Social Work License Requirements in Utah

Social workers in the state of Utah work with different populations in a variety of communities and settings. They provide critical social services to communities in need and often find opportunities working in schools, hospitals, community centers, municipal buildings and sometimes in private homes. There are three levels of Utah social work licensure: Social Service Worker (SSW), Certified Social Worker (CSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). Social work licensure in Utah requires a minimum of a bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a higher education institution.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Utah

Social work licensure in Utah requires a minimum of a bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Depending on the level of licensure the applicant is seeking, candidates may need a master’s degree, as well as supervised field experience.

BSW students can expect their coursework to include classes in human behavior, social welfare policy, addiction, psychology, counseling, community relations, oppressed populations, research, and field education. A Master of Social Work (MSW) degree covers similar material and allows students to choose an area of specialization.

Utah social work licensure consists of three levels of credentials. The first is the SSW credential, which allows candidates to practice nonclinical social work under supervision. The second is the CSW license, which allows the practice of advanced, graduate-level social work services that are not considered clinical. The third is the LCSW certification, allowing the independent practice of social work services, including clinical services such as mental health therapy, assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning and case management.

Social Work Service Worker

Candidates pursuing SSW licensure have a few options when it comes to education requirements. They can complete a BSW accredited by the CSWE; a Master’s degree in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Mental Counseling; or a bachelor’s degree in another field with three semester hours in the areas of social welfare policy, human growth and development, or social work practice methods. Alternatively, they can also complete the first two years of an MSW accredited by the CSWE before applying for their social work license. If candidates choose to get a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work, they must gain 2,000 hours of social work experience before they are eligible to apply for their license. Once the hour requirement is met, BSW candidates must sit for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelors Exam, which has a registration fee associated.

Once candidates pass the ASWB exam, they are eligible to submit an application to the Utah Board of Social Work either online or through the mail. The application must include the associated application fee, official exam scores, school transcripts and forms that document any necessary supervised work experience. Once all requirements are satisfied, the Board will grant the SSW license and candidates will be able to practice general Utah social work under supervision.

Certified Social Worker

The second level of Utah social work licensure is the Certified Social Worker (CSW) credential which is obtained by pursuing a Master of Social Work degree. This graduate-level, social work license requires passage of the ASWB's Masters Exam or its Clinical Exam. Both the Masters Exam, and the Clinical Exams have fees associated with registration. In Utah, candidates have the option of applying for a provisional CSW Intern license, which grants them permission to be employed in Utah social work for up to six months while they prepare to pass the exam. Candidates are eligible for the CSW Intern license once they have completed their MSW and have been approved by the ASWB to sit for the exam.

Upon passing the ASWB exam, candidates can apply for licensure through the Utah Board of Social Work. The application can be completed entirely online and must include an application fee. The CSW license will be granted when the Board approves the application. The licensure will allow candidates to practice social work in Utah and also serves as a prerequisite for those who want to pursue the LCSW license.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

The first step in obtaining the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) credential in the state of Utah is to hold a current CSW social work license. Once candidates hold a CSW, they are required to complete 4,000 hours of Utah social work experience. Any hours completed with a provisional CSW Intern license will not be counted to meet the required hours. The hours must cover clinical social work and mental health therapy, as well as crisis intervention; short- and long-term therapy; and practice families, groups and individuals. At least 1,000 hours must be related to mental health treatment, and two hours of suicide prevention training are required. Training must be completed in no less than two years, and all supervisors must have an active LCSW that was issued at least two years prior.

Once the required hours are complete, candidates must sit for the ASWB Clinical Exam. When the exam is passed, candidates can apply for their LCSW license through the Utah Board of Social Work. The application requires a fee and verification of the hours completed by each supervisor. The Board will review the application and issue an LCSW license if all requirements are met. Candidates are then allowed to independently practice the full range of nonclinical and clinical social work services.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Utah

Formal reciprocity is not offered for Utah social work. Candidates who already hold a social work license in another state and are seeking licensure in Utah need to apply for licensure by endorsement. In order to be eligible for licensure by endorsement, candidates must complete an online application that requires verification of their license from any state where they are allowed to practice social work and verification of passing the appropriate level of the ASWB exam. If candidates are applying for the LCSW credential or have a license equivalent to the LCSW in another state, they must also provide verification of active practice in the field of social work for at least 4,000 hours. Of those hours, 1,000 must be in mental health treatment.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Utah social work licenses must be renewed every two years. Licenses expire on September 30 of even-numbered years. The Department of Occupational Professional Licensing will reach out to candidates 60 days before their license is due to expire. The fee for renewing a social work license in Utah varies on the level of licensure. In order to be eligible for license renewal, all candidates must complete continuing education. Those who hold an LCSW credential are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education, while SSW holders must complete 20 hours of continuing education. For both levels of licensure, three hours must be in the area of professional ethics and responsibilities, and two hours must be in suicide prevention.