Opportunities Expand for Social Work Students

Sep 09, 2020

Licensure is now available for graduates of the accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Cal U.

social work

Students who earn a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree at Cal U now have the opportunity to practice as licensed social workers (LBSW) in Pennsylvania.

Regulations authorized by the state Legislature in 2014 but in late August allow social workers who hold a BSW degree from an accredited program to pursue licensure.

The social work program at California University of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest in the commonwealth. It has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1976.

Cal U also offers an accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program.

“The opportunity for licensure is a game-changer for BSW graduates,” said Dr. Azadeh Block, interim chair of Cal U’s Department of Health and Human Service Professions.

“Previously in Pennsylvania, only MSW graduates could apply for a license to practice in the field. Now, BSW graduates can sit for the licensure exam and, if they are successful, apply to work with individuals, families, organizations and communities as licensed social work practitioners.”

Licensure protects the public by verifying that social workers have the education and training required to provide high-quality care. Pennsylvania now is one of 37 states to license BSW graduates.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for social workers is expected to grow by 13% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Students who graduate from Cal U’s BSW program are well prepared for social work careers. In addition to four years of  rigorous coursework, they complete 480 hours of field education at a social services agency or community-based human services provider.

“This practicum is an immediate and direct introduction to a career in social work,” Block said. “Many students focus on improving the quality of life for at-risk people in the Mon Valley region and throughout Pennsylvania.”

More information about Cal U’s undergraduate social work degree is available online at www.calu.edu/socialwork.