Social work is a licensed profession in Puerto Rico and has been for about 70 years. Permanent licensure requires a graduate degree or a combination of education and experience.
With a bachelor’s degree, a candidate is eligible for a provisional license. In addition to education, the Board requires evidence of good moral character.
Social workers are under the jurisdiction of the Junta Examinadora de Trabajadores Sociales, or State Board of Social Work Examiners (http://estado.pr.gov/es/profesionales-del-trabajo-social/). Primary sources are in the Spanish language. The contact person for Puerto Rico social work licensing can be reached at 787-722-2122, Ext. 238 or 'juntadetrabajosocial at estado.gobierno.pr'.
The Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales, or College of Social Workers of Puerto Rico, is another resource for prospective Puerto Rican social workers (http://www.cptspr.org/). It’s an official agency. At the website, a person can find laws and code of ethics. They can also connect with their local chapter. There is some scholarship money available for social workers advancing their education.
Another resource is the National Association of Social Workers – Puerto Rico (http://www.naswpr.org). Membership in this organization is voluntary. It’s a good contact for individuals who want to stay current on what’s happening with the social work profession in other parts of the United States. It’s also a source of continuing education.
There are two routes to get a provisional license. A candidate may earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from an institution accredited by the Consejo de Educación Superior de Puerto Rico (Council of Higher Education of Puerto Rico) or earn a bachelor’s in another field and then earn 18 graduate credits in social work.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) offers program level accreditation to social work programs in U.S. states and territories. A good starting point is the CSWE directory. Puerto Rico has multiple accredited programs. The prospective student may also want to visit the website of the Consejo de Educación de Puerto Rico (http://www.ce.pr.gov/).
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The graduate will later apply to the State Board and pay agency fees (http://estado.pr.gov/es/profesionales-del-trabajo-social/).
A provisional license can be renewed if the social worker has not yet met requirements for the higher license. A provisional license can be renewed if the social worker has not yet met requirements for the higher license (https://pr.pcshq.com/?page=profesionalesdetrabajosocial,PRsocial-renewtemp).
There are two paths to permanent licensing. The social worker may complete a graduate degree or complete work experience. A master’s student who already has a baccalaureate in social work may have a shorter program than one who does not.
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.
Social work master’s degrees are offered in different concentrations, from program administration to direct service work with families and children. The social worker should make sure that, in addition to having proper accreditation, the program meets his career needs. Again, the CSWE is a good place to begin the search.
Puerto Rico has an online application system. Many supplemental materials can be uploaded. Applicants will find requirements for provisional licensure and permanent licensure listed separately on the website.
An applicant at the provisional level will provide three references. He or she will provide legal information and information about child support status; the application includes links to instructions for securing the required documents (https://pr.pcshq.com/?page=profesionalesdetrabajosocial,PRsocial-temporary). The fee at this level is $60. The baccalaureate transcript is to be sent to Professional Credential Services.
An applicant at the permanent level will select one of two links: one for master’s education (https://pr.pcshq.com/?page=profesionalesdetrabajosocial,PRsocial-masters), the other for experience (https://pr.pcshq.com/?page=profesionalesdetrabajosocial,PRsocial-experience). Documentation will depend on eligibility pathway. An individual applying by experience will document three years of employment. He or she will also provide some documentation from the Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales.
Applicants for permanent licensure pay $100. Professional Credential Services can be reached at 1-888-773-9266 or ‘prosocial at pcshq.com’.
A Puerto Rican social worker may also apply for certification through the National Association of Social Workers, or NASW (http://www.naswdc.org/credentials/list.asp). This does not confer the right to practice, but indicates that the professional has met additional requirements.