Social Work Degrees in Vermont

Social workers help people from many walks of life. They may connect families with community resources, like food stamps or childcare, or support and offer counsel to individuals struggling with specific problems in their lives, like divorce or unemployment. Clinical social workers may diagnose and treat a variety of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.

Nearly 100 new social worker job openings are projected in Vermont each year. Vermont Department of Labor

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of social workers across the country will increase by 16% from 2016 to 2026, which is more than twice the rate for all other occupations. The Vermont Department of Labor projects nearly 100 new social worker job openings in the state each year. Trained social workers can also find work in a number of other community service occupations, including school counseling and health education.

To take advantage of these job opportunities, however, you will need a postsecondary degree. For entry-level and direct service positions in the field, such as government caseworker, candidates typically need at least a bachelor's degree in social work. More advanced roles, like clinical social worker, require a master's degree along with a minimum of two years of supervised clinical experience. In addition to these education requirements, many social workers in Vermont must also earn a license in order to practice in the state.

Non-clinical social workers in Vermont do not need a license to practice. You can qualify for certain entry-level positions, like human services assistant or community health worker, with a two-year associate or a four-year bachelor's degree in social work.

Clinical social workers must have a state license. Vermont's Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) certifies two kinds of social workers: licensed master's social workers (LMSW) and licensed independent clinical social workers (LICSW). The first step to becoming a licensed social worker is completing a master's program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). These two-year programs must include a field experience or internship.

Non-clinical social workers in Vermont do not need a license to practice, while clinical social workers must have a state license.

After earning a master's degree, LMSW candidates must pass the Association of Social Work Boards' (ASWB) licensure exam and the Vermont jurisprudence exam. LMSW licenses must be renewed every two years, and license holders must complete 10 hours of continuing education to qualify for renewal.

LICSW candidates must also hold an accredited master's or doctoral degree in social work. In addition to passing the ASWB and Vermont jurisprudence exams, individuals pursuing an LICSW must also complete 3,000 hours of supervised, independent clinical social work practice. This license must also be renewed every two years, and independent clinical social workers must complete 20 hours of continuing education to qualify for renewal.

Individuals with a social work license from another state can petition the OPR to grant them a license without taking the ASWB exam or completing supervised practice hours. These social workers must still pass the Vermont jurisprudence exam.

Students have a number of options when it comes to earning a social work degree in Vermont. Completing a two-year associate program can introduce you to some of the fundamental concepts of the profession, but most entry-level social work jobs require candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree. A master's degree will qualify you for more specialized roles in the field, such as clinical social worker, and most colleges and universities prefer to hire professors and instructors who hold a doctoral degree.

Generally speaking, more advanced degrees lead to better job prospects and higher salaries. For example, PayScale estimates that the average salary of a social worker is $47,040. A licensed clinical social worker earns an average salary of $56,613. And according to the BLS, the median salary for social work postsecondary teachers in 2017 was $64,370.

Associate Degree
Associate programs offer foundational coursework in topics like psychology, sociology, and social work practice. Most full-time students can complete these programs in about two years. However, because the majority of jobs in social work require a bachelor's degree, students in this field should consider an associate degree as the first step in their education.
Bachelor's Degree
A bachelor's degree provides more comprehensive preparation for aspiring social workers, with courses on subjects such as social welfare policy, working with diverse populations, and professional ethics. These programs typically involve a field experience or internship as well. Most students earn their bachelor's degree in four years.
Master's Degree
Becoming a licensed clinical social worker requires a master's degree. Through more advanced and focused coursework, master's programs equip students with research, clinical assessment, and management skills. These programs typically require students to complete a supervised practicum and take about two years to complete.
Doctoral Degree
Earning a doctoral degree in social work prepares students for academic positions and research roles. These programs emphasize data collection, analysis, and interpretation, as most require students to write a research-based dissertation in order to graduate. Because work on a dissertation is self-paced, these programs may take anywhere from four to seven years to finish.

Social work is a diverse profession. Depending on their training and area of interest, social workers may offer support to children, adolescents, adults, or the elderly; work in schools, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, or in private practice; and coordinate a variety of social services for a community or work within a specific niche, like helping veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Here are some of the more common social work areas.

