State licensing boards are responsible for protecting the public by ensuring that certain types of social workers meet professional and educational standards through licensing and regulation. Licensing requirements are determined at the state level; therefore, the requirements for licensing are different for each state. Students who wish to pursue a career in social work should review the standards for their state of residence to ensure that the online program they choose meets the requirements needed for licensing.
With state licensing boards being responsible for setting the standards for licensure, every state has different types of licenses and some states even require multiple licenses in order to become a specific type of socials worker. For example, California requires professionals to earn an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW / ACSW) license before they can become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Here are some other examples of state licenses:
- Florida: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
- Oregon: Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker (RBSW), Certified Social Worker Associate (CSWA), Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
- New York: Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
- Texas: Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), Licensed Master Social Worker-Advanced Practice (LMSW-AP), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
- Find a complete list of state-specific social work licenses that require a MSW
State licensing boards also provide the public a way to verify that a social worker is actively licensed to practice in the state. In addition, some states provide information about social workers who have been disciplined by the board. Finally, if a consumer has a complaint against a licensed social worker, they can file it with their state’s licensing board, who will investigate the claim(s) to determine if there was any misconduct by the social worker.