School Social Work Licensure
Alabama Department of Education
While details may vary from state to state, all social workers in the United States must become licensed after earning a college degree. For graduates of social work programs in Alabama, the state licensing process involves sitting for required examinations, fulfilling a minimum number of supervised practice hours, and submitting paperwork and documentation to the state Board of Social Work. While applicants with a bachelor's degree may receive a social work license, some forms of licensure require a master's degree. Social workers who are licensed in another state may receive social work licensure in Alabama through reciprocity. Reciprocity allows the Board to honor out-of-state licenses, provided that candidates have previously met all educational and professional requirements equivalent to those in Alabama.
Choosing a social work degree program in Alabama might seem like a complicated process, but help is available! In this guide, we'll take a look at the different kinds of programs available throughout the state, the careers each degree prepares for, and how to examine your own interests and goals, academic history, and prospective career path to find the school that's right for you.
Alaska Department of Education
Alaska offers three licenses for social work, one for those holding bachelor's degrees, and two that require at least a master's degree. Alaska social workers can practice with a bachelor's degree, though the state does require a master's for clinical licensure. Applying for a license in the state requires professional references, paying fees, and either sitting for an exam or submitting proof of credentials from another state. Social workers with an out-of-state license cannot simply transfer it to Alaska; they must go through the appropriate licensure process. Alaska social workers must renew their license every two years, which requires completing continuing education hours and paying a fee.
Social workers in the state must renew their Alaska social work licensure each even-numbered year. Alaska holds its social workers to high standards which, while demanding, ensure that licensed practitioners in Alaska remain at the forefront of their field. These rigorous standards prove especially useful for those who wish to later practice in another state.
Arizona Department of Education
All 50 states require clinical social workers to hold a license, and most require nonclinical social workers to hold a license. Requirements for licensing vary from state to state, and regulations change often. Professionals seeking a social work license in another state must reapply for a license from that state's regulatory board.
The licensure process for Arizona is relatively straightforward. The state offers three licenses: baccalaureate, master, and clinical. The baccalaureate and master license both permit social workers to conduct supervised nonclinical work. The clinical license authorizes social workers to conduct clinical activities such as psychotherapy and diagnosis.
Candidates must have a bachelor's or master's degree from a properly accredited program. The baccalaureate degree requires a bachelor's in social work, while the other two licenses require a master's degree at minimum. All applicants must also pass the relevant licensing exam. To take this exam, candidates must first apply to the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners for permission. While going through the testing process, applicants can also apply for a temporary license.
The baccalaureate and master licenses do not require prior work experience. However, applicants for the clinical license must complete 3,200 hours of supervised work hours.
Arkansas Department of Education
In Arkansas, social workers require state licensure to practice. To accommodate the many different types of social work professionals, the state offers three social work license options. Unlike many other state licensing systems, Arkansas offers licensure to professionals with a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, Arkansas allows social workers in the process of becoming licensed to work under a provisional license. Before you can earn any of these licenses, however, you must obtain a social work degree in Arkansas or another state that provides programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
The first level of social work licensure in Arkansas is the licensed social worker (LSW). Candidates of the LSW need a bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. The licensed master social worker (LMSW) and licensed certified social worker (LCSW) require a master's in social work from a CSWE-approved program. For each license, candidates must pass the appropriate exam. Those who want to become clinical social workers in Arkansas must also complete 4,000 hours of supervised work after earning a master's degree. The Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board also grants licenses to social workers from other states who meet Arkansas' requirements. In addition to these requirements, all applicants must pass a criminal background check.
California Department of Education
The steps to earning a social worker license vary from state to state. Fortunately, earning a social work license in California proves easier than in many other states. In fact, California does not require social workers to obtain licensure unless they hope to work in private practice without supervision. Attaining social work licensure in California requires a master's in social work from a CWSE-accredited institution, special registration as an associate of social work, several thousand hours of field work, and passing two exams.
Because California does not require licensure for supervised, non-clinical work in private practice, out-of-state social workers do not need to apply for licensure. However, those seeking licensure with an equivalent out-of-state license can anticipate needing a master's, proven experience, passing the CBBS exam, and additional required coursework.
Colorado Department of Education
Candidates for a social work license in Colorado must meet education, professional experience, and testing requirements. Unlike some other states, Colorado does not license bachelor's-level social workers. BSW holders can work as nonclinical social workers without a license. Co lorado does, however, license master's-level social workers. Individuals with a master's in social work can apply for the licensed social worker (LSW) credential or the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) credential. Candidates for either license must pass Colorado's mental health jurisprudence exam, complete an online healthcare professional profile, and pass the appropriate Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. LCSW candidates must also have at least 3,360 documented hours of supervised professional experience.
Those with a master's-level social work license from another state can apply for a Colorado license through the endorsement application process without retaking exams or pursuing further education. The requirements for the out-of-state license must be equivalent to those in Colorado, and candidates following the endorsement application process must pass Colorado's jurisprudence exam to receive a state social work license.
Connecticut Department of Education
Social work licensure in Connecticut requires a master's degree earned at a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). To verify the applicant's educational background, the department requests a copy of their college transcript. Clinical social work applicants must submit proof that they possess at least 3,000 hours of postgraduate training during which they worked under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker. The Connecticut State Department of Public Health requires at least 100 hours of supervised training.
