The Catholic University of America

Social Work Licensing Information


Social work is by far the single largest professional discipline providing mental health services in the country -- about 60-65% of the care nationwide. With social workers reaching so many people, regulation is crucial to the effective delivery of services.

Regulation is designed to protect the public from unethical or substandard practice. A licensed social worker must meet minimum standards for education and experience, and usually must pass a licensing examination. Many states also require their licensed social workers to maintain and expand their competencies through continuing education. Every state in the country, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, now use some form of social work regulation. (from ASWB web site).

Link here to the Association of Social Work Boards web site for important information on social work licensing throughout the United States.

Because the exam application process varies from one jurisdiction to another, contact the appropriate state board(s):

District of Columbia Board of Social Work, Dept. of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Occupational and Professional Licensing Administration
899 North Capitol Street NE, Washington, DC 20002; Phone: (202) 724-4900. All applicants for the D.C. license must take and pass the Association of Social Work Board Examination (ASWB) before applying for a permanent license. The ASWB exam may be taken by computer, with individuals registering up to 3 business days before the desired examination date. May take DC exam up to 6 months prior to graduation.

State of Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene State Board of Social Work Examiners (BSWE)
4201 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215; 1-877-526-2541 
Those BSW/MSW candidates who are in their last semester will be able to take the licensing examination prior to graduation. They must submit verification of their status from the school to the Board and can then apply to take the appropriate exam. The official license would not be issued until an official transcript, proving award of the degree, has been received by the BSWE. Those who pass DC exam may contact MD BSWE regarding licensing reciprocity. Regarding clinical supervisory hours required before taking the LCSW-C exam, note that the Maryland Board of Examiners will ONLY accept supervision that is offered by the employer. They do not consider supervision hours when one contracts on one's own initiative.

Commonwealth of Virginia Dept. of Health Professionals Board of Social Work
Perimeter Center, 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300, Richmond, Virginia 23233; (804) 367-4441
Exams given in Richmond, VA. Application and and instructions can be downloaded from website. Email: