Social Work State Licensing and Regulatory Boards

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. Each online MSW in our full list of programs is accredited, but some states may have additional rules.

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 social worker. Here are some examples of state licenses:

  • Florida: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW)
  • Oregon: Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker (RBSW), 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)

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.

Social Work Licensing Boards by State

Information for state licensing boards of social work was retrieved as of March 2020. For the most up-to-date information, check with your state board.