Social Work License Requirements in Indiana

After pursuing social work studies at the undergraduate or graduate level in Indiana, students will be qualified to get their Indiana social work license. Indiana social work falls into three main categories: Licensed Bachelor Social Workers (LBSW), Licensed Social Workers (LSW) and Licensed Clinical Workers (LCSW). While the LBSW is for students with a bachelor’s degree, the LSW and LCSW are for students with at least a master’s degree. Each of these roles has a slightly different function, but their overall goal is to provide mental, emotional, physical, and financial support services to people in the community.

Check out our list of the best BSW programs in Indiana.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Indiana

All professionals seeking a social work license must have a college degree, but the requirements vary depending on the level desired. For an LBSW, students simply need to have a bachelor’s degree in social work from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. To obtain an LMSW (which is categorized as an LSW in Indiana) or an LCSW, students must have a master’s degree in social work from a university that’s been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Students can pursue doctoral degrees if they wish, but it will not give them a licensure advantage.

While pursuing social work degrees, students are required to take a variety of classes. They may focus on subjects like substance abuse, or family and marriage counseling. In Indiana, both LBSWs and LSWs can pursue careers in schools, mental health centers, home health agencies, correctional institutions, and other sectors. However, if students wish to practice on a clinical level, they are required to obtain their LCSW license.

Licensed Social Worker

The minimum education required to become a Licensed Social Worker in Indiana is a Bachelor's in Social Work. However, students seeking their social work license must take the Association of Social Work Board’s (ASWB) Masters Level examination, as Indiana does not accept the bachelors level exam. To start the application process, applicants must fill out an official Application for Licensure as a Social Worker (LSW). The application will ask questions about the student’s employment, education, and any previous licenses held. Candidates also need to submit a fee and include their official school transcripts, a headshot, and criminal background check permission. If students have had any legal name changes and their previous name is found on required documents, they will also need to submit a name change form with their application.

Licensed Bachelor of Social Work

For students with a bachelor’s degree in social work wishing to become a social worker in Indiana, there are a few important steps to follow. First, the applicant must download the Application for Licensure as a Social Worker form from the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board website. This Indiana social work form asks various questions about the student’s experience, including their education, employment, and licensure history. Students will need to include a headshot, official school transcript, and their permission for a criminal background check.

Next, the applicant will have to apply for approval to take the Association of Social Workers Board Bachelor’s level exam if they do not have an existing LBSW, LSW, LCSW, or LMSW license from another state. Some students are exempt from the social work license exam if they meet certain qualifications, including having two years of work experience in behavioral health and human services.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

For those seeking to become a social worker in Indiana, the LCSW is one of the most rigorous certifications to obtain. It requires an application for licensure as a clinical social worker (LCSW) which is slightly different from the LSW and LMSW applications. Applications require a fee, as well as a completed undergraduate degree, graduate degree, and employment history. Applicants must also disclose their current supervisor and note how long they were supervised by that contact. The supervision requirement demands that applicants have at least four hours of face-to-face supervision each month by another LCSW. Standard background checks, transcripts, and other Indiana social work license verification must also be submitted.

Applicants must hold an LSW certification before they can apply for their LCSW certification. They also need at least two years of full-time, paid, supervised work experience after receiving their MSW degree, as well as completion of the Association of Social Work Boards Clinical level exam. Finally, they must take specific MSW clinical coursework that will better prepare them for practice.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Indiana

Indiana social work laws support reciprocity for a social work license held in another state. Out-of-state professionals wishing to become a social worker in Indiana must comply with expectations set by the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Service Licensing Board. LSW, LMSW, and LCSW candidates must submit applications for reciprocated licensure, as well as prove official licensure in the state they are coming from, including verification of passage of an applicable Association of Social Work Board examination. They may not have any pending disciplinary hearings and must pay a fee to have their application processed

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

All Indiana social work licenses must be renewed between April 1 and March 31 on every even-numbered year. In order for LSWs, LMSWs, and LCSWs to maintain their social work license, they must complete 40 continuing education credits (CEUs) per renewal cycle. Professionals must obtain a minimum of 20 Category I CEUs, which consist of formal programming, and a minimum of 20 Category II CEUs, which are self-directed. A course in Ethics is the only required class, which must be taken at the Category I level. Proof of CEU completion must be submitted if students are audited, and there is a fee associated with form submission.