There are only 580,000 people living in the large state of Wyoming, leading to a sparse population density of 5.8 people per square mile; the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the national average is 87.4 people per square mile.
Wyoming has many traits that make it interesting from a social work perspective. First, the cost of living is lower than the national average, but the average housing cost in Wyoming is lower than the national average. Second, the American Indian population in Wyoming makes up 2.6% of the state’s total population, compared to the 1.2% average across the country. As a social worker, you need to be educated in local cultures to be able to provide culturally competent care.
There is only one school in Wyoming with an MSW program: the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Tuition here costs about $3,642, and there is an acceptance rate of 96%. Even though tuition is already very low, there are scholarships you can use to save even more money. The average cost of tuition in Wyoming is $1,994.
The layout of the MSW program at the University of Wyoming is different from the traditional format in most other states. While you can still complete your degree in two full-time years, you must also take summer courses to complete your degree. Standard students take summer courses on the principles of social work, while advanced students take courses in social work research and analysis.
Lecture courses and field hours are the two main parts of the MSW program at the University of Wyoming. Your lecture courses give you a strong knowledge base in social work theories, theoretical approaches to therapy, and evidence-based care.
Your field hours are completed at a variety of settings, including family service centers, hospitals, and mental health clinics. In addition to your regular field hours, you also have the opportunity to study abroad. The University of Wyoming hosts annual trips to places like London and Oaxaca to help you build on your skills.
Starting your career is an exciting part of your social work education. Social workers are employed a number of diverse industries, since the skills you learn in an MSW program can be applied to a variety of fields. Overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most social workers work for the government or a healthcare agency. In Wyoming, some of the largest social work employers are the Alzheimer’s Association, ResCare, and Kindred Healthcare.
With a clinical license, you have the highest level of freedom as a social worker. You can set up private practice anywhere and offer counseling services. Since Wyoming is so sparsely populated, many communities have little access to mental health services. This presents many opportunities for you.
The Mental Health Professions Licensing Board is the governing board for social workers in Wyoming. After sending in a completed application and passing the required exam, you become a Certified Social Worker. This status allows you to work towards LCSW licensure.
To become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, you must accrue 3,000 hours of supervised work experience. After submitting proof of your hours and passing the exam, you can work as an LCSW.
When you begin your career as a social worker, it’s important to know that your salary is influenced by a number of factors. You typically earn more money as a Master’s-level social worker that has a specific area of specialization. You can earn even more money after becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
In Wyoming, family, mental health, and healthcare social workers earn average salaries of $42,600 per year to $48,600 per year (O*Net, 2012).
The demand for social workers is growing faster than people can fill vacant positions, which can give you the opportunity to explore your options after graduation. Job growth of 25% to 30% is anticipated in many different social work fields, a trend that is expected to continue through 2020 (O*Net, 2012).
Schools in Wyoming Offering Masters in Social Work Programs
University of Wyoming
- Masters in Family and Consumer Sciences
- Masters in Social Work (MSW)
- $2,544 Tuition Cost
- $1,994 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
- Rural Campus Setting