This guide covers everything an aspiring social worker should know about starting a career in Utah. State salary statistics, employment numbers as well as a comprehensive overview of the most popular university social work programs. There is a special emphasis on MSW programs since only graduate degree holders can become clinical social workers in Utah.
CONTENTS OF THIS GUIDE
- Social work in Utah
- MSW programs
- Online MSW programs
- How to become a social worker
- License requirements
- Social worker jobs and salary
- School listings
Social work in Utah
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are 4,080 social workers in Utah. As is the case across the United States, one of the societal injustices that these social workers must deal with is a lack of affordable housing.
This is especially true in Salt Lake City, where more than half of all renters are paying 30 percent or more of their income toward rent. Given that homelessness tends to increase once rental costs reach 32 percent, it’s obvious what kinds of problems high housing costs can create.
Unfortunately, Utah ranks tenth worst in America for availability of housing for residents living in poverty. Homelessness, educational disruptions for children, and chronic unemployment are all problems that Utah social workers must help their clients to overcome. For those who are ready to make a difference a career in social work begins with getting a good education.
MSW programs in Utah
Before a student applies to a MSW program they should ensure that the university is CSWE accredited. This guarantees that the school is teaching the latest and most effective methodologies in social work. More than just guaranteeing a good education, many employers will only hire applicants who have graduated from a CSWE-certified university.
The University of Utah MSW program is designed to give students maximum flexibility in how they complete their degree. For example, there are seven different options for students to choose from, everything from an advanced standing program to a child welfare program. Students can choose which campus to study at and they may also dual major in another one of these areas.
- MSW & MPA – Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration
- MSW & MPH – Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health (learn more about the MSW/MPH dual-degree program)
- MSW & JD – Master of Social Work and Juris Doctor
More information about the university’s dual-degree program is available here. To help prepare students for a future career in social work the University of Utah has partnered with more than 300 social service agencies. Students can use these connections to build out their professional network, find internships and even secure a job after they graduate.
Utah State University (USU) also offers a popular MSW program. According to USU’s website the MSW program is designed to “produce knowledgeable, accomplished and empathetic practitioners with values steeped in living with integrity, emphasizing the importance of human relationships, advocating for social justice, honoring the dignity and worth of people, and practicing with competence.”
Students with an undergraduate degree in social work can apply for the advanced standing program where they will finish their degree in just one year. Full time, regular standing students can expect to complete their degree in two years. There’s also a part time program which takes 1.5 years to complete for advanced standing students, and 3 years to complete for regular standing students.
Online MSW programs in Utah
Utah Valley University (UVU) offers a MSW hybrid program. A hybrid program consists of certain classes which are taken online while others must be attended on campus. According to UVU’s website the progam’s mission is to; “prepare students for success in work and life through excellent and engaged teaching and scholarship.” There is also a special focus on community outreach and effective methods for combating racism and inequality in a variety of settings.
The advanced standing program is open to students who already have a bachelor’s degree in social work and it takes just one year to finish. The regular standing program is intended for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another subject and it takes two years to complete. More information about the cost of attending the program, as well as opportunities for financial aid, is available on UVU’s website.
For more information about the Utah Valley University MSW program, as well as other MSW programs in the United States, please visit our online MSW degree page.
How to become a social worker in Utah
Anyone who would like to start a career in social work can follow these steps to do so. The guide assumes that the student will pursue a master’s degree as this will provide more job opportunities than a bachelor’s degree.
- Complete a MSW program at a CSWE-accredited university
- Take and pass the ASWB master’s level exam. While the exam consists of 170 questions, only 150 are graded. The fee for the exam is currently $230
- Once the exam has been passed the aspiring social worker can apply for a CSW license from the Utah social work licensing board. Applications can be filed online or via mail
- If everything is in order the licensing board will grant the social worker their CSW license
- Once the social worker has accumulated 4,000 hours of supervised experience they may apply for a LCSW license, which will allow them to practice unsupervised, clinical social work
Even though social workers with a master’s degree can fill many roles in the field, there are certain positions only open to PhD holders. Managing a large community center, for instance, or working with local government officials to craft high level public policy.
PhD graduates also tend to earn a higher salary and have the widest range of employment opportunities. To learn more please visit our doctorate degree page. Also included on the page is a list of PhD social work programs currently available in the United States.
Social work license requirements in Utah
There are three different types of social work licenses in Utah. There is one license for bachelor’s degree holders and two licenses that master’s and PhD degree holders can apply for. For the most up to date social work licensing information please visit Utah’s Licensing Board website.
Social Service Worker (SSW)
The SSW license is the only social work license in Utah that’s available to bachelor’s degree holders. It allows the license holder to practice non-clinical social work so long as they work under supervision.
Certified Social Worker (CSW)
MSW graduates can apply for the CSW license in Utah. The CSW allows the license holder to practice clinical social work and other social work services under supervision. The advantage of the CSW is that once the social worker has gained enough experience they can apply for the LCSW license which will allow them to work unsupervised.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
The LCSW is the most advanced license available to social workers in Utah. A social worker with a LCSW can work unsupervised in any number of roles, including clinical social work. In order to attain a LCSW license a social worker must first accrue 4,000 hours of supervised, clinical experience.
Social work licenses in Utah must be renewed on a bi-annual basis. Before a SSW license can be renewed the license holder must complete 20 hours of continuing education. CSW license holders are not required to complete any additional training, while LCSW license holders must complete 40 hours of continuing education. The license renewal fee varies based on the license type.
Social worker jobs and social worker salary in Utah
According to the BLS there are 4,080 social workers currently working in Utah. Social workers in Utah are engaged in a variety of roles, from mental health to child welfare.
In Utah the average salary for a social worker is $51,916 per year. On average, child, family and school social workers are the lowest paid with an annual salary of $46,400. Healthcare social workers are the highest paid, with an annual salary of $63,280. Detailed salary and employment figures are listed below.
Child, family, and school social workers: There are currently 1,930 child, family, and school social workers in Utah and they earn an average salary of $46,400 per year.
Mental health and substance abuse social workers: There are currently 670 mental health and substance abuse social workers in Utah and they earn an average salary of $51,160 per year.
Healthcare social workers: There are currently 990 healthcare social workers in Utah and they earn an average salary of $63,280 per year.
All other social workers: There are currently 490 social workers employed in various other fields, including in private practices. These social workers earn an average salary of $51,720 per year.