Social Work Licensure

‌Social work is a licensed profession. Each state’s licensing body establishes its own rules and regulations for getting and maintaining social work licensure in that state. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) provides the licensing examinations required. There are four ASWB tests: Bachelors, Masters, Advanced Generalist, and Clinical. Social work students should check with the licensing body in each state in which they plan to practice social work to make sure they are clear about the licensing requirements in that state. ASWB maintains complete contact information for every licensing board at their website: www.aswb.org.


Licensure in Minnesota

Social Work licensure in MN is regulated by the Minnesota Board of Social Work.

Effective July 1987, the Minnesota legislature passed legislation that provides for licensure of social workers at four levels. The licensing statute in Minnesota is both a title and practice act, which means that all persons who use the title "social worker," and all persons who provide social work services to clients in the state, unless there are specific applicable exemptions, are covered by the law. The four levels of licensure are:

  • Licensed Social Worker (LSW): BSW degree + Bachelors Exam

  • Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW): MSW degree + Masters Exam

  • Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW): MSW degree + Advanced Generalist Exam + Supervised Practice (2+ years)

  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW): MSW degree + Clinical Exam + Supervised Practice in Clinical Settings (2+ years) + 360 hours of graduate / post-graduate clinical curriculum content

Our MSW graduates are academically prepared for social work practice and eligible to apply for the licensed graduate social work (LGSW) examination in Minnesota.

For specific information regarding social work licensure in Minnesota, contact:
Minnesota Board of Social Work, 2829 University Ave. SE, Suite #340, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3239; (612) 617-2100 (main), (888) 234-1320 (toll free), (800) 627-3529 (TTY), (612) 617-2103 (fax); http://www.socialwork.state.mn.us


Clinical Licensure in Minnesota

In 2007, Minnesota State Legislature passed a law, effective August 1, 2011, requiring 360 hours of clinical coursework in six clinical knowledge areas, in addition to required continuing education hours during 2+ years of post-MSW supervised practice in a clinical setting, for everyone applying for LICSW licensure. See MN Board of Social Work Fact Sheet>>

An analysis of our MSW curriculum identifies the clock hours for each clinical knowledge area covered in each required and elective MSW course. MSW graduates may obtain a copy of this grid here: MSW Clinical Coursework Grid *. Graduates will use this grid to record how they have covered the required clinical knowledge content through the courses taken in the St. Kate's - St. Thomas MSW program. If you have questions about the grid for the program here at St. Kate’s - St. Thomas, please contact your academic advisor or the MSW Program Director.

*Each state has its own process and requirements for licensure/certification to practice of social work. Graduates have found the documentation provided about clinical knowledge areas helpful in their documentation, along with the information from their transcript, course descriptions, syllabi, and assignments.

Your transcript verifies which courses you took in our program and used together with the grid, you will be able to assess your status for the MN LICSW application. For a transcript of your coursework, please contact the Registrar's Office.

Graduates should send both the completed original Board of Social Work LICSW application form (Form 1) AND the grid for signature to:

MSW Program Director - School of Social Work
2004 Randolph Ave, F-15
Saint Paul, MN 55105
Fax: 651-690-8821

The school will forward your completed Form 1 and signed grid to the Board of Social Work. Please see example of completed Form 1 and Clinical Grid to the right under Related Content if you are unsure of how to complete these forms.


School Social Work

An individual who desires to practice as a school social worker must be licensed by the Minnesota Department of Education. For more information, contact the Minnesota Department of Education at 651-582-8200 or search for "Related Services Licensure" at http://education.state.mn.us