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 (ACSW) 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.

Licensure in Minnesota

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

Effective in 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
    Watch this presentation on obtaining bachelor’s-level social work licensure in Minnesota.

  • Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW): MSW degree + Masters Exam
    Watch this presentation on obtaining master's-level social work licensure in Minnesota.

  • 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

Contact the Minnesota Board of Social Work: (612) 617-2100

St. Thomas Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Licensure

The University of St. Thomas Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

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" on their website.