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LSW License Instructions

Education Requirement

Complete a bachelor's, masters, or doctorate degree in social work from an accredited program. Degrees in other fields ("related degrees") are no longer eligible for licensure.  If you are in the final semester of a social work program, you may apply and start the process at any time.

Steps toward Licensure (ALL steps must be completed before your license can be issued):

  1. The first step for licensure is to complete the LSW application online and pay the $80 application fee (plus a $3.50 processing fee) on the eLicense Site. You will need to register and create a User ID and password to access the e-License system.  Once you’ve registered, complete the application for Licensed Social Worker.

As part of this application, you will also be requesting approval to take the licensure examination. Bachelor’s-level graduates, or those who are enrolled in the final term of a Bachelor's program, are required to take the Bachelor’s exam. Master’s-level graduates, or those who are enrolled in the final term of a Master's program, are required to take the Master's exam.  Be prepared to attach a copy of your diploma indicating the social work degree awarded, a letter of good standing detailing your anticipated degree and graduation date (if you have not yet graduated), or an unofficial transcript showing the degree conferred. Please note: An official transcript showing the degree conferred must be received by the Board prior to the issuance of the LSW.  

Requirements for Letters of Good Standing 

If you are currently enrolled in the FINAL semester of your Social Work program, then a letter of good standing would need to be submitted. A letter of good standing may be obtained from your Social Work program office. The letter must be signed by your social work program director or designee. The letter should be on your school’s letterhead and saved as a PDF, or a PDF copy of an email that you received that was sent directly to you from your program director or designee that states the following:

  • The student’s First and Last name
  • The type of degree being earned and should specify that your major is Social Work
  • Date of anticipated program completion, and/or a statement confirming that you are currently in the final semester of program completion
  • A statement that confirms that you are in good academic standing

The remaining steps for licensure can be completed in any order.

  1. Upon receipt and review of the above items, you will receive an exam pre-approval email from the Board. This email will indicate you are approved to contact the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to register for your exam. Once you pay for the exam, ASWB will email information so you can schedule an exam date with a Pearson Vue Testing Center. In the event that you are unable to pass the exam on your first attempt, see the instructions for exam re-approval. Note: if the name on your government issued identification is different than the name under which you have applied or wish to practice, please contact the Board at socialwork@cswb.ohio.gov for additional instructions. If you believe you qualify for an exam accommodation visit this page for more information. 
  2. View the Board's online Laws and Rules video. This is a review of the Board’s rules and ethics requirements, and will help you understand your responsibilities as a licensee.
  3. Complete the BCI and FBI background checks. Background checks are valid for one year once completed.
  4. Submit OFFICIAL transcripts, showing your degree conferred. You or your school can email the official transcripts to  socialwork@cswb.ohio.gov (preferred method of delivery). Please note: Your degree must be awarded in order for your official transcript can be accepted.  Many schools may take as long as 1-4 weeks following graduation to post your degree to your transcript.  Your license can not be issued until after you have graduated and submitted a transcript showing the degree conferred.

Log into your eLicense account to track the status of your application by clicking on Review Status under Options on your license application tile in eLicense. The review checklist indicates whether the Board has received your background checks, submissions such as your transcript or hours of supervision, and your exam score. 

Documents required for completing your LSW licensure file:

  1. LSW application with fee
  2. ASWB exam results showing a passing score
  3. Watch the Board’s online Laws and Rules video
  4. BCI and FBI background check
  5. Official Transcript showing your conferred degree

Once you are licensed, you will receive an email from the board indicating that you may now call yourself an LSW. A wall certificate will be attached to this email, which you may print and display in your workplace.