for advanced standing in a master's program, significantly reducing the time needed to complete a master's. Some graduate programs require students to commit to the program full time, though online programs often offer flexibility in scheduling and degree completion. Field experience requirements can vary from 400 hours for a bachelor's degree to more than 1,000 hours for a master's degree. After education completion, Connecticut requires 3,000 hours of post-master's social work experience, 100 of which are supervised by a licensed clinical or certified independent social worker. This requirement often takes about two years to complete.
How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in Connecticut?
The cost of your education can vary considerably from school to school. Students may consider attending a community college for the first two years, satisfying core academic credits, and transfer to a four-year school to complete a bachelor's degree. CollegeBoard reported the average annual cost of attending a two-year public college in Connecticut at $4,306, compared to $12,392 per year at a public four-year school.
Many master's programs take two years to complete, and schools charge more for these graduate-level courses. Some programs may be completed in as little as one year. Students seeking a doctoral degree need to plan on spending another two to three years in school. Most social work graduate programs do not require students to take the Graduate Record Exam, looking instead at undergraduate studies and field experience. Students seeking state licensure will also need to pay a $315 application fee and fees for the Association of Social Work Boards exam -- $230 for bachelor's or master's level exam and $260 for an advanced generalist or clinical exam. Once licensed, Connecticut requires a $195 renewal fee and at least 15 hours of continuing education each year.
Directory of Social Work Programs in Connecticut
Types of Social Work Licenses in Connecticut
Social workers assist individuals during some of the most challenging moments in their lives. To this end, Connecticut has established educational and practice standards to serve clients in clinical settings. However, Connecticut does not require social workers in non-clinical settings to carry a license, such as individuals developing policy and planning, researching, or practicing community organization.
The state requires applicants for clinical social worker licenses to earn at least a master's degree
Social work schools in Connecticut help students meet these requirements by offering programs recognized by the Council on Social Work Education. This national association evaluates the curriculum and faculty at individual schools to ensure students receive a quality education. The state requires applicants for clinical social worker licenses to earn at least a master's degree. Connecticut offers two categories for licensed social workers: MLSW and LCSW. An MLSW must earn their degree from an accredited program and pass the ASWB master's-level exam. This licensure allows the individual to begin working toward a clinical license, which requires 3,000 hours of work experience. Most applicants take about two years to complete this requirement. Passing the ASWB clinical exam completes this process. Once licensed, social workers must meet ongoing educational requirements each year.
While states require licenses and set minimum standards, social workers may also seek voluntary credentials and certifications. Employers may require certifications, which require additional training and experience. The NASW offers professional certifications and advanced practice specialties, such as case management or addiction social work. Any practicing social worker with the required education and experience may apply for specialty certification, with professional designations reserved for members of the association. Much like state licensure, certifications also require ongoing education and application fees.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker
Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials
Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM)
Certified Advanced Children, Youth, and Family Social Worker (C-ACYFSW)
Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Social Worker (C-CATODSW)
Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology (CSW-G)
Certified School Social Work Specialist (C-SSWS)
Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker (ACHP-SW)
Career and Salary Outlook for Social Work Degree Graduates
When pursuing careers in social work, individuals should consider the population they wish to serve. Careers vary from child welfare social workers providing intervention services to children and families in crisis to mental health workers helping patients and their families access vital services. Professionals require the ability to work with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and must be detail-oriented in order to keep meticulous records. Some social workers may help diagnose and treat mental illness in conjunction with licensed physicians or psychologists.
Social WorkersSocial workers serve in social service agencies, charitable organizations, schools, healthcare centers, or other agencies that help clients overcome challenges. Education and experience can increase earning potential, with faster-than-average job growth expected.
Licensed Clinical Social WorkerThe LCSW career requires advanced education and state licensure. As such, this career pays higher than entry-level positions. LCSW operates as a mental health professional that also assists patients with barriers they may face, such as employment or housing needs.
Medical Social WorkerHealthcare organizations may require a master's degree for this position, which involves working directly with patients and their families. Social workers need good interpersonal and communication skills and organizational abilities to address a variety of patient needs, from transportation to accessing healthcare services.
Case ManagerCase managers operate in a supervisory role, often coordinating several areas of care for clients. In addition to advanced education, applicants need hands-on experience working with clients and advanced knowledge of social welfare program guidelines.
Geriatric Social WorkerGeriatric social workers provide clinical support to clients dealing with issues of aging, from locating appropriate care to psychological effects of aging. Most employers seek candidates with at least a master's degree combined with continuing education related to geriatric care.
Median Salaries and Employment For Social Work Specialties in Connecticut
|Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||5,530||$67,780|
|Healthcare Social Workers||2,170||$69,840|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||1,910||$62,800|
|Social Workers, All Other||750||$61,000|
Scholarships for Social Work Majors in Connecticut
Scholarships offer students the opportunity to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses when pursuing a degree. These awards often consider a student's academic ability, professional aptitude, and financial need. Unlike loans, these awards do not have to be paid back. Scholarships may be offered by national or state professional associations, national philanthropic organizations, or by individual colleges.
Social Work Scholarships
Elizabeth I. and Louis J. Matt Scholarship Varies
Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund Varies
Senior Wisdom Video Scholarship $1,000
Lutheran Student Scholarship and Service Scholarship $3,000
Resources for Social Work Students in Connecticut
- National Alliance of Social Workers-Connecticut Chapter NASW-CT advocates on behalf of the social work profession, sponsoring legislation and providing continuing education opportunities. NASW-CT also offers a directory of employment opportunities and holds regular conferences. Committees and networks connect professionals in a variety of specializations and concerns.
- CT Community Nonprofit Alliance This alliance brings together the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits and the Connecticut Community Providers Association to advocate on behalf of community nonprofits across the state, while providing assistance in governance issues, professional development opportunities, and advice for nonprofit management. A director of member organizations assists social workers looking for targeted help for a client and provides information on employment opportunities with organizations across the state.
- Mental Health Connecticut MHConn offers community-based resources and networking for individuals working in mental health fields, including advocacy for improved mental health services for residents of Connecticut. In addition, the organization provides case management services for more than 3,200 individuals trying to overcome mental health barriers.
- School Social Workers Association of America The national organization promotes social workers specializing in school and education. Members benefit from access to employment resources, professional development opportunities, and information on the latest developments in social work. SSWAA also supports legislation and advocacy for the role of social workers in academic settings, networking, and collaborative opportunities.
- Council on Social Work Education CSWE maintains a database of more than 800 accredited social work programs. Connecticut requires a degree from a CSWE-accredited program for state licensure. In addition, the organization advocates for national policies to improve the quality of social work education.