Professional Licensing and Exam Preparation
According to the National Association of Social Worker website:
What is Licensure?
According to the Association of Social Work Board:
All 50 states regulate social work practice. Whatever state you decide to work as a social worker, you should obtain licensure. It is the law and it identifies your level of education and social work experience for the public. The application process often involves submitting an application, school transcripts, passing a state background check, and passing an exam.
The majority of states have several different levels of licensure that correlates with your level of education (BSW, MSW or DSW) and experience (no years of experience to several years of post Master's experience).
The Association of Social Work Boards is the organization that produces the required licensure examinations for 49 states. California contracts with a different vendor. Please review this link for California's specific licensing requirements.
The process of applying for licensure involves:
- Identifying what state you wish to work as every state has a different licensing board and application process. The Association of Social Work Boards has a searchable database that identifies all 50 states licensing levels and licensing board websites. This database is located on the ASWB website as a link under Laws and regulations.
- Review the state's licensure requirements and application materials.
- Identify if an exam is required and which exam you must pass.
- Determine if you can start the application process while still in school. Approval for licensure takes time and some employers will not hire you if you are not licensed so any early preparation that you can complete helps to make your transition into employment an easier process.
Citation: ( Link )
Social Work Licensure in the State of Michigan
According to the Michigan Department of Community Health:
The State of Michigan has two different levels of licensure for MSW graduates - the limited license (LLMSW) and full license (LMSW). The State also identifies social workers by area of practice- clinical or macro practice. The Limited License is the first level of licensure for MSW graduates. It is valid for one year and renewable for up to six years. It may take up to 4-6 weeks for the State to approve your application so start the process several weeks prior to graduation.
The requirements to obtain a Limited License in Michigan are:
- Application (fee $40)
- Select Distinction (macro or clinical)
- School Transcripts with MSW degree granted
- Criminal Check including a Fingerprint Background Check (fee $65.75)
The requirements to obtain Full Licensure in Michigan (which occurs after several years of post MSW experience) are:
- Application (fee $40)
- Criminal Check including a Fingerprint Background Check (fee $65.75) If you received your limited license prior to October 2008, you will need to complete this step if you did not complete a FBI fingerprint check.
- 4000 hours of post master's social work experience in your area of practice (macro or clinical). Work at least 16 hrs/week no more than 40 hrs/week.
- 100 hours of supervised work under a fully licensed social worker (LMSW) who has their license in the same area of practice you are seeking
- Supervision must be at least 4 hrs/month and at least 1 hour of individual review
- Pass the required licensing exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards. The Clinical Exam is required for those seeking the Clinical distinction and the Advanced Generalist is required for those seeking the Macro distinction.
To obtain more information about licensure in the State of Michigan, visit the Department of Community Health's website.
Licensing ResourcesAssociation of Social Work Boards
The ASWB creates the social work licensing exams, provides information about each of the state requirements for licensing and Continuing Education, has resources regarding legal practices, and offers preparation materials for the licensing exam. For more information, please visit: www.aswb.org.Social Work Examination Services
The SWES is the most popular resource for licensing exam preparation. It offers courses and books to study for the exam. For more information, please visit: www.swes.net.American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work
This board offers clinical social workers certification in areas, such as children and families, psychoanalysis, clinical supervision, and advanced generalist practice. For more information, please visit: www.abecsw.org.