In addition to a master's degree from a CSWE program and supervised training, applicants need to take and pass the Association of Social Work Board's (ASWB) master's-level exam.The ASWB also offers the clinical exam to master's-level graduates. Connecticut social workers can take either exam depending on the type of licensure they seek. The state department takes a unique approach to social work licensure by processing all applications online. They do not accept paper applications.
Social workers from out of state hoping to practice in Connecticut must submit school transcripts, ASWB examination results, and proof of a master's or clinical social worker license from another state to practice.
Delaware Department of Education
Delaware offers only one social work license: the licensed clinical social worker. These social workers work with vulnerable adults and children who have a mental illness or disability. Licensure candidates must hold a master's in social work, pass the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) clinical exam, and complete two years of work experience in a clinical setting before they are eligible to apply. With a license, social workers may work independently or open a private social work agency. Social workers with only a bachelor's degree may still work in a clinical setting if they are supervised by a licensed clinical social worker.
For out-of-state, licensed clinical social workers, Delaware asks for documentation that shows the candidate meets all the same requirements as those applying for initial licensure. If out-of-state candidates meet these requirements, they do not need to earn any additional degrees or pass any other ASWB examinations. All licensure candidates must also pass a criminal background check. In January of odd-numbered years, all licensed clinical social workers must renew their license, which requires them to earn continuing education credits.
Florida Department Of Education
(1) Plan One. A master’s or higher degree with a graduate major in social work that includes three-hundred (300) hours or more of field placement in a K-12 school setting from a program accredited by the National Council on Social Work Education or accredited in accordance with the provisions of Rule 6A-4.003, F.A.C., or;
(2) Plan Two. A master’s or higher degree with a graduate major in social work that includes three-hundred (300) hours or more of field placement with diverse individuals in a community setting other than a prekindergarten, an elementary or a secondary school.
Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC)
Georgia Department of Education
(1) Summary: This rule outlines the requirements and procedures for issuance of the service
certificate in School Social Work P-12, which allows individuals certified in this field to assist with mental
health and behavioral concerns, provide positive behavioral, academic, and classroom support in
consultation with teachers, parents, and administrators to promote student achievement.
(2) Professional Certificate Requirements (See GaPSC Rule 505-2-.05 PROFESSIONAL
1. An individual is eligible for a Standard Professional certificate in the field of School Social
Work based on meeting one of the following requirements:
(i) Completion of a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from a GaPSC-accepted
accredited institution, and pass or exempt the GACE Program Admission
(ii) Completion of a state-approved certification preparation program in School Social
Work at the master’s degree level – level five (5) – or higher.
(iii) Submission of a valid State of Georgia Master Social Worker’s or Clinical Social
Worker’s license issued by the Professional Licensing Boards Division of the Office
of the Secretary of State, O.C.G.A. Title 43.
2. Meet Standards of Conduct.
3. Apply for certification following procedures outlined in Rule 505-2-.27 CERTIFICATION
AND APPLICATION PROCEDURES.
(3) Non-Renewable Professional Requirements (See GaPSC Rule 505-2-.09 NONRENEWABLE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATE).
(a) A Non-Renewable Professional certificate in the field of School Social Work may be issued at
the request of an employing Georgia local unit of administration (LUA) in the following
1. A Three (3)-year Non-Renewable Professional certificate in the field of School Social
Work may be issued to an individual who currently holds a renewable professional
certificate in any field at a level four (4) or higher for completion of the options outlined in
2. A One (1)-year Non-Renewable Professional certificate in the field of School Social Work
may be issued to an individual who holds an expired Georgia Clear Renewable or
Professional School Social Work but has not met renewal requirements outlined in
section (7) below.
(4) Additional Certificate Title Issued in the Field.
(a) Retired Educator (See GaPSC Rule 505-2-.44 RETIRED EDUCATOR CERTIFICATE).
(5) To Add the Field (See GaPSC Rule 505-2-.34 ADD A FIELD).(a) To add School Social Work to an existing certificate in any field, an applicant must complete a
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from a GaPSC-accepted accredited institution.
(6) To Upgrade the Level (See GaPSC Rule 505-2-.33 CERTIFICATE UPGRADE).
(7) Renewal Requirements (See GaPSC Rule 505-2-.36 RENEWAL REQUIREMENTS).
(a) To renew a Professional School Social Work Certificate, an individual must meet the following
1. Complete renewal requirements outlined in GaPSC Rule 505-2-.36 RENEWAL
2. Submission of a valid State of Georgia Master Social Worker’s or Clinical Social Worker’s
license issued by the Professional Licensing Boards Division of the Office of the
Secretary of State, O.C.G.A. Title 43.
(8) In-Field Statement (See GaPSC Rule 505-2-.40 IN-FIELD ASSIGNMENT).
(a) Individuals certificate
Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE)
Hawaii Teacher Standards Board
To practice social work in Hawaii, you must hold one of the licenses offered by the Department. To be eligible for licensure, you must earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW). Higher levels of licensure in the state, including those that permit independent and clinical practice, require a master’s degree in social work (MSW). To qualify for licensure, both BSWs and MSWs must be earned through programs that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or that are determined by the Department to be equivalent. Continue reading to learn more about the differences between these two degrees.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
A bachelor of social work (BSW) is the minimum requirement for social work licensure in Hawaii, and the degree must be earned from a program that is CSWE-accredited or provides equivalent training. As of February 2019, there were three schools in Hawaii offering CSWE-accredited BSW programs. Accredited programs will offer a curriculum that focuses on core social work concepts, including human behavior, social welfare, and research methods. BSW programs typically take four years to complete, and graduates will be prepared to apply for the Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW) credential in Hawaii or to apply to graduate social work programs.
