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Career Opportunities

Social Work Careers

For sheer variety, few occupations can match social work for offering the broadest range of opportunities and settings. Social workers are found in public agencies, private businesses, hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, private practices, police departments, courts, and countless other interesting workplaces. Below is a small sampling of some professional capacities social workers serve in:

  • Clinical/Mental Health Social Worker
  • School Social Worker
  • Adoption/Family Preservation Worker
  • Child Protective Services Worker
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Hospice/Bereavement Counselor
  • Rehabilitation/Disabilities Counselor
  • Public Assistance Worker
  • Human Rights/Community Activist
  • Domestic Violence/Family Counselor
  • Gerontological Social Worker

Learn more about what social workers do "On Any Given Day".

Employment Outlook

Social workers held about 642,000 jobs in 2008. About one out of three jobs were in state, county, or municipal government agencies, primarily in departments of health and human services, mental health, social services, child welfare, housing, education, and corrections. Most private sector jobs were in social service agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and other health centers or clinics.

Employment of social workers is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Competition for social work jobs is stronger in cities where demand for services is often highest, training programs for social workers are prevalent, and interest in available positions is strongest; however, opportunities should be good in rural areas where attraction and retention of qualified staff is often difficult.

United States Department of Labor - Social Workers Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition


Nationally, the average salary for an entry-level social worker is $40,000-$47,000, depending on type of work, experience, and geographic factors. Social workers with supervisory experience, many years of experience, and/or MSW degrees earn annual salaries averaging approximately $60,000. Social workers who are in private practice or in administrative positions can make up to or more than $100,000 per year. Social workers who work for the State of Nevada typically make between $40,000 and $67,000 annually.

Professional Licensure

Many social service positions within Nevada and throughout the United States require a social work license. The Board of Examiners for Social Workers, instituted by the Nevada Legislature, licenses persons who meet established standards, investigates complaints against licensed social workers, imposes disciplinary action against persons who violate social work laws, and regulates the practice of social work. Individuals who are interested in pursuing licensure must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Applicants must be citizens of the United States or must be lawfully entitled to remain and work in the United States.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate or master of social work degree from a college or university accredited by either the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or one which is a candidate for such accreditation.
  • BSW applicants must pass the baccalaureate level examination of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination.
  • MSW applicants must pass the master's level examination of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination.

An applicant is eligible to take the licensing exam while enrolled in the final semester of a social work degree program; however, a license cannot be issued before official transcripts are received. Students should be aware that the examination and licensing process may take several weeks/months to complete. If you need a license application or information related to social work licensing or social work practice, please contact:

Board of Examiners for Social Workers
4600 Kietzke Lane, Suite C121
Reno , Nevada 89502
(775) 688-2555

Licensed Social Workers in Nevada

As of "Social Work Careers: June 2010":

  • There are 683 Licensed Clinical Social Workers in the state of Nevada (LCSWs)
  • There are 93 current interns (working for their LCSW license)
  • There are 1402 Licensed Social Workers in the state of Nevada (LSWs)
  • There are 183 Licensed Associate Social Workers (LASWs)
  • There are 22 current Licensed Independent Social Workers (LISWs)
  • There are 14 provisional licenses currently issued for social work

The Department of Health and Human Services for the State of Nevada indicated recently that within the next five years a 43% turnover of social workers that currently work for the state is expected. This is significant due to the number of jobs that will become available for social workers. There is already a significant workforce shortage of social workers in Nevada.

Educational Requirements

To be a social worker, one must have a degree in social work from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) The undergraduate degree is the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). The bachelor's degree prepares graduates for entry-level work, whereas the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is for more advanced practice.

Continuing with an Advanced Degree

After receiving a BSW degree, many social workers eventually decide to continue their education in a MSW program. Although most MSW degrees require the equivalent of two full-time years of study, some graduate programs provide an accelerated course of study for applicants who have a BSW. Accelerated courses of study are generally referred to as "advanced standing" programs and can typically be completed within one year. Students who are accepted into an advanced standing program bypass the MSW program's foundation content and move directly into the concentration curriculum.


Information about career opportunities in social work and voluntary credentials for social workers, contact:
National Association of Social Workers, 750 First St. NE., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20002-4241

Accredited social work programs or to order a Directory of Colleges and Universities with Accredited Social Work Degree Programs for a nominal charge, contact:
Council on Social Work Education, 1725 Duke St., Suite 500 , Alexandria , VA 22314-3457

Information on licensing requirements and testing procedures for each state may be obtained from state licensing authorities, or from:
Association of Social Work Boards, 400 South Ridge Parkway, Suite B, Culpeper, VA 22701
State of Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers:

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