The Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing regulates the social work profession at multiple levels. Professionals below the master’s level are considered Social Service Workers (SSWs). Certified Social Workers (CSWs) have at least a master’s degree. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) have met additional requirements, including supervised practice. They may work as mental health practitioners.
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The quickest route to SSW licensure is a bachelor’s degree from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Candidates with bachelor’s degrees in other fields become eligible if they meet minimum coursework requirements and fulfill a practice requirement. Required courses include human growth and development, social welfare policies, and social work practice methodology. For a more detailed description of educational content, candidates can view the licensing act. DOPL has also provided a list of qualifying Utah courses. Click Here to go to the Board’s website.
The experience requirement is 2,000 hours. Supervision must be provided by a mental health professional.
Master’s degrees in psychology, marriage and family therapy, or professional counseling are also acceptable. Supervised practice is not required of an SSW candidate who has education at this level.
The ASWB bachelor’s level examination is another requirement for licensure. Utah candidates now seek examination approval from the ASWB. Later they apply to Utah DOPL; there is an $85 application fee.
In order to get the CSW license, a person needs a doctoral degree or a master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program (or a Canadian program with equivalent accreditation). One may apply for licensing at a lower level – SSW – after having completed the first year of a CSWE-accredited program. This will entail passing a basic licensing 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.
Before he or she can be licensed as a CSW, they will need to take a higher level exam. The Utah Board will accept passing scores on either of three ASWB exams: master’s, advanced generalist, or clinical. The candidate may attempt the licensing exam as early as the last semester of their master’s program with a letter from the program. Official transcripts should be sent to Utah DOPL at a later point.
A candidate who has not yet met the examination requirement but wishes to begin work may apply for the Certified Social Worker Intern credential. There is an $85 fee.
A Certified Social Worker will need to work under supervision a minimum of two years to get the clinical license. The Certified Social Worker will need training in crisis intervention, intermediate and long-term treatment, and therapy with individuals, families, and groups. The clinical supervisor must be an LCSW. The clinical supervisor will take professional responsibility for the CSW and will also provide consultation.
During this time, the social worker will accrue 4,000 experience hours. At least 1,000 of these hours must be spent doing mental health therapy. At least 100 hours must consist of direct supervision.
There is no upper limit on the time a candidate spends meeting experience requirements.
A prospective LCSW must pass the ASWB clinical exam (if the LCSW candidate did not do so when meeting requirements for a lower license).
At the LCSW level, a $120 fee is charged for application processing.
Application packets may be downloaded from the DOPL site (Click Here to download the application form). Candidates are expected to read applicable statutes and rules before applying.
Candidates who hold licensing elsewhere should get documentation of passing exam scores from the ASWB or from their own state board. Utah DOPL does accept the licensing exam given in California.
LCSWs are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education biennially. A 20 hour requirement has recently been instituted for SSWs. CSWs do not have a continuing education requirement.
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 Utah.