Social Work License Requirements in Oregon

According to the Oregon chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, one of the missions a social worker is to improve “the conditions of life in our democratic society.” These professionals utilize research and the fundamentals of social work to define measurable goals in mental health and then work to help patients attain them. Oregon social workers are under tight regulation, particularly because they work with vulnerable populations. Social workers must demonstrate adequate training and a disposition suitable for fieldwork. Continued education determines how far candidates can progress within their field. There are three levels of social work in Oregon: Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker (RBSW), Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW) and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)..

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Oregon

The Oregon State Review Board recognizes three levels of credentials in social work which each have different educational requirements. The path to a career in Oregon social work begins with deciding on the level of education candidates wish to pursue. Once prospective social workers have received passing grades from a college or university that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the application phase can begin. Applicants are required to submit an application and pay an application fee depending on the level. Applicants must also register with Fieldprint Oregon and submit fingerprints for a nationwide criminal record check. The state licensing board also requires transcripts and passage of an Administrative Rules exam, which is open book and multiple choice.

Registered Bachelor Bachelor of Social Work

Baccalaureate social work is a broader discipline that involves multiple aspects of patient care. It is a client-facing role without specialty, meaning social workers assist in nonclinical consultation and case management, focusing on education and advocacy. They may also participate in community events and help develop and administer policies or oversee programs and activities. Planning and assessment is a significant part of this role, including intervention and evaluation of patients.

There is an application fee for the RBSW licensure, and applicants have two years to submit their completed application to the state. Once an applicant has passed the Administrative Rules exam, it is possible to apply for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelors Exam. Once the applicant passes this multiple-choice exam, they may practice as an RBSW.

Licensed Master of Social Work

To obtain an LMSW in the state of Oregon, applicants must hold a Master of Social Work (MSW) from a CSWE-accredited university. The program is expected to take two years to complete, and the resulting LMSW is a nonclinical license with a recommended core focus. Tasks that LMSW’s provide include case management, nonclinical supervision, and consultation, and are performed at a higher level than the LBSW. Once the state’s Administrative Rules exam has been passed, the candidate may apply to take the ASWB Masters Exam, and if they receive a passing grade, they will be granted licensure.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The state of Oregon requires that all LCSWs hold an MSW from a CSWE-accredited university. This program takes roughly two years to complete. In addition to holding an MSW, the applicant must be a clinical social work associate (CSWA) and have a minimum of 3,500 practice hours, of which 2,000 must involve client contact.

Once professionals hold an MSW, they may begin the CSWA application process with the Oregon state licensing board, which includes an application fee. Once the state licensing board has approved this license, candidates may submit a plan of supervision that lists the supervisors that the candidate will work under. This plan must be included with the CSWA application, but can be altered once approved. Candidates must meet with a supervisor twice each week for at least one hour. Supervisors must be Oregon LCSWs that have been in practice for at least two years.

Candidates may not begin these supervised hours until the application is approved by the state licensing board. Once 75 hours of supervised work has been completed, the candidate becomes eligible for the ASWB Clinical Exam. The state licensing board automatically receives the results of the exam once it is completed. Upon passing the ASWB exam and completing supervised hours, the candidate is granted a license. However, applicants must continue working under their supervisors until Oregon has granted the license. Additionally, LCSW license holders are authorized to practice independently with no further testing or work-hour requirements.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Oregon

Oregon does not specifically recognize licenses from other states but does not require applicants to repeat coursework. Typically, out-of-state license holders are encouraged to apply to the state licensing board through the same means outlined above. The state licensing board will determine if the applicant is fit to practice or inform candidates of other required materials. This process is known as an endorsement, where the applicant must provide proof of licensure and education requirements.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

License renewal is annual for the CSWA, but RBSW, LMSW and LCSW license holders must renew biannually. Every license can be renewed online, provided the candidate has completed the required units of continued education. The state has outlined these requirements and provided a list of credentialing bodies.

With an RBSW, social workers must complete 20 continuing education credits per renewal, with a minimum of six in ethics. With an LMSW, an applicant must complete 30 continuing education credits per renewal, with a minimum of six in ethics. For both RBSW and LMSW professionals, Oregon does not allow carryover credits. With an LCSW, social workers must complete 40 continuing education credits per renewal, with a minimum of six in ethics. LCSWs may carry over a maximum of 10 credits to the next renewal. There is no continuing education requirement for those with a CSWA.