Social Work Programs in Florida | No GRE/CSWE Accredited

The state of Florida may be a good option to consider if you are thinking about where to attend school to earn your degree in social work. In addition to the nice weather, there are many excellent social work programs in Florida for on-campus students as well as some online options. Florida features sixteen total social work degree programs, and fourteen of those programs that have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), so you have plenty of great options when it comes to finding a university that is the right fit for your goals.

Florida is an interesting state for social workers in many regards. First, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that a higher than average percentage of its citizens are over the age of 65, creating a need for social workers that understand end-of-life issues and demands.

Additionally, the state has a higher than average percentage of residents that identify as Hispanic. This has created a demand for social workers that are bilingual and offer culturally-sensitive care.

Getting your education is the first step towards a career in helping others, so If you want to earn a social work degree in Florida, we have broken down each of the programs here for you to make an informed decision that’s just right for you. 

Types of Social Worker Degrees in Florida

Once you have begun to pursue a social work degree, there are several different educational levels available. Whether you are pursuing your first bachelor’s degree or wish to reach higher levels of education with a Ph.D., many flexible options are present within the social work programs in Florida. 

Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) 

The bachelor’s social work degree in Florida is an undergraduate program of study that is intended to prepare students to work as social workers within a non-clinical practice. A bachelor’s degree can take approximately 2 to 4 years to complete depending on if a student has their associate’s for transfer degree in the state of Florida. While attending the school of social work, students will have the option to choose courses that fit within specific areas of focus. Some Florida schools that offer a bachelor’s degree in social work include: 

University of Central Florida

The BSW program at UCF is intended to prepare students for the social work practice of helping clients improve their lives through the assessment of their needs and intervention of social justice issues within their lives. The program helps students to prepare for successful client engagement by requiring students to take part in 420 hours of field education. University of Central Florida also offers optional certificates and minors for students to expand their social work education, such as:

  • Nonprofit Management (minor)
  • Spanish for Social Work (certificate) 
  • Aging Studies (minor)
  • Children’s Services (certificate)

Florida Gulf Coast University BSW Program 

The BSW program at Florida Gulf Coast University equips students to become professionals that practice social work from a strengths-based perspective to provide their community with the best care. The university’s program will help graduates develop skills that will set them up for success in their career or continue their education to receive a graduate degree. This program sometimes offers the benefit of some electives being offered online, which gives the option of more flexibility to some schedules. By the end of the program, graduates should be able to:

  • Apply knowledge to advance social justice in their community as well as human rights. 
  • Engage in practice that is research-informed.
  • Engage with and assess individuals, families, organizations, and communities, in order to intervene as needed. 
  • Deliver effective social work service by practicing ethical policy practice. 

Masters in Social Work (MSW)

Earning a masters degree in social work is the first step towards becoming a licensed clinical social worker. Students who wish to pursue higher education take this step after earning their bachelor’s degree. The process to earn a social work master’s degree in Florida generally takes about two to three years depending on the program. Many programs have flexible options such as part-time, full-time, online, or on-campus attendance. Masters degree programs will prepare graduates for a higher level social work practice that will allow them to provide mental health care. Some Florida Master’s degree level programs include:

Florida Atlantic University

The goal of Florida Atlantic University is to help their students graduate knowing how to serve the community through an evidence based clinical social work practice by using critical thinking skills and respecting human diversity. This MSW program has the option to be completed within two, three, or four years. There is also the option for a two to five semester option for those who completed a BSW program within the last five years. Options for courses can include the regular program or their advanced standing program, both of which have full-time or part-time tracks. 

  • Regular Program: 60 credits
    • Full time: 2 years
    • Part time: 3-4 years
  • Advanced Standing: 30 credits
    • Full time: 1 year 
    • Part time: 2 years 

All candidates for the MSW program at Florida Atlantic University must complete all the degree requirements within five years after registering. 

Florida State University

FSU has the flexible option of an online master’s degree in social work program. This program is designed for students and professionals who wish to further their education while they might be busy with other obligations such as work or family. The program is also part time for more flexibility. For those without a bachelor’s degree specifically in social work, the average completion time of the program is three years. For those with a BSW, the completion time is two years. This program is accredited by the CSWE. 

