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Social work is a rewarding career. Professionals help clients through intervention, access to resources, education, or counseling. They also learn about the intimate aspects of their clients’ personal lives, including family structure, parenting skills, and addictions. Solution-based interaction with people is a vital component of social work. These practitioners should be prepared to work with anyone who needs their help.

Social work is a broad profession that allows practitioners to specialize in a particular field, such as addiction, mental illness, or the elderly

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social work is one of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations. Social work is a broad profession that allows practitioners to specialize in a particular field, such as addiction, mental illness, or the elderly. Practitioners find jobs in private practices, schools, hospitals, or the government.

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How to Become a Social Worker in Nebraska

All levels of social work require education. Students should explore the specialty field or job title that appeals to them to identify the proper educational requirements. Students will find many social work schools in Nebraska, with educational programs offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. However, to become licensed, a social worker must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Students should consider regionally accredited or Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) programs. While a bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for entry-level social work positions, a master’s degree is the minimum requirement to be eligible for clinical practice.

Professionals can become a certified social worker (CSW), certified master social worker (CMSW), or a licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP). A CSW can practice social work under supervision. To apply for certification, professionals must have earned their bachelor’s degree from an accredited program and be at least 19 years old. There is no exam for this certification. Students with a master’s in social work (MSW) qualify for jobs with more responsibility. These professionals must have 3,000 hours of experience within five years of obtaining their degree to apply for licensure. Students must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. They will receive a temporary license while undergoing the licensing process. Students must have a master’s degree at minimum, 3,000 hours of work experience within five years of obtaining their degree, and pass the clinical ASWB exam to apply for licensure.

Types of Social Work Degrees in Nebraska

Students can obtain four social work degrees. An associate degree, which qualifies graduates for support jobs, can be completed in two years if attended full-time. A bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete full-time. This education level prepares graduates for entry-level positions that have higher salaries. A master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for licensure, and qualifies graduates for jobs in management and leadership. These also provide the opportunity for practitioners to obtain a doctorate in social work (DSW). A DSW is the highest level of social work and can be completed in about three years. The average in-state tuition is about $14,000. Students should research scholarships, grants, and fellowships when considering the price of an educational program.

Associate Degree

Students explore introductory concepts and theories of psychology and sociology. Coursework also focuses on core principles of social work, public health, crisis intervention, and research methods. Graduates qualify for support jobs. Common titles are probation officers or intake specialists.

Bachelor’s Degree

Because social work is a vast field, students receive a broad foundation in the discipline. Coursework examines psychological human behavior, social welfare, case management, ethical practices, diversity training, and research methods. Graduates can work in a number of positions, including as behavioral management aides or juvenile court liaisons.

Master’s Degree

Students learn about social policy; clinical practice specialities; managing the impact of death, racism, oppression; and specialty-related psychology theories. Students can specialize in mental health, substance addiction, and geriatric societies, among others. MSW practitioners can become child welfare managers, clinical group workers, substance abuse workers, or program directors.

Doctoral Degree

A DSW is the highest degree in the field. Students focus on the application of clinical practice and leadership. Coursework includes social theories in clinical practice, neuroscience for clinical practice, psychopathology, and psychopharmacology. Graduates qualify for jobs that carry significant responsibility, such as a human services director, clinical director, or executive.

Finding a Social Work Program in Nebraska

Students evaluating social work programs in Nebraska should search for a regionally accredited option. Full-time students can complete a BSW in four years. The average cost of a bachelor’s degree is around $55,000 at public universities. An MSW requires two years full-time attendance with an average cost of about $35,000. DSW programs range from $30,000 to $60,000 on average and can be completed in two to six years. Because social work is in high demand, many universities offer financial assistance that will offset the cost.

Students can pursue many social work degrees in Nebraska, no matter their level or specialty. When considering a program, identify how well the university supports your chosen specialty.

Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in Nebraska?

Many aspiring social work students have full-time jobs and other responsibilities that make it difficult to attend class on campus. Students will find online social work programs in Nebraska that can be completed with few in-person requirements.

Accreditation is important when choosing a degree in general, but especially online. Prospective bachelor’s and master’s students should look for programs that are accredited by the CSWE. Students should note that the CWSE does not provide accreditation for online associate or doctoral programs. For these degrees, students should research regionally accredited programs.

See The Best Online MSW Programs

How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in Nebraska?

Online programs are offered in different formats to meet the needs of distance learners. Some programs do not have formal deadlines or collaborative activities, allowing students to allocate time towards coursework according to their schedule. These self-paced programs require independent work with no instructor or classmate interaction. They can be completed in the standard amount of time as in-person courses. However, if a student progresses slowly, they can delay their graduation date. In other cases, some programs are taught in an accelerated format, allowing students to complete the coursework in a much shorter time than is typical.

How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in Nebraska?

