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A social work degree in New Jersey allows you to impact people who face challenges and seek help to overcome them. In addition to serving as counselors, social workers help advise policymakers concerning the kinds of programs and services that benefit people at the local, state, and national levels. In particular, completing your social work degree in New Jersey and working in the state means you can support the more than nine million people who reside there.

The BLS expects a 16% surge in social work employment between 2016 and 2026 — more than double the growth of other professions

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the booming growth of the social work profession makes now the opportune time to enter the field. The BLS expects a 16% surge in social work employment between 2016 and 2026 — more than double the growth of other professions. The BLS also anticipates employment in some specialties within social work to grow at an even faster rate; healthcare social work, for example, will grow 20% in the same time period.

Becoming a social worker typically begins with earning a bachelor’s in social work (BSW), and preparation generally requires an internship that applies classroom studies to real-world settings. Moreover, you can enjoy several career options after completing a traditional or online social work degree in New Jersey. In addition to becoming a social worker, you can choose an alternative career path, such as rehabilitation counselor, probation officer, and marriage therapist.

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How to Become a Social Worker in New Jersey

Social work programs in New Jersey require specific coursework focused on different kinds of populations and community issues, including healthy aging, poverty and inequality, and youth and families. In addition, students typically complete an internship and/or capstone project to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts. To begin, learners generally earn either a BSW or a degree in a related field like a social science. To maximize on their studies, they may also earn a master of social work (MSW) or doctorate of social work (DSW or Ph.D.).

You can become a certified social worker (CSW) in New Jersey after completing your BSW. A CSW requires no previous experience, but you must work under supervision. Earning an MSW qualifies you to become a licensed social worker (LSW), which serves as a prerequisite for becoming a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Becoming an LCSW in New Jersey requires earning an MSW in social work and passing the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) licensure exam.

The state mandates license renewal every two years, with the requirements for renewal contingent on the type of license. For example, renewing a CSW requires 20 hours of continuing education credit, and renewing an LSW mandates 30 hours of continuing education credit. LCSW renewal requirements involves 40 continuing education credits, 20 of which must concentrate on clinical practice and five of which must concentrate on ethics. If an LCSW holder earns more than 40 continuing education credits, they may carry a maximum of eight into the next renewal period.

Types of Social Work Degrees in New Jersey

The kind of social work degree you earn affects the type of career opportunities you pursue. You can complete studies for an associate degree, a BSW, a MSW, or a DSW or Ph.D. The degree you earn also affects the salary you earn; the higher the degree, the higher your salary. Bear in mind that all LCSWs in New Jersey must earn their MSW.

The length of time to complete your degree will vary by degree type, too. For example, earning an associate degree takes less time than earning a BSW. That said, completing MSW studies does not take as long as completing the BSW,; it does, however, mandate other requirements to prove expertise in the field. The same is true of the DSW and Ph.D., which will require research and a dissertation to showcase your ability to collect, analyze, and report data.

Associate Degree

This degree generally requires two years if pursued full time. Classes explore topics like psychology and core social work concepts. It prepares learners for careers as community outreach workers and social work assistants. It also prepares them for entrance into a bachelor’s degree at one of the social work schools in New Jersey.

Bachelor’s Degree

Most BSW programs require four years of study if pursued full time. Students complete general coursework and social work-specific classes. The latter includes training on how to support individuals, families, communities, and groups with particular challenges. BSW graduates can consider entry-level careers and pursue their CSW.

Master’s Degree

This degree takes two years to earn and serves as a prerequisite for those who want to enter a clinical, director, or supervisory role. Typical MSW classes include studies in human behavior, public and nonprofit organizations, and assessment and diagnosis. Learners select an area of concentration and complete field placements that align with that concentration.

Doctoral Degree

Those seeking a terminal degree in social work need either a DSW or Ph.D. While the DSW best serves those interested in high-level clinical studies, the Ph.D. serves those who wish to teach at the college level and/or conduct research. The doctorate takes between three and five years to complete.

