The Best Social Work Degrees in Florida

Florida offers many benefits for social workers, including projected employment growth rates that exceed national averages, competitive wages, and a state social work consortium focused on collaboration between Florida’s agencies, community organizations, and universities.

Learn more about the best social work graduate programs in Florida, how to become a social worker, and potential salaries.

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Becoming a Social Worker in Florida

The Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling licenses social workers who have completed a master of social work (MSW) program in Florida. The board offers two license categories — licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and certified master social worker (CMSW) — each with its own requirements.

To become a licensed social worker in Florida, you need a master of social work (MSW) accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), including any of the programs listed below. You also need 1-2 years of post-master’s experience under the supervision of an LCSW and a passing score on the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) advanced generalist or clinical examination.

The Best Social Work Programs in Florida

Our list of the best overall social work degrees features public and private schools that offer on-campus and online MSW programs in Florida. These programs also offer bachelor of social work (BSW) degrees, which can lead to advanced standing admission to an MSW program and accelerated completion times.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best social work schools in Florida, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.


University of South Florida

  • Location-markerTampa, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,559
  • Out-of-state$15,473
  • Retention Rate92%
  • Acceptance Rate49%
  • Students Enrolled50,626
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment90%
  • AccreditationYes

University of Central Florida

  • Location-markerOrlando, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,478
  • Out-of-state$19,810
  • Retention Rate92%
  • Acceptance Rate45%
  • Students Enrolled71,881
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment9%
  • AccreditationYes

Saint Leo University

  • Location-markerSaint Leo, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$23,990
  • Out-of-state$23,990
  • Retention Rate64%
  • Acceptance Rate73%
  • Students Enrolled9,832
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes

Barry University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$30,600
  • Out-of-state$30,600
  • Retention Rate68%
  • Acceptance Rate65%
  • Students Enrolled7,515
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment23%
  • AccreditationYes

How Much Will it Cost to Get My Degree in Social Work?

A four-year bachelor’s degree is required for entrance into an MSW program in Florida. According to National Center for Education Statistics data for 2020-2021, the national average cost of a bachelor’s degree was $9,400 at a public school. The average tuition and fees at private, nonprofit schools was $37,600.

MSW programs in Florida tuition ranges from $300-$400 per credit hour for in-state residents and more than $1,000 per credit hour for out-of-state students. Some programs charge distance learners the same tuition rate as in-state, on-campus students, while others bill higher for online study. Distance learners can save money on costs, such as gas, parking, housing, and meals.

How Much Will I Make as a Social Worker in Florida?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers in Florida earned the following wages as of May 2022:

Social Work Jobs & Salaries in Florida
OccupationMedian Hourly Wage (FL)Average Annual Wage (FL)
Child, Family, and School Social Workers$22.21$49,910
Healthcare Social Workers$26.08$55,270
Mental Health and Substance Misuse Social Workers$22.16$47,520
Social Workers, All Others$25.25$55,990

Source: BLS, 2022

2021 BLS data reports a nationwide median salary for social workers of $50,390, and average wages for many Florida social workers exceed this amount. Salaries can vary by geographical location, regional cost of living, specialization area, and type of employer.

For example, Florida’s 2022 cost-of-living index of 102.8 ranks as the 32nd lowest among U.S. states and sits just above the national average. The costs of things like housing, food, and transportation can impact salaries.

At the national level, healthcare social workers earn more than those specializing in mental health and substance misuse or child, family, and school social work. Local governments pay social workers more than individual and family service providers. These trends tend to carry over to state-level wages.

Job Outlook with a Social Work Degree

Compared with the national average, Florida’s projected job growth rate is more robust in all social work categories measured by Projections Central for 2020-2030. The national outlook identifies a continued need for healthcare social workers as the population ages and for mental health and substance misuse social workers as more people seek treatment and drug offenders are sent to treatment centers instead of jail.

Florida’s employment outlook tracks toward a nearly 18% projected job growth increase for both healthcare and mental health/substance misuse social workers. This correlates with research showing Florida as having the second highest percentage of older adults among U.S. states at 21.9% and that the Florida judicial system is steering drug arrestees into treatment.

Social Work Career Outlook
Occupation2021-2031 Growth Projections (US)2020-2030 Growth Projections (FL)
Child, Family, and School Social Workers+9%+15.3%
Healthcare Social Workers+8%+17.8%
Mental Health and Substance Misuse Social Workers+11%+17.9%
Social Workers, All Others+3%+7%

Source: BLS, Projections Central, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Social Work

How much do social workers make in Florida?

Mental health and substance misuse social workers earn average annual salaries of $47,520; child, family, and school social workers make $49,910; healthcare social workers bring in $55,270, and all other social workers average $55,990.

Are social workers in demand in Florida?

A nationwide shortage of social workers extends to Florida. Job outlooks for mental health and substance misuse social workers and healthcare social workers are approaching an 18% increase. Child, family, and school social worker projections exceed 15%.

How long does it take to become a social worker in Florida?

To become a licensed social worker in Florida, you need to spend about four years earning a bachelor’s degree and another 1-2 years completing an MSW program. You will also add 1-2 years of supervised post-master’s experience and time to study for and take the ASWB exam.

How do I get a social work license in Florida?

First, you must earn your MSW, complete your post-master’s supervised field experience, and pass the ASWB’s advanced generalist or clinical exam. Then, you can apply for your LCSW or CMSW license with the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling.