Getting Your Social Work License: State by State Requirements

Learn how requirements differ from state to state and find out what it takes to become a licensed social worker in your state.

Last Updated: 03/04/2021

You’ve worked hard to earn your social work degree. Between the long nights studying for exams and the early mornings preparing for your field assignment, you’ve dedicated yourself to your dream of helping others. But, before you can begin truly helping people as a social worker, you need to become licensed.

Social work licensure ensures that you’ve met the qualifications necessary to work as a professional in the field. It indicates a level of competency and signals to employers that you’ve graduated from an accredited program. Without licensure, the social work degree you’ve earned can’t be applied in a professional setting, making it a crucial part of the process. While many states will have similar social work licensure requirements, each state is unique and finding out what your state mandates is key to beginning your career. Continue reading to find out what requirements your state has for social work licensure and get your most asked questions answered along the way.

FAQs About Getting Licensed as a Social Worker

If you’re thinking about whether or not to pursue licensure as a social worker, there are a several important factors to consider ahead of time. It’s only natural to have questions as you begin process to becoming a working professional. Read on to find the answers to some of your most common questions.

Who needs a social work license?

Licensure requirements vary among states and are determined by your state’s licensing board or agency. In some states, you don’t need a license to work as a social worker in a limited capacity. However, there may be restrictions on your scope of practice, and you might not be able to professionally identify yourself as a social worker. On the other hand, some states require that any professional who works in a social work position, whether in a clinical capacity or not, possess some kind of licensure through the state board.

What are the different types of social work licenses?

There are about a dozen common social work licenses available to professionals in the U.S. Social work licenses generally can be categorized as those for candidates with undergraduate or graduate degrees, and whether or not you’ll need clinical training for the license. The specific titles for licenses may vary slightly among states, as well. The most commonly offered social work licenses include:

Master’s Level or Higher:

  • Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Certified Independent Practice Social Worker (CIPSW)
  • Independent Social Worker (ISW)
  • Licensed Social Worker-Administration (LSW-ADM)
  • Licensed Social Work Associate and Advanced (LSWAA)

Bachelor’s Level or No Degree Required:

  • Licensed Baccalaureate/Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
  • Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker (CAPSW)
  • Licensed Advanced Practice Social Worker (LAPSW)
  • Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA)
  • Licensed Social Work Associate and Independent Clinical (LSWAIC)
  • Social Work Associate (SWA)

Do I have to take an exam to become licensed?

Yes, you will need to pass a licensure exam to become a licensed social worker. There are five nationally administered licensing tests; the one you take will depend on your academic background. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is the most commonly used standardized test for social work licensure.

What is the purpose of social work licensing?

Licensure ensures that social workers are prepared to work with the public within established standards and follow guidelines for safe professional practice. When you fulfill the requirements for licensure as a social worker, it shows that you have the knowledge to provide ethical guidance for others that meets high professional standards.

Can I only work in the state in which I’m licensed?

Yes, you may only work in the state where you earned licensure. A full reciprocity system between states for social workers in the U.S. does not currently exist. Most states, however, will accept your previous training and credentials and help you meet your new state’s requirements. This may require extra work on your part, however, since social work licensure requirements vary among states. For many social work professionals, this can be a time-consuming and challenging experience. Professionals can save time and energy by joining the ASWB Social Work Registry.

Social Work Licensure Requirements by State

If you’re considering pursuing licensure as a social worker in your state, it’s important to know how to contact the state licensing board, which types of professional licenses are available to you, and if there are hands-on, fieldwork requirements. Here’s a list of requirements by state, along with links to each state’s licensing board so you can get more information.

Alabama Social Work Licensure

Social work students pursuing licensure in Alabama need a degree from a school accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), they must pass the ASWB exam, and they must complete the required supervision hours. All licenses offered in Alabama require supervised work after graduation. The state also offers credentials for various areas of practice, including social casework, social work administration, private practice, and social work research.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

Those seeking licensure as an LCSW will need a master’s degree and 24 months of supervised social work experience within 36 months. Learners must complete at least four hours of supervised work per month.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Alabama must complete 30 hours of continuing education credits every two years. At least three of the CE hours must be in social work ethics. There’s also a $100 renewal fee.

Alaska Social Work Licensure

Prospective social workers in Alaska must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the CSWE. The state offers three types of professional licenses, which have individual exam requirements. Depending on the type of licensure sought, students will take the appropriate exam offered by the Association of Social Work Boards. Students can expect to pay both an exam fee and a license fee as they progress toward full licensure.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective Alaska clinical social workers need at least two years of continuous full-time employment in a postgraduate clinical social work setting or a minimum of 3,000 hours of full-time employment in a period of no less than two years.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Alaska requires social workers to renew their licenses every two years by submitting the appropriate online renewal form and paying the fee. Social workers can expect to complete 45 CE hours.

