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Professional Licensing and Exam Preparation

What is Licensure?

According to the Association of Social Work Boards, 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. All 50 states regulate social work practice - especially clinical practice. 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 background check, and passing an exam.

It is extremely recommended that you as a student:

  1. Identify what state you wish to work as every state has a different licensing board and application process.
  2. Review the state's licensure requirements and application materials.
  3. Identify if an exam is required and which exam you must pass.
  4. 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.

The majority of states have several different levels of licensure that correlates with your level of education (MSW or DSW) and experience (no years of experience to several years of post Master's experience). Some require specific coursework and field requirements. If course requirements are needed to practice social work, it is vital to know early so that your academic planning can include these requirements prior to graduation.

Again, as you think about what state you wish to practice social work after graduation, you should review the licensing requirements in that state and plan accordingly. Click here for links to state boards, list of licensure levels and whether our program meets those state's licensure requirements.

Social Work Licensure in the State of Michigan

According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA):

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. Full licensure is met after about 2 years of post MSW work experience.

The requirements to obtain a Limited License in Michigan are:

  • Application
  • Select Distinction (macro or clinical)
  • School Transcripts with MSW degree granted
  • Criminal Check including a Fingerprint Background Check

The requirements to obtain Full Licensure in Michigan (which occurs after several years of post MSW experience) are:

  • 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 2 hours 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.

Note: All LLMSWs and LMSWs in the State of Michigan must also complete a (one time only) training in Human Trafficking.

Licensing and Exam Preparation Resources

Association 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.

U-M SSW Continuing Education Online Examination Preparation Course Information

This online review course is designed to help you prepare for either the Masters, Advanced Generalist, or Clinical licensure examination.

Psychology & Social Work Licensing Exam Preparation

This home study course is designed to help you prepare for either the Masters, Advanced Generalist, or Clinical licensure examination.

LEAP - Licensing Exam Preparation Services

This home study course is designed to help you prepare for either the Masters, Advanced Generalist, or Clinical licensure examination.

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