How to Become a Social Worker in Georgia

When researching how to become a social worker in Georgia, it is important to consider the types of social work programs available, how to become licensed as a social worker and the average annual salary of social workers in the state. It is a rewarding profession in which one encounters all types of people. Social workers typically work with all age ranges from children to the elderly, helping them overcome challenges and live productive lives.

Georgia Social Worker Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for social workers in Georgia is $59,840. The Augusta, Georgia metro area is one of the top paying areas in the country for social workers; those who work in the profession in the area make an annual mean wage of $66,370. Social workers who work in mental health and substance abuse or with children and families make anywhere from $38,000 to $43,000 a year.

Social Worker TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers6,550$36,690
Healthcare Social Workers3,830$46,210
Mental Health and Substance Abuse910$44,430
Social Workers, All Other760$56,370

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2011.

Top Ranked Social Work Programs in Georgia

US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs
University of Georgia; Athens #37
Georgia State University; Atlanta #52
Clark Atlanta University; Atlanta #148
Valdosta State University; Valdosta #172
Savannah State University; Savannah #187

Social Work Programs in Georgia

University of Georgia

University of Georgia offers a Master of Social Work degree through its School of Social Work. Accepted students may choose to pursue one of two concentration areas, Clinical Practice for those wishing to go into direct practice or Community Empowerment and Program Development for those seeking a more administrative role in social work. There are several programs of study available within this MSW course of study; students can enroll full- or part-time, in an Advanced Standing Program, in a dual degree program, or in an additional certificate program, such as Disability Studies. The core MSW program includes a strong focus on field education during each year of study. The University of Georgia School of Social Work also offers study abroad opportunities.

Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University’s WellStar College of Health and Human Services awards a Master of Social Work degree. This MSW degree is traditionally completed through two years of full-time study. Students have the option to specialize in Children and Family Services or Mental Health Services during their course of study; a sub-specialty in substance abuse is available to those concentrating in Mental Health Services. All students complete a clinical field practicum consisting of two full days in a field setting during the first year of study and three full days in a field setting during the second year of study. Students pursuing this MSW have numerous opportunities to engage with the surrounding community and with other students through various clubs and organizations.

Georgia Social Worker License Requirements

The Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists sets the licensure standards and is the governing body for social workers in the state. Licenses are valid for two years and expire on September 30 of even numbered years. A license can be renewed either by mail or online. There are two levels of licensed social worker in Georgia: the Master Social Worker and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Both levels of licensure require a master’s degree in social work attained from a program approved by the Council on Social Work Education. Three years (3,000 hours) of full-time supervised experience must be completed within the first two years under direction, if applying for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. If a doctorate degree is obtained, the individual may substitute the degree for one year of supervised clinical experience. The applicant that has a doctorate degree must still have 2,000 hours of post-master degree experience in 24 to 72 months. The Association of Social Work Board Exams must be passed by both the Master Social Worker and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker before being licensed to practice. A licensed worker can go on inactive status for up to six years with state board approval. Continuing Education requires 35 hours every two years, and starting in 2012, only ten hours can be taken online.
(Source: Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists)

Georgia Social Work Career and Job Resources

One of the best places to find social work jobs specifically in Georgia is the Georgia Department of Human Services employment page. This page includes a list of vacancies that need to be filled. Job postings include the job description, qualifications required, and instructions on how to apply for the position. The Georgia chapter of the National Association of Social Workers also offers a listing of current job opportunities in a PDF format. The Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is also an excellent resource for anyone considering a social work career in the state.

Schools with Social Work Programs in Georgia

University of Georgia School of Social Work
University of Georgia (MSW)
Georgia State University
Kennesaw State University

US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Georgia Department of Human Services