This guide covers many topics including social work salaries, job prospects for the next decade, social work educational opportunities in Connecticut as well as a detailed overview of social work licensure in Connecticut.
There is a special focus on MSW programs in Connecticut since the state only allows master’s degree graduates to become licensed social workers.
CONTENTS OF THIS GUIDE
- Social work in Connecticut
- MSW programs
- Online MSW programs
- How to become a social worker
- License requirements
- Social worker jobs and salary
- Expert advice
- School Listings
Social work in Connecticut
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are 10,240 social workers in Connecticut. One of the societal pressures that these social workers must deal with is the state’s incredibly high level of income disparity. The top 1 percent take in an average salary of $2.4 million per year while the bottom 99 percent average just $56,445 per year. In fact Connecticut has the second highest level of income inequality in the United States, just after New York state.
The problem with income inequality is that it concentrates power in the hands of the wealthy. Laws and regulations that favor the elites, taxes that benefit the rich and a higher cost of living for everyone as high earners drive up the price of real estate.
Social workers in Connecticut are dealing with the fallout of such a high wealth concentration in the hands of so few. Lower and middle class families in Connecticut may not have access to good healthcare, many public services are underfunded and children from poor neighbors don’t always receive a good education. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that social workers can make a difference not just in their client’s lives, but also at a higher level as they help to craft public policy that benefits all of the residents of Connecticut, not just the wealthy. Before someone can start a social work career in Connecticut though they’ll need a good education and that all starts with applying for a MSW program.
MSW programs in Connecticut
It’s important that social work students in Connecticut only take their degree from a CSWE accredited University. A CSWE certification guarantees that a social work program is fully up to date in its teaching methodologies and that students are receiving the best possible education. In order to receive a social work license in Connecticut a student must have graduated from a CSWE certified university.
The University of Connecticut (UConn) offers a great MSW program that is ranked in the top 20 percent nationwide. Students taking their MSW from UConn can choose from several different concentrations, including community organization, policy practice or family and group social work. According to the program description on UConn’s website, “Our graduates are prepared to shape practice, advocate and improve social policies, services, and communities, locally and globally.”
Regular standing students (those without a bachelor’s degree in social work) have quite a bit of flexibility in how they take the program. For example, the MSW can be completed in either two, three, or four years. This is ideal for anyone who plans to work while they’re pursuing their degree. Advanced standing students (any student with a bachelor’s degree in social work) can complete the MSW in just one year. More information about the advanced standing program is available here.
The University of Saint Joseph also offers a CSWE accredited MSW program in Connecticut. Students can expect to receive individualized attention from instructors and to learn in small sized classes. Regular standing students can complete the program in two or three years, while advanced standing students can graduate after one year. The full curriculum for the program is available here.
Online MSW programs in Connecticut
There are only a few programs available to students in Connecticut who want to study online. The Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) offers a hybrid program, where a portion of the classes are taught online and others must be attended in the classroom. More information about class schedules is available in the graduate catalog.
As with most other MSW programs in Connecticut, the SCSU regular standing program requires 60 credit hours of study. Currently there is not a part time option so the program must be completed in two or three years of full time study.
Sacred Heart University (SHU) offers the only other online, CSWE accredited MSW program in Connecticut. Sacred Heart’s advantage is that online students receive the same level of support as campus based students. That includes one-on-one counseling, individualized attention from teachers and job placement services post-graduation.
Students can choose to complete the SHU program full time in two years, or take the part time program which lasts three to four years. An advanced standing program is also an option for anyone with a bachelor’s degree in social work. This can be completed in 20 months.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about the Sacred Heart online MSW program, as well as other MSW programs throughout the United States, can visit our online MSW degree page.
How to become a social worker in Connecticut
Since it’s impossible to become a social worker with only a bachelor’s degree in Connecticut, the following steps assume the graduate has a MSW or higher.
- Graduate with a MSW or Ph.D. from a CSWE accredited university
- Complete the online application for a LMSW license. There is a $220 license application fee
- Take the ASWB master’s level exam, consisting of 170 multiple choice questions. The fee for the exam is $230
- Complete a background check
- Once the applicant has passed their background check and the ASWB exam they will be granted a LMSW license. At this point the license holder is permitted to practice supervised, clinical social work
- Once the social worker has 3,000 hours of supervised experience they can apply for the LCSW license. This will allow them to practice unsupervised, clinical social work
Most social work can be done by anyone with a master’s degree. However, there are certain tasks which can only be completed by a social worker with a PhD. For instance, complex statistical analysis or managing a large organization.
Social workers who aspire to the highest positions in the field may want to consider pursuing a PhD. More information is available on our doctorate degree page, as well as a list of PhD social work programs currently available in the United States.
Social work license requirements in Connecticut
Connecticut is unique in that there are only two types of social work licenses. Most other states have three or four different licenses. Both of the social work licenses in Connecticut require the applicant to have a master’s or PhD in social work. More information about social work licensing requirements in Connecticut can be found at the Department of Public Health’s website.
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
To apply for a LMSW license an applicant must have a graduate’s degree from a CSWE certified university. With a LMSW license a social worker is allowed to practice supervised, clinical social work. Once the license holder has gained enough supervised experience they may apply for a LCSW license.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Once a social worker has 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience they can apply for a LCSW license. With the LCSW license a social worker is allowed to practice unsupervised, clinical social work.
License renewal in Connecticut
Both licenses have the same $195 renewal fee and they must be renewed every year. Before a social worker can renew their license they must complete at least 15 hours of continuing education.
Social worker jobs and social worker salary in Connecticut
BLS data shows that there are currently 10,240 social workers employed in Connecticut. These social workers are employed in many different roles, as is shown below.
The average social worker earns $68,482 on an annual basis in Connecticut. At the low end are mental health and substance abuse social workers, who earn $64,590 per year. At the high end are healthcare social workers who earn $72,980 per year. A full overview of employment numbers and average salaries is provided below.
Child, family, and school social workers — There are currently 5,420 child, family, and school social workers in Connecticut and they earn an average salary of $70,690 per year.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers — There are currently 1,400 mental health and substance abuse social workers in Connecticut and they earn an average salary of $71,650 per year.
Healthcare social workers — There are currently 1,800 healthcare social workers in Connecticut and they earn an average salary of $72,010 per year.
All other social workers — There are currently 470 social workers employed in various other fields, including in private practices. These social workers earn an average salary of $64,350 per year.
Social Work Programs in Connecticut
Find the latest social work career advice from people working directly in the field in Connecticut. Learn more about all the different pathways and opportunities available in social work today.
- What are the most important factors for students deciding on an MSW program in Connecticut?
- What are the challenges or opportunities for becoming a social worker in Connecticut?
- What does the future of social work look like in Connecticut?
- What types of jobs are MSW graduates finding in Connecticut?
- Do you have advice or guidance for MSW graduates pursuing a license in Connecticut?