Social Work License Requirements in Mississippi

Entering the Mississippi social work field will allow students to examine, diagnose, and treat individuals with substance abuse, behavioral, emotional and mental issues. There are three levels of licensure that students can seek, including Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), and Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW). Students will need at least a bachelor’s degree in social work to qualify for the LSW, while a master’s or doctoral degree in social work is required for the LMSW or LCSW. By learning how to become a social worker in Mississippi, students can get closer to their goal of working as a social work provider in mental health, schools, hospice, and more.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Mississippi

Obtaining a social work job in Mississippi requires students to meet certain educational requirements that are dependent on the level of licensure. Regardless of the degree they are pursuing, their school must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). For those seeking LSW certification, a bachelor’s degree is required. LMSW and LCSW applicants will need at least a master’s degree. In both the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs, students can expect classes that instruct them on mental health, working with diverse populations, how to utilize community resources, and much more.

The LSW is the lowest level of social work licensure and only allows license holders to provide basic problem-solving interventions for individuals. Students who earn the LMSW will have more freedom in their practice and can assess, treat, implement, evaluate, case manage, mediate and more. The LCSW is the highest level of licensure and allows license holders to supervise the practice of their lower-level peers. They are also able to provide independent clinical social work which focuses on client’s behavioral, emotional, and mental health. All applicants must be at least 21 years old, submit a Mississippi Sex Offender Registry check, and have no felony convictions within the last 10 years.

Licensed Bachelor of Social Work

The first step in earning a Licensed Bachelor of Social Work (LSW) is to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work. Once this degree has been earned, students must submit an initial application to the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists. This application includes a fingerprint criminal history record and sex offender registry check.

Additionally, students must take and pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelors examination. This test will evaluate the applicant's knowledge and aptitude for social work. The exam is comprised of 170 multiple-choice questions and the cost to sit for the exam is $230. If the Mississippi social work board approves the initial application and the student passes the ASWB exam, they will they be awarded an LSW license. The initial fee for an LSW certification is $70, and this must be renewed every two years in September.

Licensed Master of Social Work

Those interested in pursuing a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) will need a master’s or doctorate degree in social work. Once they have earned their graduate degree in social work, candidates will need to fill out the initial application for the LMSW designation and submit it to the Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists. In addition to the application, students must have a fingerprint criminal history record and sex offender registry check performed.

Once the board approves a candidate’s application, they are able to register for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Masters exam. This test measures the student’s aptitude on social work issues, and candidates must receive a passing score to receive licensure. Once this has been completed, LMSW candidates will need to pay a $100 initial license fee and will receive their LMSW credential. After submitting the initial registration fee, the LMSW will need to renew it biennially in April.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The highest level of Mississippi social work licensure available is the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) certification. This social work license requires an existing LMSW certification. Social workers with the LMSW certification that are interested in pursuing LCSW licensure need to submit an initial application for LCSW licensure. Next, the LCSW candidate must fill out a Supervision Plan and Contract for Supervision form, which can be found in the LMSW Guide for Supervision. This plan details at least two years of a candidate’s supervised work from an existing LCSW. The supervising LCSW will also need to submit four evaluations that describe the applicant’s work effort during the supervisory period, as well as a form that terminates the supervision contract.

In addition to the standard criminal background and sex offender registry checks, LCSW applicants must also collect three professional or character references, including at least one that’s not from their supervisor. Finally, students must pass the Association of Social Work Boards Clinical or Advanced exam. Since applicants already have their LMSW certification, they will not need to pay any additional fees at this time.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Mississippi

To practice Mississippi social work, professionals with a social work license from another state will have to complete a few requirements. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program, and a passing score on their ASWB exam. If they meet this criteria, they will need to submit an initial application, a $25 application processing fee and a $70 initial license fee.

In addition to the application, they will need to submit a Verification of Education form, a Reciprocity Form, and a Request for Fingerprint Card Form (for a required background check). LCSWs will also need to submit documentation of supervision with the Reciprocity Form. If a practitioner has a pending disciplinary action from their home state, they will not be able to practice in Mississippi until these issues are resolved.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

All Mississippi social workers must renew their licenses every two years. If the social worker has an odd-numbered social work license, they will renew their license in an odd-numbered year. For those with even-numbered social work licenses, they will renew their license in an even-numbered year. LSWs will renew their licenses in September, while LMSWs and LCSWs renew their licenses in April. Mississippi social workers are required to complete continuing education classes during each renewal period; this education must be documented with the renewal application. All levels of licensure require 40 hours of approved continuing education classes for each renewal period. Social workers are able to carry over 10 continuing education hours from the last renewal period.