Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

The Licensed Social Worker is a specially trained Social Worker who has met requirements for licensure in order to help clients with mental health issues. The Licensed Social Worker brings a special “Social Work” frame to the realm of mental health healing. While the Licensed Social Worker is trained to work with all types of clients, many Licensed Social Workers have chosen to specialize in working with a sub-set of the population such as: Children, adolescents, couples, groups, and adults with specific mental issues such as addiction. Other Licensed Social Workers will use their training to work in different capacities such as with fellow social workers as part of a research team or becoming administrators within Human Services agencies.

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How an LSW is a Service to Society

Few things are as impactful for people as helping them to resolve emotional pains through comprehensive, strength based therapy. Many people are nothing short of crippled in many areas of their life due to unresolved traumas.

By freeing people from the burdens of past pain and helping them unravel self-defeating patterns, the Licensed Social Work provides an invaluable service toward helping people live fulfilling and happy lives. Nothing is of greater value than being able to live life to its fullest and overcome perceived barriers in order to find success and joy in all realms of life.

Impact on Society

The impact on society of this kind of work is both profound and also subtle. As people go through the healing process of resolving trauma and emotional wounds, the also free up enormous stores of creative potential. This in turn is something they can harness in their personal and professional lives.

As each member of society heals, they are able to add their powerful expressions of creative toward the greater good of their organizations, families and society as a whole. This creates a cascade effect as happiness is in fact contagious and it also models for others the kind of freedom and positivity they can experience by resolving their issues. The impact on society of the Licensed Social Worker is one that is hard to measure, but is without question a huge boon.

Education Required to Join the Workforce

Licensure requirements for social work vary from state to state and you can learn about the requirements of your state on our home page.

In most states, to hold the title of Licensed Social Worker, you will need to have earned your Bachelor of Science in Social Work or a highly related field in order to be accepted into a Master of Social Work program which you must then complete to earn your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.

Once you have your degree, you will need to accumulate clinical experience under the supervision of a Licensed Social Worker in an amount determined by your state. There is often also a Jurisprudence examination as well as an exam created by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) which will vary depending on your state.

Range of Salaries for this Job

For Licensed Social Workers the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports an annual mean wage of between: $44,670 and $86,030 with a median pay average of $50,390 per year. This will of course vary depending on the state and the form of employment. For example, there is a significant difference in wages earned by those working for a state government vs. those who open their own private practice.

What’s Next to Pursue a Career as a Licensed Social Worker?

If you have yet to earn your Bachelor’s degree, the first step is finding a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, which you will need to complete while earning at least a 3.0 GPA. Once you have your BSW, you will need to find a school that has a Master of Social Work (MSW) program that has an emphasis that appeals to you.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Licensed Social Workers reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2023.