Become a Social Worker in California

There may be additional methods of certification that have not been covered here. Please contact your state social work licensing department for more information.

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Disclaimer: Due to the rapidly changing nature of social work regulations, for the most up-to-date information on becoming a social worker in California, contact the California Social Work Licensing Board.

California law recognizes two classes of social workers: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Associate Clinical Social Worker (ACSW). The requirements are as follows:


Featured Online MSW Programs
University of Southern California (USC)
  • Top-ranked program, with multiple start dates throughout the year
  • Engaging curriculum designed to meet the demands of 21st-century challenges
Simmons College
  • Acclaimed clinical social work curriculum combined with cutting-edge technology
  • Live, weekly seminar-style classes taught by renowned Simmons faculty
University of Denver
  • Research-driven faculty dedicated to making an impact on social problems
  • Prepares you to apply social work skills across practice settings
Fordham University
  • Four main areas of focus: Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy
These schools offer online MSW programs with 100% online instruction - no campus visits required

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California LCSW

California ACSW (Associate Clinical Social Worker)

In order to become a licensed social work practitioner in California, you will need to complete prerequisite coursework, examination requirements, and, in some cases, supervised work requirements. Also, certain levels of social work in California can only be reached after earning a Master of Social Work. We are committed to keeping updated information on California social work licensure policies available to you.

California Social Work Salary

California Social Work Salary
California Social Work Career Average Social Worker Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers $52,840
Medical and Public Health Social Workers $69,970
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $60,620
All Other Social Workers $64,040
Salary Increase from BSW to MSW +$9,000

Disclaimer: Social Worker Salary information is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information about social worker salaries in California is subject to change. Please confirm salary information with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 03/30/2016.

California Social Work Scholarships

To find the most up-to-date and pertinent grant information, visit: Government Grants website.

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