The following guide offers a comprehensive introduction to the social work profession in Nevada. Job growth in the field of social work, salary statistics for Nevada social workers, and in-state master’s programs are all covered below.
MSW programs, both campus and online-based, are covered in depth since only graduate’s degree holders are eligible for the most advanced social work licensure in Nevada.
CONTENTS OF THIS GUIDE
- Social Work in Nevada
- MSW programs
- Online MSW programs
- How to become a social worker
- License requirements
- Social worker jobs and salary
- Job outlook
- School listings
Social work in Nevada
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are 4,940 social workers in Nevada. Unfortunately, despite the best effort of these social workers they’re not able to reach everyone who needs help. Schools in Nevada are critically understaffed when it comes to school psychologists. National guidelines recommend one psychologist per 500 students but there are some districts in Nevada where there is only one psychologist per 2,000 students.
There is also a broader trend which indicates a lack of mental health professionals. Nevada is consistently ranked the worst in the United States for mental health, including high levels of anxiety and depression as well as a lack of access to proper healthcare.
Across the United States it is increasingly the role of the social worker to provide counseling and other clinical services to state residents. That Nevada has such a disappointing ranking in terms of mental health indicates that there are not nearly enough clinical social workers in the state. For those who are interested in making a difference, taking a MSW program in Nevada and then finding work in the state is a great way to make a difference in the lives of people who need it the most.
MSW programs in Nevada
It’s recommended that students who are considering a master’s degree in social work only study at a CSWE accredited university. A CSWE accreditation ensures that the social work program is teaching the latest and best practices in social work. Furthermore, only students who have graduated from a CSWE certified university can apply for the highest levels of social work licensure in Nevada.
The University of Nevada, Reno, offers a popular MSW program that is designed to; “prepare ethical, competent advanced generalist social work leaders who are able to practice reflectively and autonomously in complex environments across system levels with diverse client groups.”
Social workers who graduate from the program will have a solid grounding in innovative leadership principles, complex problem solving skills and all of the other necessary skills to help their clients succeed.
Students who already have an undergraduate’s degree in social work can apply for the advanced standing program. This program requires just one year to complete with a total of 32 credit hours. Students who don’t already have an undergraduate degree in social work can apply for the regular standing program, which takes two years and 62 credit hours.
Online MSW programs in Nevada
In addition to their campus-based program, the University of Nevada, Reno, also offers an online MSW program. One of the major selling points of the program is that tuition is lower than the average for other online MSW programs.
The online MSW program is fully CSWE-accredited and just like the campus-based program it’s available in two formats. The regular standing program requires 62 credit hours of study and two years to complete. Students in the advanced standing program can finish their degree after just one year.
More information about the University of Nevada MSW program, as well as other MSW programs in the United States, is available on our online MSW degree page.
How to become a social worker in Nevada
Aspiring social workers can follow these steps to begin a rewarding career in social work in Nevada.
- Take a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited university.
- Apply for a LSW license from the Nevada Board of Examiners. There is a $140 fee to apply for the license.
- Pass a background check.
- Take and pass the ASWB master’s level exam. The exam consists of 170 questions and there is a $230 fee to take the exam.
- Once all of the correct documents have been submitted the examiners board will issue the social worker their LSW license.
- After the social worker has two to three years of experience they may apply for the LISW license, which will permit them to practice independent, non-clinical social work in Nevada.
For most social workers a master’s degree is the best choice. With an advanced standing program a master’s can be obtained in just five years and it will allow a social worker to obtain the highest level of social work licensure in Nevada.
However, there are a few things that master’s degree holders may be limited from doing, including crafting public policy and managing large community centers. If that type of work is appealing a social worker 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 available in the United States.
Social work license requirements in Nevada
The Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers is the best place to find the most up to date information about social work licensure in Nevada. Getting information directly from the state website is recommended since licensing requirements can change at any time.
Listed below are the three main license types available to social workers in Nevada.
Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
The LSW is the first license that social workers will apply for after graduation. It is available to both bachelor’s and master’s degree holders. With a LSW license the social worker is permitted to practice non-clinical social work at an agency or organization.
Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
A LISW license is only available to master’s degree graduates who’ve taken their degree from a CSWE accredited university. The social worker must have 3,000 hours of supervised experience before they can apply for this license. With a LISW license a social worker can perform more advanced work than is permitted with a LSW license.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
The LCSW is the most advanced license that a social worker can attain in Nevada. A LCSW license allows the social worker to practice unsupervised, clinical social work. To qualify for the license a social worker must first accrue at least 2,000 hours of face-to-face clinical social work experience. The applicant will also need to pass the ASWB clinical level exam.
Social workers in Nevada must renew their license every year by the end of the month that their birthday is in. Before a license can be renewed the social worker must complete a certain number of hours of continuing education. For LSW license holders the requirement is 30 hours and for LISW and LCSW license holders the requirement is 36 hours of continuing education.
Social worker jobs and social worker salary in Nevada
BLS employment surveys have shown that there are currently 4,940 social workers employed in Nevada. Nevada social workers fill many different roles, as will be shown by the employment figures below.
The average salary for a social worker in Nevada is $58,876 per year. Healthcare social workers are the highest earners, with an average annual salary of $72,640. Child, Family, and School Social Workers earn the least, with an average annual salary of $53,980. Below is a summary of all social work employment and salary data from the BLS.
Child, family, and school social workers: There are currently 3,010 child, family, and school social workers in Nevada and they earn an average salary of $53,980 per year.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers: There are currently 850 mental health and substance abuse social workers in Nevada and they earn an average salary of $58,790 per year.
Healthcare social workers: There are currently 800 healthcare social workers in Nevada and they earn an average salary of $72,640 per year.
All other social workers: There are currently 280 social workers employed in various other fields, including in private practices. These social workers earn an average salary of $72,450 per year.
Social work outlook in Nevada
The BLS recently released their latest set of predictions for job growth in the field of social work. According to their findings, “Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialization.”
Whether it’s Nevada, California or Maine, there is a growing demand for social workers across the United States. Even social workers who are just now beginning their education should expect to find plenty of positions open to them upon graduation.
Social Work Programs in Nevada