Web Content Viewer
LISW License Instructions


Completion of a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program, and a minimum of two years post-MSW and post LSW experience with 150 hours of documented training supervision by a LISW-S. Your supervision must be complete before you begin this process.

Steps toward Licensure (ALL items must be completed before your LISW can be issued):

  1. Each of your training supervisors must submit a Professional Employment Reference

The requirement is at least two full years and 3,000 hours of supervised social work experience. This means at least 24 full months, during which time you are practicing social work and receiving training supervision.

Supervision should average one hour of individual or group supervision for every 20 hrs of work, with a minimum of 150 total hours of supervision for the 3,000 hours of supervised social work practice. Supervision shall be provided by an LISW-S (LISW with Supervision Designation) unless a hardship request is granted.

If you are only practicing part-time, you may not credited with more than 1,500 hours of experience during any 12-month period. If you have more than 1,500 hours during your first 12 months, the excess cannot be carried over to the next 12 month period. On the other hand, if you have not completed your first 1,500 hours within the first 12 months, then the time period to complete those hours is extended until you do complete 1,500 hours. You can then begin the second 1,500 hours, which can take over a year but must be for a minimum of 12 months.

  1. Once supervision forms are submitted, complete the LISW application online and pay the $100 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 if you haven’t already done so.  Once you’ve registered, complete the application for Licensed Independent Social Worker.

As part of this application, you will be asked to indicate whether you wish to take either the Clinical or Advanced Generalist Exam, if you have not already done so.  Be prepared to attach a copy of your driver’s license and a copy of your degree to the application. 

  1. If you have not already tested, you will receive an exam pre-approval email after you apply, approving you to contact Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to pay the examination fee ($260 for either the Clinical or Advanced Generalist 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
  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. If the Board does not have your MSW/MSSA transcripts on file, have your school submit official transcripts, showing your degree conferred, directly to the board. You can have your transcript emailed to socialwork@cswb.ohio.gov (preferred method of delivery), or mailed to the address below.
  4. Complete the BCI and FBI background checks. Background checks are valid for one year once completed.

Documents required for completing your LISW licensure file:

  1. Professional Employment Reference form (s)
  2. LISW application with fee
  3. ASWB Clinical or Advanced Generalist exam Results
  4. Board’s online Laws & Rules Video 
  5. Official Transcript sent directly from your school
  6. BCI and FBI Criminal Records Check

After You Have Submitted Your Application

  1. Be sure to submit any required documents. 
  2. Complete the background checks.
  3. 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. 

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