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Levels and Eligibility Requirements

 

 

CERTIFICATION/LICENSURE LEVELS, ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS, AND GENERAL INFORMATION

Four levels of credentialing are available through the Board; three voluntary certifications for non-clinical social work practice, and one license which is required for clinical social work practice in the state of North Carolina. Each credential may be issued for a period not to exceed 2 years but is renewable as described below. [See the glossary at the end of the page for acronym definitions.]

The Social Worker Certification and Licensure Act is both a title protection and practice protection act, though practice protection is currently limited to clinical social work practice. Use of any of the Board's designated credential titles without being properly credentialed thrugh this Board is a violation of the Social Worker Certification and Licensure Act. The title, “social worker” or any variant thereof is also protected under this Act (with exemption for government employees using the State Personnel Social Work Series).

CREDENTIAL TYPES AND RELATED INFORMATION:

1. LEVEL A - CERTIFIED SOCIAL WORKER (CSW)

                 EDUCATION:             BSW from CSWE accredited undergraduate school.

                 EXAMINATION:          ASWB Bachelor level examination.

                 EXPERIENCE:            No prior experience required.

                 APPLICATION FEE:    $115

                 BIENNIAL RENEWAL:  $70 and documentation of 40 clock hours of CE (4 in ethics) every 2 years.


2. LEVEL B - CERTIFIED MASTER SOCIAL WORKER
(CMSW)

                  EDUCATION:            MSW, DSW, or PhD in social work from CSWE accredited school.

                 EXAMINATION:          ASWB Master level examination or ACSW examination.

                 EXPERIENCE:            No prior experience required.

                 APPLICATION FEE:    $115

                 BIENNIAL RENEWAL:  $90 and documentation of 40 clock hours of CE (4 in ethics) every 2 years.


3a. LEVEL C - LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER (LCSW)
– [MANDATORY for clinical practice]

                 EDUCATION:             MSW, DSW or PhD in social work from CSWE accredited school.

                 EXAMINATION:          ASWB Clinical level exam.

                 EXPERIENCE:            Minimum of 3,000 hours of post MSW paid clinical employment appropriately supervised clinical practice)  accumulated in no less than two (2) years, nor more than six (6) years.

                 SUPERVISION:          Minimum of 100 hours of supervision from a LCSW, MSW with an additional 2 years post LCSW clinical social work practice, on a regular basis: at least one (1) hour of supervision for every thirty (30) hours of clinical practice.  A maximum of twenty-five (25) hours may be group supervision.

                 APPLICATION FEE:    $115

                 BIENNIAL RENEWAL:  $150 and documentation of 40 clock hours (4 in ethics) every 2 years.


3b. LEVEL C - LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER ASSOCIATE (LCSWA) -
For social workers who have not satisfied the experience requirements for LCSW licensure. [For more information, refer to the LCSW ASSOCIATE LICENSE tab.]

                EDUCATION:              MSW, DSW, or PhD in social work from a CSWE accredited school.

                EXAMINATION:           None required for initial licensure; however, LCSWA licensees must pass the ASWB Clinical level exam within their initial licensure period to be eligible for renewal if additional time is required to satisfy the 2 years/3000 hours of supervised clinical experience needed for LCSW licensure.

                EXPERIENCE:             While no experience is required to receive this license, associate licensees must document their supervision and practice to the Board every 6 months as required by regulation. Acceptable experience must be post MSW paid clinical employment.

                APPLICATION FEE:      $115

                BIENNIAL RENEWAL:    $140 and documentation of 40 clock hours of CE (4 in ethics) every 2 years, but cannot exceed 6 years (2 renewal cycles).


4. LEVEL H - CERTIFIED SOCIAL WORK MANAGER (CSWM)

                 EDUCATION:              BSW, MSW, DSW, or PhD in Social Work from a CSWE accredited school.

                 EXAMINATION:           ASWB Advanced Generalist level examination

                 EXPERIENCE:             Three thousand (3,000) hours of post degree paid employment accumulated in no less than two (2) years, no more than six (6) years.

                 SUPERVISION:           Minimum of 100 hours of supervision on a regular basis, by a Social Work Administrator certified by the Board on at least one level and who has a minimum of five years administration experience in a Social Work or Mental Health setting.  A maximum of fifty (50) hours may be through group supervision.

                 APPLICATION FEE:     $115

                 BIENNIAL RENEWAL:   $150 and documentation of 40 clock hours (4 in ethics) every 2 years.

NOTE:
  Educational requirements are based on a social work degree from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  Applicants whose social work degree was obtained outside of the United States or its territories must contact CSWE at 1725 Duke Street │Suite 500 │ Alexandria VA 22314-3457 to determine educational equivalency.


MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES AND TRAINING CREDIT:

Where applicable, military and veteran applicants may receive credit for experience obtained through their military occupational specialty (MOS, AOC, AFSC or Rating). Experience must be documented (DD Form 2586 and relevant Board verification forms) and determined as substantially equivalent to that required under the NC Administrative Code.


RECIPROCITY WITH OTHER JURISDICTIONS:


The Board does not automatically grant licensure by reciprocity to individuals licensed, certified, or registered as a social worker in another juisdiction; however, through the application process, substantial equivalency is assessed and certification or licensure by COMITY may be granted. For comity at all levels, a applicant must be current and actively certified, registered or licensed by examination as a social worker, by a similar board of another country, state or territory whose certification, registration or licensing standards are substantially equivalent to those required in the North Carolina Social Worker Certification and Licensure Act. [N.C. Gen. Stat 90B] For licensees that satisfied the experience requirement under another juisdictional equivalent license but have not yet passed the required exam, exam approval may be granted and certification/licensure may be issued upon successfully passing the required exam.


CRIMINAL BACKGROUND:


The North Carolina General Statute 9OB-11(a) provides that: "The Board may, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, refuse to grant or renew, may suspend or may revoke the certification/licensure of any person certified/licensed under this Chapter on the following grounds:

1)    Conviction of a misdemeanor under this Chapter; or

2)    Conviction of a felony under the laws of the United States or any state of the United States; or

3)    Gross unprofessional conduct, dishonest practice, or incompetence in the practice of social work; or

4)    Procuring or attempting to procure a certificate or license by fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; or

5)    Any fraudulent or dishonest conduct in social work; or

6)    Inability of the person to perform the functions for which he or she is certified or licensed, or substantial impairments of  abilities by reason of physical or mental disability; or

7)    Violations of any of the provisions of this Chapter or Rules of the Board.

Applicants with prior criminal history should be prepared to submit with their application, a certified copy of court records related to any and all criminal history; AND a cover letter of explanation and impact of the/those events on the social worker both personally and professionally.

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Glossary of Acronyms:

ACSW -- Academy of Certified Social Workers (Obtained thrugh the National Association of Social Workers)

AFSC -- Air Force Specialty Code

ASWB -- Association of Social Work Boards

AOC -- Officer Area of Concentration

BSW -- Bachelor of Social Work academic degree

CE -- Continuing Education (post degree)

CMSW -- Certified Master Social Worker (Master level, non-clinical)

CSW -- Certified Social Worker (Bachelor level, non-clinical)

CSWE -- Council on Social Work Education

CSWM -- Certified Social Work Manager (Bachelor or Master level with required supervised experience)

DSW -- Doctor of Social Work academic degree

LCSWA -- Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (clinical license, requires supervised practice)

LCSW -- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (independent clinical license, no supervision required)

MOS -- Military Occupational Specialty Training and Experience

MSW -- Master of Social Work academic degree

PhD -- Doctor of Philosophy academic degree