Social workers explore the factors that create stability and wellbeing in societies. With an emphasis on social justice, including the eradication of poverty and the promotion of equitable opportunities, social workers advocate for disenfranchised individuals and their communities.
More than 100,000 new social worker positions will become available by 2026, including 45,000 job opportunities for child, family, and school social workers. BLS
A social work degree provides students with knowledge of human development, biopsychosocial perspectives, and social welfare policies. Students gain skills in case management, multicultural communication, and program planning. A graduate degree in social work also allows students to practice in clinical settings.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 100,000 new social worker positions will become available by 2026, including 45,000 job opportunities for child, family, and school social workers. Currently, Louisiana features more than 900 social worker positions in the child, family, and school areas. The state employs approximately 1,300 social workers who specialize in the treatment of mental health disorders, including addictions.
Social work programs in Louisiana offer degrees at varying levels that correspond with specific career goals. Earning a degree in social work opens career opportunities in areas such as community health education, correctional treatment, and postsecondary instruction.
Students considering a career in social work have three licensure options to practice in Louisiana. Acquiring licensure is a requirement for employment as a social worker in this state. Louisiana's social worker licenses include registered social worker (RSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). The Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners (LSBSWE) issues professional licenses and regulates the training requirements for social workers in the state. Licensed social workers in Louisiana must complete 20 hours of continuing education units each year to meet annual licensure renewal requirements.
Louisiana's social worker licenses include registered social worker (RSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
Students who earn a bachelor's degree from a social work program in Louisiana that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) qualify for RSW licensure. No certification exam is required for this license. Graduates with a master's degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program qualify for the LMSW license, which requires a passing score on the Association of Social Work Board's (ASWB) master's generalist exam. To become an LCSW, graduates must meet additional requirements, including fieldwork and supervision hours and passing the ASWB master's clinical exam.
Graduates who acquire their LCSW license have the option of pursuing certification as a board-approved clinical supervisor, which requires the completion of a 6.5-hour workshop on social work supervision. Applicants for the RSW, LMSW, or LCSW license must complete a background check. Applicants with a felony conviction may qualify for licensure if they provide LABSWE with evidence of moral behavior and ethical professionalism.
Most social work schools in Louisiana offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field. An associate degree in social work typically consists of 60-70 credits, and students acquire a basic understanding of the profession along with practical skills that are needed to assist mental health practitioners. A bachelor's degree in social work allows students to seek state licensure to practice as a social worker. This degree often emphasizes generalist knowledge, although some programs provide concentrations in areas such as youth services or gerontology.
Graduate-level programs prepare students for clinical practice, and a master's degree in this field is considered a terminal degree. Students earning a master's degree or higher in social work expand their career opportunities to include clinical and management positions in settings such as mental health facilities and community healthcare agencies. A doctoral degree in social work allows students to pursue careers in higher education and research institutions. An advanced degree in this field correlates with higher annual earnings.
- Associate Degree
- Appropriate for students seeking entry-level positions with human service organizations, an associate degree in social work familiarizes students with basic knowledge, including the history of the social work profession, the role of self-awareness in helping relationships, and systemic approaches to conceptualizing mental health problems.
- Bachelor's Degree
- Preparing students for professional careers as social workers, a bachelor's degree in social work provides an overview of key concepts and intervention strategies used in multicultural settings. Typically consisting of 120 credits, full-time students can earn their bachelor's degree in four years. Common course topics include case management, social welfare policy, and research methods.
- Master's Degree
- Students who wish to become clinical social workers must earn a master's degree in social work. This degree equips students with the knowledge needed to conduct therapy, supervise community service programs, and provide consultation. Topics examined in this degree include assessment techniques, intervention strategies, and issues of oppression in society.
- Doctoral Degree
- Two doctoral-level degree paths exist for social work professional, the Ph.D. or a doctorate in social work (DSW). A Ph.D. program in social work emphasizes scientific inquiry, and students who choose this route pursue careers as researchers and postsecondary educators. The DSW degree provides social work practitioners with advanced training in areas such as social theories and psychopathology.
Social work schools in Louisiana emphasize clinical work with a variety of populations, including children, the elderly, and people suffering from addiction. As students progress through their program, they often find that a particular population interests them. While different populations present unique challenges, social workers rely on universal skills such as empathy, active listening, and openness. Employment as a social worker often falls into one of the following categories.
