Board of Registration of Social Workers Policy

POLICY BULLETIN REGARDING EXAMINATION REQUIRMENTS FOR APPLICANTS SEEKING LICENSURE BY RECIPROCITY PURSUANT TO SECTION 132 OF CHAPTER 112 OF THE GENERAL LAWS

Enacted October 17, 2006

The Board of Registration of Social Workers voted today to adopt the following policy guidelines and interpretation of Section 132 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws and its regulations at 258 CMR 9.07.

Policy No. 06- 07

Purpose:

To provide guidance to applicants who are licensed or registered as a social worker under the laws of another state, territory or political subdivision and who wish to become licensed in Massachusetts.

Policy:

The Board of Registration of Social Workers, pursuant to Section 132 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, provides for licensure by reciprocity to social workers licensed or registered under the laws of another state, territory or political subdivision of the United States. However, reciprocity is only granted if the standards of the registering or licensing state, territory or political subdivision of the United States are, in the opinion of the Board, substantially equivalent to the requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as set forth in Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws of Massachusetts. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Workers requires that licensees pass a licensing examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Consequently, it is the Board's policy that reciprocal licensure will be extended to those social workers who are currently licensed or registered in a state, territory or political subdivision of the United States under one of two circumstances:

  1. The licensing or registering state, territory or political subdivision of the United States requires a licensing examination administered by the ASWB and whose other standards for licensure are, in the opinion of the Board, substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as found in Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws; or
  2. The licensing or registering state, territory or political subdivision of the United States does not require a licensing examination administered by the ASWB, but the applicant for reciprocal licensure has agreed to take the appropriate ASWB administered licensing examination as a condition of becoming licensed by reciprocity, and whose other standards for licensure are, in the opinion of the Board, substantially equivalent to the licensing requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as found in Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws.

Discussion:

Under G.L. c. 13, §84, the Board is authorized to "examine and pass upon applicants for license to practice social work in the commonwealth." In addition, under the same provision, the Board has the power to" promulgate rules and regulations." In Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General laws, the Board is authorized to provide licensure by reciprocity to social workers licensed or registered in another state, territory or political subdivision of the United States, whose standards, "in the opinion of the board," are substantially equivalent to the requirements of Section 131 of Chapter 112 of the General Laws.

The Board, in its opinion, considers the licensing examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to be the only acceptable equivalent licensing examination for social workers. Therefore, a candidate seeking reciprocal licensure who is registered or licensed in another state, territory or political subdivision of the United States, that does not require an ASWB administered licensing examination will not be accepted for reciprocal licensure unless the applicant has taken or takes and passes the ASWB license examination as a condition of reciprocal licensure in Massachusetts.