Looking to become a social worker in Illinois? You’ve come to the right spot!  While there are similarities in licensing requirements from state to state, each state is unique. In addition to providing the essentials below, you can click the link we have provided for Illinois’ official licensing body. There you can find additional information on potential requirements like background checks, state-to-state license transfers, and continuing education requirements. We hope this handy guide assists in your efforts to become a certified social worker in your state!

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In Illinois, it is possible to be licensed as a social worker with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited institution. The designation Licensed Social Worker (LSW) is granted to social workers with Bachelor’s degrees. The designation Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) requires education at at least the master’s level.

Licensed Social Worker (LSW) is the basic licensing level. The LSW must have a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited college or university whose social work program is approved or accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. An LSW cannot perform clinical services unless supervised by a licensed clinical social worker. After their bachelor’s degree is conferred, the candidate for the LSW licensure must pass an exam as prescribed by the Board, then the LSW is prepared to assume the beginning level professional role in public and private social service agencies. If you have earned an MSW, you can immediately apply for licensing as an LSW with no experience required

The Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) must have a master of social work or a doctor of social work degree from a college or university approved or accredited by the CSWE. The LCSW must have received two years or more (3000 hours) of postgraduate continuing supervision provided by an LCSW prior to application for the LCSW exam. Full-time experience must be completed as a minimum of 30 hours per week, but not more than 40 hours per week while part-time experience must be completed as a minimum of 15 hours per week, but not more than 29 hours per week. The LCSW candidate must pass an exam as prescribed by the Board.

Documentation requirements include: A completed application and fee in the amount of $230; An official transcript submitted directly from the accredited institution of higher education verifying the award of a master’s degree in social work; A report of successful completion of the ASWB Masters Level Examination; and, if applicable, verification of all licenses held, current or expired.

The Division has determined that all baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in social work that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, and the Council on Social Work Education by the Foreign Equivalency Determination Service of the Council on Social Work Education, are approved.

LSW Requirements:

  • Education: Bachelor’s
  • ASWB Exam: Bachelor’s-Level
  • Supervision: N/A

LCSW Requirements:

  • Education: Master’s
  • Supervision: 2 years
  • ASWB Exam: Clinical