Social Work License Requirements in Maine

Social workers in the state of Maine need to be licensed in order to provide services to people in their community. They provide social services, such as counseling and connecting people to resources to improve their quality of life, to a variety of groups. Social workers can assess and treat mental or physical problems and provide counseling. They work with students in schools and patients in hospital settings. Students interested in obtaining a social work license in Maine have three different levels of certification to choose from: Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). There are also conditional licensure levels for those looking to advance to their next credential.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Maine

In order to obtain a social work license in Maine, applicants are required to earn at least a Bachelor of Social Work from a school or university accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) (or a degree closely related to the field). They must also pass a national exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Depending on the licensure level, there are additional requirements, like field work and advanced degrees. Social work classes cover topics such as addiction, psychology, counseling, community relations, and oppressed populations. Many social work programs also require experience in a professional setting, like internships or field study.

Licensed Social Workers, or LSWs, can collect data on clients, formulate and implement treatment plans, act as advocates for families or individuals in need, coordinate social services, and supervise other LSWs when appropriate. A Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) can perform the same duties as an LSW, and also engage in non-clinical private practice and consultation. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) can conduct clinical social work practice, including the treatment and prevention of emotional and mental disorders and psychosocial dysfunction.

Licensed Bachelor of Social Work

In order to obtain a Licensed Bachelor of Social Work in Maine, applicants will first need to earn a Bachelor’s of Social Work from a college or university accredited by the CSWE. Once the degree is complete, students can apply for the state's social work license through the State Board. The application requires a fee of $25, a license fee of $70, and a criminal history record check with a fee of $21. Applicants will need to include an official transcript verifying completion of an accredited BSW program, and proof that they have passed the ASWB bachelors level exam.

Those who completed an undergraduate degree in a field closely related to social work can apply for a conditional state license called an LSX. Under this license, applicants can practice social work through an internship and gain the experience necessary to be eligible to apply for the LSW. LSX applicants must complete a total of 3,200 hours of work experience and receive a total of 96 hours of consultation (or four hours of consultation per month). The experience must be acquired in two to four years and must include at least 72 hours of face-to-face consultation.

Licensed Master of Social Work

In order to obtain a Licensed Master of Social Work in Maine, applicants must earn a master’s in social work from a college or university accredited by the CSWE. Once the degree is complete, students can apply for the LMSW license through the State Board. The application requires a fee of $25, a license fee of $70, and a criminal history record check with a fee of $21. Applicants will need to include an official transcript verifying completion of an accredited MSW program, and proof of a passing score on the ASWB masters level exam. Once the Board reviews the application and verifies that all of the qualifications have been met, the applicant will be issued an LMSW and will be allowed to practice non-clinical social work in Maine.

LMSWs who want to practice clinical social work but have not yet completed the hours required to receive the credential can apply for the Licensed Master of Social Work Conditional Clinical license. This license will allow practitioners to perform all of the functions of the LMSW license, while also practicing clinical social work in a supervised setting. The application requires the same fees and qualifications as the LMSW application. It also requires additional documentation showing intent to provide clinical consultation, signed by a supervisor.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

To become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Maine, applicants must earn a master’s degree in social work from a college or university accredited by the CSWE. Once the degree is complete, students must meet all of the requirements to receive the LMSW Conditional Clinical license through the State Board. Upon receiving the conditional license, LCSW applicants will complete required consultation hours before they can officially apply for the clinical-level licensure. The application requires a fee of $25, a license fee of $70, and a criminal history record check with a fee of $21. Applicants will need to include an official transcript verifying completion of an accredited MSW program, and proof of a passing score on the ASWB Clinical exam. They will also need to provide a Verification of Consultation form, which documents the clinical social work consultation hours required to be eligible for the LCSW credential. Once all requirements have been met, applicants will receive their LCSW and will be able to perform the full range of social work services in Maine.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Maine

Maine does not have formal reciprocity with any other state, but does offer a pathway for applicants from other states to obtain a social work license for Maine. Those who are already professionally-practicing social workers will need to follow the same application steps listed above. They also need to submit the following materials along with their application: a copy of the state or county licensure act under which the applicant is licensed, a copy of the applicant's social work license and a completed Verification of Licensure form. Because Maine does not have formal reciprocity with any other state, applicants who are using a license that was obtained through reciprocity between other states will not be eligible for licensure by reciprocity in Maine.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Maine’s State Board of Social Worker Licensure requires social work license holders to renew their license every two years. The fee for renewal is the same across all three credentials: $70. Renewals for licenses that have lapsed will be assessed an additional $50 late fee. All Maine social workers will be required to complete 25 hours of continuing education courses in order to renew their license. Those up for renewal will be informed 30 days before their license expires. Once continuing education courses are completed, applicants can submit their application for renewal on the State Board’s website.