Doctors in Social Work  (DSW)

A DSW degree is a professional achievement that focuses on research and social work practice. This degree gives students the opportunity to receive training within the areas of practice such as nonprofits, social justice, leadership development and more, although the clinical practice and administration through nonprofits is the usual focus. It’s important to note that this degree is different from a PhD. Those with a DSW are important for the effectiveness of community based social service organizations. Universities in Florida offer DSW degrees, including: 

Barry University

The Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) program at Barry University is designed to give master’s level practitioners to pursue professional development at a higher level to obtain training in trauma-informed leadership. By graduation, professionals can expect to be able to educate others on knowledge surrounding social work practice to other professionals both to those actively in the field and to those in school. With this education, graduates will also be prepared to shape the practice of social work as a whole. Students are given four years from the time of admission to complete the DSW program and earn their degree.

Ph.D. in Social Work (PhD)

A PhD in social work is an advanced professional degree that focuses on scholarly and theoretical research. Those with a PhD typically also take part in educational practice and focus on rigorous research methods to expand their knowledge on the world of social work. Those who pursue a PhD may do so if they want to influence social work for the future by studying real-world issues and teaching upcoming social workers. Some of Florida’s excellent universities offer social work PhD programs, including:

University of South Florida

The PhD program at USF prepares students for careers within research and academia to improve the practice of social work and become leaders in program development. Once completing the masters program, students should expect this PhD program to require 42 credit hours, with 30 hours from the MSW program applying towards the PhD degree. This program provides unique emphasis on areas of social work that have been forecasted for the future, such as: 

  • Global issues
  • Health and behavioral health
  • Societal change
  • Leadership and business

CSWE Accredited Programs in Florida 

Accreditation is an important feature to quality education. Ensuring that the school you decide to attend has accreditation is a good way to make sure that you are setting yourself up for success in the future, even after graduation. This is because accreditation also ensures a certain  level of consistency in education across all educational institutions across the United States. Below, we have reviewed information about accreditation within social work education. 

What is CSWE Accreditation?

The CSWE is the Council on Social Work Education. The CSWE accreditation is meant to provide assurance to students and the state that the school or program meets standards for excellent education. The organization comprises over 800 bachelors and masters level social work programs.

Individual members consist of professionals within the field of social work education, as well as a number of social work practitioners, all of which wish to advance the quality of social work education. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes the CSWE as the United State’s sole accrediting agency for social work. 

Why is CSWE Accreditation Important?

The mission of the CSWE is to advance quality and innovation within social work education. To do so, the organization evaluates educational institutions that are providing social work programs to ensure that programs meet certain quality teaching and learning standards. Schools that meet these standards earn the CWSE accreditation status.

Students that attend accredited schools receive education that meets the requirements needed to take the exam needed to obtain a social work license. Per the vision of the CSWE, they strive to “ensure a well-educated social work profession equipped to promote health, well-being, and justice for all people in a diverse society.” 

List of All CSWE Accredited Degrees in Florida

Online Social Work Programs in Florida

Pursuing an online degree can be a good option for many students. There are several universities that offer online social work programs in Florida at the masters degree level. This means that students who have completed their bachelor’s degree and want to earn a master’s degree and become licensed have the option to choose to attend school online. The universities offering online social work degrees in Florida include: 

  • Florida State University 
  • Saint Leo University
  • University of Central Florida

What Are the Benefits of an Online Social Work Degree?

The option of online education can be an excellent opportunity for those who may need an alternate learning method due to a variety of factors such as a family or a full time career. This can help those who are current social workers who are in school to advance their career.

However, although much of the learning can be completed online, it’s important to note that certain requirements of some programs—such as master’s level internship hours—are likely to have to be completed in person.

Even so, online social work programs may give many students a chance to earn their degree from home in a more accessible way and work at their own pace more than they would be able to in a classroom. 

Social Work Licensure in Florida

A master’s degree is required to obtain the credential of a licensed clinical social worker in Florida, which must be from an accredited institution. Some universities offer part time or full time classes, so many students have options when it comes to attendance.

Additionally, those who wish to obtain an LCSW credential need supervised experience totaling three years, one before graduation and two after, equaling 1500 hours overall.

All of the requirements are intended to prepare students for the clinical exam, which takes four hours to complete. The exam is scored by the Association of Social Work Boards. 

