This guide covers everything you need to know about getting a master’s of social work (MSW) in Indiana. Also included in the guide is information about getting a social work license in Indiana and the social work job outlook in the state.
CONTENTS OF THIS GUIDE
- Social work in Indiana
- MSW programs
- Online MSW programs
- How to become a social worker
- License requirements
- Social worker jobs and salary
- Job outlook
- School listings
- Expert advice
Social work in Indiana
Indiana is a state with a healthy mix of different industries, including agriculture, mining, and food processing. It’s also a manufacturing hub for the country, particularly for iron and steel products. Many of the associated careers don’t require higher education, and so it’s no surprise that Indiana has a lower than average percentage of its population with a bachelor’s degree.
This limits earning potential somewhat, resulting in high poverty in several rural and metropolitan areas. Social workers are usually concentrated in Indianapolis and Cincinnati and Louisville’s metro areas because of the higher rates of poverty and drug abuse in these regions.
At this time, Indiana is suffering from a higher than average rate of youths entering into foster care, plus a higher than average amount of child maltreatment. Social workers in this state will primarily focus on child abuse and family support as a result of these social ailments.
MSW programs in Indiana
An MSW program is just as valuable in Indiana as it is anywhere else. As with other states, students will want to concentrate on an MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, or CSWE. These programs are approved and accredited because they possess a certain amount of rigor and academic merit, as well as being up-to-date in terms of social work practices and ideas.
CSWE-accredited programs will include:
- up-to-date and modern classes that focus on concepts students will need in order to practice social work in clinical contexts
- other classes that allow students to specialize in one or more social work disciplines. Indiana social workers will want to focus on child and family care classes because of the issues affecting the state at large
- all MSW programs will also include opportunities for clinical experiences. These practical hours will need to be accrued over time in order to acquire social work licensure. Note that MSW programs don’t include all of the required hours for licensure, only some
- most MSW programs will also allow students to pursue electives to round out their education to their liking
Although Indiana isn’t as metropolitan a state as California or Massachusetts, there are still plenty of other MSW and other graduate programs available. For instance, Indiana University offers a CSWE-accredited program at multiple campuses in cities like Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Bloomington. This social work program includes 980 hours of field education. Those with some social work credits under their belts can take advantage of advanced standing admission, meaning they can complete the degree at a more rapid pace.
Students may also wish to check out the University of Southern Indiana. Located in Evansville, this program focuses on clinical social work and can help students specialize in areas like veteran services, mental health, and healthcare. The program can be completed with either part-time or full-time schedules depending on your needs. More importantly, the University includes the Center for Social Justice Education, making it a prime school for modern-minded young students interested in global issues and international social work opportunities.
Online MSW programs in Indiana
Online MSW programs are preferred by many modern social work students because of their flexibility. Many of these programs can be completed part-time, allowing you to finish your social work education while balancing a busy work or family life at home. Furthermore, online MSW programs allow you to complete your social work education after moving to Indiana if you prefer to finish your schooling at a university in your prior state of residence.
Programs specific to Indiana include the online MSW offered by Indiana University. This MSW program comes with an advanced generalist curriculum, meaning it’s a versatile degree offering perfect for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in social work. A specialized Child Welfare Education and Training partnership is available and includes in-depth learning opportunities for future social workers who will focus their careers primarily on helping kids and their families.
How to become a social worker in Indiana
Social workers in Indiana must meet the requirements set out by the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board. There are three types of social work credentials you can acquire.
Licensed Bachelor Social Worker
This beginner’s certificate is perfect if you have a BSW from an accredited program. It allows holders to practice non-clinical social work in Indiana.
- Start by submitting your application to the Association of Social Work Board, which costs $50. You can also apply for a temporary permit for $25, which allows you to practice as a non-clinical social worker for up to a year while you pass the exam
- Complete a required criminal background check
- Pass the ASWB Bachelor’s exam, which costs $230 and is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions
- Receive your license if you pass the exam
Licensed Social Worker
This credential requires you to hold an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program. It’ll let you practice non-clinical social work and is mostly seen as a stepping stone to the next type of credential.
- Submit your application to the Board and pay the $50 fee
- Complete the criminal background check
- Pass the ASWB Master’s exam, which costs $230 and is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions
- You’ll receive your license if you pass the exam
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
This final type of social work license is required to practice social work in a clinical context and by yourself. You must have an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program and have completed the required practical experience hours (see below).
