Standards have gotten more rigorous for Oregon’s social workers. Licensing is mandatory for clinical social workers – a person has to have a license to carry out job duties that fall under the scope of duty of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Oregon also issues two credentials for non-clinical social workers: Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker (RBSW) and Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW). They’re voluntary in one sense of the word – a person doesn’t have to have a license to carry out duties that fall outside the Board’s definition of clinical social worker. However, a person does need a license to use the title “social worker”!
Beginning in 2013, it became mandatory for social workers at all credentialing levels to pass a licensing exam. A jurisprudence exam (open book) is also required (Click Here to learn more about the recent changes for Social Worker Licensure in Oregon).
Capella University is now offering an online Master's 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 that focuses on in-demand leadership skills and integration of technology. Click Here to contact Capella University about their Master of Social Work program or Doctor of Social Work program.
A Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker must have a bachelor’s in social work from a program that is accredited by, or has accreditation candidate status with, either CSWE (in the U.S.) or CASSW (in Canada).
Any candidate applying to the Board of Licensed Social Workers after December 31, 2012, must pass the ASWB baccalaureate level exam.
At this level, a candidate pays $50 each for the application, the initial licensing period, and the criminal background check. (Click Here for the RBSW application and related materials).
An LMSW must have a master’s degree from an appropriately accredited social work program.
The Simmons College School of Social Work, based in Boston, MA, offers another option to earn a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Online Master of Social Work. Click Here to contact the Simmons College School of Social Work and request additional information.
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 candidate must also pass the ASWB master’s level examination.
LMSW candidates pay $100 for initial licensure and $50 each for background check and application (Click Here for the Oregon LMSW application form and related materials).
An LCSW, like the LMSW track, also begins by obtaining an accredited social work master’s. After graduation, though, the path diverges. A social worker candidate who intends to practice clinically must apply to become a Clinical Social Work Associate (CSWA) – this is generally done after employment is lined up. The candidate will need a supervision plan before beginning and will also need to take the open book jurisdiction exam.
A CSWA must complete 3,500 hours of supervised practice over a period of no less than two but no more than five years. At least 2,000 hours must be earned in direct contact with clients. The clinical social work associate will have a clinical supervisor during this period. This is not the same thing as an employer or administrative supervisor; the clinical supervisor reviews casework, guides development, and reviews performance for licensing purposes. Generally speaking, the supervisor must be an LCSW who meets the Board’s experience and CEU requirements. However, if there is no LCSW within 50 miles who can take on the role, the candidate may make a request to be allowed supervision by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other professional who has comparable qualifications.
The CSWA must have a total of 100 supervision hours; up to half can be carried out in a group setting. In some instances, a CSWA will have separate supervisors for individual and group supervision meetings. If this is the case, the CSWA will need two supervision plans on file.
The CSWA will need to file additional paperwork if their supervisors or employers change. The CSWA should have two one hour supervision meetings each month.
The supervisor submits an evaluation every six months.
CSWAs become eligible to take the ASWB clinical exam after they have completed 75 supervision hours. Passing the exam is another requirement for licensure as an LCSW.
The CSWA application fee is $150 and initial licensing costs $60. The LCSW application is $150 and the first two years of licensure, $260. Applications are found on the Board site (Click Here for the LCSW application and other relevant materials).
RBSWs are responsible for earning 20 CEUs every two years. LMSWs must earn 30 and active LCSWs, 40 (unless they have semi-retired status, in which case the requirement is 20).
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 Oregon.