How to Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Florida

Becoming a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in Florida involves several steps that you will have to fulfill to meet the requirements to practice. The steps to earn your social work license include:

  1. Earn a master’s degree in social work.

This degree must be accredited by the CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) or another accrediting body. Earning a master’s degree takes two to three years after one receives a bachelor’s degree. 

  1. Obtain hours of supervised experience. 

Before applying for licensure, you will need to complete two years of social work experience under the supervision of a licensed social work practitioner. This involves around 1500 hours of work specifically with clients and 100 hours of face-to-face supervision with your supervisor. This step is important to get real-world experience with clients while having the support of an experienced supervisor to reflect with. 

  1. Complete the required supplemental courses.

 In Florida, to obtain licensure, there are three supplemental courses required that should be done through CE Broker. The first course has to do with HIV and AIDS, which takes about three hours. This goes along with a two hour course surrounding domestic violence. There may also be a course about laws and rules that students may need to take as well to make sure they are familiar with the state requirements for Florida social workers. 

  1. Complete and submit an application to the Florida clinical social work board

The application is available to be completed online or by mail.  The application should include school transcripts, a letter from the graduate program, an advanced standing letter, money to pay for the application fee, and confirmation of work experience. 

  1. Take the exam.

After submitting the application, you will need to take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical Exam. The exam takes four hours and consists of 170 items. 

  1. Receive your license.

It takes approximately two weeks for the scores to be reported to the Florida board by the ASWB. If the domestic violence and HIV/AIDS courses have not yet been completed, they must be done within six months of earning your license. 

How Long Does it Typically Take to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Florida?

Becoming a licensed social worker in Florida depends on what level of education you are at when you begin your journey. If you are starting with only a high school education, it may take you around eight years.

If you have an associates degree, you might be able to put the credits that you have earned towards a bachelor’s degree, thus shortening the process for that degree and making the process towards becoming an LCSW take around six years.

Starting with having a bachelor’s degree and going straight into a master’s program, it can take about two years of full time graduate school, plus the amount of time it takes to complete the hours of supervised experience, which is another two years.

In summary, this means that it can take about 4-8 years to become an LCSW.

Does Florida Have Social Work Licensure Reciprocity

License reciprocity means that social workers can move to another state and become licensed without having to repeat the experience requirements and retake the exam.

However, Florida does not have reciprocity for their social workers with other states.

To transfer to Florida as an LCSW, a social worker must complete the application for licensure, which involves an exam and endorsement. Information on this is available via the Florida board resources page.  Those who have questions can reach out to the board office

Social Work Salary & Job Outlook in Florida 

Social workers make different salaries depending on how much education they have and where they work, as well as what they specialize in. Clinical social workers who have their own private practice might make more money than a general practice social worker at a government agency, for example.

However, that doesn’t mean that one is more or less important to the community. As such, they are highly needed. Here, we will review the salary and career outlook for the different social workers. 

Social Worker Salary in Florida

The average social worker salary in Florida is about $55,270 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary varies widely between cities and due to factors such as level of education, how many years one has been practicing, and other certifications and skills one might have. The average salaries based on levels of education are broken down below. 

BSW Average Salary in Florida

Social workers with a bachelor’s degree make about $58,629 on average, but the average range can vary from $52,402-65,402. Wages at this level can start around $36,230 for entry-level social workers but go up to $87,820. Some social workers can increase the chances for salary increases through some agencies by earning certifications or staying a certain length of time. 

MSW Average Salary in Florida

Social workers practicing with a master’s degree without a license make, on average, $65,154 annually, but the average range can vary from $58,858 and $71,870. Entry level positions can start at $50,593. Because a master’s degree provides advanced level training for a social worker, this allows them to make more money than someone with a bachelor’s level education. 

LCSW Average Salary in Florida

Licensed clinical social workers earn on average $72,388 annually, but the average range can vary between $66,777 and $80,442. An LCSW is allowed to practice therapy and has mental health training, so they have more opportunity for salary increases. For example, an LCSW has the opportunity to open a private practice, where they are able to determine their own fees for therapy sessions. 

DSW Average Salary in Florida

The salary for this career is unique because it can’t be pinned down to just one general career to base the salary off of (such as a licensed clinical social worker can be, for example). Those with a doctorate in social work might work as directors for a non-profit or healthcare facility, which makes about $101,340 a year. Other jobs that one can pursue with a DSW might include being a college professor ($79,649 average), child welfare worker or manager ($47,507 average), medical social worker ($65,022 average), or policy researcher ($79,681). 