Master of Social Work (MSW)
A master’s in social work (MSW) is required to practice social work independently or to practice clinical social work in Hawaii. As of February 2019, there are two CSWE-accredited MSW programs in Hawaii. MSW programs typically take two years to complete. However, students who enter with a BSW may be eligible for “advanced standing,” allowing them to complete an MSW program in as little as one year. MSW programs prepare students for advanced social work, teaching them about diverse populations, multicultural settings, and social and economic justice. CSWE-accredited programs will also include a fieldwork component that allows students to obtain first-hand social work experience while they are enrolled. Graduates of MSW programs are able to apply for the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) licenses in Hawaii.
Idaho State Department of Education
Idaho State Department of Education Certification
Social workers in every state must hold a degree and a license. However, states have different requirements for licensure, including varying exams and credentials. Idaho social workers can earn their license during the same year they graduate with a bachelor's or master's in social work. Students who need flexibility or who want to enter the workforce quickly often choose online social work programs in Idaho.
Candidates for Idaho social work licensure must hold a degree in social work and sit for an examination. Individuals with a social work degree from an out-of-state institution also qualify for licensure in Idaho. To qualify for reciprocity, professionals licensed in other states must prove their license required criteria equivalent to Idaho's licensing criteria. Idaho social workers need at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, but master's degree holders have more career options and higher earning potential. Clinical social workers in Idaho must have a master's degree and at least two years of professional experience in the field.
Illinois State Board of Education
Each state administers its own regulations governing social work licensure. Requirements often align from state to state, but those seeking licensing should check with the regulatory board that handles jurisdiction over social workers; in Illinois, that is Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
The state of Illinois allows two levels of licensing: licensed social worker (LSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Social workers with a bachelor's or a master's degree can practice in the field under the LSW designation, and those with a bachelor's must acquire three years of post-graduate supervised experience to be licensed.
Social workers with a master's are eligible for the LCSW title and, in fact, that degree is a prerequisite for all clinical practice. This license also requires 3,000 hours of supervised social work experience following completion of the master's degree. Licensed social workers must pass the master's-level/intermediate or clinical-level examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). If you are licensed in another state and want to practice in Illinois, you do not have to retake the ASWB exam, but you must re-apply for licensure to the IDFPR.
Indiana Department of Education
Those interested in social work licensure in Indiana should check with the Behavioral Health and Human Service Licensing Board for the most accurate information on educational requirements, supervised field experience, exams, and fees. Indiana currently offers three levels of licensing. First, the licensed bachelor social worker (LBSW) requires an undergraduate social work degree accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and a passing score on the bachelor's-level exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
Second, graduates of both bachelor's and master's programs who pass the ASWB master's-level exam may earn the licensed social worker (LSW) license. Graduates with only a bachelor's degree seeking the LSW license must also complete two years of supervised experience. Third, those with a MSW or doctorate in social work, a passing score on the the ASWB clinical-level exam, and 3,000 hours of supervised experience may apply for the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA), which handles reciprocity between Indiana and other states, requires anyone seeking Indiana social work licensure to document that they hold a valid license from another state and earned a passing score on the ASWB exam at the level equivalent to the license requested.
Iowa Department of Education
Students seeking Iowa social work licensure must first complete a bachelor's degree or higher in social work. Those who already hold a bachelor's degree in another field can return to school to complete a second major or earn a graduate social work degree, which usually requires two years of full-time study. Social work licensure in Iowa is a three-tiered system with bachelor's holders on the first tier, master's holders on the second, and clinicians on the third. Regardless of their degree level, all social workers must earn 27 continuing education units every two years in order to keep their license current. Prospective clinical social workers must complete a master's degree and 110 hours of supervised practice to qualify for licensure.
Social workers licensed in other states may be able to transfer their licenses to Iowa if their home state's requirements closely match Iowa's. In these cases, applicants must submit an application, official academic transcripts, and verification of their license from their home state. This verification applies to lapsed or relinquished licenses as well as to current ones. Iowa's low cost of living and its mix of urban and rural populations make it an attractive state in which to practice social work.
Kansas State Department of Education
Social workers provide vital support to people in need. These professionals work with diverse populations, motivated by a concern for the welfare of others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 16% employment growth for social workers between 2016 and 2026. This includes 14% growth for child, family, and school social workers; 19% growth for mental health and substance abuse social workers; and 20% growth for healthcare social workers. These rates are much higher than the national average of 7% for all occupations.
Students interested in this rapidly growing field may consider social work schools in Kansas.
Kentucky Department of Education
When first reviewing the requirements for social work licensure in Kentucky, prospective students may find the information overwhelming. This page exists to help those seeking a social work career in Kentucky to understand the clear path from education to licensure and provide information about available jobs, professional organizations, and opportunities for continuing education. Social work licensure in Kentucky mandates students gather all necessary paperwork, pass the required exam, and submit fees.
Unlike other states with available licenses, Kentucky awards licensure in three categories: licensed social worker (LSW), clinical social worker (CSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). While the first requires a bachelor's degree, the other two mandate master's degrees at minimum. Because Kentucky maintains no reciprocity agreements with other states, social workers moving from elsewhere in the country must supply an application, official transcripts, test scores, and relevant fees to receive licensure, provided applicants hold the proper degree.
