Frequently asked questions about Social Workers

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What is the waiting period between taking the exam, filing the application and being licensed?

Once you have returned a completed application to ASWB, you will receive--within three weeks-written confirmation of your eligibility to test. You will then receive instructions regarding scheduling from ASWB. Typically, an individual should be able to schedule an exam date about a month after receipt of the application. Unofficial scores are given at the test site. Once ASWB has an official "PASS" score, they will notify you that you are eligible for licensure. Total turn around from pre-application to licensure is expected to be about eight weeks.

How may Continuing Education Units (CEU'S)do I need to renew my license?
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are required for each licensure cycle. The licensure cycle runs from October 1st every even year (2016) to September 30th of the next even year (2018). The Board may conduct random audits and request proof of continuing education completion at any time. Please review the Continuing Education Information for Social Workers guide for more information.

  • LICSW must have 30 CEU's.
  • LCSW must have 20 CEU's.
  • LSW must have 15 CEU's.
  • LSWA must have 10 CEU's.

Does Massachusetts have licensure by Reciprocity?

In order to receive licensure by reciprocity you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Possess a current (i.e. not an expired ) license in another jurisdiction.
  2. You must have taken appropriate ASWB examination to obtain this license(and must provide the board with proof of a passing score on this examination).
  3. A certified statement or letter from all jurisdictions in which you have been licensed.
  4. Three(3) completed professional reference forms.
  5. Official transcripts.
  6. And a completed Reciprocity application with the appropriate fee.

Can I get my expired license renewed?

Yes, provided that the license has not been expired for more than one year. You must have completed the necessary continuing education credits and submit the renewal application form and the renewal fee, plus the late fee.

If my license has been lapsed for more than one year, may I renew?

No, you must reapply for licensure. Documents previously submitted ordinarily need not be re-submitted, but applicants for re-licensure must meet all current criteria. Applicants may be required to appear before the Board and/or re-take the examination.

Can I practice Independently if I have an LCSW?

No, in order to practice independently, or as a self-employed individual, one must have an LICSW license. If one has an LCSW license, one may provide clinical services only as the employee of another individual, agency or institution, under the supervision of an LICSW. You must receive individual supervision at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours worked. A person is an employee of another if the so-called employer has the right to control or direct the way in which the so-called employee does his or her work, and can fire him or her for failure to do what he or she is told to do.

How do I become a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)?

You must have all of the following:

  1. Masters or doctoral degree in social work (no other field may be accepted).
  2. A current license as a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW).
  3. 3,500 hours of post-MSW clinical social work experience (or Post-LCSW clinical social work experience, if degree conferred after 8/31/2011) under the supervision of someone who is currently licensed as an LICSW, or holds an equivalent license in another state. The 3,500 hours of experience must be accumulated over not less than two years post- MSW
  4. A total of 100 hours of individual one- to- one supervision from someone who is currently licensed as an LICSW, or holds an equivalent license in another state, at a rate of 50 hours per year, or one hour for every 35 hours of work experience.

How do I become a Licensed Certified Social Worker(LCSW)?

You must have a Masters degree in Social Work (No other field will be accepted).

How do I become a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) ?

You must have one of the following:

Bachelors degree in social work.
Bachelors degree in a field other than social work, plus two years (3,500 hours) of work experience in the field of social work under the supervision of someone who has a BSW or MSW degree, or holds an LCSW or LICSW license. Face to face supervision by someone who meets the above guidelines must be received at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours of work experience.
Two and one half years of college, plus five years (8,750 hours) of work experience in the field of social work under the supervision of someone who has a BSW or MSW degree, or is licensed as an LCSW or LICSW. Face to face supervision by someone who meets the above guidelines must be received at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours of work experience.
Two years of college, plus six years (10,500 hours) of work experience in the field of social work under the supervision of someone who has a BSW or MSW degree, or is licensed as an LCSW or LICSW. Face to face supervision by someone who meets the above guidelines must be received at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours of work experience.
One year of college, plus eight years (14,000 hours) of work experience in the field of social work under the supervision of someone who has a BSW or MSW degree, or is licensed as an LCSW or LICSW. Face to face supervision by someone who meets the above guidelines must be received at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours of work experience.
A high school diploma, plus ten years (17,500) hours of work experience in the field of social work under the supervision of someone who has a BSW or MSW degree, or is licensed as an LCSW or LICSW. Face to face supervision by someone who meets the above guidelines must be received at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours of work experience.

How do I become a Licensed Social Worker Assistant (LSWA)?

You must have one of the following:

  1. Bachelors degree in any field.
  2. Associates degree, or at least 60 college credits in a human services field.
  3. 1000 hours of education in social work theory or methods in courses or programs approved by the Board.

How often are the exams offered?

The examinations are offered on a daily basis by the Association of Social Work Boards--a national organization which sponsors the exam for most licensing jurisdictions. Prior to scheduling an examination you must be "pre-screeened" for licensure. You may download the application and all necessary forms from the applications and forms section of this site.

Where are the exams given?

Exams are given daily at various testing sites located throughout the state. After you receive permission to test, ASWB will inform you of the location of the test center nearest you. All exams are given electronically; you will know your unofficial score before you leave the test center.

What is the waiting period between taking the exam, filing the application and being licensed?

Once you have returned a completed application to ASWB, you will receive--within three weeks-written confirmation of your eligibility to test. You will then receive instructions regarding scheduling from ASWB. Typically, an individual should be able to schedule an exam date about a month after receipt of the application. Unofficial scores are given at the test site. Once ASWB has an official "PASS" score, they will notify you that you are eligible for licensure. Total turn around from pre-application to licensure is expected to be about eight weeks.

How may Continuing Education Units (CEU'S)do I need to renew my license?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are required for each licensure cycle. The licensure cycle runs from October 1st every even year (2016) to September 30th of the next even year (2018). The Board may conduct random audits and request proof of continuing education completion at any time. Please review the Continuing Education Information for Social Workers guide for more information.

  • LICSW must have 30 CEU's.
  • LCSW must have 20 CEU's.
  • LSW must have 15 CEU's.
  • LSWA must have 10 CEU's.

Does Massachusetts have licensure by Reciprocity?

In order to receive licensure by reciprocity you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Possess a current (i.e. not an expired ) license in another jurisdiction.
  2. You must have taken appropriate ASWB examination to obtain this license(and must provide the board with proof of a passing score on this examination).
  3. A certified statement or letter from all jurisdictions in which you have been licensed.
  4. Three(3) completed professional reference forms.
  5. Official transcripts.
  6. And a completed Reciprocity application with the appropriate fee.

Can I get my expired license renewed?

Yes, provided that the license has not been expired for more than one year. You must have completed the necessary continuing education credits and submit the renewal application form and the renewal fee, plus the late fee.

If your license has been lapsed for more than one year, you must reapply for licensure. Documents previously submitted ordinarily need not be re-submitted, but applicants for re-licensure must meet all current criteria. Applicants may be required to appear before the Board and/or re-take the examination.

Can I practice Independently if I have an LCSW?

No, in order to practice independently, or as a self-employed individual, one must have an LICSW license. If one has an LCSW license, one may provide clinical services only as the employee of another individual, agency or institution, under the supervision of an LICSW. You must receive individual supervision at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours worked. A person is an employee of another if the so-called employer has the right to control or direct the way in which the so-called employee does his or her work, and can fire him or her for failure to do what he or she is told to do.

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