Arizona Social Work Licensure

Arizona social work professionals must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from an accredited institution to earn licensure. All three professional licensure types in Arizona require supervised social work experience. Including a degree from a CSWE-approved program, learners will need to pass a background check, licensure exam, and have proof of residency, naturalization, or citizenship.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

For those with a master’s degree or higher in social work, 3,200 hours of supervision are required in no less than 24 months. These hours must include 1,600 direct client contact hours.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Arizona need to complete at least 30 hours of continuing education classes every two years. There’s also a $325 renewal fee.

Arkansas Social Work Licensure

Those seeking social work licensure in Arkansas need to pass the appropriate ASWB exam and pay the application and exam fees. Learners must have a degree from a CSWE-accredited program and submit fingerprint records.

State Licensing Board

Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Master’s level social workers need to complete 4,000 hours of supervised work experience over two years. Learners should plan to complete at least one hour of supervision per week. Half of those hours may come from group practice settings.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

For renewal in Arkansas, social work professionals need 48 hours of continuing education credits. Up to 10 credits may come from giving public presentations or preparing academic manuscripts. No more than 20 hours may come from home study or Internet courses.

California Social Work Licensure

Both available licenses in California require learners to hold a master’s degree in social work. While the state does not require learners to undergo a supervised experience, they must pass a law and ethics exam. In addition to required master’s coursework, the state of California requires additional coursework for social work professionals. If the classes are not offered by the student’s master’s program, they may be completed post-master’s.

Types of Professional Licenses

Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSW professionals in California need to complete 3,200 hours of supervised experience. These hours include performing clinical duties, face-to-face individual and group therapy sessions, and experiences in client advocacy, consultation, evaluation, and research.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

California social workers must complete 36 hours of continuing education every two years. There’s also a $220 renewal fee.

Colorado Social Work Licensure

The state of Colorado requires prospective social workers to complete a master’s degree in social work at an accredited program, along with supervised practice hours, a licensing exam, and a jurisprudence exam. The LSW in the state does not require clinical supervised hours, but licensure-seekers must pass the master’s ASWB exam.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSW licensure-seekers in Colorado must complete 3,360 hours of supervised work experience over no less than 24 months. At least 1,680 hours must be in testing, assessment, treatment, diagnosis, or counseling. Up to 1,200 hours may come from teaching social work content or psychotherapy.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work professionals at either level must renew their licenses every two years. This requires 40 hours of professional development and continuing education activities that are approved by the state board.

Connecticut Social Work Licensure

Those seeking social work licensure in Connecticut must complete at least a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Some in the state pursuing licensure as a clinical social worker hold a doctorate degree in social work. Master social workers (LMSW) in Connecticut do not need to complete supervision hours but must pass the ASWB exam.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs in Connecticut must complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work and pass the ASWB clinical exam. At least 100 of these hours must come from work experience under the supervision of a licensed clinical or certified independent social worker.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work professionals in Connecticut need to complete at least 15 hours of continuing education credits each year. At least two of these hours must come from topics in mental health treatment. At least one hour must be in culture-focused topics.

Delaware Social Work Licensure

Delaware licenses only those social workers who practice at an independent level. Social workers at the bachelor’s level do not need to earn licensure but may work independently in a limited capacity. Master’s and clinical social workers must possess a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-approved program.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSW learners must complete 3,200 hours of supervised work experience for licensure. These hours may be under the supervision of a Delaware LCSW, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work professionals in Delaware need to complete 45 hours of continuing education credits during each two-year renewal period. At least three credits must be in ethics. Up to 10 credits may come from home study courses.

District of Columbia Social Work Licensure

Social workers seeking licensure in DC must possess a degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Those pursuing licensure as an LISW or LICSW must complete social work experience requirements in individual or group supervision settings. For those earning a master’s degree in social work, DC allows learners to sit for their licensing exams during their final semester of graduate school.

State Licensing Board

District of Columbia Board of Health

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA)
Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

LISW and LICSW learners need to complete 3,000 paid social work experience hours within 2-4 years. For every 32 hours of social work experience, one hour must take place in an individual or group supervision setting.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in DC must renew their licenses every two years. Professionals need to complete 40 hours of continuing education credits, six of which must be in ethics. Additionally, two continuing education credits must come from LGBTQ topics. No more than 10 hours may come from home study courses.