Louisiana Department of Administration
To work as a licensed social worker anywhere in the U.S., individuals must earn and maintain state-specific licensure. Louisiana operates a three-tier licensing system, with each tier possessing distinct educational, exam, and professional experience criteria. The initial registered social worker (RSW) license requires a bachelor of social work (BSW), while the second-tier licensed master social worker (LMSW) credential requires a master of social work (MSW). Neither of these licenses mandate specific work experience requirements.
The third and final state credential is the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) license. In addition to holding an MSW, LCSW candidates in Louisiana need to accumulate 5,760 hours of supervised work experience, which generally takes a little under three years of working 40-hour weeks. Additionally, Louisiana social workers must renew their license annually. To do this, they need to complete at least 20 hours of state-approved continuing education each year. Renewal fees can be as little as $25 or as high as $150, depending on the licensure level.
From neglected children to elderly persons struggling to lead independent lives, social workers help individuals in need by providing counseling services and community-oriented resources. With the proper preparation, an individual can become an LCSW in 8-9 years. However, those who pursue an accelerated online social work degree program may be able to obtain licensure in less time.
Maine Department of Education
To become a licensed social worker in Maine, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. After completing your undergraduate studies, you must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelor's-level exam and a criminal background check to receive your license. To obtain supervisory roles in the field and work in private practice, you must have a master's degree in social work and pass the ASWB master's-level exam.
Earning a clinical social worker license in Maine is a two-step process. First, you must apply for a conditional clinical license, which allows you to work under the supervision of a fully licensed clinical social worker. After completing 3,200 to 6,400 hours of supervised clinical experience, depending on the nature of your master's degree, you may take the ASWB clinical exam to become fully licensed yourself.
The State Board of Social Worker Licensure does not have formal reciprocity agreements with any other state. All candidates for social work licensure in Maine must meet the education, exam, and experience requirements established by the board. Out-of-state applicants must also submit a copy of their license and a licensure verification form from their home state.
Maryland Department of Education
Like most other states, Maryland requires its social workers to hold licensure at differing levels, depending on the type of care and service they want to provide. The process follows the same standards that apply nationally.
To earn a license to practice social work in the state, candidates must hold at least a bachelor's degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). More advanced licensing, of course, requires more advanced social work degrees. With a degree in hand, candidates can sit for the licensing exam that corresponds to their educational level. Maryland uses the national standard Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examinations in the licensing process.
Unlike many states, Maryland does not hold reciprocity agreements with other states. Instead, the state only requires those coming from out of state to use the ASWB exams. Applicants must provide scores from the ASWB exam at the level at which they want to practice. If they pass the exam, they need only apply for licensure and go through a background check.
Massachusetts Department of Education
Students interested in practicing social work in the state must apply for Massachusetts social work licensure. Any individuals in the state who offer case management, clinical, or nonclinical services in exchange for compensation must hold a license. Even assistant social workers must have social work licensure in Massachusetts.
To obtain social work licensure in Massachusetts, candidates must pass an exam, sumit references, meet education requirements, and in some cases, have documented experience. Individuals without a social work degree can still apply for Massachusetts social work licensure. The state requires licensed social workers to hold only a high school diploma or the equivalent. Candidates for licensure must also submit an application and pay an initial fee.
Social workers licensed in other states can also qualify for Massachusetts social work licensure. Out-of-state social workers who completed requirements equivalent to Massachusetts' standards may qualify to skip the social worker test and to apply their out-of-state degree toward requirements for their Massachusetts license.
Michigan Department of Education
Michigan Department of Education/out-of-state applicants
At minimum, those seeking social work licensure in Michigan must obtain a bachelor's degree and apply for a limited form of licensure that is necessary to complete the in-the-field requirements for full licensure. Most licenses require candidates to have a master of social work degree, but some allow a bachelor's degree. To obtain licensure, students are expected to pay an application fee and pass exams. Requirements for social work professionals in the state of Michigan are rather fluid in that students with a degree in social work are able to concentrate in a desired field and determined the licenses they'd like to procure.
Minnesota Department of Education
Applying for social work licensure in Minnesota starts with completing a social work degree from an accredited program. In the U.S., the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits social work programs. Minnesota also accepts accreditation from the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE). Graduates apply online to the Minnesota Board of Social Work and must pass a criminal background check. The next step is postgraduate work under supervision. Supervised practice requirements vary according to the type of license. Applicants may then take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam, the final step in the licensure process.
Minnesota requires clinical social workers to have a master's in social work (MSW) and be licensed. Those with a bachelor's in social work (BSW) can be licensed, but they may not work directly with clients as therapists. License holders who move out of state must reapply in their new state. However, because degree accreditation and the licensing exam are national, many licensure requirements will overlap.
Mississippi Department of Education
To become a social worker in Mississippi applicants must meet educational, experience, and exam requirements. Students need a minimum of a bachelor's in social work (BSW) to become a social worker in the state. A BSW allows you to apply for a non-clinical license, and a master of social work (MSW) qualifies you to work as a master's-level clinical or non-clinical social worker.
Additional requirements for social work licenses in Mississippi vary depending on which which license you apply for: the licensed social worker (LSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW), or licensed certified social worker (LCSW). Mississippi requires licensure of all social workers, including those at the bachelor's level. The state takes the profession seriously through its commitment to providing highly educated social workers to its citizens.
Licensed social workers who move to Mississippi from out of state need to apply for the appropriate Mississippi social work license, but they will benefit from the state's reciprocity process. Mississippi does not require applicants to retake exams or earn another degree; they must, however, fill out an application, provide documentation of education and exam scores, and pass a background check.
Missouri Department of Education
To become a licensed social worker in Missouri, you must have at least a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's in social work qualifies you to become a licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), which allows you to take on entry-level jobs in the field. A master's degree is required to become a licensed master social worker (LMSW). For both of these licenses, you must also pass a criminal background check and the relevant Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam.
The Missouri Committee for Social Workers (MCSW), the state body charged with overseeing the profession, offers two additional licenses to advanced practitioners. To become a licensed advanced macro social worker (LAMSW), you must already be an LMSW. In addition, you must complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience and pass the appropriate ASWB exam. To diagnose and treat mental conditions, you must be a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). LCSW candidates must meet the same requirements as LAMSW candidates, but they take a different ASWB exam.
Individuals with a social work degree and license from another state can practice in Missouri if their home state's licensure requirements are similar. The MCSW offers advice and makes final decisions on license reciprocity.
Montana Educator Licensing
Montana's social work regulations differ from the regulations of most other states. Montana only offers one level of social work licensure: the licensed clinical worker credential. Candidates must have at least a master's degree in social work to obtain a license.
Candidates for licensure must have graduated from a program with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and must pass an exam from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Licensure applicants must also complete 3,000 hours of supervised experience.
Although bachelor's degree holders do not qualify for licensure in Montana, they can still work within the field. Social workers licensed in other states must obtain a master's degree to qualify for reciprocity in Montana. Out-of-state social workers who hold a master's degree and clinical certification can apply for Montana social work licensure by endorsement.
Nebraska Department of Education
Social work is a broad field with varied employment opportunities. Students seeking a profession that focuses on the betterment of underserved populations, social justice, and ethical practices should consider earning a social work degree in Nebraska. Emerging social work professionals join a community of more than 1.8 million people and can choose from multiple accredited programs.
Students have access to social work programs in Nebraska at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate levels. The lowest social work position in the state is certified social worker (CSW), which allows graduates to practice general social work under a licensed practitioner. Students who want to practice specialized areas of social work independently should become a certified master social worker (CMSW) or a licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP). To become a CSW, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program, while CMSW and LMHP professionals must have a master of social work (MSW).
Professionals from other states are welcome to practice in Nebraska as there are no formal reciprocity relationships. However, transferring practitioners must apply for acceptance. License reciprocity varies by month and year. Fees range from $39 to $155.
Nevada Department of Education
Social work can prove a highly rewarding career, in terms of professional growth, personal satisfaction, and financial benefit. Social work licensure in Nevada follows a system that logically goes from the undergraduate to graduate level and is lenient in granting licenses to out-of-state applicants who hold an equivalent license.
Nevada offers non-clinical social work licensure to bachelor's in social work graduates. The generalized license for social work is available to bachelor's and master's degree holders and does not require prior field experience. Nevada also offers a provisional form of license for working professionals who need extra time to take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. Licenses for independent and clinical social work practice require several thousand hours of field experience in addition to passage of the relevant ASWB exam. The Nevada Board of Social Work Examiners grants licensure without examination to out-of-state applicants who already hold an equivalent license, after careful review.
New Hampshire Department of Education
Social work licensure in New Hampshire is a relatively simple and straightforward process compared to many other states. Many states offer multiple social work licenses for each level of education, but New Hampshire offers just one license: the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). If you would like to become an LCSW in New Hampshire, you must have at least a master's degree in social work from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
New Hampshire does not participate in any reciprocity agreements with other states, which means you will have to reapply for clinical licensure if you move into the state. If your master's degree in social work is from a CSWE-accredited college or university, it will be accepted as a qualification for New Hampshire social work licensure. Similarly, your prior test scores will qualify you for licensure if you passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) clinical-level exam in your home state. Applicants licensed in other states who wish to earn an LCSW license in New Hampshire must submit a completed licensure verification form that is signed and sealed by the state that first issued their license.
New Jersey Department of Education
To earn New Jersey social work licensure, candidates must first apply through the State Board of Social Work Examiners (BSWE), a group of governor-appointed members under the Division of Consumer Affairs. Applicants must have completed a social work degree program and hold a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited institution.
Applicants must complete fingerprinting and pass a criminal history background check and an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. New Jersey has required its practicing social workers to earn certification since 1991, and licenses granted in other states don’t transfer to social work licensure in New Jersey. Licensed or certified social workers from other states must apply through the BSWE, submit a passing score on the ASWB exam, and complete a fingerprinting and background check. Individuals with an inactive practice from other states may be required to retake the exam. Social work licenses and certifications in New Jersey are valid for two years.
New Mexico Public Education Department
To become a social worker in New Mexico, you must earn a social work license. Like most other states, New Mexico requires both clinical and nonclinical social workers to hold a license. The state offers three different licenses depending on your educational background and what type of social work you want to practice. To qualify for a license, you must hold at least a bachelor's in social work. Prospective social workers with an MSW can apply for any New Mexico social work license and practice both clinical or nonclinical social work.
Licensed social workers who move to New Mexico from another state can apply for a New Mexico social work license through reciprocity. The New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners requires out-of-state candidates seeking social work licensure in New Mexico to hold their license for a minimum of five years, pass the appropriate Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam, and complete a New Mexico cultures course. Candidates do not need to retake the test or earn another degree.
American School Counselor Association
Working as a social worker in a cultural hub such as New York is a rewarding experience. The New York State Education Department Office of the Professions issues social work licenses throughout the Empire State. The licensed master social worker (LMSW) and the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) are the state's two most common types of social work licenses. Professionals holding either license can provide a variety of social work services, including clinical services, but an LMSW must be supervised by an LCSW, or a New York-licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.
To become a licensed social worker in New York, you need at least a master's degree in social work from an accredited college or university. LCSW candidates must complete a minimum of three years and 2,000 client contact hours of supervised experience in assessment-based treatment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy. Licensure applicants must also pass the clinical or master's examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). All applicants must complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse. An LCSW from another state must have at least 10 years of experience within a period of 15 years.
North Carolina Department of Education
North Carolina offers four different types of social work licensure, as well as several social work programs. The state's Social Worker and Licensure Act defines licensure requirements, which are overseen by the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board. While individuals who hold a bachelor's degree qualify for a certified social work license, most other forms of social work licensure in North Carolina call for a master's degree at minimum. Clinical social workers must hold either a master's or doctoral degree in the field.
The state maintains strict educational requirements in regard to social work licensure. Prospective social workers must graduate from an accredited program, pass an examination sponsored by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), undergo a background check, and pay a fee. Social workers who move to North Carolina from another state do not automatically receive a state license. Instead, they must submit an application to the board. Applicants whose home state qualifications are equivalent to North Carolina's may obtain licensure. If not, they may be required to take an ASWB exam or, in some cases, go back to school.
North Dakota Department of Education
North Dakota boasts a relatively straightforward social work licensure process. Unlike some other states, graduates who possess only a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree can still pursue their North Dakota social work licensure and begin practicing shortly after earning their degree.
Like in all states, social workers who want to practice clinically or privately must first earn a master of social work (MSW) degree and accrue at least two years of professional experience, after which they can apply to become a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW). Those who earn their MSW but do not yet hold the experience necessary for a LICSW license can earn their licensed certified social worker (LCSW) license. All levels of licensure require an application and a fee. Applicants must also pass the appropriate level of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam.
Those who hold a social work license from another state may apply for reciprocal licensure in North Dakota, so long as the requirements for that state's licensure are either equal to or more strict than the requirements for licensure in North Dakota. Applicants must complete an application, request verification from the licensing board in the state that issued the original license, and submit a copy of the laws and rules that existed when the social worker first earned his or her licensure.
Ohio Department of Education
Students interested in providing intervention, resources, education, and counseling to underserved populations should consider a degree in social work. This diverse field employs professionals with varying education levels. Educational social work programs in Ohio include an associate of social work (ASW), bachelor of social work (BSW), and master of social work (MSW).
Ohio social work licensure includes a registered social work assistant (SWA) license and a social work trainee (SW-T) license, in addition to more traditional licenses such as licensed social worker (LSW), licensed independent social worker (LISW), and LISW with supervisor designation (LISW-S). All social workers in Ohio must be licensed and hold at least a BSW from an accredited program. Practitioners with a license from another state may submit a verification form to the Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board (CSWMFT) to prove that their education meets Ohio standards, as there is no formal reciprocity agreement with any other state.
Oklahoma Department of Education
The five types of Oklahoma social work licensure share common prerequisites, including a social work degree from a program with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the completion of an exam. However, specific requirements vary by license.
Candidates for the licensed social work associate (LSWA) credential need only a bachelor's degree, but the remaining licenses require a master's. Certain licenses also require supervised experience, and all candidates for licensure must submit an application and pay fees. Licensed social workers often find positions in healthcare, education, and the legal system.
Social workers in Oklahoma do not need a clinical license to work independently. While professionals must attain clinical licensure for private practice, a licensed social worker (LSC) and the licensed social worker administration (LSW-Adm) credentials also qualify holders for independent social work practice.
The Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers (OSBLSW) issues provisional licensure after candidates submit their application and fee. Provisionally licensed professionals must pass the exam within a year. Oklahoma does not have a reciprocity agreement with other states, but there is a system in place for out-of-state social workers to gain licensure.
Oregon Department of Education
To earn social work licensure in Oregon, you must first complete a social work degree and receive a passing score on an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. In Oregon, the majority of social work practitioners hold a master's degree; however, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree. Those who graduate from social work programs in Oregon at the bachelor's level are eligible for a non-clinical registered baccalaureate social worker (RBSW) certificate. All other Oregon social work licensure options, including licensed master social worker (LMSW), clinical social work associate (CSWA), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), require the completion of graduate-level coursework, as well as a passing score on the Oregon jurisprudence exam. Currently, there is no reciprocity between other states and social work licensure in Oregon. Individuals who earn their license or certification from a state other than Oregon must receive a separate license from the state. This includes sending applications to the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers and passing the ASWB and Oregon Jurisprudence exam. Once candidates fulfill all requirements, they must undergo fingerprinting, pass a criminal history background check, pay a fee, and wait for approval from the Oregon State Board.
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Individuals must meet standard qualifications for education, experience, and testing to earn a social work license in Pennsylvania. Although Pennsylvania employs one of the country's highest number of social workers, they are not required to earn a license. The NASW-PA estimates that less than 30% of social workers in Pennsylvania have a license. However, licensed social workers hold an advantage as far as public trust and job opportunities. Pennsylvania issues two social work licenses: the licensed social worker (LSW) and the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Both require a master's in social work (MSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Applicants must also pass the master's exam for the LSW and the clinical exam for the LCSW.
