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 on their webpage of social work regulatory boards.
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: (PDF: MN-BOSW Licensure Categories)
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. Students typically take the LGSW exam during the last 6 months of their MSW program or immediately following graduation. The MSW student association hosts LGSW licensure exam reviews for graduating students to review sample questions and collectively explore the rationale behind the questions.
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)
**All licensees must document 40 Continuing Education (CE) hours, including 2 in ethics, during each 24-month renewal term. For more information, see MN Board of Social Work CE requirements»
Preparing for 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 LICSW requirements»
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: 2016 Clinical Content 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. Regular Standing students can complete the 360 required hours while in the program. Advanced Standing students meet the majority of the required hours during the program. They complete the remaining content as continuing education within the 40 CE's required during the 24-month licensure renewal term post-LGSW. An example of a completed MSW Clinical Coursework Grid is available in the Related Content side bar (above). If you have questions about the grid for the program here at St. Kate’s - St. Thomas, please contact your academic adviser 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:
School of Social Work - Licensing Forms
2115 Summit Ave, SCB 201
Saint Paul, MN 55105
**Incomplete forms will not be processed.**
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»