Social work degrees vary in price by program level, length, school type, and if the student is a resident of Nebraska. Practitioners should also be aware of various fees associated with the licensing process. CSW application fees for certificates are $31.25 on even years from March to August. Otherwise, applicants pay $125. CMSW and LMHP application fees are $38.75 on even years from March to August. Otherwise applicants pay $155. For updates or changes, visit the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services site. ASWB license fees for CMSW and LMHP are $260. Continued education prices vary depending on the university attended.

Types of Social Work Licenses in Nebraska

Students must obtain a CMSW or LMHP to practice social work in Nebraska. All states use the ASWB exams for licensure. To earn a CMSW license, graduates with a master’s degree in social work must complete 3,000 additional hours of training and experience under professional supervision. Training practitioners can apply for a provisional license that will remain active until they take the ASWB advanced generalist exam.

Students interested in becoming an LMHP must get their CMSW license and complete an additional 3,000 hours of supervised experience in the field. Practitioners must apply for a provisional license that will be active until the ASWB clinical exam. Some areas of social work do not require a license. These support jobs must be performed under the supervision of a Certified Social Worker (CSW). To qualify, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited school. An exam is not required for this certification.

Supplementary certifications are also available to social work professionals. The most respected and recognized organization that administers certificates is the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Certifications do not allow individuals to legally practice social work on their own and are not available to professionals who do not have a license. Instead, certificates enhance the credibility of practitioners who already have licenses.


To qualify, professionals need a bachelor’s in social work or a related field and a master’s of social work. Additional hours of experience are required before applying. Students will take the ASWB clinical exam, which costs $260. A minimum score of 96 is required to pass.


Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials


This non-clinical position requires candidates to have a BSW-level license and a minimum of three years experience. Practitioners also need 4,500 hours of supervised experience. A C-SWCM costs $310 for NASW members and $385 for non-members. This certificate is for BSW-level social workers.


Career and Salary Outlook for Social Work Degree Graduates

Social workers are action-oriented people who want to improve the lives of others. Social workers fill roles ranging from community development organizers to intervention specialists. Below, we’ve reviewed five common positions in the field.

Child, Family, and School Social Worker

Practitioners provide assistance to children and their families. The child’s well-being is the primary objective. Practitioners might develop intervention plans or educate parents on rearing skills. An MSW is the minimum degree required.

Healthcare Social Workers

This specialty is in high demand due to a growing population of aging Americans. Practitioners must educate clients and their families on strategic methods to provide quality care and cope with terminal illnesses. An MSW is required to practice.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Practitioners provide counseling sessions that educate clients on effective treatments regarding mental illness and addiction. Settings vary from residential treatment centers to outpatient clinics. Practitioners tend to work with families and court officers. Clinical licensure is helpful for this role. An MSW degree is mandatory.

Social and Community Service Managers

This role includes planning and organization for outreach activities. Practitioners develop creative ways to engage with clients, while adhering to budget requirements and policies. Practitioners work under supervision unless licensed clinically and must have an MSW at minimum.

Medical and Health Service Managers

Improving the efficiency healthcare services is a primary objective for these practitioners. This might be achieved by examining the impact of new laws and regulations on a facility. Professionals manage other administrators and finances.


 EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Child, Family, and School Social Workers2,490$42,030
Healthcare Social Workers1,040$47,200
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers380$39,640
Social Workers, All Other150$62,070

Source: BLS

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Scholarships for Social Work Majors in Nebraska

Social work is rapidly expanding in multiple specialty areas, which is why many financial assistance opportunities are available. In addition to university-specific scholarships, students should search for external opportunities through national organizations, societies, and foundations. Many of these organizations support specific causes or a particular education level.

Social Work Scholarships


Who Can Apply: Students must be completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work. Students are required to submit a four-page, single-spaced personal statement discussing volunteer work, content-related activities, and experience with NASW-NE Chapter. Applicants should also be able to explain how they have drawn awareness to social justice. View Scholarship


Resources for Social Work Students in Nebraska

  • NASW-Nebraska Chapter The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a boasts more than 120,000 members. Its primary mission is to uncover and support elite professional standards. Members have access to career services, consultation opportunities, and cutting-edge information in social work.
  • Social Work Helper This organization is dedicated to providing tools and current information related to social work and supporting social justice. Social Work Helper believes in an interdisciplinary approach to discuss relevant topics and spread news. Professionals are welcome to submit articles and resources, and provide feedback to improve the quality of the newsletters and website.
  • Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA) The CSWA is a national organization that provides vital services, products, and support for social workers on the clinical path.
  • Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) The mission of the DHHS is to educate social work professionals and the public about resources available. The DHHS collaborates with attorneys, social workers, judges, and community members. This organization stays abreast on anything related to financial assistance, medical, public health, child welfare, and food access.
  • Free State Social Work-Nebraska This organization offers online continued education for social workers for affordable prices. Social work professionals can create customized packages and find academic journals, government reports, and other resources. Publicization and conference products are also offered.