Looking to become a social worker in Massachusetts? 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 Massachusetts’ 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 Massachusetts, it is possible to be licensed as a social worker with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited institution. The designations Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and Licensed Social Worker Assistant (LSWA) are granted to social workers with Bachelor’s degrees and Associate degrees, respectively. The designations Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW), and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) require education at at least the master’s level.

Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and Licensed Social Worker Assistant (LSWA) are the basic licensing levels. The LSW must have a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited college or university whose social work program is approved by the Council on Social Work Education OR have received the necessary amount of social work experience (depending on level of candidate’s academic degree) with appropriate supervision. The candidate for the LSW licensure must pass an exam as prescribed by the Board. The LSWA requires: any bachelor’s or associate’s degree; or 1000 hours of education in social work theory or methods from a Board-approved program.

The Licensed Certified 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 may provide clinical services only as the employee of another individual, agency or institution, under the supervision of an LICSW. A person is an employee of another if the so-called employer has the right to control or direct the way in which the so-called employee does his or her work, and can fire him or her for failure to do what he or she is told to do.

The Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) designation is necessary in order to practice independently, or as a self-employed individual. The LICSW must have: a Masters or doctoral degree in social work (no other field may be accepted); A current license as a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW); 3,500 hours of post-MSW clinical social work experience under the supervision of someone who is currently licensed as an LICSW, or holds an equivalent license in another state. The 3,500 hours of experience must be accumulated over not less than two years post-MSW; And a total of 100 hours of individual one-on-one supervision from someone who is currently licensed as an LICSW, or holds an equivalent license in another state.

LSWA Requirements:

  • Education: See Above
  • ASWB Exam: N/A
  • Supervision: N/A

LSW Requirements:

  • Education: Bachelor’s
  • Supervision: See Above
  • ASWB Exam: Bachelor’s-Level

LCSW Requirements:

  • Education: Master’s
  • Supervision: N/A
  • ASWB Exam: See Above

LICSW Requirements:

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