Complete a bachelor's, masters, or doctorate degree in social work from an accredited program. Degrees in other fields 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):
- 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 driver’s license and a copy of your degree (or a letter of good standing detailing your anticipated degree and graduation date, if you have not yet graduated) to the application.
The remaining steps for licensure can be completed in any order.
- Upon receipt of the above items, you will receive an exam pre-approval email, approving you to contact Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to pay the examination fee ($230 for either the Bachelor’s or Master’s exam). Once you pay for the test, ASWB will email information so you can register with a Pearson Testing Center for the exam. Your exam score will be received at the Board on Wednesday the week after you take the exam. In the event that you are unable to pass the exam on your first attempt, see the instructions for exam re-approval.
- 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.
- Complete the BCI and FBI background checks. Background checks are valid for one year once completed.
- Have your school submit OFFICIAL transcripts, showing your degree conferred, directly to the board. You can have your transcript emailed to email@example.com (preferred method of delivery), or mailed to the address below. 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.
Documents required for completing your LSW licensure file:
- LSW application with fee
- ASWB Test Results
- Watch the Board’s online Laws and Rules video
- BCI and FBI background check
- Official Transcript showing your conferred degree, sent directly from your school
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.
After You Have Submitted Your Application
- Be sure to submit any required documents.
- Complete the background checks.
- 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.