Arizona Social Work Schools

With a low cost of living and diverse ethnic population, there are lots of opportunities for you as a social work student in Arizona. Sperling’s Best Places reports that the cost of living in Arizona is about 5% lower than the national average. This means that the average income of $50,256, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, can go far in Arizona.

Large cities like Phoenix, Tucson, and Mesa give you plenty of opportunities to work for the government at a local level. In addition, over 30% of the population of Arizona identifies as Hispanic. This presents an opportunity for Spanish-speaking social workers to serve a population that may be underserved throughout Arizona.

As you begin your search for a Master’s in Social Work program, there are three schools that you can consider. Two of these schools are located in Phoenix, and one school is located further north in Flagstaff. The average cost of tuition in Arizona is $10,232. However, as a graduate student, you may be able to pay for all or part of your degree with a research or teaching assistantship.

Each school in Arizona offers different specialties in the social work field. Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University focused on public policy analysis and community services, while the University of Phoenix focuses on social development. Studying community services can prepare you for work in child welfare or family counseling, while public policy analysis can prepare you for higher-level government work. Studying social development is an important component of social work research.

All three Master’s programs in Arizona followed the same general structure. You complete just over 30 credits. Each program has its own objectives, but in general, they focus on the same theme: being able to offer ethical, evidence-based care. Because of the large Hispanic population in Arizona, culturally-sensitive care is an important part of this field. Arizona State University notes this in their program goals.

Early in each program, you follow a sequence of classes that prepare you to work with different populations and demographic groups. In the second part of your program, you amass approximately 900 hours of clinical work. You do this work under the supervision of your clinical site director.

The employment options that are available to you depend largely on what you focus on during school. If you concentrate on child welfare and family services, you may secure a position with a government agency. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 41% of social workers work for the government.

If you concentrate on substance abuse or mental health while you earn your degree, you may work for a hospital or mental health center. If you are able to speak Spanish, consider looking for work at a community center; your bilingual skills may help you reach a whole new group of clients.

Upon graduating with your Master’s degree in social work, you can begin the process of licensure with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. The first step involves filling out an examination application. This allows you to sit for the state-required social work exam. You must pay a $250 fee at the time of application.

If you want to bolster your licensure from Licensed Master Social Worker to Licensed Clinical Social Worker, you need to gain 3,200 hours of work experience over a two-year period. At least 100 hours must be supervised by a LCSW.

There are many factors that affect what salary you earn as a social worker. If you put in the hours to become a LCSW, you can earn more money than you would as a LMSW.

In Arizona, the highest paid social workers are healthcare social workers. O*Net reports that they earn an average salary of $50,300 per year. They are followed closely by family social workers, who earn an average salary of $37,000, and mental health social workers, who earn an average salary of $33,700.

The fastest-growing social work field is healthcare social work. O*Net predicts a 30% increase in job openings in this field between 2010 and 2020. Mental health and substance abuse social workers are also in high demand; job openings are expected to increase by 23% through 2020. Job openings for child and family social workers are expected to increase by 11% through 2020.

Schools in Arizona Offering Masters in Social Work Programs

Arizona State University



  • Masters in Family and Community Services
  • Masters in Public Policy Analysis
  • Masters in Social Development
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $9,208 Tuition Cost
  • $7,596 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Northern Arizona University



  • Masters in Public Policy Analysis
  • $8,951 Tuition Cost
  • $7,031 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting
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