How to Become a Social Worker in Maryland

People who want to make a difference by improving the lives of others may wonder how to become a social worker in Maryland. It is a rewarding career which is based upon helping clients overcome a wide range of challenges including unemployment, homelessness, end-of-life issues, drug addiction and mental and physical disabilities. Social workers help their clients deal with such difficult day-to-day issues and live productive, happy lives.

Maryland Social Worker Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, social workers can earn anywhere between $21,000 and $61,000 annually, depending on their educational background and the type of social work they do. For instance, someone with a master’s degree who works in a medical setting will typically earn more than someone with a bachelor’s degree working in a residential care setting. The BLS reports that social workers in Maryland earn an annual mean salary of $54,210.1 Healthcare social workers earn $54,310, while child, family, and school social workers make an annual mean salary of $47,180.1 The outlook for social workers in Maryland is good, with faster-than-average job growth predicted through 2022, at 18.5% nationally.2

Social Worker TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers5,530$47,180
Healthcare Social Workers3,560$54,310
Mental Health and Substance Abuse2,190$48,130
Social Workers, All Other1,040$67,220

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.

Top Ranked Social Work Programs in Maryland

US News Best Graduate Social Work Programs
University of Maryland–Baltimore; Baltimore #16
Salisbury University; Salisbury #172

Social Worker Programs in Maryland

Salisbury University

Salisbury University’s Master of Social Work provides students with an education in the ethics and skills social workers need to work independently and engage with the communities they serve. This degree program also aims to prepare students for entry level supervision of other social work professionals. An emphasis in community-based direct practice is provided through coursework and field work. Courses may be taken full- or part-time at Salisbury University’s main campus and three satellite locations; most courses are hybrid, combining classroom and online instruction. Graduate students may elect to join the Phi-Alpha National Social Work Honor Society for further enrichment.

University of Maryland

University of Maryland offers a Master of Social Work that promotes the building of leadership skills in its graduates. The MSW program is based on preparation for clinical practice, though a Management and Community Organization concentration is also available. Students may take courses in numerous specializations and sub-specializations to further their core knowledge in particular areas. Field practicum, typically locally based, is a requirement for this degree; students also have the opportunity to complete a six-month field work assignment in India. The School of Social Work supports three major research centers that contribute to the field of social work while providing learning and experience opportunities to students.

Maryland Social Worker License Requirements

There are four levels of licensed social worker in the state of Maryland: Licensed Social Work Associate, Licensed Certified Social Worker, Licensed Graduate Social Worker, and the Licensed Certified Social Work-Clinical.

Licensed Social Worker

To become a Licensed Social Worker the applicant needs a bachelor’s of social work from an accredited program by the CSWE. Applicants must also pass a bachelor’s level exam from the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB).

Licensed Graduate Social Worker

The Licensed Graduate Social Worker must acquire a master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the CSWE. A Licensed Graduate Social Worker must pass a master’s level exam from the ASWB.

Licensed Certified Social Worker

The Licensed Certified Social Worker must obtain a master’s degree in social work from an accredited program by the CSWE and pass an Association of Social Work Board Exam at the advanced generalist level. The Licensed Certified Social Worker must first become a Licensed Graduate Social Worker and accumulate 3,000 hours of supervised social work in no sooner than two years with 144 hours of face-to-face supervision. The supervision must be under a Licensed Certified Social Worker or a Licensed Certified Social Work-Clinical.

Licensed Certified Social Work-Clinical

The Licensed Certified Social Work-Clinical must also obtain a master’s degree in social work from an accredited program by the CSWE. A clinical level exam given by the ASWB must be passed to receive the Licensed Certified Social Work-Clinical. The applicant must also hold a Licensed Graduate Social Worker license and have 3,000 hours of supervised work experience in no less than two years. Direct contact with the client must be in half (1,500 hours) of the supervised hours and 144 hours must be in face-to-face supervision. The applicant’s supervised work must involve assessment, treatment, and psychotherapy. The supervisor must be state board approved.

Out-of-state social workers can apply for a license without testing if they have equivalent education and experience. Continuing education requires 30 hours every two years for a Licensed Social Work Associate and 40 hours for all other levels. 20 of the 40 hours must be category one level courses. The Licensed Social Work Associate must have 15 of the 30 total hours of continuing education courses in category one. Category one courses are those conducted by the ASWB or by the National Association of Social Workers. Three hours of ethics must also be taken every two years. Licenses expire every two years on October 31. Licenses issued for the first time are valid from the date issued until October 31 two years later.
(Source: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)

Maryland Social Work Careers and Job Resources

Individuals in Maryland with a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD in social work can work for elementary and secondary schools, government agencies such as the state department of human resources, residential care facilities, nursing care facilities, surgical facilities, home health care services and family services. People with degrees in social work can find jobs by going through state unemployment offices or searching the Maryland Department of Juvenile Service’s Job Opportunities Board, the National Association of Social Workers Maryland Chapter or Social Work Express.

Schools with Social Work Programs in Maryland

There are several schools in Maryland that offer social work programs for people interested in pursuing careers in this field. Listed below are some of them:

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Maryland: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Association of Social Workers: http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/choices/default.asp
4. National Association of Social Workers – Maryland: http://www.nasw-md.org/