Finding a Social Work Program in New Jersey

Deciding which of the online social work programs in New Jersey will serve you best requires you to consider factors such as cost, program pace, concentration offerings, and online or on-campus education. Prospective students should think carefully about the cost of their studies. Will you need to work while earning your degree or does the institution offer viable financial aid options? Learners need to consider the cost per credit and the number of credits to determine the total cost of tuition.

In addition, think about how long you want to take to earn your degree. For those on a short deadline, consider programs that offer an accelerated track or programs that offer credit in exchange for experience. Also, examine whether your program accepts transfer credit for college coursework.

Some programs offer specialties and concentrations that may better position you to fulfill your career goals. If they offer a program that prepares you for a job with a higher salary range, this may offset some of the initial tuition costs.

Online social work programs in New Jersey offer incredible flexibility and the opportunity to tailor your learning experience. Earning your social work degree online also typically costs less given that students do not need to pay for things like campus fees, commuting, or room and board.

Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in New Jersey?

You can earn your social work degree online in New Jersey from several institutions. Whether you complete your studies online or in a traditional classroom setting makes no difference. Schools give online students access to the same resources as traditional students, such as libraries, student services, and writing centers. Online students can also arrange office hours with faculty, leverage support systems like career counseling, and engage with fellow classmates for course discussions.

Top Online Social Work Program in New Jersey

Students should, however, make sure that the CSWE accredits their program. Accreditation ensures that the program meets universally recognized standards of quality education in the social work space. Schools must hold this accreditation for their students to acquire a CSW, LSW, or LCSW credential. All programs must meet the same standards and requirements for accreditation regardless of in-person or online delivery.

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

The amount of time it takes to complete your online social work degree varies depending on the type of degree and your enrollment status. For example, a bachelor’s degree may take longer to complete than a master’s degree because it requires fulfilling non-major coursework requirements. If you do not transfer previously earned college credits, then you will need to take extra time to complete additional classes. Earning your doctorate will also take more time than earning an MSW because it requires extensive research and writing.

In addition, prospective students should think about course delivery. Some online social work programs in New Jersey require you to login at specific times to attend classes, while other programs allow you to go at your own pace. You must also decide if you will continue to work while pursuing your degree. Naturally, attending school on a part-time basis will take longer than attending on a full-time basis. An associate degree in social work typically takes two years to complete, and a BSW typically takes four years to complete — without transferring credits. An MSW online requires about two years, and a doctorate can take three or more years, depending on the research requirements.

How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in New Jersey?

Enrollment in online studies costs significantly less than attending school on campus given that you complete the program from anywhere. Online students avoid fees associated with on-campus studies such as room and board, parking fees, and dining services.

According to recent data, part-time enrollment for a social work degree in New Jersey stands at just over $700 per credit. These costs escalate if you choose a private college, or if you attend a school as a non-resident. An MSW costs about $5,000 to $8,000, depending on the number of credits. While perhaps not always necessary, graduate admission often requires GRE scores from applicants. The exam currently costs $160.

Retaining your license in social work also requires a fee, especially to earn your continuing education credits. Workshops fees typically range from $100 to $150 each. Some institutions may offer a discount if you enroll in multiple workshops.

Types of Social Work Licenses in New Jersey

New Jersey requires social workers to hold certification or licensure to practice. While certification demonstrates that you possess a considerable degree of professional competency, licensure ensures that that you meet the state’s requirements for practice. Some positions in the state require licensure while others only require certifications.

Students earn a CSW once they complete their bachelor’s degree in social work from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This certification does not require any experience, but social CSWs cannot work without supervision. In addition, this certification does not require proof of clinical social work services. CSWs may only work in social work services such as social work research, client-centered advocacy, and administrative functions.

Holding licensure as a LSW serves as a prerequisite for becoming a LCSW

The MSW allows you to practice as a LSW. You can practice clinical social work as a LSW, but only under the supervision of a LCSW in possession of that licensure for least three years. The kinds of clinical social work a LSW can engage in include clinical assessment, client-centered advocacy, and psychotherapeutic counseling. Earning this license requires passing a master’s exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The test serves as a generalist exam for those who possess an MSW but no post-degree experience.

