Social Work License Requirements in Delaware

In Delaware, the responsibility of a social worker is to work with individuals, families, couples, or groups to help restore their physical or mental health. Social workers interact with people from various backgrounds, from mistreated youth to those suffering from a terminal illness. Delaware does not require social workers to be licensed in order to work in a supervised clinical setting. However, those who are interested in working independently or opening a private practice will need to acquire a license. The state of Delaware only offers one social work license: the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) credential.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Delaware

Depending on the field and level of licensure that they wish to pursue, students can enter into the social work field with an undergraduate degree. For example, social workers who work in nonclinical or supervised clinical settings are not required to have a license in Delaware. The minimum education level required for this kind of work is a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), which prepares students to counsel individuals or groups in need of job placement, drug rehabilitation, and adoption assistance.

For those seeking licensure for independent practice, a Master of Social Work (MSW) is required. License requirements and approvals are determined by the Delaware Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners and only LCSW credentials are currently available. Further requirements for licensure include passing the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical Exam, completing two years of work in a clinical setting and taking continuing education courses in order to obtain licensure renewal. LCSW holders often work with vulnerable children or adults with a mental illness or disability.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The first step in becoming an LCSW in Delaware is to earn an MSW from a graduate program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Those with a doctoral degree in social work can also apply for licensure. The board also requires that candidates complete a minimum of 3,200 hours of post-graduate fieldwork in a clinical setting. Of those 3,200 hours, 1,600 must be supervised by an LCSW. If an LCSW is unavailable, then a social worker who holds an MSW, a licensed psychologist, or a licensed psychiatrist can supervise the candidate’s work as long as documentation of attempts to secure an LCSW can be provided. Once candidates complete their fieldwork experience, they can submit their application to the Delaware Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners for approval. The application includes a criminal background check, fingerprints, and proof that education requirements have been met. Upon board approval, candidates will be able to take the ASWB Clinical Exam. Candidates will receive their LCSW license upon passing the exam.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Delaware

While Delaware does not have formal reciprocity with any other state, it does offer a simple application process for licensed, out-of-state social workers. As long as the candidate meets the requirements listed for the Delaware LCSW credential, they can apply for a license transfer with the Delaware Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners. Along with their application, candidates must submit a statement from their current licensing board certifying that they have no disciplinary actions against them, past or pending. Additionally, candidates must also send proof of passing the ASWB exam to the board. This process usually takes more than a month to complete. Candidates who hold out-of-state licensure that is not equivalent to Delaware’s LCSW credential do not have to apply to the Delaware Board, as the state only requires those who work independently in clinical settings to have a license.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

In Delaware, clinical social worker licenses all expire on the last day of January on odd-number years. Within those two years, license holders must complete 45 hours in continuing education courses through online classes, workshops, and conferences. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) offers courses that can fulfill these requirements at a free or reduced rate for members; this is often a more cost-efficient option when compared to paying for each class individually. An extension of up to 120 days can be requested for those who are not able to complete their continuing education requirements in time.