Social Work License Requirements in Missouri
Social workers in Missouri have the opportunity to help those in their community. Currently, Missouri has four tiers of social work license options: a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW), a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and a Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW). Each license carries different requirements and responsibilities. For example, while LBSW and LMSW license holders can work in schools, mental health facilities, and other settings, only LCSWs and LAMSWs can practice clinically. Choosing the appropriate level of certification for Missouri social work depends on the student’s education, professional experience and career goals.
Check out our list of the best MSW programs in Missouri.
Social Work Licensure Requirements in Missouri
Aspiring social workers must meet certain educational requirements before they can be granted a Missouri social work license. For example, to obtain the LBSW, students must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work. The LMSW certification requires at least a master’s degree, as do the LCSW and LAMSW certifications. While having a doctoral degree provides advanced education and experience, it doesn’t provide any advantage for social work license certification in Missouri.
Missouri does not require social work students to take any particular classes during their studies. However, most university programs include a mix of social work coursework, including classes on substance abuse, mental health, mediation, and more. Upon earning their social work license, students will be qualified to work in human and personality development, crisis intervention, family dynamics, human relations, and many other important fields. For more responsibility in patient care, students should work toward their LCSW certification. This level of licensure allows social workers to practice clinical social work, independently or with a team.
Licensed Bachelor of Social Work
Those seeking LBSW certification will need to fill out the Application for Licensure form, which can be found on the Missouri Division of Professional Registration website. The application requires students to provide personal data, degree information, academic or professional references, and work experience. Also included in this application is a section requiring the applicant to confirm that they have completed two hours of training in suicide assessment, treatment, referral, and management.
In addition to the application, candidates must also submit to a background check. This will require the applicant to be fingerprinted and registered on the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site. They will also need a bachelor’s degree in social work, and will need to have their college or university mail a copy of their transcript to the Missouri State Committee for Social Workers. Once the documentation has been reviewed and approved, the Committee will contact the applicant to let them know that they are able to schedule their Association of Social Work Boards Bachelors exam. Once the candidate has received a passing score, the ASWB will notify the Committee office and a license will be issued.
Licensed Master of Social Work
Professionals interested in obtaining Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) certification are required to have a master’s degree in social work. To begin the application process, candidates must fill out the Application for Licensure form. Applicants will need to provide personal background information, educational background, references, and work experience. In addition, they will have to complete a section verifying that they have completed two hours of training in suicide assessment, treatment, referral, and management. They will also need to have their college or university send a copy of their transcript to the Missouri State Committee for Social Workers. Finally, they will need to submit a background and fingerprinting check; their fingerprints will be added to the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site.
Once they have successfully submitted all of the required documentation, the Committee will verify the information. Upon approval, they will inform the candidate that they are able to schedule their Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) Masters exam. Once a candidate has received a passing score on their ASWB exam, they will be awarded LMSW certification.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker / Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker
Receiving either a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW) credential requires applicants to have a current LMSW license and a master’s or doctoral degree in social work. LAMSWs have advanced knowledge and skills in the field of social work, but are not able to provide clinical services without the supervision of a LCSW. They are able to supervise their peers and LBSWs. LCSWs may supervise every level of social work licensure, and are able to provide clinical services independently or with a team.
To begin the process of LCSW or LAMSW certification, candidates will need to register supervision by supplying a Registration of Supervision, a Contract for Supervision, and an Employment Verification Letter. Once they have received Committee approval, they will need to complete at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience within a 24-48 month time frame.
After they have completed the requisite supervised hours, candidates will need to submit an Application for Licensure. The application requires educational background, social work experience, academic or professional references, and an application fee. They must also complete a fingerprinting and background check. Finally, their supervisor must submit an attestation form, verifying their supervised experience.
Once the Committee has reviewed and approved their application, candidates are able to schedule their ASWB exam. Those pursuing the LCSW need to pass the Clinical exam, while those pursuing a LAMSW will need to pass the Advanced Generalist Exam. Once the Committee has been notified of a candidate’s passing exam score, a license will be issued.
Social Work License Reciprocity in Missouri
Licensed social workers moving to Missouri from another state can earn a Missouri social work license by following the guidelines set forth by the Missouri State Committee for Social Workers. In order to be considered for a reciprocal license, the state which issued the original license must have requirements that are “substantially similar” to those in Missouri; the applicant must supply the Committee with the licensure law from the state that has issued their license.
The process involves completing an application for Licensure by Reciprocity and paying a reciprocity application fee. The applicant must provide a verification form that has been completed by the licensing entity, which verifies that the applicant holds a valid license and has practiced social work for at least three of the past five years. They must also complete a fingerprint background check and pay any associated fees. The Committee will review the provided information and if deemed acceptable, will issue the applicant a license to practice social work in Missouri.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Those with an LBSW, LMSW, LAMSW or LCSW have the choice of a two-year, one-and-a-half-year, or one-year social work license. Fees for these Missouri social work licenses are $60, $45, and $30, respectively. Upon renewal, the two-year license costs just $58. Two-year licenses are good from October to January, one-and-a-half-year licenses are good from February to May, and one-year licenses are good from June to September. As part of the license renewal process, social workers are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education credits (CEUs). Three of these hours must be focused on ethics.