Social Work License Requirements in Maryland

Having a social work license in Maryland allows professionals to perform numerous kinds of mental, emotional, physical, and financial support to families, children, groups, individuals and communities. There are currently four distinct types of Maryland social work certifications: a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW), a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW), and a Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical (LCSW-C). The path for how to become a social worker in Maryland involves applying directly to the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners. With their social work license, professionals will be able to work in schools, mental health facilities, community outreach programs, the court system and more.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Maryland

Knowing how to become a social worker in Maryland is vital to work in this field. In Maryland, social work applicants can get their social work license through two means: examination or endorsement. There is little difference between these two means of application. In the examination route, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) will automatically send the student’s test scores to the Maryland board. In the endorsement route, the student asks the ASWB to send a personalized score report directly to the Maryland board.

Otherwise, educational requirements vary for each Maryland social work license. To obtain an LBSW, students will need a Bachelor of Social Work. For the LMSW, students must have a Master of Social Work. Finally, for the LCSW and LCSW-C levels, students can have either a Master of Social Work or a Licensed Graduate Social Worker certification. The higher the license the social worker receives, the more responsibility they can assume in their position. For example, LBSWs primarily perform routine tasks to gain experience to bolster their career, while LCSW-Cs are highly qualified and can practice in independent clinical settings.

Licensed Bachelor of Social Work

To earn their LBSW license, students must complete an online application requiring personal information as well as information about their experience, character and fitness, and educational history. There is a fee associated with the application, and applicants must also pay for their initial licensing. The next step in becoming a social worker in Maryland is for students to have their Council on Social Work Education accredited university send over an official transcript. Students can begin applying during their last semester of classes. Students must also complete a livescan fingerprinting and criminal history background check, which is then forwarded to the board automatically. One of the most important steps for Maryland social work hopefuls is to take the Bachelors exam from the ASWB. This exam can be completed Monday through Saturday, and students receive immediate results.

Licensed Master of Social Work

The first step in how to become a social worker with an LMSW license is to complete the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners online application. Applicants must fill out any relevant work experience, educational achievements, and notes on their character and fitness. There is a fee associated with the application, as well as an additional fee to receive their initial social work license. The Maryland social work board also requires applicants to have an official, sealed transcript sent from their Council on Social Work Education-accredited university. Finally, applicants must also fill out the livescan fingerprinting and criminal history background check form and have the results sent to the board. Like all Maryland social workers, applicants at the LMSW level must also take and pass an ASWB exam. In particular, they are required to successfully complete the Master's exam.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

As the highest level of Maryland social work, the LCSW-C licensure has the most stringent requirements. Professionals wanting to know how to become a social worker with this status must begin with the same online application as the LBSW and LMSW certifications, as well as the same application fee and initial social work license fee. The Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners has created a checklist for applicants to use to navigate the remainder of the licensing process. There are separate checklists for applicants with less than five years of work experience, versus applicants with more than five years of work experience. Regardless of their experience level, all applicants must already have their LMSW certification.

For those with less than five years of work experience, a supervision verification form completed by an existing LCSW-C is required. These supervisory requirements state that the applicant must have at least two years (104 weeks), constituting a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience. Half of these hours must be from face-to-face client contact. Of these hours, 144 must have involved face-to-face supervision. Additionally, students must take and pass the ASWB Clinical level exam and have their results forwarded to the Maryland board.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Maryland

For social workers who are already licensed in another state and want to get their Maryland social work license, the process begins with an online application and selecting the Licensure by Endorsement option. This will require applicants to list their educational history, work experience, and any other relevant information. Social workers can only apply for the corresponding level of licensure they had in their previous employment. Applicants must also contact the ASWB and request that a copy of their social work license exam results be sent to the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

A social work license in Maryland is valid for two years, after which time the social worker will need to renew their license. License renewal has a fee associated with it, and fees vary depending upon the level of certification being renewed. Maryland social work laws also require professionals to take continuing education classes throughout this two-year span. LBSWs must take 30 hours of classes, while the higher levels must take 40 hours.