- Obtain the required practical experience and apply to the ASWB. Pay the $50 application fee
- Complete the criminal background check required
- Pass the ASWB Clinical Exam, which costs $260 and which has 170 multiple-choice questions
- Receive your license if you complete the exam
Social work license requirements in Indiana
The Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board outlines the requirements necessary for a social work clinical license.
You must complete 3,000 hours of full-time and supervised clinical social work experience over two years. You must additionally meet with an LCSW for four hours per month for supervision during this two-year period.
If you complete or have completed a doctoral internship that includes clinical social work, those hours can be applied to this total.
Note that Indiana social workers must renew their licenses every two years. 20 hours of continuing education must additionally be completed every year. 10 hours per year have to come from “formal programming,” like courses, workshops, and seminars. The other 10 hours per year come from self-directed learning activities. Furthermore, one CE credit every year has to come from a topic focusing on ethics.
Social worker salary in Indiana
Social worker salaries in Indiana are best understood by looking at data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data is broken down into four broad categories for social workers:
- Child, family, and school social workers earn an average annual salary of $42,440 per year and an hourly wage of $20.40. These are also the most numerous social workers in the state, numbering 7,220.
- Healthcare social workers earn a little more with an average salary of $52,090 per year and an hourly wage of $25.04. There are around 5,430 in the state at this time.
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers are much rarer at only 1,910 in the state. They earn an annual salary of $45,820 and an hourly wage of $22.03.
- All other social workers earn the highest annual salary of $63,010 per year and an hourly wage of $30.29. But they’re also the rarest type of social worker, numbering only 400.
Compared to the national salary for social workers everywhere else ($50,470 per year), it’s clear that Indiana social workers can expect average pay in most cases. Indiana is a state with a relatively low cost of living (though this is dependent on your exact living arrangements).
The most numerous type of social workers in Indiana (child, family, and school) make a little less than the national average. But opportunities for promotion can often lead to increases, particularly as the need for social workers increases.
Job outlook for social workers in Indiana
Social workers everywhere in the country will be required with increasing regularity as the years go on. The BLS indicates that over 80,000 new social workers will be needed in the US by 2028, with several thousands of these being needed in Indiana if population projections remain the same.
As with most other states, aspiring social workers will find the most success in locating a new job in the major cities like Indianapolis and Cincinnati’s metro area (even though the city is in Ohio). All in all, Indiana will likely continue to provide decent job opportunities for social workers in the near future, particularly in areas like child and family development and therapy.
Social Work Programs in Indiana
- What are the most important factors for students deciding on an MSW program in Indiana?
- What are the challenges or opportunities for becoming a social worker in Indiana?
- What does the future of social work look like in Indiana?
- What types of jobs are MSW graduates finding in Indiana?
- Do you have advice or guidance for MSW graduates pursuing a license in Indiana?
What are the most important factors for students deciding on an MSW program in Indiana?
Indiana Wesleyan University offers a fully online MSW program for students in Indiana and across the nation. The program is an advanced generalist program allowing for maximum flexibility for students pursuing their MSW regardless of their interest or location. The program also has a clinical emphasis to ensure students have a strong clinical foundation for work as a therapist or any setting. Finally, the IWU MSW program is built upon a Christian worldview, integrating faith and biblical understandings of ethics and social work throughout the program.
What are the challenges or opportunities for becoming a social worker in Indiana?
Social workers in Indiana, as in many parts of the country, have incredible opportunities at this time for jobs in multiple sectors and to speak into policy and cultural issues being faced in many communities. The main challenges students face in completing their social work degree are often juggling their work and school schedules and getting the academic support they need to succeed. As a fully online program, Indiana Wesleyan’s MSW program offers students maximum flexibility in completing their work. The program also offers a cohort model so students complete the program with a group or peers who can add support and encouragement. IWU also offers an array of tools and support academically, including availability of 24-hour/day tutoring.
What does the future of social work look like in Indiana?
The future looks very positive for social workers in Indiana. Job opportunities continue to expand and data indicates continued growth for the next 7-10 years.
What types of jobs are MSW graduates finding in Indiana?
Social workers are finding jobs in a variety of areas including medical social work, behavioral health, addictions and child welfare.
Do you have advice or guidance for MSW graduates pursuing a license in Indiana?
The IWU MSW program prepares students in all required social work competency areas to prepare them for licensing exams. The program is also developing a licensing exam preparation component to help students succeed. There are also apps and test prep tools available for students to help them study.