Looking to become a social worker in North Carolina? 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 North Carolina’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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North Carolina has two licenses for professional social workers, the Licensed Clinical Social Work Associate (LCSWA) and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) designation. Both the LCSWA and the 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 Council on Social Work Education.

The LCSWA designation requires a master’s degree in social work. The LCSWA licensee may practice only under appropriate supervision. An LCSWA may provide preventive and treatment services pertaining to individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.  The LCSWA is able to practice in social casework, clinical social work, community organization, social work research, and social work administration. No exam is required.

The LCSW must have a master’s or doctorate degree in social work and have amassed 3,o00 total supervised hours of postgraduate continuing supervision provided by an LCSW prior to application for the LCSW exam. The LCSW candidate must pass an exam as prescribed by the Board. The LCSW should be able to demonstrate skill and interventions directly related to individuals, families, groups, communities, or organizations. The LCSW may supervise Licensed Clinical Social Work Associates.

Psychotherapy, within the meaning of this chapter, is the use of psychosocial methods within a professional relationship, to assist the person or persons to achieve a better psychosocial adaptation, to acquire greater human realization of psychosocial potential and adaptation, to modify internal and external conditions which affect individuals, groups, or communities in respect to behavior, emotions, and thinking, in respect to their intrapersonal and interpersonal processes.

Credentials are issued for 2 years.  Renewal requires documentation of Continuing Education, affirmation of compliance with the statute and rules governing social work practice, and applicable fee.  This is done through submission of the Renewal Affidavit. Except for LCSW Associate license (LCSWA), all certifications and the LCSW license will have a June 30th expiration date.

Certificates/Licenses issued for two years are required to have completed 40 clock hours of acceptable continuing education credits. Certificates/Licenses issued for less than two years are required to complete at least 30 clock hours of acceptable continuing education. In both cases, at least four (4) hours must be related to social work ethics.The Board does NOT pre-approve courses or providers for continuing education units (CEUs). Please refer to the Continuing Education section under this tab and/or the NCGS and Administrative Rules, which explains the Board’s guidelines on continuing education.

LCSWA Requirements:

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

LCSW Requirements:

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