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Earning Your Clinical Social Work License

The Master of Social Work from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota prepares you for advanced social work roles so you can work with a wider client base and provide a deeper level of care to those you serve.

Even without licensure, the degree can potentially earn you more. However, to diagnose and treat clients in a one-on-one setting and directly bill third parties, you need to earn your clinical social work license.

Clinical Social Work License Requirements By State

Clinical social workers are always licensed. Requirements for the program you participate in and names for social work licenses, roles, and responsibilities can all vary from state to state.

For instance, certifications that refer to "clinical," "independent," or "independent clinical" generally equate to the highest level of certification in clinical practice — you'll see them abbreviated as LCSW, LISW, or LICSW. While most states have a process for reciprocity and transferring licenses, some require you to apply as a new applicant.

Students should also be aware that applicants for social work licensure must meet additional requirements in every state and U.S. territory, including but not limited to additional training, coursework, and supervised clinical experiences. Requirements vary by state. It is the student's responsibility to verify licensing requirements with their state social work board — the links below will help you discover what those are so you can be prepared.

Please note that Saint Mary's online MSW is a clinically based program with a clinical practicum, which is required for licensure in some states.

Alabama

Montana

Alaska

Nebraska

Arizona

Nevada

Arkansas

New Hampshire

California

New Jersey

Colorado

New Mexico

Connecticut

New York

Delaware

North Carolina

District of Columbia

North Dakota

Florida

Ohio

Georgia

Oklahoma

Hawaii

Oregon

Idaho

Pennsylvania

Illinois

Rhode Island

Indiana

South Carolina

Iowa

South Dakota

Kansas

Tennessee

Kentucky

Texas

Louisiana

Utah

Maine

Vermont

Maryland

Virginia

Massachusetts

Washington

Michigan

West Virginia

Minnesota

Wisconsin

Mississippi

Wyoming

Missouri

American Samoa

Guam

Northern Mariana Islands

Puerto Rico

US Virgin Islands

Saint Mary's CSWE Accreditation & Schedule

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories require students to graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to be eligible to pursue clinical social work licensure.

At this time, Saint Mary's is pursuing CSWE accreditation but has not yet formally entered the candidacy phase required to obtain accreditation. While Saint Mary's developed its program to fully align with all national standards and requirements in order to ensure a successful accreditation outcome, it cannot guarantee its accreditation status until the CSWE process is complete.

CSWE itself states that accreditation applies retroactively to graduates of a program, even if the program is in candidacy status at the time. However, some states do not recognize candidacy status and may only grant a social work license once the program is fully accredited. Students should check with their state social work board to verify their eligibility for licensure if they graduate from a program before it has been fully accredited.

Here are the benchmarks in Saint Mary's accreditation schedule:

  • Jan. 2019: Apply for candidacy
  • Feb. 2019: Goal – Granted pre-candidacy status by CSWE
  • Feb. 2020: Goal – Granted candidacy status by CSWE
  • Feb. 2022: Goal – Fully accredited by CSWE

Get your questions answered.

To learn more about Saint Mary's online Master of Social Work, contact an enrollment counselor at 877-308-9954 or request more information.