Social Worker Job Outlook in Florida

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), employment of social workers is projected to grow 9% between 2021 and 2031. This is for the entirety of the United States, as job outlook information specifically for Florida is unavailable. 74,700 job openings are projected to open up each year over the next ten years as well, due to retirements and current social workers exiting the labor force for other reasons. 

Popular Social Work Careers in Florida

There are many great types of social worker careers that someone can enter into. Because Florida is known as a state where many people move to retire, or might move due to the number of fun family activities, some popular social work careers may be: 

  • Child and Family Therapist.
    • Median salary: $58,560
    • This career involves helping address needs that can arise for children from the ages of toddlerhood and above. It can also involve improving family dynamics to create healthier relationships. 
  • Medical Social Worker
    • Median salary: $59.420
    • This type of social worker works in healthcare clinics, hospitals, clinics, or other settings. They may help individuals or families navigate the healthcare system or advocate for their needs. This type of social worker is needed for the growing elder population. 

What is the Typical Cost of a Social Work Program in Florida?

The cost of different social work degree programs vary between schools. That being said, each program’s costs may be similar. The cost of a Florida social work program, including tuition and fees, is: 

  • Bachelor’s in social work: up to $30,412
  • Master’s in social work: up to $43, 545
  • Doctorate in social work: up to $147,500

Social Work Scholarships

Because social work is a specific career path and one that is in high demand, there are multiple organizations and websites available providing scholarships to applicants who are specifically pursuing social work degrees. Some of these include:

Key Social Work Areas in Florida

No states are perfect, and even with all the great things Florida has to offer, they also have social issues that call for the need for social workers like anywhere else in the United States.

Some of the issues that Florida faces include poverty, racism, and substance abuse, all of which play into each other in some ways. For example, the number of people living in poverty is 12.7% as compared to 10.7% elsewhere despite a lower cost of living.

Another example is that Florida is the fourth most dangerous state to live in due to the availability of firearms, number of police available, and number of violent crimes. Social workers learn in school how to address social problems and how to promote equality and social justice for all.

Thus, they are best suited to look at these problems at different levels. Those who have their bachelors in social work are most likely to be the initial advocates for clients, assessing them for issues and helping them navigate social systems to improve financial situations.

Master’s level social workers can provide therapy, helping heal trauma from the inside out. Those a

the doctoral level can work on the big-picture, seeing what is needed and helping change policy by writing policy and advocating. 

Masters in Social Work Degree Programs in Florida

Barry University

(Miami, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $28,160 Tuition Cost
  • $16,545 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

(Tallahassee, FL)

  • Masters in Community and Social Psychology
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $3,100 Tuition Cost
  • $6,056 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Florida Atlantic University

(Boca Raton, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $2,480 Tuition Cost
  • $3,066 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Florida Gulf Coast University

(Fort Myers, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $4,191 Tuition Cost
  • $3,033 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

Florida International University

(Miami, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $4,668 Tuition Cost
  • $1,631 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

Florida State University

(Tallahassee, FL)

  • Masters in Human Development and Family Studies
  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $4,587 Tuition Cost
  • $2,465 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

Hodges University

(Naples, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work and Public Administration Policy
  • $11,760 Tuition Cost
  • $1,352 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

Saint Leo University

(Saint Leo, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $18,700 Tuition Cost
  • $8,591 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

St. Thomas University

(Miami Gardens, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work and Public Administration Policy
  • $25,110 Tuition Cost
  • $12,301 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

The University of West Florida

(Pensacola, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $3,682 Tuition Cost
  • $1,929 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

University of Central Florida

(Orlando, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $4,426 Tuition Cost
  • $2,449 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

University of Florida

(Gainesville, FL)

  • Masters in Family and Community Services
  • $4,425 Tuition Cost
  • $3,414 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting

University of Miami

(Coral Gables, FL)

  • Masters in Community and Social Psychology
  • $39,980 Tuition Cost
  • $24,283 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Suburban Campus Setting

University of South Florida-Main Campus

(Tampa, FL)

  • Masters in Social Work (MSW)
  • $4,506 Tuition Cost
  • $3,915 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
  • Urban Campus Setting
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