Social workers help alleviate certain conditions among population groups, which may include the elderly or those with substance addictions. In addition to the appeal of fulfilling work, jobseekers may be attracted to this growing field because social workers are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for social workers is projected to increase by 16% from 2016 to 2026. This is more than twice the growth rate projected for all occupations in the same time period.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for social workers is projected to increase by 16% from 2016 to 2026
Graduates with a social work degree have many careers available to them, including substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor; probation officer; correctional treatment specialist; social and community service manager; and medical social worker. Many of these jobs can be acquired with associate- or bachelor's-level degrees in social work. If you do wish to become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), however, you must earn a master's in social work.
Entry-level jobs in the field, such as residential counselor, social services assistant, and case manager assistant, may be available to candidates with only an associate degree in social work. A bachelor's degree in social work prepares students for more careers than an associate. Potential jobs at the bachelor's level include rehabilitation case worker, human services specialist, and behavioral management aide. A master's in social work is generally considered the terminal degree for this field. This degree qualifies you for most careers in social work, including licensed clinical social worker. A doctoral degree in social work is for students who desire research or educator positions.
To become a licensed clinical social worker, students must earn a master's in social work, pass the licensing exam, and earn the necessary number of hours working with clients and an approved supervisor. To apply, students must submit a photograph, resume, proof of supervision and clinical hours, three professional reference forms, official degree transcripts, proof of passing the exam, a criminal offender record report from each state you've lived in for the past five years, and an application fee. Your license must be renewed every two years, which requires you to complete 40 hours of continuing education.
There are several different levels of social work degree. An associate degree is the shortest in duration and the least expensive, but will open the fewest doors for you upon graduation. A bachelor's degree will usually take about four years to complete, but will prepare students for more positions and allow them to obtain a higher salary. A master's degree in social work is considered a terminal degree for those who want to practice clinically, as it is the minimum required degree for clinical licensure. A doctoral degree is more advanced, but generally leads to careers in academia.
The following section provides more detail about the different levels of social work degrees, including the length of the program, course subjects, and career outlook.
- Associate Degree
- An associate degree alone is not sufficient to become a social worker, but it can serve as a stepping stone for advanced studies at the bachelor's, master's, or doctoral level. Generally, an associate degree will introduce you to topics such as psychology, sociology, and human welfare.
- Bachelor's Degree
- A bachelor's in social work program will take about four years to complete and teaches students about human behavior, social welfare policy, research methods in social work, case management, and cultural diversity and justice. A BSW qualifies graduates to work as a social worker. Bachelor's graduates are also prepared for a master's program, which will prepare them to earn clinical licensure.
- Master's Degree
- In order to work as a clinical social worker, you must earn your master's degree in social work. These programs usually take two years to complete, although you may be able to apply for advanced standing and finish the program in one year if you enter with a bachelor's in social work. Students learn about assessment and diagnosis, couple and family therapy, and substance abuse.
- Doctoral Degree
- A doctoral degree is recommended for students interested in becoming a researcher or educator in the field. In these three- to five-year programs, you will learn about evidence-based clinical practices, neuroscience for clinicians, psychopathology, and psychopharmacology.
There are many different specialties within social work that can lead to different career opportunities. Social workers work with many client demographics and focus on a range of issues. Some bachelor's and master's programs offer concentrations that prepare learners to work with a particular client group, such as children or the elderly. Other specializations may include substance abuse, child development, or social assistance.
Child and Family Social Worker
School Social Worker
Healthcare Social Worker
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
Most states offer several options for social work licensure and certification. New Hampshire is an exception, as the only license or certification available is the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). This license requires at least a master's degree in social work. After completing their master’s program, graduates must complete two years of supervised experience then pass a clinical exam to earn a license. Most states also require that non-clinical social workers have licensure or certification, but New Hampshire does not. In the case of states where certification is offered or required, it can serve as a way for professionals to add to their knowledge base and increase their marketability to employers. Certification demonstrates experience with or mastery of a particular subject area that may be required for employment or advancement to certain positions.
Though social workers in New Hampshire are limited to the LCSW designation, other states may offer other levels of qualification, such as Licensed Social Worker, Licensed Bachelor Social Worker, Licensed Master Social Worker, and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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)
Earning a college degree is expensive, and most students must take this factor into account when selecting a program. Costs can vary depending on the level of degree and whether the school is public or private, among other reasons. The location of a college or university is an important consideration. You need to decide whether you're willing to relocate for your degree, or if you want to choose a school nearby. A school's location can affect your access to support resources, such as placement in a practicum program. You should also make sure that the program you select prepares you to meet the requirements of your desired job, including any relevant specializations.
Programs also have varying duration periods. Factors that can affect how long you'll be in school include the degree level, the number and type of credits you've acquired prior to the start of the program, and practicum commitments.
Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in New Hampshire?
For many students, an online degree is the best way to meet their education and career goals. Distance education is ideal for working professionals or students with family or other obligations that require their time and attention. Online programs are often less expensive than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, particularly for out-of-state students who are able to pay in-state tuition to study online.
