This guide is all about social work programs in Oklahoma. It includes information on how to get a master’s in social work degree and become a social worker in Oklahoma.
CONTENTS OF THIS GUIDE
- Master’s in social work (MSW) programs in Oklahoma
- Online MSW programs in Oklahoma
- How to become a social worker in Oklahoma
- Social work license requirements in Oklahoma
- Social worker jobs and social worker salary in Oklahoma
- Social work outlook in Oklahoma
Social work in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, child, family, and school social workers are currently the most heavily employed. However, Projections Central, an aggregator of state employment data, is expecting that the most significant growth of social work jobs in the state will actually be from healthcare social workers.
MSW programs in Oklahoma
If you want to do more than just entry-level social work in Oklahoma, you will need to earn your master’s in social work degree (MSW). With this degree, you will have the opportunity to apply for licenses that will allow you to practice advanced social work or independent clinical work.
Currently, the University of Oklahoma has one of the only Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited MSW programs in the state. Here, you can find some of the requirements for earning your MSW from the school:
- Without a BSW, you can enroll in a 60-hour program. Of these hours, 30 comprise of foundational coursework. For the last 30 hours, students will be able to move onto more focused courses. Students can choose from: Direct Practice and Administration or Community Practice
- For students with a completed BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program, they may apply to the advanced standing program. The advanced integrative curriculum can be accomplished after 36 hours of coursework.
- To learn more about the field experience requirements for each program, click here
Online MSW programs in Oklahoma
While there are not many online programs offered by schools in Oklahoma at this time, residents of the state can still earn their MSW degree from online programs outside of the state. However, to be recognized as a legitimate degree in Oklahoma, all online programs must be CSWE-accredited.
Students who choose to get their degree online can also typically benefit from a more flexible schedule and the ability to work remotely from any location provided that there is internet-connection.
Before committing to an online program, make sure you do plenty of research. For your convenience, check out this list of CSWE-accredited online programs to help guide you toward finding a program that will fit all your needs.
For additional information on how to pick the right online program for you, click here.
How to become a social worker in Oklahoma
If you are interested in becoming a social worker in Oklahoma, consider the following:
- Earn at least a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited program to become licensed as a social worker in the state
- To become a higher paid social worker and to take advantage of more advanced practices, you will need to get your MSW, DSW (doctor of social work degree) or PhD from a CSWE-accredited program
- Apply to become a social worker by submitting an application to the Oklahoma Board
- If needed, complete the required number of post-graduate experience hours (typically 4,000 hours). Remember, all hours must be completed under approved supervision
While it is possible to start doing entry-level social work after receiving a BSW degree, working to get your MSW degree will lead to stronger career opportunities.
Social work license requirements in Oklahoma
If you are planning to become a social worker in Oklahoma, there are five different types of social work licenses you can choose to pursue.
Below, you will find information on each of these licenses:
Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA):
- Before applying to get your LSWA license, you must be holding a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program
- Send in your application. The form can be found here. Along with the application, you will need to submit your school transcripts as well as fingerprints in order to clear a criminal background check. The fee to apply is $150
- Once your application has been approved by the Oklahoma Board, you will be given a provisional license. With this, you can start practicing supervised social work until you are ready to take an exam to receive your final license
- Pass the 170-question exam given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The test costs $230
- Begin working as an LSWA. Remember, with this license you may only do entry-level social work and must continue to practice under supervision
Licensed Social Worker (LSW):
- Already have a MSW from a CSWE-accredited program
- Before applying for your license, you need to have completed 4,000 hours of supervised social work experience post-graduation
- Submit your application. Be sure to include your transcripts and fingerprints for a required criminal background check. The application fee is $150
- Receive your provisional license and start practicing as a LSW under supervision while studying for your ASWB exam
- Pass the appropriate ASWB exam. The testing fee is $260
- Start your work as a LSW doing unsupervised non-clinical work
Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW):
- You must have a MSW from a CSWE-accredited program
- Send in your application. You must also include your transcripts as well as your fingerprints for a mandatory criminal background check. The fee is $150
- Start practicing as a LMSW for up to a year (under supervision) before taking your ASWB exam
- Pass the master’s level ASWB exam which costs $230
- Begin working as a LMSW doing advanced social work. Keep in mind, with this license you will not be able to practice clinical social work and must still work under supervision
Licensed Social Worker with Administrative Specialty (LSW-ADMs):
- For this license, you will need to have a CSWE-accredited MSW degree
- After graduation, you must complete 4,000 hours of supervised experience with a focus on administrative social work practices
- Submit your application along with your transcripts. Also include your fingerprints for a criminal background check. The application fee is $150
- Under supervision, you will be able to start practicing as an LSW-ADMs with a provisional license until you are able to take the ASWB exam in order to receive your permanent license. Note: provisional licenses are only available up to one year
- Pass the appropriate 170-question ASWB exam for receiving your license. This costs $260
- Start your career working as a LSW-ADMs to do administrative social work
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW):
- At least a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program is required
- Complete 4,000 hours of supervised clinical social work after receiving your MSW or higher. Click here to learn more details about supervision and hour requirements
- Apply. Remember to send in your MSW transcripts as well as your fingerprints for a criminal background check. The cost for application is $150
- Practice working under supervision with a provisional license for up to a year before taking your final exam to become officially licensed
- Pass the ASWB Clinical exam. The testing cost is set at $260
- You should now be a LCSW and will be able to independently practice clinical social work at the advanced-level
All licenses must be approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers.
Social worker jobs and social worker salary in Oklahoma
There are a number of different kinds of social workers in Oklahoma. Below is a breakdown of some of the major groups of social work and their respective annual salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary for social workers in Oklahoma is $41,523, while reported average salaries for all social workers ranged from $37,610 to $54,390.
Child, family, and school social workers — The largest group of social workers in the state, there are 5,930 child, family, and school social workers making an average annual salary of $37,610.
Healthcare social workers — Oklahoma’s 1,860 healthcare social workers are growing fast as a group and currently make an average of $51,220 a year.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers — Number 1,280 in the state and make an average annual salary of $40,430.
All other social workers — This group includes managers, researchers, and private practice social workers. There are 510 social workers in this group and they make an average salary of $54,390.
If you are unsure about which kind of social worker you would like to be, check out our job guide to help determine which area of social work you think you would be best suited for.
Social work outlook in Oklahoma
For those considering pursuing a job as a social worker in Oklahoma, there are still plenty of growing opportunities to become one.
By the year 2028, Projections Central has calculated that healthcare social workers will experience the most growth of employment for social workers within the state. Based on this same data, you can see the projected outlook for the remaining social work job categories listed here:
- Child, family, and school social workers: expected increase in jobs by 8 percent
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers: expected increase in jobs by 9.6 percent
- Healthcare social workers: expected increase of jobs by 14.6 percent
- Social workers, all other: expected increase of jobs by 2.5 percent