Human Services Guide
Illinois

Social Work Licensure in Illinois

  • Find Education Requirements in Illinois for one of the following:

The great state of Illinois is home to the phenomenal city of Chicago. Bordering the Great Lakes and part of the center of our nation, Illinois is a state with a tremendous history and culture. Becoming part of the United States in 1783, Illinois has been an integral part of the union ever since. Whether you live in the vast metropolis of Chicago or a smaller municipality, Illinois is an excellent state to begin your career as a Licensed Social Worker. It is important to check in with each state’s Social Work board to get accurate and up to date information on the states licensing process.

First-time applicants for the Licensed Social Worker or Licensed Master Social Worker titles will be issued a provisional license once their application has been received and approved by the Illinois Social Work Licensing Board. This provisional license is good for one year during which a licensing exam must be taken.

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Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

In order to get your Licensed Social Worker (LSW) license in Illinois, you will need to take the following steps:

  1. First you will need to earn a Master of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college.
  2. You will then need to apply for your license which you can do by paying the $300 fee, which includes examination, acceptance of examination and Endorsement of license fees. You can apply for your LSW license with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation
  3. Submit to and pass a criminal background check with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation as part of the application and provide sealed transcripts to the IDFPR.
  4. You then need to receive a passing score on an Association of Social Workers ASWB Master's Level / Intermediate Exam. You will need to pay the $230 fee and apply here.
  5. You may also apply to become a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) with just a Bachelor of Social Work. However, you must also provide proof of at least 3 years of supervised professional experience prior to you having received your B.S.W. degree. The Supporting Document VE-SW must be completed by the person who supervised the applicant. You will also need to pass the Association of Social Workers ASWB Master's Level / Intermediate Exam as outlined above.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

If you wish to hold the title of Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) in Illinois, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. You will first need to your Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college.
  2. For persons with a Master of Social Work degree, you must provide proof of 3,000 hours of satisfactory supervised clinical professional experience. All hours must have been performed after received your Master’s degree. The Supporting Document VE-SW must be completed by the person who supervised the applicant.
  3. For those with a Doctorate in Social Work, 2,000 hours of satisfactory supervised clinical professional experience after receiving your degree will need to be verified. The Supporting Document VE-SW must be completed by the person who supervised the applicant.
  4. You must then pay the $300 fee which includes examination, acceptance of examination and Endorsement of license fees. You can apply for your LCSW license with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation which you can find here.
  5. Provide your sealed transcripts and pass a criminal background check.
  6. Next, pay the $260 fee and sign up for the Clinical level exam from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
  7. If you follow the above steps you are eligible to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Illinois.