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 Initial Licensure Requirements Minimize

Initial License Requirements

There are four social work licenses in Minnesota.  Qualifying for a particular license depends on the individual’s academic degree and supervised practice experience.  An applicant for licensure must also take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) national licensing examination.  For additional information see Requirements for Licensure, Minnesota Statutes, Section 148E.055.  Requirements for each license are illustrated in the following table:

LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS

 
License

 
Degree

 
ASWB Exam

 
Supervised Practice

Licensed Social Worker 
(LSW)

BSW

Bachelor

Not required

for initial licensure*

Licensed Graduate

Social Worker

(LGSW)

MSW

or

DSW

Masters

Not required

for initial licensure*

Licensed Independent

Social Worker
(LISW)

MSW

or

DSW

Advanced Generalist

Required to be eligible for

initial licensure:

 100 hours direct supervision per 4,000 hours practice

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker 
(LICSW)

MSW

or

DSW

Including 360 clock hours in clinical knowledge areas

Clinical

Required to be eligible for

initial licensure:

 200 hours direct supervision per 4,000 hours clinical scope of practice, including 1800 hours of direct clinical client contact**

*The LSW and the LGSW licenses do not require documentation of supervised practice prior to licensure.  This requirement is effective once the license is issued and practice begins.

**"Direct clinical client contact" means in-person or electronic media interaction with a client, including client systems and service providers, related to the client's mental and emotional functioning, differential diagnosis, and treatment, in subdivision 6.

  • Academic Degree.  Obtain a baccalaureate or graduate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, or a similar accreditation body designated by the board.
    • LICSW Applicants Only:  360 clock hours in clinical knowledge areas.  Effective August 1, 2011, all applicants for the LICSW license must document 360 clock hours in the following clinical knowledge areas:
  • 108 clock hours in differential diagnosis and biopsychosocial assessment, including normative development and psychopathology across the life span
  • 36 clock hours in assessment-based clinical treatment planning with measurable goals
  • 108 clock hours in clinical intervention methods informed by research and current standards of practice
  • 18 clock hours in evaluation methodologies
  • 72 clock hours in social work values and ethics, including cultural context, diversity, and social policy
  • 18 clock hours in culturally specific clinical assessment and intervention
  • The 360 clock hours may be satisfied through:
  1. a graduate degree program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, or a similar accreditation body designated by the board; or a doctorate in social work from an accredited university;
  2. graduate coursework from an accredited institution of higher learning; or
  3. up to 90 continuing education hours, not to exceed 20 hours of independent study. As specified in section 148E.130, subdivision 5.  The continuing education must have a course description available for public review and must include a posttest.
  • Examination.  Obtain a passing score on the national social work licensure examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) at the required level.
  • Supervised Practice.  Meet the supervised practice requirements if you are an LISW or LICSW at the time of application.  The LSW and LGSW license require supervised practice once the license is issued.  For more information on supervised practice, see Minnesota Statutes, Sections 148E.100 to 148E.125.

Scope of Practice Authority for all Licenses:  As stated in Minnesota Statutes, Section 148E.050, an LSW, LGSW, LISW, and LICSW may engage in social work practice.  An LSW must not engage in clinical social work practice.  An LGSW and LISW may engage in clinical social work practice only under the supervision of an LICSW.  An LICSW may independently engage in clinical practice.

Definition of Practice of Social Work:  "Practice of social work" means working to maintain, restore, or improve behavioral, cognitive, emotional, mental, or social functioning of clients, in a manner that applies accepted professional social work knowledge, skills, and values, including the person-in-environment perspective, by providing in person or through telephone, video conferencing, or electronic means one or more of the social work services described in clauses (1) to (3).  Social work services may address conditions that impair or limit behavioral, cognitive, emotional, mental, or social functioning.  Such conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:  abuse and neglect of children or vulnerable adults, addictions, developmental disorders, disabilities, discrimination, illness, injuries, poverty, and trauma.  Practice of social work also means providing social work services in a position for which the educational basis is the individual’s degree in social work described in subdivision 13.  Social work services include:

(1) providing assessment and intervention through direct contact with clients, developing a plan based on information from an assessment, and providing services which include, but are not limited to, assessment, case management, client-centered advocacy, client education, consultation, counseling, crisis intervention, and referral;

(2) providing for the direct or indirect benefit of clients through administrative, educational, policy, or research services including, but not limited to:

  • advocating for policies, programs, or services to improve the well-being of clients;
  • conducting research related to social work services;
  • developing and administering programs which provide social work services;
  • engaging in community organization to address social problems through planned collective action;
  • supervising individuals who provide social work services to clients;
  • supervising social workers in order to comply with the supervised practice requirements specified in sections 148E.100 to 148E.125; and
  • teaching professional social work knowledge, skills, and values to students; and
(3) engaging in clinical practice. 

Definition of Clinical Practice:  "Clinical practice" means applying professional social work knowledge, skills, and values in the differential diagnosis and treatment of psychosocial function, disability, or impairment, including addictions and emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders.  Treatment includes a plan based on a differential diagnosis.  Treatment may include, but is not limited to, the provision of psychotherapy to individuals, couples, families, and groups.  Clinical social workers may also provide the services described in the definition of practice of social work.

 

 LICENSES AUTHORIZED FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE

 

Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)

Authorized for clinical practice with ongoing supervision

from LICSW; not to exceed 8000 hours without obtaining LICSW license

Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)

Authorized for clinical practice with ongoing supervision

from LICSW; not to exceed 8000 hours

without obtaining LICSW license

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Authorized for independent clinical practice

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

 

Not authorized for clinical practice

 



Revised 8/11


      

 Continuing Education Requirements Effective August 1, 2011 Minimize
For more details regarding LICSW License Eligibility Clinical Clock Hour Requirements, effective August 1, 2011, click here.

      

The Minnesota Board of Social Work is an affirmative action / equal opportunity employer.
The Minnesota Board of Social Work does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color,
creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, age, sexual orientation, or
membership on a local human rights commission.

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