Holding licensure as a LSW serves as a prerequisite for becoming a LCSW. It requires passing an exam designed for advanced social workers with at least two years’ experience in direct clinical practice settings. The license also requires 1,920 hours of experience. Your clinical supervisor needs to hold a LCSW with at least three years of experience and 20 continuing education credits related to supervision. You must meet with your supervisor at least once per week for one hour.

While various organizations offer an array of certifications, the list below includes certifications offered through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). New Jersey offers the CS, LSW, and LCSW.


As a CSW in New Jersey, you can take on a variety of non-clinical roles in the field. To qualify, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In addition, you must pass a criminal background check and pay a $75 application fee. You do not need to take a professional exam to become a CSW.


Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials


NASW describes those who hold this credential as social workers interested in supporting individuals’ biopsychosocial wellbeing. They understand self-care in terms beyond disease or symptoms and possess the training and knowledge necessary to meet the needs of complex clients.


Career and Salary Outlook for Social Work Degree Graduates

Social workers can select one of several careers. Each requires a solutions-oriented approach to help problem solve the challenges that people face in everyday life. Professionals in this space must display sensitivity and possess the skills necessary to provide solutions and monitor the outcomes. They work at the individual, family, and community level to provide both short-term and long-term care.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker

This social worker connects people who struggle with addiction to services that help them recover. They may also support the families affected by addiction.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

This professional oversees therapy for individuals, families, and groups to help them modify their behavior. They suggest approaches aligned with physicians and other healthcare professionals. This occupation requires a master’s degree.

Child and Family Social Worker

This expert safeguards vulnerable children and their families by connecting them to services such as healthcare, food, and shelter. In addition, they help remove children from abusive situations; they may also arrange adoptions and help reunite families.

Healthcare Social Worker

This social worker supports medical patients as they adjust their life based on their medical diagnosis. They connect patients to services and resources and help them find support groups. They frequently specialize in hospice and palliative care or geriatrics.

School Social Worker

This expert works closely with teachers, parents, and school administrators to strategize solutions to improve students’ academic performance and social development. In addition, they often intervene when students display problems like chronic absenteeism or bullying.


 EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Child, Family, and School Social Workers5,470$66,610
Healthcare Social Workers3,050$64,190
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers1,560$75,870
Social Workers, All Other510$69,300

Source: BLS

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Scholarships for Social Work Majors in New Jersey

Prospective students should explore what kinds of scholarships schools and the government make available to students who enroll in social work programs in New Jersey. Scholarships help ease the financial burden of tuition and fees. While you can apply for any number of them, some scholarships target those who attend New Jersey colleges and universities or those pursuing a social work degree.

Social Work Scholarships


Who Can Apply: BSW and MSW students who hold membership at the National Association of Social Workers qualify. Applicants must submit an essay and participate in an interview. View Scholarship


Resources for Social Work Students in New Jersey

  • National Association of Social Workers – New Jersey Chapter This organization promotes and develops social workers with the aim of strengthening and supporting the profession. Membership provides access to job opportunities and discounts on courses that prepare students for licensing exams.
  • The New Jersey Society for Clinical Social Work This organization offers membership in multiple categories, including student, LSW/MSW, LCSW, and sustaining/retired member. It also offers continuing education opportunities through free workshops for members.
  • New Jersey Association of School Social Workers This membership organization helps develop and maintain the standards that guide the work of school social workers. The association also advances social policies that support both professionals and the stakeholders they serve.
  • Social Work Today An online publication, Social Work Today examines the issues and challenges that social workers face. It highlights the bond social workers share even though their roles and work settings vary. The bi-monthly publication reaches 30,000 subscribers.
  • The New Social Worker This quarterly magazine includes articles that address professional ethics, practice issues and specialities, technology in the field, and career opportunities. It targets students, recent graduates, and those interested in the profession. It received the 2013 NASW Media Award for “Best Magazine/Best Magazine Article.”