Becoming a Social Worker: License and State Requirements

Although there are many excellent opportunities for individuals with an MSW degree only, obtaining a license may be an additional credential to consider. Thinking about your educational and professional goals can help you decide whether or not you wish to pursue licensing.

Some agencies require clinicians to have their Licensed Social Worker (LSW) license in addition to their MSW degree. This is a licensing exam that may be completed in the last semester of the MSW program, if you have completed required courses in the MSW program and a supervised internship.

If you have plans to work in private practice and accept third party payments, you need a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) license. This is a second license on top of the LSW license that requires post-MSW, supervised clinical experience and completion of a clinical licensing exam.

State Licensure Requirements

Please note that each state has different requirements and names for the licenses described above. For more specific information by state, there are links further down on this page. Laws about policies relating to social work licensure vary by state.

States determine social workers’ scope of practice as well as the titles they can use. Consequently, titles vary. For example, the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) license can signify different things in different states.

Most states have processes for reciprocity and the transfer of licenses from another state, although some will require you to go through the entire application process as a new applicant.

State Resources

These links provide detailed information about licensing guidelines and requirements in each state. For additional questions about state licensing and the online MSW program at Widener University, contact a Program Manager at 1-844-386-7321.

StateDetermination1
AlabamaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
AlaskaUndetermined if the program meets state licensing board educational requirements
ArizonaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
ArkansasProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
CaliforniaProgram DOES NOT meet state licensing board educational requirements
ColoradoProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
ConnecticutProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
DelawareProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
District of ColumbiaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
FloridaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
GeorgiaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
HawaiiProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
IdahoProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
IllinoisProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
IndianaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
IowaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
KansasProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
KentuckyUndetermined if the program meets state licensing board educational requirements
LouisianaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MaineProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MarylandProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MassachusettsProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MichiganProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MinnesotaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MississippiProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MissouriProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
MontanaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
NebraskaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
NevadaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
New HampshireProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
New JerseyProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
New MexicoProgram DOES NOT meet state licensing board educational requirements
New YorkProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
North CarolinaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
North DakotaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
OhioProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
OklahomaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
OregonProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
PennsylvaniaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
Rhode IslandProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
South CarolinaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
South DakotaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
TennesseeProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
TexasProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
UtahProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
VermontProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
VirginiaUndetermined if the program meets state licensing board educational requirements2
WashingtonProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
West VirginiaProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements
WisconsinUndetermined if the program meets state licensing board educational requirements
WyomingProgram meets state licensing board educational requirements

1Note: All determinations are accurate as of September 29, 2020 and are reviewed annually.
2Note: Virginia’s current minimum total field hour requirement to apply for the LMSW exceeds CSWE and Widener MSW Program’s current minimum total field hour requirement as of September 29, 2020.