Florida Social Work Licensure

Social work professionals in Florida must have a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution. Those learners hoping to become a licensed clinical social work intern may be in-process with their master’s degree. Within six months of completing licensure, all social workers in Florida must complete a three-hour HIV/AIDS course and a two-hour domestic violence course.

Types of Professional Licenses

Registered Clinical Social Work Intern
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW)

Field Requirement

Those seeking clinical licensure must complete 1,500 hours of clinical experience over two years after completing their master’s degree. Supervised experience must include psychotherapy with clients, with at least one hour of supervision by a Florida LCSW every two weeks.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Florida must renew their licenses every two years. The state board requires 30 hours of continuing education credits for each renewal.

Georgia Social Work Licensure

Those with a master’s or doctorate degree in social work may pursue licensure in Georgia. Those who hold a degree from a CSWE-accredited program may practice for one year before passing their licensure exam. LMSWs in Georgia may begin a private practice after having two years of work experience in the field but may not offer all of the same services as LCSWs.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs must complete at least 3,000 hours of post-master’s-degree supervised experience in no less than 36 months.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Georgia social workers must complete 35 hours of continuing education credits every two years. The total must include at least five hours of in-person activities and no more than 10 hours from online home study courses.

Hawaii Social Work Licensure

All three types of professional licenses for social workers in Hawaii require a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program. The state requires licensure-seekers to complete a form ahead of time to receive approval to sit for the ASWB exam.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Those pursuing licensure as a clinical social worker must complete 3,000 hours of clinical experience after finishing their master’s degree. At least 2,000 hours must come from work in clinical diagnosis, assessment, and psychotherapy.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Hawaii need to renew their licenses every three years. Licensees must complete 45 hours of continuing education credits during each renewal. At least three of these hours must come from work in ethics.

Idaho Social Work Licensure

Idaho requires social workers to possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited institution. Learners seeking an LBSW or LMSW can sit for their exams while completing their degrees. The state also allows LBSWs and LMSWs to practice independently after completing 3,000 hours of supervised practice, excluding psychotherapy practice.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs need to complete 3,000 hours of clinical practice and supervision. At least 1,750 hours must be in direct client contact, while the remaining 1,250 hours should be in diagnosis, assessment, and other relevant areas.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Idaho must renew their licenses annually. Professionals must complete 20 continuing education credits each year, including one hour in professional ethics.

Illinois Social Work Licensure

Learners can become licensed social workers with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree and the required post-degree supervision hours. The state requires those pursuing LCSW licensure to possess a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited institution. Those with a doctorate in social work complete fewer clinical hours for licensure in Illinois.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Illinois requires LCSW licensure-seekers with a master’s degree in social work to complete 3,000 hours of clinical experience. Those with a doctorate in social work must accrue 2,000 hours. At least one hour per week must be in individual or group supervision.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Illinois need to renew their licenses every two years. The state requires 30 hours of relevant social work coursework, including at least three hours in ethics and three hours in cultural competence.

Indiana Social Work Licensure

Indiana social workers can gain licensure with a master’s degree or a bachelor’s in social work with post-degree supervision. In either case, prospective social workers must have a degree from a CSWE-accredited program. They also need to pass the ASWB national exam and a background check.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Learners with a master’s degree need to complete at least 3,000 hours of paid experience before they can earn the LCSW. At least half of these hours must be in direct service work. At least four hours a month of direct supervision from an LCSW is required.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Indiana social workers need to renew their licenses every two years. The state requires at least 20 hours of continuing education per year, for a total of 40 hours.

Iowa Social Work Licensure

Social workers with a bachelor’s degree in Iowa can earn licensure and practice with a limited scope. Those with master’s degrees in social work can earn licensure to become LMSWs and LISWs, provided they meet clinical practice and postgraduate supervision requirements. Prospective LMSWs may sit for the ASWB exam during their last semester.

State Licensing Board

Iowa Board of Social Work

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)

Field Requirement

To become an LISW in Iowa, students need to complete two years of full-time work under the supervision of a licensed independent social worker. They must acquire 4,000 hours of experience over a timeline of two to six years.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Iowa social workers need to renew their licenses every two years. The state requires 27 hours of continuing education. LISWs need to complete three hours of continuing education and supervision skills as part of their total 27 hours.