Child and Family Social Worker
School Social Worker
Healthcare Social Worker
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
Even if a social worker performs non-clinical job duties, most states, including Louisiana, require licensure to help protect consumers and promote professional standards. The LSBSWE requires social workers to meet the criteria outlined below for RSW, LMSW, and LCSW licensure. Students pursuing a social work degree in Louisiana may acquire RSW licensure upon graduation from a CSWE-accredited bachelor's program. Master's graduates can pursue LMSW or LCSW licensure depending on their level of work experience. Clinical practice requires an LCSW license, which is obtainable after satisfying professional experience hours.
In addition to mandatory state licensure, social workers have the opportunity to earn certifications that enhance their professional qualifications.
In addition to mandatory state licensure, social workers have the opportunity to earn certifications that enhance their professional qualifications. Unlike required state licensure, certifications and credentials demonstrate a professional's expertise in a specific area, such as social work with children and families or military personnel. A variety of professional organizations offer certifications, including the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). With more than 120,000 members and more than 60 years of service, NASW serves social workers around the globe. This prestigious organization provides several advanced certifications that help set social workers apart.
NASW's certifications demonstrate commitment to a field of study. Certification requirements vary by category, and NASW offers bachelor's- and master's-level certifications. In addition to meeting degree requirements, candidates must also fulfill work experience and continuing education requirements. Many organizations seek professionals with advanced credentials to fill managerial positions. Certifications sometimes leads to higher salaries.
Registered Social Worker (RSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Board Approved Clinical Supervisor (LCSW-BACS)
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)
Students selecting a social work program in Louisiana have many choices. Two of the biggest factors that impact a student's decision are cost and location. Students may decide that earning an associate degree in human services then transferring to a bachelor's social work program is more cost effective. Many learners who wish to stay near home choose a local community college or four-year university. The advent of online programs provides students with greater flexibility when considering social work schools in Louisiana.
Louisiana students preparing for careers in social work should seek CSWE-accredited bachelor's or master's programs in order to acquire state licensure. Full-time students can earn their bachelor's degree in four years and qualify for an RSW license upon graduation. Students pursuing their master's degree typically graduate in three years. A graduate degree in social work prepares students for LMSW and LCSW licensure. Graduate-level students with a bachelor's degree in social work often receive credit for undergraduate work, allowing them to graduate in two years or less. Graduate degrees in social work often feature several concentration options.
Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in Louisiana?
There are many online social work degrees available in Louisiana. The LSBSWE requires candidates for social work licensure to hold a CSWE-accredited social work degree, and does not distinguish between degrees earned online or face to face. Although some elective courses may only be offered in traditional classroom settings, online social work programs in Louisiana feature identical core courses as their on-campus counterparts. In addition to CSWE accreditation, these programs adhere to university standards regulated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The licensure process for graduates of an online program follows the same path for graduates of on-campus programs. Master's-level graduates can pursue LMSW licensure and have the option of acquiring temporary social work certification.
Social work degrees include an internship experience, and online students fulfill this degree requirement at an approved location within their community. Students who are currently working in a social services setting have the opportunity of completing their internship at their place of employment if it satisfies fieldwork requirements. In addition to Louisiana state licensure, online CSWE-accredited programs allow students to earn certifications through the NASW.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in Louisiana?
Students considering a career in social work must earn a bachelor's or master's degree to practice in the state of Louisiana. While an associate degree equips students with skills in areas such as case management and intake assessment, it does not fulfill licensure requirements. Students who choose to earn an associate degree in social work typically earn their degree in two years.
Students considering a career in social work must earn a bachelor's or master's degree to practice in the state of Louisiana.
Consisting of 120 credits, a bachelor's degree in social work takes an average of four to six years to complete depending on the student's course load per semester. While a 60-credit master's degree typically takes approximately two years to complete, students with an academic background in social work graduate in almost half the time as students with bachelor's degree in other disciplines. Other factors that impact degree completion time include thesis, concentration, and fieldwork requirements. A doctoral degree in social work typically consists of 45 additional credits and takes full-time students about three years to complete.
Graduate-level social work programs in Louisiana usually follow a cohort model, which helps promote student interaction and teamwork. In contrast, individually paced programs allow students to progress through their degree independently. This type of structure is more common in online programs that offer multiple start dates and moduled courses.
How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in Louisiana?
