The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners licenses social workers with education at the baccalaureate or master’s level. Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) and Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) both represent entry points into the profession. These individuals work under supervision unless they have completed additional requirements and been granted specialty recognition.
Both LBSWs and LMSWs are eligible for Independent Practice Recognition (IPR) in a nonclinical capacity. Additionally, LMSWs are eligible for recognition as Advanced Practitioners (LMSW-APs) or Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs). The LASW is an advanced nonclinical designation. LCSW, though, is clinical; social workers with this designation are mental health professionals.
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The LBSW license requires a bachelor's degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program.
Later the candidate must take a nationwide exam: the bachelor's level exam administered through the ASWB. A student can apply to take the exam as early as the program’s last semester, provided the student has a letter from the school’s dean.
An LBSW may achieve independent practice recognition by putting in 3,000 hours under board-approved supervision. The LBSW candidate’s supervisor must hold a license at the LBSW-IPR level or higher.
In order to be licensed at the higher levels, a candidate must have an acceptable master's or doctoral degree. Degrees at the master's level must have CSWE accreditation.
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.
After graduation, the candidate should seek licensure as an LMSW: a master social worker. The candidate may take steps toward credentialing as early as his last semester; doing this by applying to the Texas Board for permission to take the master’s level national exam.
A candidate must work under supervision for 24 - 48 months in order to be eligible for higher credentials. During the supervisory period, the candidate must accrue 3,000 of appropriate experience and must have 100 hours of supervision by a board-approved professional.
The candidate must work under a supervision plan (on file with the Texas Board). The paperwork must be done within 30 days. The social worker's job duties will go a long way to determining which license he or she will ultimately become eligible for -- a job description is part of what must be submitted. If the candidate has more than one practice site, or if there are changes, he or she will need more than one plan.
Supervision requirements are more stringent when a social worker is applying hours toward a higher license or practice designation. A master social worker may be allowed to do clinical social work under the supervision of a professional with any of several licenses (including marriage and family therapy or professional counseling) if the hours are not part of a license qualifying process. However, license qualifying supervision must be provided by a social worker with the appropriate status.
After completing supervision requirements, a nonclinical social worker will apply to take the ASWB advanced generalist exam. A clinical social worker will need to take the ASWB clinical exam. The supervisor's evaluation (included with the verification form) is a part of what will determine eligibility. If the supervisor indicates reservations about the candidate's competence, the Board may give this consideration.
Applicants must provide criminal history information. They must take an online jurisprudence exam.
Application fees are currently $91 at the LBSW and LMSW level, and $111 at the more advanced levels. If a social worker is currently licensed but seeking an upgrade, the fee is just $20. The candidate will also need to pay examination fees to the ASWB, though.
Click Here for the application forms and additional materials you will need.
Texas social work licenses must be renewed every two years. The Texas Board requires 30 continuing educations hours during each renewal 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 Texas.