Georgia Social Work License Requirements and Schools: Learn How to Become a Social Worker in GA

Written by Gayle Morris
Last Updated: July 2023

Social workers make a difference in their communities, helping families and individuals overcome challenges by connecting them with services and resources. Each state regulates licensing social workers, so it is essential to know the specific rules in your state.

Getting a social work degree is the first step toward earning a license. In Georgia, there are two types of social work licenses and both have minimum requirements for education and renewal. This page explores the types of Georgia social work licenses and requirements, how long it takes to become a social worker, and a list of the accredited programs in Georgia.

Georgia Social Work Licensure Requirements

The Georgia Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists regulates the licensure of social workers in Georgia. The board establishes requirements for initial licensure and reinstatement, inactivation, or reactivation of a license.

Many states allow people with a bachelor’s degree to practice as a social worker but Georgia is one of nine states that requires a master’s or doctorate in social work for licensure. Master’s degree programs must be accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).

Some employers will hire social workers who have completed a bachelor’s degree as long as they practice under the supervision of a licensed social worker.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Georgia licensure requirements for LCSW include:

  • A master of social work from an accredited program
  • 3,000 verified hours of post-graduate supervised experience that the applicant can take up to nine years to complete
  • 2,000 verified hours of supervised experience for those with a doctorate in social work
  • Notarized application made to the secretary of state
  • A passing score on the ASWB national clinical examination within three attempts during the course of a year
  • License renewal requires 35 hours of continuing education

Note: All licenses expire on September 30 of even numbered years.

The application process for a Georgia social work license as an LCSW also requires a background check, affidavit of citizenship, official transcripts, and two professional references. Applicants must also submit a nonrefundable fee of $100. Georgia does not offer licensure by endorsement or reciprocity.

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

Georgia licensure requirements for an LMSW include:

  • Master of social work from an accredited program
  • Must meet all requirements for licensure before taking the national examination
  • A passing score on the ASWB national master’s-level examination
  • Two years of verified and supervised work experience post-licensure

Note: All licenses expire on September 30 of even numbered years.

Applicants must also submit two professional references, official transcripts, a background check, and an affidavit of citizenship. Georgia does not offer a license by endorsement or reciprocity.

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Georgia?

The minimum time to become a licensed social worker is roughly six years. This includes a four-year bachelor’s degree and a two-year master of social work. After receiving an LMSW license, a social worker must have two years of verified and supervised experience to practice independently.

Candidates seeking an LCSW license require more time. Some master’s programs can take up to four years when students attend part time. An LCSW gaining 3,000 hours of experience can take up to nine years. Earning an LCSW license can take 8-12 years in total.

Out of State Licensing Reciprocity in Georgia

The Georgia board does not offer licensure as a master social worker or clinical social worker by endorsement or reciprocity. All candidates must take the national examination. Social workers who are licensed in another state can apply for an exam waiver.

Candidates licensed by an exam waiver must submit verification of licensure in another state and the national examination passing score report with the application for licensure in Georgia.

How to Renew a Social Work License in Georgia

All social licenses expire every two years on September 30 of even numbered years. The Georgia board maintains a portal where social workers can submit the required 35 continuing education credit hours for license renewal and pay the necessary fees.

At least five of the continuing education hours must focus on professional ethics, and 25 hours must be taken in person. Social workers pay a renewal fee and a late fee if they file paperwork after the renewal deadline.

Salary Expectations for Social Workers in Georgia

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 13,000 and 14,000 social workers are employed in Georgia. The job growth outlook between 2021 and 2031 is 9%, which is faster than the average industry.

Social worker salaries in Georgia for healthcare social workers and those falling in the “all other” category exceed the national median annual salary at $67,100. Social workers working with children, families, and in schools or those in the mental health and substance abuse sector make less than the national median annual salary.

Georgia Social Worker Salaries
OccupationAverage Annual SalaryAverage Hourly Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers$47,790$22.97
Healthcare Social Workers$57,640$27.71
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers$53,570$25.75
Social Workers, All Other$67,100$32.26

Source: BLS, 2022

Accredited Master’s of Social Work Programs in Georgia

  • Albany State University — Albany, GA (Online)
    • Enrollment Type: Full-time, Part-time
    • 2023 Tuition: $901 per credit hour, or $2,429 for nine credit hours
  • Clark Atlanta University — Atlanta, GA (On Campus)
    • Enrollment Type: Two-year or three-year plan
    • 2023 Tuition: $951 per credit hour
  • Georgia State University — Atlanta, GA (On Campus, Online)
    • Enrollment Type: Full-time, Part-time
    • 2023 Tuition: $11,680 per year in-state or $32,344 per year out-of-state
  • Kennesaw State University — Kennesaw, GA (On Campus, Online)
    • Enrollment Type: Full-time
    • 2023 Tuition: $964 per credit in-state, or $3,332 for nine credit hours; $1734 per credit in-state or $10,262 for nine credit hours
  • Savannah State University — Savannah, GA (On Campus)
    • Enrollment Type: Full-time for two years or advanced 12 months
    • 2023 Tuition: $196 per credit hour in-state and $726 per credit hour out-of-state
  • University of Georgia — Athens, GA (On Campus, Online)
    • Enrollment Type: One year advanced, Full-time or part-time to be completed within four years
    • 2023 Tuition: $8,682 for one year in-state or $24,630 one year out-of-state
  • Valdosta State University — Valdosta, GA (On Campus, Night Classes, Online)
    • Enrollment Type: One year advanced, full-time or part-time
    • 2023 Tuition: $263 per credit hour in-state or $945 per credit hour out-of-state

Professional Organizations for Social Workers in Georgia

As soon as a student begins their social work education they should consider joining a relevant professional organization. These organizations advocate for the rights of social workers and the individuals they help. Members may also benefit from professional development opportunities, networking events, and access to educational materials. The three professional organizations listed below represent a few of the groups that licensed social workers in Georgia often join.

  • National Association of Social Workers – Georgia: NASW’s Georgia chapter caters exclusively to licensed social workers. In addition to political advocacy at the national, state, and local levels, NASW offers its members access to online continuing education courses. Student members can access a career center and learn all about completing the Georgia social work licensure process.
  • Georgia Society for Clinical Social Workers: GSCSW membership offers many of the same benefits as NASW membership. However, GSCSW goes a step further by providing in-depth clinical social work resources to its members. Membership benefits include subscriptions to academic publications detailing the latest advances in the clinical social work field. Members can also attend professional conferences throughout the state at little to no cost. GSCSW offers a student membership at a significantly reduced rate.
  • School Social Workers Association of Georgia: Members of SSWAG can participate in a mentorship program where novice school social workers pair with experienced professionals. Other membership benefits include access to publications detailing the latest legislative news and school social work best practices.