Kansas Social Work Licensure

LMSW and LSCSW licensure requires a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited institution and a passing score on the ASWB master’s or clinical exam. For students in a master’s program that does not cover all required coursework for Kansas social workers, the state allows them to make up missing classes at a later date.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker (LSCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs in Kansas need to complete 4,000 hours of post-master’s degree supervised practice. At least 1,500 hours must be in direct contact with clients in psychotherapy and client assessments.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Kansas social workers need 40 hours of continuing education every two years. At least six hours must be in safety awareness training. The first renewal may require specific coursework.

Kentucky Social Work Licensure

Learners with a CSWE-accredited bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field can pursue licensure as a social worker. A master’s degree is required for those pursuing licensure as a CSW or LCSW. CSWs may operate in Kentucky with a limited scope in an independent practice. LCSWs in the state may have independent practices with a full scope of services.

State Licensing Board

Kentucky Board of Social Work

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs in Kentucky need to have at least two years of full-time post-graduate work to earn licensure. They must complete at least 30 hours of work per week to remain in good standing. All field experience must be supervised and approved by the state board.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work professionals in Kentucky need to renew their license every three years. LSWs need 15 hours of continuing education every renewal period, while CSWs and LCSWs need 40 hours.

Louisiana Social Work Licensure

Learners need a bachelor’s degree to become a registered social worker in Louisiana. The LMSW and LCSW requires a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program. For licensure, students will need to pass the ASWB exam and a criminal background check. In Louisiana, LMSWs must be employees of a social work agency or contracted employees of a government agency.

Types of Professional Licenses

Registered Social Worker (RSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs in Louisiana need to complete 5,760 hours of work experience. At least 3,840 of these hours must be under the guidance of a board-approved clinical supervisor.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Licensed social workers in Louisiana need to renew their license every year. The state requires social workers to obtain 20 hours of continuing education, including three hours in professional ethics, every 12 months.

Maine Social Work Licensure

For the LSW, Maine does not require learners to hold a bachelor’s degree that’s accredited by the CSWE. Bachelor’s degrees in related areas, such as social welfare, are acceptable. LMSWs and LCSWs need a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs in Maine need to finish 3,200 hours of work experience over two years. At least 96 hours must be in a clinical setting. For those with a master’s degree in social work that did not have a clinical concentration, Maine requires them to complete four years of work experience, or 6,400 hours, with 192 hours of supervision in a clinical setting.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Maine need to renew their licenses every two years. They need to complete 25 hours of continuing education, four of which must be in ethics.

Maryland Social Work Licensure

Maryland offers four types of professional licenses for social work. Both the LCSW and LCSW-C require learners to complete extensive clinical hours. The LBSW and LMSW licenses, on the other hand, require only that students pass the ASWB exam for licensure. All licenses require renewal every two years, regardless of the type of license.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C)

Field Requirement

A Maryland LCSW-C license requires at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience, including 1,500 hours of face-to-face client contact. At least 144 of these hours must be supervised by a Maryland LCSW-C.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Maryland social workers must renew their licenses every two years. LMSWs, LCSWs, and LCSW-Cs need 40 hours of continuing education. LBSWs must complete 30 hours.

Massachusetts Social Work Licensure

For those pursuing LCSW or LICSW licensure in Massachusetts, a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited institution is required. The LSW requires only a high school diploma and supervised practice. The LSWA requires a bachelor’s degree in any field or an associate degree in human services.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Social Worker Associate (LSWA)
Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

Massachusetts licensure for LCSWs requires 3,500 hours of clinical experience in at least two years of time. At least 100 hours must be under direct supervision.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Continuing education and licensure renewal varies depending on the type of license. LSWAs need 10 hours of continuing education while LSWs, LCSWs, and LICSWs need 15, 20, and 30 hours, respectively.

Michigan Social Work Licensure

Aside from those pursuing a social service technician credential, social workers in Michigan must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Additionally, the state requires fingerprinting and a criminal background check. Technicians are not required to complete continuing education classes but are encouraged to do so by the state.

State Licensing Board

Michigan Board of Social Work

Types of Professional Licenses

Social Service Technician (SST)
Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs in Michigan need to complete 4,000 hours of post-graduate clinical experiences, under the supervision of a licensed, master’s degree-holding Michigan social worker.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Michigan must renew their licenses every three years. The state requires 45 hours of continuing education. Professionals need to complete one hour of CE in both ethics and pain management each cycle.

Minnesota Social Work Licensure

In Minnesota, LSWs, LISWs, and LICSWs need to complete the required number of clinical and supervision hours for licensure. Learners can apply for the LGSW without any clinical experience in the field. After they gain some documented supervised experience, the state allows them to move up to an LISW licensure track.

State Licensing Board

Minnesota Board of Social Work

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

LICSWs in Minnesota need to complete at least 4,000 hours of clinical social work practice. At least 200 of those hours must be supervised. Additionally, 1,800 hours of the total need to be in direct client contact.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Minnesota need to renew their licenses every two years. Learners must complete at least 40 continuing education hours, including two hours in ethics. LICSWs need 24 hours in clinical topics each cycle.

Mississippi Social Work Licensure

Licensure-seekers in Mississippi need a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program, or one with regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Learners in the state can apply for licensure when they have 15 or fewer credits remaining in their degree program. Unlike many other states, Mississippi also has board-approved supervisors evaluate practicing LMSWs on a semi-annual basis.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs in Mississippi need to participate in one hour per week of face-to-face supervision with an LCSW supervisor, for a total of at least 100 supervision hours. Additionally, at least 1,000 hours must be in direct contact with clients. Field requirements must be completed in 24-36 months.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Mississippi must renew their licenses every two years. The state requires 40 hours of continuing education each renewal period. At least four hours must come from ethics training and two hours in cultural diversity.

Missouri Social Work Licensure

To earn licensure for social work in Missouri, you at least need a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Licensure-seekers at the LBSW and LMSW levels must pass a background check and the required ASWB exam. LAMSWs need to complete post-graduate degree training requirements, including supervised work, similar to LCSWs.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs in Missouri need 3,000 hours of supervised practice over the span of two to four years. Learners should have at least two hours of supervised experiences every two weeks.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Missouri social workers need to renew their licenses every two years. Each renewal period requires 30 hours of continuing education activities. Three hours must come from professional ethics training and two in suicide prevention.

Montana Social Work Licensure

Montana licenses require a degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program, professional references, a passing grade on the ASWB exam, and fingerprints with a background check. The LBSW requires a bachelor’s, while the LCSW and LMSW require a master’s degree in social work or a doctor of social work.

State Licensing Board

Montana Board of Behavioral Health

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

Field Requirement

For licensure as an LCSW in Montana, applicants need 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience. Up to 20 hours may come from remote or tele-supervision sessions. LBSWs and LMSWs need 2,000 hours of supervised work.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Montana need to renew their licenses every year. The state requires 20 hours of continuing education each period. Up to 10 hours may come from activities involving academic manuscripts or presentations.

Nebraska Social Work Licensure

With several types of professional licenses available to social workers in Nebraska, applicants must ensure they are completing the correct practicum and field experience requirements. All licenses, except for the CSW, require an ASWB exam and post-graduate school supervision and training. You do not need a license in Nebraska to practice, but professionals may not identify themselves as social workers unless they hold licensure.

Types of Professional Licenses

Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Provisionally Certified Master Social Worker (PCMSW)
Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Nebraska social workers must renew their licenses every two years. Professionals complete at least 30 hours of continuing education, 10 of which come from their area of expertise.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Nebraska need to complete 32 continuing education hours every two years.

Nevada Social Work Licensure

Prospective social workers in Nevada need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Learners must also pass a background check, the appropriate ASWB exam, and a post-degree internship. Licensure-seekers initially earn an LSW before continuing on to additional licensure requirements, should they choose to do so.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Associate in Social Work (LASW)
Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Nevada requires LISW and LCSW applicants to complete an internship consisting of 3,000 hours under the supervision of an LISW or LCSW. LCSWs need to complete 2,000 hours of psychotherapeutic processes.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Nevada need to renew their licenses every year on the last day of their birth month. The state requires LSWs and LASWs to complete 30 hours of continuing education, 10 of which must come from the professional’s specialty area. LISWs and LCSWs need 36 hours, including 12 from their area of expertise.

New Hampshire Social Work Licensure

New Hampshire offers clinical social worker licensure, which requires a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Learners need to complete all post-graduate supervised work and the clinical ASWB exam. Additionally, the state requires licensure applicants to submit three professional references.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective clinical social workers need at least two years of post-master’s clinical experience, with 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

New Hampshire social workers need to complete 40 continuing education hours every two years. Depending on the professional, they must choose the appropriate continuing education hours from two categories to meet state requirements.

New Jersey Social Work Licensure

Learners interested in pursuing licensure as a CSW need only a bachelor’s degree in social work but cannot practice in clinical areas. Those interested in the LSW or LCSW need a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Licensure candidates must also pass a background check, complete the appropriate ASWB exam, and complete all supervised work experience requirements.

Types of Professional Licenses

Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs must complete two years of full-time clinical social work experience, or 3,000 hours, under the supervision of a licensed professional. This must take place over the course of two or three consecutive years.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work professionals in New Jersey renew their licenses every two years. CSWs complete 20 hours of continuing education, while LSWs and LCSWs complete 30 and 40 hours, respectively. For LCSWs, at least 20 hours must be related to clinical social work practice.

New Mexico Social Work Licensure

Licensure candidates in New Mexico need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. They must also take a jurisprudence exam, pass the appropriate ASWB exam, complete a course on New Mexico culture or pass a cultural competency exam, and submit character references.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

Field Requirement

LMSW candidates in New Mexico who are interested in receiving licensure at the independent clinical level need to complete 3,600 hours of social work experience over the span of no more than 60 months. This training must also include 90 hours of direct supervision.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

New Mexico social workers need to renew their licenses every two years by July 1st. The state requires 30 hours of continuing education, six of which must be in a cultural awareness topic.

New York Social Work Licensure

Candidates for licensure in New York must possess a master’s in social work from a program that has been registered with the New York State Education Department. Additionally, the state will accept graduates from CSWE-accredited programs. In order to sit for the ASWB exams, applicants must have their education and application approved by the state education department.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSMs must complete at least 36 months of supervised experience in psychotherapy, assessment-based treatment planning, and diagnosis.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Both master’s and clinical social workers need to renew their licenses every three years in New York. The state requires 36 hours of continuing education, with no more than 12 hours coming from self-study courses.

North Carolina Social Work Licensure

Every professional license for social workers in North Carolina requires either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work. The state also requires learners to submit three professional references, pass the appropriate ASWB or ACSW exam, and complete the required supervised work experience. Prospective LCSWs must also submit a position statement and crisis plan. Licensure for those in nonclinical areas is voluntary.

Types of Professional Licenses

Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW)
Certified Social Work Manager (CSWM)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (LCSWA)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs need to complete 3,000 hours of post-master’s paid clinical employment. This must take place over the span of at least two years but no more than six years. Clinical experiences must also include 100 hours of direct supervision by an LCSW.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in North Carolina need to renew their licenses every two years. Professionals need 40 continuing education hours during each renewal period. First-time licensees whose initial term is less than two years need to complete only 30 hours. At least four hours of continuing education must come from professional ethics training.

North Dakota Social Work Licensure

For licensure in North Dakota, learners need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Bachelor’s degree holders who pursue LBSWs are ineligible for private practice upon receiving licensure. North Dakota also requires applicants to submit three professional references, pass state and federal background checks, and earn a passing score on the appropriate ASWB exam.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs need to complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work practice within four years after completing their master’s degree.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

North Dakota social work licenses expire on December 31st of odd-numbered years. Professionals must complete 30 hours of continuing education for renewal during each cycle. Up to 10 hours may come from distance learning or self-study activities.

Ohio Social Work Licensure

Candidates for the SWA license in Ohio need only an associate or social service technician degree to be eligible. SWA candidates also do not need to sit for the ASWB exam. LSW candidates may have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, while LISWs need a master’s from a CSWE-accredited program.

Types of Professional Licenses

Social Work Assistant (SWA)
Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)

Field Requirement

LISWs need to complete at least two years of post-master’s and post-LSW experience, including 150 hours of supervision from a LISW-S.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Ohio must renew their licenses every two years. The state requires 30 hours of continuing education. Activities for credit must be approved by the state board. Three of the total hours must come from training in professional ethics topics.

Oklahoma Social Work Licensure

All of the available social work licenses in Oklahoma, except for the LSWA, require a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Candidates for the LSWA need a bachelor’s degree in social work and complete the necessary supervised work experience. Oklahoma requires learners to pass a background check and take the appropriate ASWB exam.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker Associate (LSWA)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Social Worker-Administration (LCSW-ADM)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs must complete 4,000 hours of post-master’s clinical experience. This should be completed over the span of two to three years.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Oklahoma requires social workers to renew their licenses every year. Professionals need to complete at least 16 hours of continuing education for renewal, three of which must come from professional ethics training.

Oregon Social Work Licensure

Candidates for licensure in Oregon need a degree from a CSWE-accredited program or a Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work program. The state requires learners to pass a criminal background check and complete both an ASWB and jurisprudence exam.

Types of Professional Licenses

Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker (RBSW)
Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Clinical Social Work Associate (CSWA)

Field Requirement

Prospective LCSWs in Oregon need to complete 3,500 hours of post-master’s clinical experiences. At least 2,000 hours must come from direct client contact. Learners also need 100 hours of supervision, 50 hours of which must be in a one-on-one setting. Field requirements may be completed in no fewer than 24 months.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work licenses in Oregon need to be renewed every year. RBSWs, LMSWs, and LCSWs must complete 20, 30, and 40 hours of continuing education, respectively, each renewal period. CSWAs do not need to complete continuing education credits to renew.

Pennsylvania Social Work Licensure

Both of the available social work licenses in Pennsylvania require learners to possess a master’s degree in social work. Students can apply to take the required ASWB exam during their last semester of their master’s program. Upon completing a master’s or doctoral degree, candidates have six years to complete clinical experience requirements for the LCSW.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Workers (LSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Pennsylvania requires prospective LCSWs to complete 3,000 hours of work experience that meets the state board requirements. At least 1,500 hours must be dedicated to consultation, family therapy, group therapy, assessment, psychotherapy, and other therapeutic interventions.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Pennsylvania social workers need to renew their license every two years. Both LSWs and LCSWs need to complete 30 hours of continuing education, three of which must be in an ethics-related area.

Rhode Island Social Work Licensure

Those pursuing licensure in Rhode Island must possess a master’s in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. The state requires candidates to pass the clinical ASWB exam, complete post-master’s supervised work hours, and submit two professional references. Professionals must possess a LCSW licensure before they begin to work in the field unless they are employed in an exempt setting.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

Clinical social workers in Rhode Island must complete 3,000 hours of clinical practice in a period of 24-72 months. At least 1,500 of these hours must be in direct clinical contact with clients.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Rhode Island requires social workers to renew their licenses every two years. Professionals need 30 hours of continuing education, three of which must be in cross-cultural topics. Additionally, social workers need three credits in professional ethics.

South Carolina Social Work Licensure

South Carolina offers four professional licenses for social workers. Candidates will need either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Those interested in pursuing a LISW may need to meet specific course requirements for the state before they can complete their licensure.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Independent Social Worker-Advanced Practice (LISW-AP)
Licensed Independent Social Worker-Clinical Practice (LISW-CP)

Field Requirement

LISW candidates must complete 3,000 hours of social work practice under supervision. As part of the total, candidates also need 100 hours of face-to-face meetings with their dedicated supervisor.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in South Carolina need to renew their licenses every two years. The state requires 40 hours of continuing education each renewal period.

South Dakota Social Work Licensure

South Dakota offers three professional licenses for social workers. Those interested in pursuing an SWA need an associate or bachelor’s degree in social work or a related area. For CSWs and CSW-PIPs, candidates must possess a master’s degree in social work. Regardless of the license, all candidates need to pass the appropriate ASWB exams.

Types of Professional Licenses

Social Work Associate (SWA)
Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Certified Social Worker in Private or Independent Practice (CSW-PIP)

Field Requirement

South Dakota CSW-PIPs need to complete two years of work experience in the field under state-approved supervision. The experience must be centered around the field of specialization in which the applicant wishes to practice, including community organization, psychotherapy, and more.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work licenses in South Dakota expire on January 1st in the second year after they are issued. To renew the license, professionals must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education within the two-year period.

Tennessee Social Work Licensure

For social work licensure in Tennessee, LBSWs need only a bachelor’s degree. Those learners who are interested in pursuing an LMSW, LAPSW, or LCSW need a master’s in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. LBSWs and LMSWs in Tennessee are not eligible for independent practice and cannot offer clinical services.

State Licensing Board

Tennessee Board of Social Workers

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Advanced Practice Social Worker (LAPSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LAPSWs and LCSWs in Tennessee need to complete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience. The state expects learners to undergo at least 100 one-on-one contact hours with their supervisors over a two-year period.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Tennessee social workers need to keep up with continuing education requirements every calendar year. The requirements change with each license. Professionals can expect to complete between 9-15 continuing education hours per year.

Texas Social Work Licensure

Licensure candidates in Texas must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. The state also requires a criminal background check and a jurisprudence exam. Those pursuing licensure as LBSWs or LMSWs may complete additional supervised practice requirements for the independent practice recognition (IPR) credential.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Master Social Worker-Advanced Practitioner (LMSW-AP)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Prospective LMSW-APs and LCSWs in Texas must complete 3,000 hours of appropriate experience, including 100 hours of supervision by a board-approved professional. Candidates must complete this requirement in 24-48 months.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work professionals in Texas need to renew their license every two years. The state requires 30 continuing education hours during every 24-month period. Social workers need to complete six hours in ethics and values topics in relation to the field.

