You can pursue your social worker education in Iowa at your choice of levels, but you will have the most options if you complete a master’s degree. The National Association of Social Workers reports in a workforce survey that 64% of Tennessee social work respondents are master's level, but that about a third hold a bachelor's as their highest degree. If you are interested in taking the journey, here are some tips to guide you.
In high school, concentrate on preparing for the ACT or SAT and earning solid grades in the courses required for university admission. You can visit the governmental site I Have a Plan Iowa! to see a recommended high school course sequence for students planning to go into human services. Meanwhile, look into volunteer opportunities. Social work schools sometimes require small amount of volunteer service before admission.
Select a university. If you will be seeking licensure at the bachelor's level, you will need to complete a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). You will apply to the university before you apply to the school of social work.
Click Here to find Social Work and Human Services undergraduate degrees.
Earn a GPA of at least 2.5 while completing general studies and introductory social work courses. Meet with an adviser and/or attend information sessions to make sure you are ready to apply to the school of social work at the appropriate time. Schools have differing policies about when you can ‘declare interest' in a social work major and when you can actually become a Bachelor of Social Work student.
Continue to excel while completing upper division social work classes and field experiences. You should earn a GPA of at least 3.0 if you plan to pursue a Master of Social Work (MSW) later.
Apply to the Iowa Board of Social Work Examiners to become a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW). You will take the bachelor’s level Association of Social Work Boards licensing exam.
Work as a generalist social worker or social welfare advocate and/ or continue your studies at the graduate level.
Take steps to make yourself a competitive candidate for MSW programs. Social work schools have differing focuses and differing expectations regarding the professional and human service experience of applicants. If you have no experience, you may want to check out sites like Volunteer Iowa or the Department of Human Services.
Research graduate social work programs; master's level programs must hold accreditation through the CSWE. They offer different concentrations like advanced generalist or clinical; some offer sub-specialties.
Simmons College School of Social Work (SocialWork@Simmons) is offering a CSWE-accredited Online Master of Social Work program. There is no GRE required for acceptance to this program. Request information about the program.
Complete coursework and field experiences. If you did not do your undergraduate degree in social work, you will have a ‘foundations year’ and a ‘concentration year’. Step 4: Apply to take the master's licensing examination through the ASWB. You may do this when you are in your final semester. After graduation, you will be eligible for the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) license.
Take a position working under supervision. If you are pursuing clinical licensure, you must take a position that involves mental health diagnosis and treatment.
Fulfill your experience hours. In order to receive the clinical license, you will need to work under supervision for a minimum of two years. You may opt to work part-time and take up to six years.
Take the ASWB clinical examination. This is a final step that will qualify you for licensure as a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW).