A license is required to practice social work in Arkansas. Candidates who have completed accredited bachelor’s level programs and met other standards may become Licensed Social Workers (LSWs).
Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) and Licensed Certified Social Workers (LCSWs) have graduate degrees in social work. Those at the LCSW level have completed 4,000 hours of supervised work experience and are eligible for independent practice.
Simmons College School of Social Work (SocialWork@Simmons) is offering a CSWE-accredited Online Master of Social Work program. There is no GRE required for acceptance to this program. Request information about the program.
Capella University is now offering an online Master of Social Work that is in CSWE candidacy status. The MSW program helps prepare students to enter the general or clinical practice role (in most states). Capella also offers an online Doctor of Social Work. Click Here to contact Capella University about their Master of Social Work program or Doctor of Social Work program.
The first step to becoming a social worker at any level is to complete a social work degree program that has been accredited by the CSWE or the Canadian Association for Social Work Education.
The next step is fingerprinting. All candidates must authorize criminal background checks. The Board will mail the necessary materials.
Click Here to go to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board Application Packet page.
Once transcripts are requested, the candidate can apply to the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board for permission to take the exam.
The application/ licensing fee is $100 – this is separate from the examination fee, which is set by the ASWB. Once approved, a candidate at the LSW or LMSW worker will receive a provisional license. This is good for a year (unless the record check reveals an offense listed in A.C.A. 17-103-307, in which case it will be immediately revoked).
All approved candidates will receive information that will guide them through the examination registration process. Candidates must make their first examination attempt within 6 months of receiving a provisional license. They are allowed three attempts over a one year period. A candidate who fails a first or second attempt is subject to a 90 day waiting period.
Candidates for Licensed Social Worker must take the bachelor level examination through the ASWB.
LSWs are not permitted to work in independent practice. Contract work is also prohibited. Social workers must be in employer-employee relationship for as long as they have this status. The Board recommends supervision by a social worker but will accept supervision from a qualified person in a related field.
After graduating from a master’s program and passing the ASWB master social work exam, a candidate can be licensed as an LMSW.
You may also want to read the article "Master’s Degree in Social Work: Developing Skills and Competencies" if you have any questions about Master's of Social Work programs.
A master counselor must work under supervision for two years and accumulate 4,000 hours of experience before he is eligible for licensing at the clinical level. The supervisor will be an LCSW. The supervisory plan is subject to Board approval. It must be submitted on the appropriate form within 60 days of the commencement of supervision.
LMSW social workers must have an average of one hour of direct supervision each week for the two year period. Up to half the supervision hours may take place in a small group (with no more than four in attendance). The supervisor is responsible for providing supervision in five content areas identified by the Board. He does not necessarily have to work for the same agency that the supervisee does.
The supervisor must turn in an evaluation of the social worker. Licensing at the clinical level also requires a passing score on the ASWB clinical exam. A social worker is authorized to go into private practice upon receipt of his LCSW license.
A social worker who is currently licensed in another state or territory will not need to retake the licensing exam if he graduated from a CSWE-accredited program and passed the required licensing exam.
Licenses must be renewed every two years. During this time, social workers must complete 48 hours of continuing education.
If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to become a Social Worker in Arkansas.