Social workers act as counselors and mediators, and they facilitate important care and services for those in need. These professionals work with clients from various backgrounds and demographics and connect individuals to welfare, mental health services, and other types of emotional and physical aid. Aspiring social workers must earn at least a bachelor's degree. A social work degree provides specialized training in areas such as communication, psychology, and public health. Individuals who wish to become licensed clinical social workers must earn a graduate degree and meet state testing and licensing requirements.
Social workers in Delaware earn a mean annual salary of $60,570, higher than the national average. BLS
Most social workers in Delaware earn a comfortable living; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers in the state earn a mean annual salary of $60,570, higher than the national average. Nationally, the BLS projects jobs in social work to increase 16% by 2026, much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. After earning a social work degree in Delaware, graduates qualify for positions in areas including substance abuse counseling, children and family services, marriage and family therapy, and school guidance counseling. This page includes an introduction to the social work field, information on steps to qualifying for social work positions, and insight into the social work schools in Delaware.
Like in most states, those who wish to practice social work as licensed clinicians in Delaware must complete prerequisites and requirements. Aspiring social workers and licensed counselors in the state must follow an application process, meet education requirements, and pass an examination to obtain licensure. Education requirements in Delaware typically include a master of social work from an institution with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The applicant must send college transcripts to the state board of social work, must undergo a background check, and must provide scores from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam.
Earning a graduate social work degree prepares students to become licensed social workers. Many master of social work curricula integrate licensure requirements, including exam preparation and supervised practice hours. Most states require practicum hours for licensure. The supervising licensed clinician must submit a reference form and the application for licensure to the state board office. Once licensed, Delaware social workers must renew their license by January 31 of each odd-numbered year.
Professionals with higher levels of social work degrees typically have more employment opportunities and higher earning potential. While an associate degree or a bachelor's of social work qualifies individuals for many positions in the field, jobs in clinical social work require a master's degree. Most students complete associate degrees in about two years, and bachelor's degrees generally require two additional years.
Graduate programs, such as a master's or doctorate, vary in length depending on coursework and degree requirements. Many students pursue online social work degrees because of the flexibility and because distance learning is an affordable path to earning a social work degree in Delaware. Below are common degrees for students planning to pursue careers in social work.
- Associate Degree
- Associate degrees provide foundational knowledge and skills, often through general education courses. An associate degree in social work is ideal for students who plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in the field, as an associate degree does not provide the necessary credentials to become a social worker.
- Bachelor's Degree
- A BSW qualifies holders for entry-level social work positions, but does not provide the required credentials for licensed practice. Learners gain the foundation necessary to pursue graduate studies and licensure.
- Master's Degree
- An MSW prepares students to become licensed, practicing social work clinicians. Master's programs cover topics such as counseling and psychology. Learners prepare for licensing exams and complete supervised clinical hours. Candidates for licensure in Delaware must hold a bachelor's degree.
- Doctoral Degree
- Only a master of social work is required to practice in the field, but some professionals elect to pursue a doctoral degree. Individuals may pursue a DSW, which emphasizes clinical practice, or a Ph.D. in social work, which emphasizes research.
A social work degree provides the foundational skills needed for a variety of specialized careers. Many online social work programs in Delaware offer concentrations that prepare students for careers in specific areas, working with particular types of clients. Below are examples of common social work specializations, with descriptions of related careers.
Child and Family Social Worker
School Social Worker
Healthcare Social Worker
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
Unlike many other states, Delaware does not regulate the practice of non-clinical social workers in the state. As such, there are no education requirements for many entry-level jobs in the field, but employers may still prefer to hire candidates who have received at least a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field.
Clinical social workers, however, must apply for a license from the Delaware Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners. To become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), you must have at least a master's degree from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). After earning your degree, you must then complete 1,200 hours of supervised, clinical experience and 2,000 hours of unsupervised experience.
Unlike many other states, Delaware does not regulate the practice of non-clinical social workers in the state.
You must also pass a criminal background check and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) clinical exam, which costs $260. This exam consists of 170 multiple choice questions, and most people finish well within the four hour time limit. The test covers subjects such as the theories of human development through the lifespan, crisis intervention and treatment approaches, and legal and ethical issues in the field of social work. If you do not pass, you must wait 90 days before you can retake the examination.
Although the state does not require licensure for non-clinical social workers, professionals in this field may seek out voluntary certifications to improve their job prospects and boost earnings. For example, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the industry's leading professional organization, offers a variety of credentials and certifications to help you demonstrate your expertise in a particular area of practice. Social workers can seek out NASW certifications in areas like gerontology, veteran care, or substance abuse management.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials
Certified Social Work Case Manager
Certified Advanced Children, Youth, and Family Social Worker
Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Social Worker
Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology
Certified School Social Work Specialist
Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker
Students have a variety of options for earning a social work degree in Delaware. By considering several important factors, prospective students can choose the best school for their goals and lifestyle. Cost is a crucial factor; learners should consider their budget when selecting a program. Some online programs offer reduced tuition rates, and distance learners often save on costs such as campus housing and transportation. However, online students should factor in the cost of purchasing necessary equipment, such as a laptop. Prospective students should also consider the school's location, as it affects available resources and internship locations.
