The Best Social Work Degrees in Georgia
Georgia ranks among the fastest growing states in the U.S., increasing its population by 13.7% between 2010 and 2023. This rapid growth will expand the need for licensed social workers in a variety of specializations. Students who want to take advantage of these expanding opportunities can choose from several top-quality social work degrees in Georgia.
Explore this page about the best social work graduate programs in Georgia and how to prepare for licensure in the state.
Featured Online Programs in Social Work
Becoming a Social Worker in Georgia
The Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists issues two levels of social work licenses. Candidates for both the licensed master’s social worker (LMSW) and the licensed clinical master’s social worker (LCSW) credential must hold a master’s in social work (MSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Both types require candidates to submit an application to the state board and pass the appropriate licensure exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
However, each license has specific requirements leading to different career paths. The LMSW does not require work experience while LCSW candidates must complete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience. In Georgia, only LCSWs can practice independently in a clinical setting. BSW-holders may not obtain state licensure, but they can work in entry-level social positions under supervision and can use their degree as a springboard to an MSW program.
The Best Social Work Programs in Georgia
Georgia is home to several of the best online MSW programs. These rankings of the top CSWE-accredited social work degrees in Georgia can help you find a program that fits your needs and career goals.
Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best social work schools in Georgia, 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.
How Much Will it Cost to Get My Degree in Social Work?
Paying for your social work degree in Georgia depends on several factors, including the type of school you attend and your residency status. Private institutions generally cost more than publicly funded schools, but many public colleges and universities charge higher tuition rates to out-of-state learners.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, full-time graduate students attending public postsecondary schools in the U.S. in 2021-22 paid an average annual tuition of $10,949. Compared to the national average, Georgia offers very affordable tuition at its public schools. Full-time undergraduate students enrolled in the state’s public schools in 2020-2021 paid an average of $7,525 in annual tuition and fees.
Social work students should plan for other expenses in addition to tuition, including licensure application and ASWB exam fees. Online MSW programs in Georgia may save you money on living and transportation costs. However, you may have to pay technology fees and cover expenses for high-speed internet and computers that meet the hardware and software requirements. Distance learners may not qualify for the same scholarships as on-campus students.
How Much Will I Make as a Social Worker in Georgia?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers in Georgia earned the following wages as of May 2021:
|Occupation||Median Hourly Wage (GA)||Average Annual Wage (GA)|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||$20.82||$47,790|
|Healthcare Social Workers||$26.82||$57,640|
|Mental Health and Substance Misuse Social Workers||$23.06||$53,570|
|Social Workers, All Others||$33.59||$67,100|
Source: BLS, 2023
Several factors influence salaries, such as location and type of specialization. According to the BLS, the average annual salary for all social work specializations in the U.S. in 2021 was $50,390. In Georgia, child, family, and school social workers, healthcare social workers, and mental health and substance misuse social workers earn considerably less than the national average for each of these subareas.
However, Georgia’s low cost-of-living index compensates for its less competitive salaries. Georgia has the fifth-lowest cost of living in the nation, making it easier for individuals and families to cover basic expenses.
The highest paid social workers in Georgia are listed under the BLS category as “social workers, all other.” This category, which includes criminal justice, adult protective service, and forensic social workers, among other specialized positions, has an annual salary of $75,270, compared to the national average for this subarea of $64,360.
Job Outlook with a Social Work Degree
Georgia ranks as the 12th fastest growing state in the U.S, adding 1% each year to its population. This projected population growth will spur the demand for healthcare professionals of all kinds, including social workers.
Compared to the national employment projections for social workers, Georgia’s social workers can expect much greater employment opportunities from 2020 through 2030. Mental health and substance misuse social work positions could see the highest growth at 25% compared to 11% nationally. Healthcare social work positions may increase by 19% compared to 11% nationally, while child, family, and school social work by 18% compared to the national projection of 8%.
|Occupation||2021-2031 Growth Projections (US)||2020-2030 Growth Projections (GA)|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||+8%||+25.8%|
|Healthcare Social Workers||+11%||+19%|
|Mental Health and Substance Misuse Social Workers||+11%||+18%|
|Social Workers, All Others||+3%||+7.6%|
Frequently Asked Questions About Georgia Social Work
How much do social workers make in Georgia?
Several factors impact how much you can make as a social worker, including degree and licensure, specialization, experience, type of employer, and location. The highest paid social workers in Georgia include those in the BLS category of “social work, all other,” earring an annual average salary above $75,000 per year. The lowest paid, those in mental health and substance misuse positions, earn an average salary of less than $47,000.
Are social workers in demand in Georgia?
As Georgia’s population continues to increase, social workers can expect a promising job outlook through the next decade. According to Department of Labor occupational data, all social work specializations in the state are projected to grow at much higher rates from 2020-2030 than the national average. The employment growth projections are highest for Georgia’s child, family, and school social workers, followed by healthcare social workers and mental health and substance misuse social workers.
How long does it take to become a social worker in Georgia?
A bachelor’s degree, which typically takes four years, prepares you for an entry-level position in social work that does not require licensure. You will need an MSW, which takes two additional years, to qualify for an LMSW or a LCSW credential. The LCSW license also requires completion of 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, adding up to two more years before a social worker can practice. Students who hold a BSW degree can attend an advanced standing master’s program to finish their MSW in a year.
How do I get a social work license in Georgia?
You must hold a CSWE-accredited MSW degree, submit your application to the state board, complete a background check, and pass the ASWB exam for your licensure level. You can find current information about licensure regulations and fees at the website for the Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists.