The North Dakota State Board of Social Work Examiners offers three levels of licensing (http://www.ndbswe.com). The Licensed Social Worker (LSW) credential is for social workers with bachelor’s degrees. The Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) credential is for those with master’s degrees. Neither LSWs nor LCSWs are permitted to go into private practice.
Social workers with Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) licensing have completed a post-master practice requirement. They are authorized for private practice and are eligible to have clinical services reimbursed by insurance companies.
Applicants at all levels must pass a licensing exam.
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To receive the LSW license, a candidate needs a social work bachelor’s from an accredited institution. He must also take and pass the ASWB baccalaureate exam. He will turn in his application to the North Dakota Board and wait for written confirmation of eligibility before registering. Computerized examinations are offered on an ongoing basis in West Fargo and Bismarck.
North Dakota does not offer provisional licensing to individuals waiting to take the licensing exam.
To be eligible for the LMSW, a candidate must have a graduate degree in social work from an accredited institution. He must pass the ASWB master’s level social work exam.
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.
The certified social worker must work under board approved supervision until such time as he or she has accumulated 3,000 hours. Hours must be accrued within a four-year period. He will need at least 150 hours of face to face supervision during this time; at least 100 must be individual. Before beginning supervised practice, the social worker must submit a supervision plan to the Board. The ASWB clinical exam is required. The Board recommends that candidates apply to take it when they are either finished with their supervision plan or nearing the end of it. Candidates have a year in which to pass the exam.
At the end of the supervision period, employment and supervision must be verified on forms provided by the Board.
Applications can be found on the licensing section of the North Dakota Board site. Click here to download the LSW form.
A number of supplemental documents must be provided before a license can be issued. The candidate should have official transcripts sent from the qualifying institution. The applicant will also need three references. An applicant who has worked as a social worker will submit one from a work supervisor. An applicant who has never worked in this capacity will submit one from a field placement supervisor and one from a faculty member. The other references will come from social workers. The reference forms include a series of basic questions about the candidate’s professional fitness – for example, whether there are any known drug abuse issues or impairments. The form concludes with a question about whether the candidate is recommended for licensure.
First time applicants pay a $25 application fee and a $75 licensing fee. North Dakota does not charge the $75 fee to currently licensed professionals who are upgrading to a higher level of licensing. All candidates, though, are responsible for paying examination fees to the ASWB. The fee is currently $230 for baccalaureate and master’s level examinations and $260 for the higher one.
An applicant at any level must pass state and federal criminal background checks. After a first time applicant has submitted his application, he will receive fingerprint cards and a request form in the mail. The applicant will get the fingerprints done and submit them with the required fee (currently $42.75). North Dakota will also check the child abuse information index before issuing a license.
Out of state applicants should send a copy of their state’s licensing requirements so the North Dakota Board can determine equivalency.
Social workers must earn 30 contact hours of continuing education. This is prorated during an individual’s first licensing period.
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 North Dakota.