Find Master of Social Work Degrees in California
There are over 25 different schools in California offering a Master of Social Work degree. Most (23) of the MSW programs in California are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) – you can view the entire list below. We have listed each program’s accreditation. If the program is not accredited by the CSWE, we added its regional or national accreditation (all programs listed below are from an accredited institution).
By our count, Los Angeles has the highest number of MSW programs, but for the most part colleges that offer a Master of Social Work degree are located throughout the state – from the Northern Coast all the way down to San Diego and many areas in between on the coast and inland.
With over 25 different Master of Social Work programs in California, there are plenty of options. Keep in mind there are also a number of online MSW programs in California – a path that is becoming increasingly more popular, especially for those currently employed as a social worker.
1. Register as an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW)
All hours of experience in California must be gained while registered as an ASW.
All applicants must possess a Master’s degree in Social Work from an accredited school of social work. Applicants with out-of-state education, experience or licensure must complete an 18-hour course on California Law and Professional Ethics (California graduates have already met this requirement).
To renew your ASW registration you will be required to take the California Law & Ethics Examination. More information about the California Law & Ethics Examination is available at Examination News.
2. Gain 3,200 Hours of Supervised Work Experience and a Minimum of 104 Supervised Weeks
See LCSW Breakdown of Required Experience for more information.
3. Complete Additional Coursework
The following required coursework may have been completed at any time, but must be complete prior to applying for Examination Eligibility:
Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting
Alcoholism and Other Chemical Substance Dependency
Spousal or Partner Abuse Assessment Detection, and Intervention
Aging, Long Term Care, and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse
California Law and Professional Ethics
4. Apply for ASWB Clinical Examination
Upon completion of supervised experience and additional coursework, you may apply for the clinical examination. Upon approval, applicants will be eligible to take the ASWB Clinical Examination. A passing score on the California Law & Ethics Examination is also required for approval to take the ASWB Clinical Examination. Candidates will have a one-year time limit to take the ASWB Clinical Examination once eligible.*
5. Pass the Clinical Examination
Upon passing, candidates must apply for an Initial License Issuance within one year of passing the ASWB Clinical Examination in order to receive a license number.
Candidates who do not pass have a one-year time limit to retake the ASWB Clinical Examination after failing.* There is a 90-day waiting period between examination attempts.
* Abandonment of Application
When an applicant fails to meet any of the one-year time limits described above, the application is considered abandoned. If the applicant wishes to reapply, the requirements include a new application and fees, and meeting all current requirements. See Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 1806 for more information, available in the Board’s Statutes and Regulations handbook.