Pennsylvania does not hold reciprocity with any other state. To obtain social work licensure, candidates must meet all LSW/LCSW standard qualifications and provide a letter from their jurisdiction board verifying their social work license, certification, and practice record. They also must prove that the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam taken in their state aligns with Pennsylvania's, and that their score qualifies as passing in Pennsylvania.
Rhode Island Department of Education
Social workers serve their communities by offering counseling services and connecting clients to programs such as homeless shelters and food banks. Social workers in Rhode Island can earn either the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or the licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) license.
LCSW applicants can apply for licensure with a master's degree, while LICSW candidates must complete at least three years of supervised, full-time clinical experience after graduation. Many professionals who aspire to earn an LICSW license first obtain the LCSW credential first. The Rhode Island Board of Social Work Examiners issues social work licensure in Rhode Island. Individuals can practice social work with an associate or bachelor's degree and certification, but licensure requires a master's degree.
Out-of-state generalist social workers who move to Rhode Island do not need to obtain a state license. Clinical social workers licensed in another state are not eligible for automatic license reciprocity; out-of-state clinical professionals must pursue Rhode Island social work licensure to practice in the state.
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South Carolina Educators Certification
Home to one of the nation's largest populations of social workers, South Carolina provides a convenient path to licensure for aspiring professionals in this discipline. The state offers a simple, straightforward licensing process to graduates of bachelor's in social work (BSW) or master's in social work (MSW) programs. South Carolina also provides a convenient process for licensed social workers looking to upgrade their credentials or renew their South Carolina social work licensure.
Nonclinical social workers in South Carolina must hold at least a BSW from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) certification. The South Carolina Board of Social Work Examiners grants LBSW licensure to candidates who earn a passing score on the bachelor's-level licensing exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), in addition to meeting other requirements. Applicants holding a CSWE-accredited MSW may pursue Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW) status by taking and passing the master's-level ASWB exam.
LMSWs in South Carolina may apply for the licensed independent social worker clinical practice (LISW-CP) or advanced practice (LISW-AP) designation after completing 3,000 hours of work experience and taking the ASWB's clinical or advanced generalist exam, respectively. Out-of-state social workers looking to obtain licensure in South Carolina must hold an MSW or DSW from an accredited institution, and submit ASWB scores and a social work licensure verification form with their application to the Board for consideration.
South Dakota Department of Education
South Dakota requires all social workers to obtain licensure to practice. The state supports four types of social work licenses: Social Work Associate (SWA), Social Worker (SW), Certified Social Worker (CSW), and Certified Social Worker in Private or Independent Practice (CSW-PIP). For the SW, CSW, and CSW-PIP licenses, applicants must have a social work degree and pass a corresponding exam from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). CSW-PIP social workers must also meet experience requirements. Social work licenses in South Dakota can be renewed biennially. To qualify for renewal, social workers must earn at least 30 contact hours before their license expires. South Dakota does allow reciprocity for out-of-state social workers in certain circumstances. The process requires transcripts, exam results, and license verification from the applicant's former jurisdiction.
In South Dakota, the first level of social work licensure, SWA, does not mandate a social work degree. Applicants with a non-social work bachelor's degree can qualify, but they must pass the basic ASWB exam. Those with an associate degree in human services can also qualify for the SWA. SW applicants, however, must hold a bachelor's. CSW and CSW-PIP licenses require a master's degree.
Tennessee Department of Education
Professionals can pursue four types of Tennessee social work licensure: licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and licensed advanced practice social worker (LAPSW).
Licensing requirements include a social work degree, exams, an application, fees, and in some cases, field experience. Aspiring social workers in the state can choose from a variety of social work schools in Tennessee. Social work students should research career options to choose the path that aligns with their personal interests.
Learners can pursue on-campus or online social work programs in Tennessee. Online social work degrees typically offer increased flexibility and are ideal for busy students. Both bachelor's and master's programs generally require an internship or practicum, which most distance learners complete at a local site.
Texas Education Agency
Graduates with a social work degree in Texas are prepared to help families and improve their community. Texas social work licensure opens the door to many employment opportunities, including youth and family counseling, clinical care, and community social work. Social work graduates enter into a stable career track with a promising career outlook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that social work positions will increase by 15% between 2016 and 2026.
Students have several tracks available for social work licensure in Texas. A bachelor's degree is the entry-level requirement, and a master's is considered the terminal degree for licensure. After earning their degree at an accredited school, learners in Texas have to pass a jurisprudence exam, submit an application, and pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examination. Master's and doctoral degrees require continuing education and professional experience. There are four distinct licenses available that are discussed in detail below. There is no reciprocity for social work licensure between states, but Texas does allow for license reapplication if the applicant meets certain requirements.
Utah Department of Education
As Utah's population grows, the need for licensed social workers also increases. The first step to this rewarding career involves earning a social work degree in Utah from an accredited program. Social workers must pass the appropriate examination, complete any required training hours, and apply for a license.
The Beehive State offers three distinct licenses for social workers: one license is for bachelor's-level social workers, the second is for those with a master's degree, and the third is for those who want to practice clinical social work. Unlike many states, Utah requires applicants with a bachelor's degree to obtain additional supervised experience before applying for licensure.