Also consider your personal academic and career goals. Social work programs in Delaware require different amounts of time to complete; learners who want to enter the workforce quickly should choose an accelerated program. Factors including practicum requirements, available concentrations, and required coursework impact degree completion time. For online social work programs in Delaware, format also affects scheduling flexibility and completion time.
Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in Delaware?
Busy students can earn their social work degree in Delaware through flexible online programs. Students planning to practice social work in Delaware must earn at least a bachelor's degree, but many positions require a graduate degree in the field. Online programs are ideal for students who work full time, for those with personal responsibilities, and for learners who want to avoid a commute. Social workers in Delaware must hold a license to practice, and candidates for state licensure must have a degree. Many social work degrees are available entirely online, aside from any required supervised practice hours, which most distance learners complete locally.
Students should consider any prospective school's accreditation status. Most social work schools in Delaware hold regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Regional accreditation applies to all programs at the institution, including online programs. Students should also look for social work programs with approval from the CSWE, as most states require candidates for licensure to hold a degree from a CSWE-approved program.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in Delaware?
Although social work programs in Delaware may share some common features, curricula and requirements vary by school. A program's structure and requirements impact degree completion time. Many online social work programs in Delaware are cohort-based; learners begin the program with a small group of peers, called a cohort. Cohorts progress through the program at the same pace and graduate together. Other online programs are individually paced and allow students to complete coursework at their own speed. Individually paced programs provide the flexibility for learners to complete requirements more quickly.
Bachelor's programs typically require about 120 credits, which most learners complete in about four years.
Programs also have varying credit requirements. Programs that require more credits, and those that accept fewer transfer credits, may take longer to complete. MSW programs generally require about 60 credits, which most students complete in two to three years. Bachelor's programs typically require about 120 credits, which most learners complete in about four years. Degree completion time also depends on the student's pacing and enrollment status, so prospective students should consider both personal and programmatic factors when choosing the right online social work degree program for their goals and lifestyle.
How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in Delaware?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost of undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at a public higher education institution was $16,188 during the 2014-15 academic year. Online learning eliminates many of the traditional costs associated with attending college, including campus housing and transportation costs. However, earning a graduate degree, even online, often costs more per credit hour than undergraduate degrees.
Licensing requirements for social workers vary by state. Candidates for licensure in Delaware must pass a licensing exam and complete supervised practice hours. The ASWB offers the standard licensing exam, which costs $230-260, depending on exam option. Licensing fees also vary by state, and professionals pursuing additional credentials may pay fees for continuing education.
Directory of Social Work Programs in Delaware
Social work degrees provide students with skills that apply to a number of job fields. Graduates of social work schools in Delaware often possess a strong work ethic and excellent time management and mediation skills. Social workers often have a desire to contribute to their communities through service positions. The careers below are a few common options for professionals with social work degrees.
Marriage and Family TherapistsProfessionals with a master of social work may specialize in marriage and family therapy. These professionals help couples and families cope with social and emotional obstacles.
Rehabilitation CounselorsRehabilitation counselors are licensed professionals who work with clients undergoing rehabilitation for issues including substance abuse and physical trauma.
School and Career CounselorsSchool counselors work with students, often providing academic and social guidance and peer mediation. These professionals must typically have a graduate degree in social work.
Social WorkersSocial workers can practice in various roles, working with different types of clients in a variety of settings. While a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for some of these roles, a master's degree is the general standard for practice.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health CounselorsThese counselors work with clients dealing with substance abuse and other behavioral and social disorders. Depending on the setting, the role requires different levels of education. However, most positions require a master of social work.
Median Salaries and Employment For Social Work Specialties in Delaware
|Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||1,130||$39,870|
|Healthcare Social Workers||540||$55,560|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||390||$53,020|
|Social Workers, All Other||120||$60,570|
Students have many options for funding their online social work degree, including federal financial aid, private scholarships, and work-study programs. Scholarships are available to students pursuing degrees at all levels, and some organizations offer awards specifically for students attending social work programs in Delaware. Below are examples of scholarships reserved for aspiring social workers.
Social Work Scholarships
NASW-Delaware Chapter Scholarship $500
Delaware Scholarship Incentive Grant $1,000
Scholar Serve Award Up to $3,000
Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund $500
- Council on Social Work Education The CSWE accredits on-campus and online social work degree programs. The organization maintains a database of accredited programs and provides a job board, education resources, policy details, and information about events and meetings.
- Association of Social Work Boards ASWB administers the standard examination required of candidates for social work licenses in most states. The association provides online resources for educators and exam candidates, including exam information and preparation tools.
- Social Work Policy Institute SWPI provides tools and information for practicing social workers and students. SWPI offers information on research and policy pertaining to the field.
- National Association of Social Workers NASW provides information about practice, education, licensure, and trends in social work scholarship. The association hosts an annual conference and offers awards.
- Information for Practice Housed within NYU, Information for Practice serves as a hub of scholarship and information for social service students and professionals. The IP website provides scholarship and news.