Utah Social Work Licensure

Utah offers three types of professional licenses for social workers. Both the CSW and LCSW require learners to have a master’s degree or higher from a CSWE-accredited program. SSWs in Utah need a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field with relevant coursework. Candidates must pass the appropriate ASWB exam but do not need preapproval from the state.

Types of Professional Licenses

Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Social Service Worker (SSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs in Utah must have completed 4,000 clinical experience hours. At least 1,000 hours must come from participating in mental health therapy sessions. This also must include 100 hours of face-to-face sessions with their supervisor.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Utah LCSW social workers must renew their licenses every two years by completing 40 hours of continuing education. SSWs must complete 20 hours, while CSWs are not required to complete any continuing education to renew their licenses.

Vermont Social Work Licensure

Vermont offers licensure for clinical social workers. Candidates must possess a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Additionally, licensure-seekers need to pass the ASWB clinical exam, complete post-degree supervised work, and undergo an evaluation from a post-degree clinical supervisor.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs must complete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience with supervision by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or mental health counselor. For every 40 hours spent on the job, candidates need one hour of face-to-face supervision.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social workers in Vermont must renew their licenses every two years. LCSWs need to complete 20 hours of continuing education, 15 of which must be completed in-person. At least 1.5 hours must come from training and professional ethics.

Virginia Social Work Licensure

Virginia offers three types of licenses for social workers. Candidates need either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Learners will also need to pass the appropriate ASWB exam and complete post-degree supervision requirements.

State Licensing Board

Virginia Board of Social Work

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)
Licensed Master’s Worker (LMSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

Clinical social workers in Virginia need 3,000 hours of clinical experience. At least 100 hours of direct supervision are required.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work licenses in Virginia must be renewed every two years. LCSWs must complete 30 hours of continuing education per renewal period, while LMSWs and LBSWs only need 15 hours.

Washington Social Work Licensure

Washington state offers two types of professional licenses for social workers. Candidates should possess a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. While learners are completing their supervised practice requirements, the state issues a license social worker associate advanced (LSWAA) or licensed social worker associate independent clinical (LSWAIC) credential.

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Advanced Social Worker (LASW)
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

LASWs in Washington need 3,200 hours of supervised practice, including 800 direct client hours and 90 supervision hours with their advisor. LICSWs need 4,000 hours, including 1,000 hours of direct client contact and 130 supervisor hours.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

LASWs and LICSWs need 36 hours of continuing education every two years. At least six of the 36 hours must come from studies in ethical and legal topics.

West Virginia Social Work Licensure

West Virginia licensed social workers need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Each license requires candidates to pass the appropriate ASWB exam. LGSW candidates in the state choose a concentration that aligns with their field experience site. The state also requires specific coursework for the LICSW.

State Licensing Board

West Virginia Board of Social Work

Types of Professional Licenses

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Field Requirement

LICSWs in West Virginia must complete 3,000 hours of part-time employment. At least 100 hours of clinical supervision are required during this time. Candidates also need 60 hours of face-to-face meetings with supervisors.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

West Virginia requires that social workers renew their licenses every two years. Professionals need 40 hours of continuing education. At least 20 of these hours must come from particular categories as determined by the state board.

Wisconsin Social Work Licensure

Social workers in Wisconsin need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. The LCSW may require specific clinical coursework as determined by the state board each year. Both the CISW and LCSW require post-graduate supervision experiences. Candidates in the state will need to pass the ASWB exam and a codes and statutes exam.

Types of Professional Licenses

Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker (CAPSW)
Certified Independent Social Worker (CISW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs in Wisconsin must complete 3,000 hours of supervised practice. At least 1,000 hours of face-to-face contact time with clients is required.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Social work licenses in Wisconsin expire at the end of February in every odd-numbered year. Professionals must complete 30 continuing education hours during each renewal period. Included in the total should be four hours of training in ethics and professional boundaries.

Wyoming Social Work Licensure

Wyoming social workers need either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program. Candidates with a master’s degree who are working toward an LCSW license in Wyoming will receive a provisional clinical social worker credential until license requirements are completed. Candidates can also apply to the Wyoming board immediately after they graduate, even if they do not have an employer with whom to complete clinical supervised hours in place.

Types of Professional Licenses

Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Field Requirement

LCSWs in Wyoming must complete 3,000 hours of clinical work experience. At least 1,200 must be direct clinical client hours. Field experiences must also include 100 hours of direct supervision from a licensed supervisor over an 18-36 month period.

Continuing Education & License Renewal

Wyoming social workers need to complete 45 continuing education hours every two years. Licenses expire on the license’s birthday every other year.