Social Work License Requirements in Michigan

Social workers in Michigan can help provide support and treatment to individuals and families in their local communities. A social work license can be obtained in Michigan at the following levels: a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW) to a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). An LMSW can also specialize in either a Clinical or Macro field if they desire. The Michigan Board sets the requirements for becoming a social worker and requires all applicants to meet them. Michigan social work license holders can find work in hospitals, schools, and community programs.

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

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Michigan

The minimum education required to get a social work license in Michigan is a bachelor’s degree. Students might take classes in human behavior, psychology, and social welfare throughout their schooling on their way to becoming a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker. Those who work at this level will be able to work on cases and provide training, but they can’t diagnose or treat anyone.

Those who wish to further their education can complete a Master of Social Work degree through an accredited college. Students with a master’s degree can become a Licensed Master Social Worker, or LMSW, which allows them access to more specializations. The Michigan Board of Social Work allows LMSW license holders to specialize in one of two fields, Macro or Clinical. Those who specialize in Macro perform administrative tasks like training and evaluation, while the Clinical specialization is more focused on therapy and diagnosis of patients.

Licensed Bachelor of Social Work

To receive an LBSW license in Michigan, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program and must complete 4,000 hours of supervised social work within a two-year period after earning a degree. New BSW graduates should apply for their LBSW by examination, which requires students to pass a Bachelor's Examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.

Once a student has met these requirements, they must submit an application with the required fee. The final step to the licensing process is a criminal background check, which includes taking fingerprints. This background check is not required if the applicant has already completed one for another Michigan health professional license.

Licensed Master of Social Work

Michigan LMSW applicants must have a master’s degree from a CSWE accredited program. This social work license also requires applicants to complete at least 4,000 hours of supervised experience in social work. To be licensed as an LMSW, an applicant must also pass either the Advanced Generalist or Clinical Examination, which is administered by the ASWB.

Once all of these requirements are met by the student, they must submit an application, which includes a fee. Finally, the student will have to have a criminal background check completed and have their fingerprints taken. Those who already have a Michigan health professional license do not need to have this background check performed.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Those who wish to become a licensed clinical social worker must first have an active LMSW license. Applicants are required to pass the ASWB Clinical Examination or the ASWB Advanced Generalist Examination. If the applicant completed their license exams in another state, their scores must be sent to Michigan by the ASWB. Michigan social work clinical hopefuls must first finish an extra 2,000 hours of social work in either the clinical or macro specialty after finishing their degree. These social work license-required hours must be finished in one year and also require a minimum of 50 hours of supervisory review. A Supervisor’s Verification of Social Work Experience for Master’s Social Worker form must be submitted along with the application so these clinical hours can be verified. The final step in becoming a social worker with a clinical or macro license is to submit an application along with the required fee.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Michigan

Any Michigan social work applicant who has a license from another state must go through an endorsement process, whether they have an LBSW or LMSW. This social work license requires that the applicant’s examination scores on either the Association of Social Work Board Bachelors or Masters Examination be submitted to the Michigan Board by the ASWB. The applicant must also provide proof that they have completed their post-degree work experience hours in their licensed state, even if their license has expired. Once this information is submitted, an application along with the required fee must be sent to the Michigan Board.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

A Michigan social work license expires every three years on the 30th of April. Both the LMSW and LBSW have the same requirements for renewal, whether the social worker is currently practicing social work or not. A social work license renewal applicant must complete 45 hours of continuing education, with two of those hours in pain management and five in ethics. Documents that prove this continuing education has been completed should be saved for four years after the license was renewed.