Social workers in Texas work with people in need through hospitals, city offices, and children's services and veterans affairs organizations. Becoming a social worker in Texas requires degrees in mental health and service fields as well as licensure by the State Board of Examiners. A social worker is a licensed mental health professional who provides social and psychosocial support to children, teenagers, adults as individuals, couples, families or groups. Texas classifies social workers in four different areas of licensure: licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW), licensed master social worker-advanced practitioner (LMSW-AP) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Social workers who advertise that they are social workers or any licensed social worker without a licensure by the State Board of Examiners (see Resources section) are subject to a hefty fine and prosecution for fraud.
How to Become a Social Worker in Texas
Discuss your interest in social work with your high school academic advisor. He or she can recommend programs that will let you volunteer with social workers in your area. Volunteerism is an important aspect of social work, as is a love of working with people. Coupling volunteerism with your social work will provide you with excellent practical experience.
Apply to colleges that offer a bachelor's degree in social work (see Resources section). Depending on your focus, you may earn a bachelor's degree in psychology with a master's degree in social work. In order to be licensed by the State Board of Examiners in Texas, you need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in social work in order to attain entry-level positions.
Acquire a second language, preferably Spanish. In Texas, Spanish is spoken as a first language by more than one third of the population. Bilingual social workers will find more employment possibilities.
Maintain a steady GPA during college and begin preparing for the state board examinations upon receiving your degree. Some social workers acquire their LBSW upon completion of their bachelor's in social work or related field. They can find work as a social worker in Texas while working on their master's degree.
Find employment working for a licensed master social worker. State provisions for social workers in Texas require working under a licensed senior social worker for a period of at least two years. This work serves as an internship period and gives you hands-on experience that the classroom cannot provide. After two years with the LMSW, the candidate may then apply to the State Board of Examiners to take the licensure exam.