Licensure Information

Social work is a professional occupation and licensing is a major part of becoming a professional social worker. The School of Social Work is committed to informing students about the licensure process and guiding students as they progress through the journey. Completion of a social work degree does not guarantee licensure. Please note that licensing board requirements may vary for each state, click here for state requirements.

Understanding Licensure

According to the Association of Social Work Board:

"The purpose of licensing and certification in social work is to assist the public through identification of standards for the safe professional practice of social work." The licensure exam is what regulates the field of social work and ensures that those entering the career are competent in their professional abilities. Social worker is a protected title in 45 states. This means that, in the vast majority of the United States, one must be professionally licensed in order to practice as a social worker. 

Levels of Licensure

The ASWB identifies four levels of licensure:  

  • Bachelors: Baccalaureate social work degree upon graduation
  • Masters: Master’s degree in social work with no post-degree experience 
  • Advanced Generalist: MSW with two years post-master’s supervised experience 
  • Clinical: MSW with two years post-master’s direct clinical social work experience 


Requirements for licensure vary by state. With this in mind, it is best to obtain licensure in the state in which you plan to practice. Specific requirements for each state can be found here. Every state has their licensure examinations produced by the Association of Social Work Boards. The process for applying for licensure is as follows:

  1. Determine which state you will be taking the licensure exam in. Review the state requirements.
  2. Obtain approval to sit for the exam from your jurisdiction’s social work board. 
  3. Register to take the examination. 
  4. After receiving an Authorization to Test email from the ASWB, schedule an appointment to take you exam.  

For more information, detailed timelines and exam preparation see the ASWB Exam Handbook and powerpoint below:


Prep for Exam

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities (KSA's) and Content Outlines for Exam


Continuing Education Units

BSSW Career Services sponsors multiple local CEUs during the year. Through a partnership with NACSW, we are now offering online CEUs as well. For more information on these CEUs please contact Krysta Long at (254)710-6411.