Most online social work programs in New Hampshire prepare students for the same careers as on-campus programs, but there are a few factors to keep in mind when deciding between prospective online schools. You must ensure that you choose a program that has been accredited by the CSWE in order for your degree to qualify you for licensure. In order to meet the practicum requirements of a master's degree in social work and to accrue the necessary pre-licensure client and supervision hours, you should verify that there are facilities in your area where you can work that your school approves of.
Even if you're not sure you want to become an LCSW, it may be wise to attend a CSWE-accredited school for your online social work degree, in case you decide to pursue licensure later on.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker in New Hampshire?
An associate degree in social work usually takes about two years to complete, while you can expect to finish your bachelor's degree in about four years. A master's in social work generally takes two years, although some students can earn this degree in one year if they have a bachelor's degree in social work and apply for advanced standing. A doctoral degree in social work can take anywhere from three to five years, depending on the nature of the dissertation process involved in the program. Whether your program is taught through a cohort or individual format may also affect degree length.
How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in New Hampshire?
The cost of earning your social work degree can vary depending on the level of education you earn, whether your program is taught online or on-campus, and whether your school is public or private. According to the College Board, the average tuition for an associate degree at a public two-year college is $3,440 per year for in-district students. Yearly tuition for a bachelor's degree ranges from $9,410 to $32,410. A master's program will usually cost between $30,000 and $120,000, according to Student Loan Hero. Additionally, if GRE scores are required to apply for your degree, the fee to take that exam is $205.
Once you've completed your degree program, there are other costs if you choose to pursue licensure as a clinical social worker in New Hampshire. You must pay $260 to take the ASWB exam, a $25 fee for supervisor approval, a $150 application fee, and a $135 approved license application fee. In order to keep your license active, you must pay $270 to renew it every two years. This renewal process also involves the completion of 40 hours of continuing education during the two-year period since your license was granted, or since your last renewal period. The cost of earning these continuing education credits varies depending on the courses you choose.
Directory of Social Work Programs in New Hampshire
Graduates with a social work degree are qualified for employment in a variety of capacities and environments. You may choose to pursue a career in child and family services, healthcare, or substance abuse counseling, among many other fields. Professionals in these industries tend to have excellent communication and problem-solving skills, as well as high levels of compassion and emotional stability. Below is a list of common positions that social work graduates often obtain.
Social WorkerA social worker diagnoses and treats mental, emotional, and behavioral issues. A bachelor's degree will allow for entry into administrative positions; clinical social workers must have a master's degree.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health CounselorSubstance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors provide therapy services to individuals who are seeking support with unwanted thoughts and behaviors. Educational requirements for these positions vary by state, though professionals with a master's degree are authorized to provide a broader range of services to clients.
Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment SpecialistProbation officers and correctional treatment specialists provide social support services to parolees. Most employees in this position have a bachelor's degree, although a master's may be required for advancement.
Social and Community Service ManagerA social and community service manager works to identify areas of social need in a community and implement initiatives to improve quality of life for members of the community. Most of these professionals have a bachelor's degree, but some positions may require a master's.
Medical Social WorkerA medical social worker interacts with patients to conduct psychosocial assessments, gather medical history, and provide referrals to advanced care professionals. A bachelor's degree is required for this job; some employers may prefer a master's degree.
Median Salaries and Employment For Social Work Specialties in New Hampshire
|Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||510||$51,150|
|Healthcare Social Workers||620||$61,790|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||260||$51,720|
There are countless scholarships available to college students across the country to help fund their education. You may find that many are offered specifically to students attending social work schools in New Hampshire. The following information may help you determine if you qualify for a scholarship as you pursue your social work degree in New Hampshire.
Social Work Scholarships
Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship Trust $2,000 - $5,000
Raymond K. Conley Memorial Scholarship $2,000
Meredith Rotary Club Non-Traditional Scholarship $600 - $1,200
Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund $18,000
- National Association of Social Workers New Hampshire Chapter NASW-NH is a local branch of a national organization. The NASW works to develop standards in social work, advocate for social policy, and promote the professional development of those working in social work. Member benefits include an annual conference, a virtual career center, and continuing education opportunities.
- New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice The New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice was established by the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification in order to ensure that mental health practitioners in the state of New Hampshire would adhere to certain standards and regulations. Certification and licensure candidates may visit this page to learn about the process they will need to go through in order to work as social workers in this state.
- Clinical Social Work Association The CSWA advocates for legislation that ensures adequate pay for LCSWs, provides free legal and ethical consultation services, and offers members discounted professional liability insurance. Members also have access to clinical information, peer collaboration, and a job board. Social work students pay a discounted rate for membership.
- Council on Social Work Education The CSWE is an organization whose members include individual practitioners, educators, and agencies in social work. The Council's mission is to provide resources and support to enable their members to achieve goals for social and economic justice.