Can I Be a Social Worker With a BA in Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

Are you considering a career in social work, but have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology? You might be wondering if your educational background is enough to pursue a career in social work. In this article, we will explore whether you can be a social worker with a BA in Psychology.

Understanding the Field of Social Work

Social work is a profession dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities improve their well-being and quality of life. Social workers aim to address social issues, advocate for social justice, and provide support to those in need.

The Role of Education in Social Work

While a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology does not typically qualify you for the highest level of professional practice as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), it can still be a valuable starting point for your career in the field.

Many entry-level positions in social work require at least a Bachelor’s degree. A BA in Psychology provides you with a solid foundation in understanding human behavior, mental processes, and the ability to analyze data critically. These skills are applicable and transferable to various aspects of social work practice.

Bridge Programs

If you already hold a BA in Psychology and are interested in becoming a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), there are bridge programs available that can help you meet the requirements. These programs build upon your existing knowledge and provide specialized coursework in areas specific to social work.

Licensing Requirements

In most states, becoming an LCSW requires obtaining a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from an accredited program. However, some states offer exceptions or alternative pathways for individuals with related degrees such as psychology.

It’s important to research the licensing requirements specific to your state as they may vary. Some states may require additional coursework or supervised clinical experience to qualify for licensure.

Advantages of a BA in Psychology

Having a BA in Psychology can offer several advantages when pursuing a career in social work. Here are a few:

  • Understanding Human Behavior: Your background in psychology provides you with insight into human behavior, which is crucial for understanding and assisting clients facing various challenges.
  • Data Analysis Skills: Psychology often involves analyzing data and conducting research. These skills can be beneficial when assessing client needs, evaluating programs, and making informed decisions.
  • Critical Thinking: A psychology education helps develop critical thinking skills, allowing you to assess situations from multiple perspectives and make sound judgments.

Career Options with a BA in Psychology

While an MSW is generally required for advanced social work positions, there are still many career options available to those with a BA in Psychology within the field of social work. Some potential roles include:

  • Case Manager: In this role, you would coordinate services and resources for individuals or families in need.
  • Social Services Assistant: As an assistant, you would provide support to social workers by helping clients access services and maintaining records.
  • Youth Worker: This role involves working with young people facing various challenges such as homelessness, substance abuse, or behavioral issues.

The Importance of Continued Education

If you aspire to advance your career in social work beyond entry-level positions, it’s essential to consider pursuing further education. Obtaining an MSW will open up more opportunities for professional growth and specialization.

While a BA in Psychology can provide a solid foundation, an MSW offers comprehensive training in social work theory, ethics, policy, and practice. It also provides valuable field placement experiences that allow you to apply your knowledge in real-life situations.


While a BA in Psychology may not qualify you for all social work positions, it can be an excellent starting point for a career in the field. With additional education and experience, you can pursue advanced roles within social work. Remember to research the licensing requirements specific to your state and consider pursuing an MSW if you aspire to become a licensed clinical social worker.

Ultimately, your passion for helping others and making a positive impact will be key factors in your success as a social worker, regardless of your educational background.