In-state, full-time students attending a four-year public university in Louisiana pay approximately $20,000 per year, while the tuition rate for out-of-state students averages around $35,000 annually. Graduate-level credits typically cost more than undergraduate credits, and students enrolled in a master's or doctoral program full time pay about $10,000 per semester. Although graduate tuition rates are higher, the number of credits required to earn a degree is lower. Students seeking admittance to a graduate program must often take the GRE, which costs $160 in the U.S.
Social workers pursuing graduate-level licensure in Louisiana must pass ASWB's master's exam. The LMSW generalist exam costs $230, and the clinical exam required for LCSW licensure costs $260. Licensure candidates must also pay a fee when they submit their application to the LSBSWE. Application fees vary by license; RSW candidates pay $50, LMSW candidates pay $75, and LCSW candidates pay $100. Once a license is issued, it is renewed annually, with fees ranging from $25 to $75, depending on the license. Renewal requires the completion of 20 continuing education units each year, which start around $10 per unit.
Directory of Social Work Programs in Louisiana
Online social work programs in Louisiana emphasize theoretical and practical training needed for careers in mental health care and community services. Graduates of an online social work degree work in settings such as mental health clinics, government-funded substance abuse programs, and schools. Of the some 600,000 social work jobs in the U.S., 317,600 social workers work with children and families. Regardless of the client population, social workers and similar professionals need strong communication and coping skills to perform their job duties effectively.
Social WorkerThe primary tasks of a social worker include identifying client needs and appropriate intervention strategies, connecting clients to community resources, and developing coordinated care networks to support clients.
Social or Community Service ManagerThese professionals manage community service organizations, such as homeless shelters and veterans support programs. In addition to securing funding, they develop and evaluate programs based on community data.
Marriage and Family TherapistGraduate-level social work programs in Louisiana prepare students for careers as marriage and family therapists. Using couples and systems theories to guide treatment planning, these professionals help clients through emotional challenges, which usually involve their relationships.
Health Educator or Community Health WorkerAlthough health educators and community health workers share similar tasks, such as improving community wellness, specific duties of each profession depend largely on the job setting. Health educators often train community health workers, while community health workers provide health educators with field data.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health CounselorProfessionals with a social work degree possess the skills needed to address a variety of mental health concerns, including addictions, anxiety, and depression. Their job duties include conducting assessments, establishing treatment approaches, and following up with former clients.
Median Salaries and Employment For Social Work Specialties in Louisiana
|Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||920||$52,390|
|Healthcare Social Workers||2,160||$52,010|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||1,330||$41,610|
|Social Workers, All Other||640||$51,300|
Students considering earning a social work degree in Louisiana have access to a variety of financial assistance programs to help mitigate tuition costs. The following scholarship and grant opportunities provide varying amounts of aid to Louisiana residents and social work students enrolled in an accredited program.
Social Work Scholarships
Leonard Dufour Scholarship $500
Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) Varies
Louisiana Go Grant $300-3,000
Cenie 'Jomo' Williams Tuition Scholarship $2,500
- CEU for Louisiana Social Workers With more than 15 years of service as a continuing education provider for Louisiana social workers and students, this organization provides numerous continuing education opportunities face-to-face and online. Current online courses address the importance of advanced directives in clinical practice and how to construct a living will.
- National Association of Social Workers Louisiana Chapter The Louisiana chapter of the NASW promotes professional advocacy and social justice through its many resources. Louisiana social workers and students earning their online social work degree benefit from NASW-LA's continuing education programs, policy and ethics guides, and social work legislation information.
- Louisiana Association of Clinical Social Workers Headquartered in New Orleans, this volunteer organization empowers clinical social workers through online networking. This association's social media presence connects social workers with job and continuing education opportunities, upcoming conferences, and professional mixers. With a mission to protect the clinical social work profession, LACSW keeps its members informed of impending legislation and its implications for practice.
- Social Work Today More than 30,000 students, educators, and professional social workers receive this magazine's bimonthly publications that focus on issues such as depression, aging, adoption, and ex-offender societal reentry. Social Work Today hosts an annual conference, offers an online newsletter, and operates an extensive job database.
- Clinical Social Work Association This organization's advocacy priorities include improving funding opportunities for psychotherapy, promoting insurance coverage for psychodynamic intervention strategies, and increasing annual earnings for clinical social workers. This organization also provides information on social work technology standards and the use of medicare in private practice.