Information About Social Worker Licenses

If you want to be a social worker you need a social worker license. This is something that most social work jobs require, so it is definitely something that you should spend some time researching. Here is some information about the requirements for the license as well as some steps and tips for preparing for the social worker licensing exam.

Requirements For A Social Worker License

As with any license, there are a number of requirements that you will have to meet if you want to get a social worker license. Keep these three E’s in mind when thinking about social worker licensing. They are Examination requirements, Education requirements, and Experience requirements.

Examination Requirements

In order to get a social worker license you need to pass the licensing examination. This is something that cannot be avoided, so if you are someone who under-performs in examinations generally speaking then you will have to find a way to overcome this, for example a change in studying methods. There are two criteria on which the type of examination you receive will be based, namely:Social Worker License

  • The level of education you have obtained.
  • The type of position you are hoping to achieve.

There are four main types of social worker licensing examinations. These are:

  • Bachelor’s degree level
  • Master’s degree level
  • Clinical social work specialization
  • Advanced generalist examination

The examination will consist of 170 questions. Only 150 of these questions will count towards your final result.

Education Requirements

There are, of course, also some education requirements to keep in mind. In order to work as a social worker you need to get a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in social work. The minimum qualification that you can hold is a Bachelor’s degree. The school you attend to get this qualification must be accredited by either:

  • The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), or
  • The Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE)

Experience Requirements

The amount of experience that you need to be a social worker will vary by state. Some states have no experience requirements while others need you to have worked as a social worker for a minimum of time in order to get a social worker license. You need to look into the requirements for your particular state in order to find out what the requirements are that you need to meet.

How To Become A Licensed Social Worker

There are a few fairly straightforward steps that you can follow in order to obtain your social worker license. There are also a few very good tips for you to keep in mind when pursuing your social worker licensure.

Follow these broad steps and you will have no trouble at all:

Step 1

In most states you are required to have a Master’s Degree in Social Work before you can become licensed, it is therefore suggested that you do not apply for licensure until you have the Master’s degree. Of course in most cases you first have to earn the Bachelor’s degree before you can go in to earning the Master’s, so this will be the first step. Remember to ensure that the program or school that you eventually choose to attend is one that is appropriately accredited and that will provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need for the licensing exam.

Step 2

Step two involves working in a supervised capacity. You need to try to get an internship or job n which you will be carefully supervised by a skilled and qualified social worker. This is not a requirement in all states. However it is suggested that you do this even if you plant to practice in a state where it is not a requirement. This is because this type of interaction can provide you with a number of useful skills that cannot be picked up from books and will make your exam as well as you career far easier. In states where it is required you will normally have to work in this way for about 2 years before you are eligible to write the licensing exam.

Licensed Social WorkerThe America Association of State Counseling Boards is your next port of call. This is a website that will provide you with state board information for your state. You need to find out the particular requirements of your state’s counseling or behavioral health examination board as they can vary significantly from state to state. Make sure you meet the specified requirements before you bother registering for the exam.

Then you simply need to prepare for the examination and write it. After this, patience is required. Your results will come through eventually; you just need to wait for them. If you pass the exam your license will be sent to you by mail and you will be able to begin practicing as a licensed social worker.


The following tips are very important to keep in mind in order to ensure that you do not waste your time.

Firstly it is important that you are completely sure of the minimum age requirement for a social worker license in your state. Remember that these things can vary significantly from state to state and you do not want to register for the exam and then be told that you are too young.

  • You should purchase the necessary study material well before your actual licensing examination date. If you do not do this you may find that you have inadequate time to go through everything that requires your attention before the examination is written. Advanced preparation will stand you in good stead and the sooner you start studying the easier you’ll find the exam and the more confident you will be when you write it.
  • If you have an international degree, it can be recognized by the United States by the International Social Work Degree Equivalency Recognition Service provided through the Council on Social Work Education, but remember that additional licensing requirements apply to a social worker that holds an international degree.

These are some of the tips that you should keep in mind when it comes to the issue of the social worker license.

Preparation for the Licensing Exam

In order to get your license you will need to be well prepared for the licensing exam. This section will provide you with some of the important information that you need to pass your social worker licensing exam easily.

Firstly, on the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) website, you will find information for each of the following exams:

  • Bachelor’s degree level
  • Master’s degree level
  • Clinical social work specialization
  • Advanced generalist examination

This will give you an outline of what to expect from each of the exams. It will also give you an idea of what sections of the work you have studied will be covered and to what degree.

Order a study guide. No matter how confident you are feeling about the exam it is still better that you do all of the extra preparation that you can so that you do not take any chances with the outcome. Study guides are affordable and you will be glad that you bought one in the long run.

Go over any past papers that you can get your hands on. This will give you an idea of what topics come up frequently in the exam. In will also give you an idea of the way the questions are laid out. Note that in licensing exams question are often repeated, so make sure that by the time you write the exam you are comfortable that you know all of the answers to the practice exam questions. There are a number of online review courses that you can use to help you in this regard. These courses will provide you with test papers and study tips, but they usually come at a fee.

There are also seminars held across the country that you can attend in order to help you prepare for the licensing examination. These seminars are well worth the time and money as you will:

  • Be adequately prepared for the actual content of the test
  • Get an idea of what the best test taking strategy for you personally is

Now you should have a good idea of what you need to do in order to get your social worker license. It is very important that you take the time necessary to achieve this as you want to be a legal social worker. You will also find it far easier to get a job if you have a license. The steps, as you can see, are fairly easy, and after having received your qualification as a social worker at a formal institute the actual licensing exam should not present any difficulties for you are all.

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