This guide will help you learn everything you need to know about becoming a social worker in Houston, Texas.
Here, you will uncover the steps needed in order to earn your degree and become licensed in the city of Houston. This guide also includes an overview of the city’s social work needs and the opportunities it offers for aspiring social workers in Houston.In this guide
- MSW and BSW degrees
- Online degree options
- Fieldwork and internships
- Licensing requirements
- Social work jobs
Nestled in the second-largest state in the United States, the city of Houston is a great place to start your career as a social worker due to its large population and growing demand.
To begin practicing in the field, you must first obtain a social work degree as well as a license from the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners. For more info on degree options and licensing info be sure to check out the full MSW in Texas guide.
In the following sections, you will find details on how to become licensed as well as the job and education opportunities that the city offers.
Campus-based BSW and MSW degrees in Houston
If you are planning to complete your social work degree through on-campus classes, there are a couple of main campus-based programs available in Houston. Below, you will find the kinds of available degrees and the opportunities each one offers for on-campus students.
Bachelor’s of social work (BSW) programs in Houston
Texas Southern University
The undergraduate social work degree at Texas Southern University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Currently, this program is only offered to those who are seeking a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and does not offer the option of a minor in Social Work.
Some goals and opportunities that the on-campus student program include:
- This program is designed to prepare students for entry-level professional social work positions with a focus on urban environments and at-risk populations
- Students must complete 50 credits with grades no lower than a “C” in order to graduate
- Courses for this program concentrate on classes including theory, research, policy, practice and internships
University of Houston-Clear Lake
Some key details about the program are listed below:
- This program focuses on preparing students with the skills and knowledge in order to effectively work with oppressed and diverse populations
- Students in the program must complete 120-credits and graduate with a GPA of 2.5 or higher
- An internship is required for graduation which students can apply for by choosing from one of the nearby approved non-profit organizations and regional social service agencies
- Find a full breakdown of the program cost.
Master’s in social work (MSW) programs in Houston
If you are set on completing your MSW degree, the University of Houston has a great masters program for social work. As the third-largest university in Texas, it is still a relatively affordable option and is CSWE-accredited.
University of Houston
- The school’s on-campus “Face to Face” program has two areas of specialized practice including clinical practice or macro practice
- An advanced standing option, allowing those already holding a BSW degree to complete their MSW degree at an accelerated rate, is also available
- For the standard MSW degree, students must complete 63 credit hours while advanced standing degrees require 38 hours. In most cases, advanced standing programs can be completed in one year, while the full program can be completed in two years
- Additionally, a foundation field practicum is also required equating to 200 clock hours prior to graduation
Online social work degrees in Houston
For those who are unable to attend on-campus classes in the city, you can still earn your MSW through the University of Houston’s online program. Online classes are also a great option for those who are in need of a flexible program schedule or do not have adequate transportation.
University of Houston Online Program
- This online MSW program is CSWE-accredited
- To complete the full program, all online courses can be completed in three years. For those who qualify for an advanced standing MSW, the online program can be completed in as little as two years
- For required field work, this can be completed in the student’s home community
- More details about application deadlines, tuition fees and more in-depth program information are available on the school’s site.
Social work fieldwork and internships in Houston
Social work internships and fieldwork provide students with crucial real-world experiences in order for them to be well prepared for future jobs in the field. Many social work jobs actually require new social workers to already have supervised work experience as well as an internship on record.
Some examples of places in the city that provide hands-on experience in the field include:
- Social services intern: must be enrolled in a CSWE-accredited school to apply
- Internship at The Woman’s Home: interns have the opportunity to take part in treatment planning and be supervised by professionals
- The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD internship: must be enrolled in a social work graduate program and pursuing a license (LCSW)
For more current opportunities in the city, sites such as ZipRecruiter and Google Jobs are great places to start searching for active internships in order to gain experience in the field of social work.
Social work license in Houston
By earning a license in social work, it will open up endless professional opportunities for you in the field. This way, you will also be much more likely to land higher paying jobs and not be limited to doing entry-level work.
In Houston, there are four main types of licenses you can pursue. These include: Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW), Licensed Master Social Worker, Licensed Master Social Worker with an Advanced Practitioner Specialty (LMSW-AP), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). To apply for one of these licenses, you must also hold either a BSW or MSW from a program that is CSWE-accredited.
Listed below are the steps and qualifications you will need in order to earn your license in Houston.
Steps to become a LBSW in Houston
- After submitting proof of a BSW or MSW degree, candidates must take a jurisprudence exam
- Next, complete the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners (TSBSWE) licensure application
- Take and pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. The testing cost is $230
Steps to become a LMSW in Houston
- Submit proof of a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program
- Complete the Texas online jurisprudence exam
- Submit your TSBSWE application along with a background check
- After passing the $230 ASWB exam, you may begin practicing as a LMSW
Steps to become a LMSW-AP in Houston
- Before applying for your advanced practitioner license, you must first have completed 24 months of professional non-clinical social work experience
- Submit an application including proof of past experience, employment and all information included in the steps it took to earn your LMSW
- Take and pass the ASWB advanced generalist exam. The testing cost is $260
Steps to become a LCSW in Houston
- Show proof of 24 months of professional clinical experience as well as 100 hours of supervised work with a LCSW
- Submit the TSBSWE application and provide all necessary documentation
- Take and pass the $260 ASWB exam and begin practicing
For more information on how to receive your license in Houston, please refer to our complete Texas state guide.
Social work job opportunities in Houston
When becoming a social worker in Houston, it is crucial that you are aware of what kind of jobs and salaries are available in the city.
According to Indeed Jobs, the yearly average base salary for social workers in the city of Houston is roughly $68,064. However, salaries differ by years of experience.
Houston social work salaries by years of experience
- Social workers with less than one year of experience can expect to earn $63,164 per year.
- Social workers with one to two years of experience can expect to earn $62,873 per year.
- Social workers with six to nine years of experience can expect to earn $79,177 per year.
- Social workers with over 10 years of experience can expect to earn $80,963 per year.
Listed below are some examples of local social work job openings in Houston at government organizations and independent agencies:
- Social Worker at International Leadership of Texas: LCSW required
- Travel Licensed Master Social Worker at Supplemental Health Care: LCSW required
- Social Work Counselor at MD Anderson Cancer Center: LMSW or LCSW required
- Social Worker at Optum Health Care Company: LBSW or higher required
If you choose to pursue a career as a social worker in Houston, there will always be opportunities for finding work in the city as social workers remain in high demand due to its large and diverse population. However, if you are not sure about what kind of social work job you would like to do, be sure to check out our social work career guide for more guidance.