Looking to become a social worker in Iowa? 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 Iowa’s 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 Iowa, 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 Bachelor’s Social Worker (LBSW) is granted to social workers with Bachelor’s degrees. The designations Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), and Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) require education at at least the master’s level.

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW) is the basic licensing level. The LBSW 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. The candidate for the LBSW licensure must pass an exam as prescribed by the Board, then the LBSW is prepared to assume the beginning level professional role in public and private social service agencies.

The Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) 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 candidate for licensure at the LMSW level must pass an exam as prescribed by the Board. An LMSW provides a wide range of services. An LMSW may provide preventive and treatment services pertaining to individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.

The Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) 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 LISW must have received at least 110 hours of supervision over the course of two-six years provided by an LISW prior to application for the clinical exam. Supervision plans must be submitted prior to starting the supervised experience. The LISW candidate must pass an exam as prescribed by the Board. Applicants that have been previously licensed, registered or certified in any other state must provide official verification of licensure in the other state(s).

For those newly licensed, continuing education is not required for the first license renewal. Any continuing education hours obtained anytime from the initial licensing date may be used for the second license renewal. After the second renewal, licensees are required to complete the full number of required continuing education hours within each compliance period.

LBSW Requirements:

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

LMSW Requirements:

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

LISW Requirements:

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