Child and Family Social Worker

Child and family social workers connect families with community resources, such as childcare or food stamps. Some monitor living situations so that they can intervene when a child is neglected or abused. Others may specialize in coordinating adoption or foster care services.

School Social Worker

School social workers collaborate with teachers, education administrators, and parents to support students' academic and social-emotional development. They may help teachers deal with aggressive behavior in the classroom, refer students to out-of-school programs, or counsel children who have experienced bullying or family problems.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers provide additional assistance to individuals seeking medical treatment. They may help someone better understand their diagnosis and map out a plan for managing their illness or support a patient as they transition out of a hospital setting back into their home.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker

Mental health and substance abuse social workers help individuals suffering from mental illness or addiction. They may provide direct counseling services to their clients or connect them with a support group or program. Those working in this area typically must be clinically licensed.

All states require clinical social workers to have a license. Vermont issues LMSW and LICSW licenses. To qualify for these licenses, you must have a master's or doctoral degree in social work and pass two exams. Independent clinical social workers must also complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Additional details on licensure requirements in Vermont are provided below.

While many states also require non-clinical social workers to hold a license, Vermont does not. With an associate or bachelor's degree in social work, you can apply to some entry-level jobs in the field. However, employers may prefer to hire candidates who have earned an advanced degree or some kind of professional certificate.

Certification is an optional way for social workers to demonstrate their expertise in a particular area. Earning a professional certificate often helps social workers improve their job prospects and boost their earnings. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) administers certifications in addictions management and palliative care. It also certifies individuals who specialize in working with members of the military or youth and families. Additional certifications offered by NASW are also detailed below.

Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials

There are many factors to consider when researching social work schools in Vermont, such as cost and location. Make sure to factor in costs outside of tuition as well, such as room and board, school fees, and the price of books and other course materials.

In addition to traveling to campus for classes, you will also likely need to commute to your field experience or internship site. How long will it take to earn your degree? Some programs offer accelerated curricula or schedule classes at night to benefit part-time students. What kind of work do you hope to do after graduating? You may be interested in focusing in a particular area, such as working with individuals struggling with addiction, but programs may not offer specializations in your area of interest.

Especially if you are balancing your studies with professional or personal obligations, it may be worth reviewing online social work programs in Vermont. Online programs provide greater flexibility and a wider array of options. They may be more affordable as well. However, online education requires a great deal of self-discipline, so it is important to determine if this style of learning is right for you.

Can You Earn a Social Work Degree Online in Vermont?

In Vermont, you can earn an online social work degree at the associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral levels. An online associate or bachelor's degree in social work will prepare you for entry-level service jobs in the state, and you do not need a license for these positions.

To become an LMSW or LICSW in Vermont, you must complete an online master's or doctoral program that has received accreditation from the CSWE. To receive CSWE accreditation, these programs must include a supervised field experience or internship at a community organization or health service agency. While most graduate programs work to match their students with host organizations, some online learners may need to identify local internship opportunities on their own.

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

You can qualify for some jobs in Vermont, such as human service assistant, with just an associate degree in social work. Most full-time students complete these programs in two years. However, employers may prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor's degree, which consist of about 120 credits and takes roughly four years to finish.

Becoming a licensed social worker in Vermont requires a master's or doctoral degree in social work.

Becoming a licensed social worker in Vermont requires a master's or doctoral degree in social work. Full-time students can usually earn their master's degree in about two years. Because most doctoral programs require students to write a dissertation, the time to completion varies a great deal. The majority of students complete doctoral programs in four to seven years. And while you can become an LMSW in Vermont immediately upon graduation, you must complete approximately two years of supervised practice before applying to be an LICSW in the state.

Some online programs are self-paced, meaning students can advance through their coursework as soon as they have mastered a particular concept or skill. These programs give students the opportunity to earn their degree and become a social worker much faster than traditional offerings.

How Much Does a Social Work Program Cost in Vermont?

The cost of social work programs in Vermont varies based on location, type of institution, and a number of other factors. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $20,000 for an associate degree in social work, between $50,000 and $125,000 for a bachelor's degree, and between $30,000 and $100,000 for either a master's or doctoral degree in the field. However, there are many scholarships and financial aid opportunities available to students pursuing careers in social work.

Students interested in an advanced degree will need to take the Graduate Record Examination, which costs about $160. Upon earning a master's or doctoral degree, licensure candidates must also take an ASWB exam, which costs either $230 or $260, depending on the type of license.

LMSWs and LICSWs in Vermont must complete between 10 and 20 hours of continuing education every two years in order to renew their licenses. Continuing education courses are relatively affordable, with an average cost of $25 per credit hour.

Directory of Social Work Programs in Vermont

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Earning a social work degree can prepare you for a variety of jobs in community service. Graduates are prepared to work at a government agency helping families find housing or at a hospital helping patients better understand their treatment plans. Some social workers work in private practice, assisting individuals with addiction or relationship issues. Regardless of your chosen role, you will need developed communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. Below, is a list of common social work careers.

Social Worker

Social workers provide many different types of assistance to individuals and communities in need. Some help coordinate social services, like helping families find childcare. Clinical social workers may also diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral issues.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists help people deal with problems in their relationships. They may work with patients individually, as a couple, or in groups. Many therapists work in private practice, though others are employed by health centers and hospitals.

Probation Officer of Correctional Treatment Specialist

Probation and corrections professionals provide social services to individuals in custody or on probation or parole. They may design rehabilitation plans, coordinate job training programs, offer substance abuse counseling, or help former inmates transition back into their lives and communities.

Rehabilitation Counselor

Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities live independently. They may help their clients find jobs, help employers understand the needs of people with disabilities, or advocate for the rights of the disabled to live and work as they choose.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, or Mental Health Counselor

Many counselors work specifically with individuals suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. These counselors evaluate their clients' needs and create a treatment plan to help them cope with their illness.

Median Salaries and Employment For Social Work Specialties in Vermont

  Employment Annual Mean Wage
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 1,320 $45,780
Healthcare Social Workers 420 $57,010
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers 1,230 $40,990
Source: BLS

Students attending social work schools in Vermont can apply for a number of scholarships to help finance their education. In addition to the scholarship programs detailed below, future social workers may also qualify for federal and state financial aid, as well as public service loan forgiveness programs.

Social Work Scholarships

Elizabeth J. Davis Scholarship of the VNAs of Vermont $1,000-3,000

Who Can Apply: To apply, students must pursue a degree in the health professions, such as social work. They must also commit to working in Vermont for at least two years upon graduation. View Scholarship

Trinity College of Vermont Memorial Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Vermont residents seeking a postsecondary degree in social work or education. They must also demonstrate financial need and have a GPA of 3.0. View Scholarship

AHEC Mimi Reardon Scholarship for Northern Vermont $1,000

Who Can Apply: This program is open to northern Vermont residents interested in health careers, including social work. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and an interest in practicing in Vermont after earning a degree. View Scholarship

Vermont DAR Good Citizen Scholarship $500

Who Can Apply: Applicants must seek a degree in the social sciences, such as a bachelor's in social work. They must also demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. View Scholarship
  • Vermont Office of Professional Regulation OPR oversees the licensure of social workers in Vermont and investigates accusations of misconduct. Its website also details the laws and regulations pertaining to social workers in the state, as well as informational resources for applicants, licensees, and employers.
  • Vermont Department of Children and Families DCF is one of the largest employers of social workers in Vermont. In addition to a career center, DCF's website offers a number of publications of interest to social workers on topics such as adoption, child development, domestic violence, and juvenile justice.
  • National Association of Social Workers - Vermont NASW represents roughly 132,000 social workers across the country. The professional organization's Vermont chapter organizes an annual state conference, provides a variety of professional development resources, advocates on behalf of its members, and hosts a job board.
  • Vermont Addiction Professionals Association A state affiliate of the National Association for Addiction Professionals, VAPA represents individuals working to combat substance abuse addiction in Vermont. It offers continuing education training seminars throughout the state, along with access to medical, dental, life, and liability insurance for its members.
  • Vermont Mental Health Counselors Association VTMHCA supports, educates, and advocates for mental health professionals in the state. Its members meet monthly in Montpelier to lobby state lawmakers on relevant mental health legislation. The group's website also includes resources on how to apply for state licensure and a directory of therapists working in Vermont.