The following guide details everything you need to know about becoming a social worker in Seattle, Washington. In this guide, you will learn about all the different social work job and education opportunities in the city as well as how to become licensed in Seattle.In this guide
- Campus-based degrees
- Online social work degree
- Internships and fieldwork
- Licensing requirements
- Social work jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are just under 15,000 social workers employed in the state of Washington. Of this number, less than 2,000 practice social work in Seattle. If you are planning to start your career in the city, social workers in Seattle have one of the highest-paying salaries compared to social workers in surrounding cities in the state.
In the following sections of this guide, you will find an overview of the steps you will need to take in order to receive your social work degree in Seattle. You will also find a detailed list of requirements for achieving your licensure through the Washington State Department of Health.
Campus-based MSW programs and BSW degrees in Seattle
If you plan to complete your social work degree through an on-campus program, Seattle offers two campus-based programs for earning your bachelor’s of social work (BSW) degree or master’s in social work (MSW) degree. Both schools are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Below, you will find the graduation requirements and opportunities each school offers.
BSW program at Seattle University
The BSW degree program at Seattle University aims to provide students with the tools needed in order to practice entry-level social work. The school also emphasizes a focus on practicing with diverse populations and encourages students to advocate for economic, social justices, and human rights within the field.
Some goals and opportunities the program offers are as follows:
- Students enrolled in this degree program must complete 70 credit hours in order to graduate
- The courses for the school’s program align with the goals outlined in the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics
- Students must complete a supervised 450-hour field practicum
- Students who are able to successfully earn their BSW degree will also be eligible for advanced standing in the school’s MSW program
- The tuition per credit rate for the BSW degree is $756
Additional program information can be found here.
MSW Program at Seattle University
The MSW program at Seattle University was created to help students achieve the skills in order to practice advanced clinical social work. The school also highlights that their mission is to teach students social-justice and community-based social work practices.
More information about the MSW program is listed below:
- To earn their MSW degree, students can complete a full-time program that includes 66-degree credits over the course of two years
- The first year of this program consists of a generalist practice curriculum. In the second year, students advance to the school’s specialized practice curriculum
- During each quarter, students must also complete a field practicum
- For those who are eligible for the school’s advanced standing program, students will be able to complete their MSW degree at an accelerated rate. To see how to become eligible for advanced standing, visit here
- For full-time students, the cost of tuition is approximately $49,896. For advanced standing, tuition is $29,484
BSW program at the University of Washington
The BSW program at the University of Washington prepares students for entry-level generalist social work. Below, you will find some of the key elements offered within the program.
- This program emphasizes social justice and educates students on social work ethics and theory in the classroom
- Students are required to complete two social work internships or 480 hours of supervised field experience
- There is currently no part-time or online options offered for the school’s BSW degree program
- The tuition for 2 years of the BSW program is $24,660 for resident students and $80,314 for non-residents
For more detailed information about the program, click here.
MSW program at the University of Washington
The MSW program at the University of Washington prepares students for positions in leadership and for practicing social work in professional settings. Below, you can learn more about the program and some of what it offers.
- This program offers three paths for students to choose from. This includes a day program, advanced standing program and an extended degree program
- To compare program details, check out this degree comparison chart in order to find the best program path for you
- The tuition for the full-time MSW program is $43,800 for resident students and $73,594 for non-residents. For advanced standing, resident costs are $29,200 and $49,064 for non-residents
A complete listing of all other social work programs in the city’s state are available on the social work programs in Washington guide.
Online social work degrees in Seattle
For some, on-campus classes may not be the most suitable option. Luckily, it is still possible to earn your social work degree in a virtual setting. For many, online classes provide students with the flexibility they may need if they have circumstances that won’t allow them to be able to participate in in-person classes.
While there are currently no fully online options offered by schools directly within the city of Seattle, Eastern Washington University offers a hybrid MSW program nearby in the state of Washington.
Eastern Washington University Online Program
- The MSW program is CSWE-accredited
- The hybrid program requires students to participate in a mix of in-person and online classes totaling 90 credit hours
- Students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in order to graduate
- For tuition fees and more in-depth program information, be sure to visit the school’s website
For a more extensive listing of other online opportunities outside of the state, check out our online MSW degree page.
Social work fieldwork and internships in Seattle
For social work students, getting involved with internships and fieldwork opportunities is one of the best ways to prepare for real-world experiences in the field. Not only will these opportunities help students get a feel for what it’s like to work as a social worker, but it can also help direct them when deciding what kind of social work they would like to do.
Some examples of places in Seattle that provide hands-on experience in the field include:
- Social work internship at Seattle Children’s Hospital
- Social Services internship at Disrupt Homelessness in Seattle: College students pursuing a degree in social work encouraged to apply
- MSW intern at SSVF program: Applicants must be currently enrolled in a social work program
For the most current opportunities in and around Seattle, sites such as LinkedIn 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 Seattle
By choosing to earn your social work license in Seattle, you will be able to take advantage of more professional opportunities within the field. By landing these more professional jobs, you will also be much more likely to have a higher paying salary and will not be limited to doing entry-level work.
In the state of Washington, there are two main types of social work licenses that are offered. These include: Licensed Advanced Social Worker (LASW) and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). To apply for one of these licenses, you must first hold a master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a program that is CSWE-accredited.
Listed below are the steps and qualifications you will need in order to earn one of these licenses in Seattle.
Steps to Become a LASW in Seattle
- To earn your LASW, you must first obtain the state’s provisional social work license showing that you have earned all necessary educational requirements and are working toward completing the required fieldwork in order to receive your LASW
- Before applying for your LASW, all applicants must have completed all 3,200 hours of supervised work experience
- Submit your LASW application online
- Take and pass the $260 ASWB Advanced Generalist Exam. Receive your licensure through the Washington State Department of Health and begin practicing
Steps to Become a LICSW in Seattle
- You must first apply to become a Licensed Social Worker Associate-Independent Clinical (LSWAIC) by submitting an application
- Complete 4,000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience
- Submit your LICSW application along with all documented relevant experience
- Take and pass the $260 ASWB Clinical Exam. Receive your licensure through the Washington State Department of Health and begin your practice
For more information on how to receive your license in Seattle, please refer to our Washington state guide.
Social work job opportunities in Seattle
Before trying to become a social worker in Seattle, it is important that you are aware of what kind of job opportunities and salaries are available in the city.
According to Indeed Jobs, the yearly average base salary for social workers in Seattle is roughly $74,840. However, salaries differ by years of experience.
Seattle social work salaries by years of experience
- Social workers with less than one year of experience can expect to earn $69,452 per year
- Social workers with one to two years of experience can expect to earn $69,132 per year
- Social workers with six to nine years of experience can expect to earn $87,059 per year
- Social workers with over 10 years of experience can expect to earn $89,023 per year
Listed below are some examples of local social work job openings in Seattle at government organizations and independent agencies:
- Clinical Social Work Case Manager at Insight Global: $60,000 – $85,000 salary
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Norwood Staffing: Must at least have a LSWAIC
- Social Worker at Virginia Mason Medical Center: Must hold a LICSW
Choosing to become a social worker in Seattle will give you endless opportunities to grow in your practice. While there are many social work jobs available in the city, it can be difficult to know which path to take in the field. If you are questioning what kind of job you would like to take, be sure to check out our social work career guide for additional guidance.