Social Work License Requirements in New Jersey

In New Jersey, social workers have the opportunity to impact communities on both a micro and macro level. Using their training and education, social workers can protect, restore, or enhance the lives of individuals who are facing physical, environmental, or emotional issues. Professionals can prepare for a career in New Jersey social work by first learning the different types of social work licenses available to them, including CSW, LMSW and LCSW. It’s important to understand the limitations of each liscence, as well as become educated about how to renew liscensure, in order to maintain an active liscence.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in New Jersey

There are three distinct types of social work licenses available to New Jersey: certified social worker, licensed social worker and licensed clinical social worker. Each level has different requirements regarding education, examinations, and work experience. The most basic level is the Certified Social Worker (CSW) license, which just requires a bachelor’s degree in social work. In order to obtain a CSW, students need to have at least a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree.

With a CSWE-accredited master’s degree in social work, graduates can qualify for both LSW and LCSW New Jersey social work. Having an LSW allows graduates to practice non-clinical social work. For those with an LCSW, graduates can practice clinical social work. To qualify for work in a clinical setting as an LCSW, graduates will need to complete substantial supervised, post-graduate work before applying for this license.

Certified Social Worker

Becoming a certified social worker (CSW) is an effective way to get a social work license without having to pursue a master’s degree. In order to become a CSW, applicants need a bachelor’s in social work (BSW) from any school accredited by the CSWE. An official transcript must also be submitted as part of the application process. Next, applicants must complete the application from the State Board of Social Work, which might include questions about their experience and. Applicants will also need to submit a fee as well as authorization for a criminal history background check.

Licensed Social Worker

Similar to an LMSW license, graduates need to meet certain educational requirements to apply. Applicants need either a master’s in social work from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctorate in social work from an accredited higher education institution. Before signing up, however, aspiring social workers must submit a pre-approval form and a filing fee to the State Board of Social Work Examiners. Graduates must submit a criminal history background check and must take and pass the ASWB master’s level examination, which also requires a fee.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The LCSW license allows social workers to practice in a clinical setting, unlike an LMSW. To qualify for clinical social work in New Jersey, applicants need a master’s or doctoral degree in social work. While in the program, students must obtain 12 credits in social work specific classes. After earning the MSW, graduates need between two and four years of full-time clinical social work, which is equal to 3,000 hours under direct supervision. At least 1,920 hours must involve face-to-face client contact, half of which should be in psychotherapeutic counseling. Graduates can spend the additional 1,080 hours either in supervision or other social work services.

Once graduates have obtained a degree and accumulated enough work experience, they can fill out a social work license application, which includes a pre-approval form. This ensures that they're eligible to sit for the ASWB clinical exam, which they are required to pass. Applicants also need to authorize a criminal history background check with a fee.

Social Work License Reciprocity in New Jersey

To become a social worker in New Jersey after practicing in another state, professionals must go through the application process. Applicants who already have a CSW, LMSW or LCSW, can complete the application for the appropriate social work license and have their ASWB exam results sent directly to the Board of Social Work. Applicants also need verification of the current license sent from the state in which they’ve been practicing. The fee for each application submitted is $75. Out-of-state social workers should be able to get approved to practice New Jersey social work. Applicants can then concentrate on new job opportunities and meeting the continuing education process in preparation for the next renewal period.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Licensed social workers in New Jersey must go through the renewal process every two years. For a CSW, licensees need at least 20 hours of continuing education. Five hours must be in ethics, which three hours should focus on social and cultural competence. Social workers may carry over up to four hours per cycle.

For an LSW, licensees need 30 hours of continuing education to continue New Jersey social work at this level. Five hours must be in ethics and three hours must be in social and cultural competence. As an LSW, social workers can carry over up to six hours each renewal cycle. For an LCSW, licensees need at least 40 hours of continuing education, five of which should relate to ethics and three of which should relate to social and cultural competence. At least 20 of these hours should relate directly to clinical practice. Social workers can carry over up to eight hours each renewal cycle.