Social workers from other states can transfer to Utah with the correct documentation. These professionals should provide proof of current licensure, exam scores, and any applicable supervised training. Social workers who relocate but do not meet Utah's set standards must complete the missing requirements before applying. Some states do not require bachelor's-level social workers to complete supervised training, which would need to be completed prior to applying for a license in Utah.
Vermont Department of Education
Unlike many other states, Vermont does not require all social workers to hold a license. With just a bachelor's degree in social work, you can take on a number of entry-level positions in the field, such as human services assistant or community health worker. However, in order to qualify for supervisory and clinical roles, you will need a state license.
The Office of Professional Regulation oversees social work licensure in Vermont. In order to become a licensed master social worker (LMSW), you must have at least a master's degree in social work from an accredited institution. You must also pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) master's-level exam and the Vermont state jurisprudence exam.
To become a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW), you must hold a master's degree and pass both the ASWB clinical exam and the state jurisprudence exam. You must also complete between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.
Because Vermont's social work licensure requirements are less strict than other states, it is fairly easy for individuals with an out-of-state license to receive authorization to work in Vermont. If your home state's requirements resemble Vermont's, you can receive a license by submitting verification of your experience. If your home state's requirements are less strict than Vermont's, you may still be able to receive a license if you have practiced more than 1,200 hours per year for at least five years.
Virginia Department of Education
In Virginia, the State Department of Health Professions' Board of Social Work licenses social workers at both the bachelor's and master's levels. A case worker with an associate degree in social work can provide some social services without a license, but only under the supervision of a licensed social worker (LSW). To qualify for social work licensure in Virginia, an applicant must have at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in social work. However, aspiring LSWs with only a bachelor's social work degree in Virginia must first register with the Board of Social Work, apply for supervision approval, and complete 3,000 hours of post-baccalaureate experience in casework management and supportive services. LSW applicants with a master's degree in social work are exempt from this supervised experience requirement. Virginia doesn't have reciprocity agreements with other states, but it does offer application by endorsement for social workers who hold a current and active license from another state and have passed Virginia's examination requirements for licensure.
Washington Department of Education
Washington social workers must hold a license to practice in certain areas, such as clinical social work. The Department of Health manages social work licensure in Washington, issuing them to applicants who meet the educational, experience, and testing requirements. Candidates for any level of Washington social work licensure must have a master's in social work.
After earning a master's in social work degree, graduates can apply for Washington social work licensure. Graduates of online social work programs in Washington are also eligible to earn licensure, as long as the program holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Licensure candidates must pass the appropriate Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam.
Social workers licensed in other states must meet Washington's requirements to obtain a license in the state, including the completion of 3,200 to 4,000 hours of supervised professional experience. Out-of-state social workers do not need to retake the ASWB exam. Washington social workers must renew their license annually and complete a certain number of continuing education credits every two years.
West Virginia Department of Education
Social workers provide support to individuals in need, including at-risk youth and those suffering from behavioral issues or mental illness. As the U.S. healthcare system continues to evolve, social work enjoys astounding growth. This guide contains relevant information about the academic programming, degree costs, job options, and professional development opportunities related to social work.
To legally work and advance as a social worker in West Virginia, you must complete the required college degree, field experience, and exams in order to obtain professional licensure. The state's Board of Social Work confers four tiers of licensure. The initial, non-clinical license requires a bachelor's in social work, while the final clinical license necessitates at least a master's degree and two years of supervised graduate-level or post-degree work experience. The Mountain State does not conduct any form of license reciprocity. Out-of-state professionals do not need to earn a social work degree in West Virginia, but they must provide academic credentials, work experience, and scores on exams appropriate to the level of licensure for which they apply. The West Virginia Board of Social Work charges a $100 application fee for all licenses. Social workers must renew their license every two years, which requires 40 hours of continuing education and a $65 charge.
Wisconsin Department of Education/School counseling
The Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, and Social Work Board of the Department of Safety and Professional Services is the regulating authority for social workers in Wisconsin. Like many other states, Wisconsin issues four types of social work licenses, although the licenses go by slightly different names.
Wisconsin issues a certified independent social worker (CISW) license for social workers who plan on entering private practices. The three other Wisconsin licenses include certified social worker (CSW), advanced practice social worker (CAPSW), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Wisconsin also issues a social worker training certificate (SWTC) for graduates who did not earn a social work degree but who wish to pursue a career in the field. This certificate is only valid for a 24-month period and cannot be renewed.
Applicants for Wisconsin social work licensure must have at least a bachelor's degree in social work to be considered, unless they apply for licensure through the SWTC route. Although Wisconsin does not have direct reciprocity agreements with other states, the board reviews applications for social work licensure in Wisconsin from out-of-state license holders on an individual basis.
Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board
Wyoming requires its licensed social workers to hold at least a bachelor's degree, or a master's if their undergraduate degree was in a subject other than social work. A bachelor's degree in social work permits students to become certified social workers (CSW), but a master's opens the door to becoming a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Even after obtaining their degrees, social workers must log continued education hours to maintain their licensure.
In Wyoming, aspiring LCSWs must complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work experience under a provisional license, in addition to their formal education. Nearly half of these hours must include direct client contact. Wyoming does offer reciprocity to social workers who have been licensed in other states, meaning they can transfer their out-of-state licenses as long as their home state's qualifications are similar to Wyoming's. Otherwise, Wyoming may offer a provisional license for out-of-state social workers to use while they work to meet Wyoming's licensure requirements. The state has low poverty rates, but suicide and mental illnesses are problematic there, which puts social services in high demand.