Human Services Guide
Massachusetts

Social Work Licensure in Massachusetts

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

Site of the historical Boston Tea Party and one of the original 13 colonies that revolted against England, Massachusetts has one of the oldest histories of any state in the US. With some of the best schools in the country and a rich history, Massachusetts is a great state to start your licensed Social Work career in. It is important to remember that there can always be updates or changes to a state’s rules and regulations.

There are four different kinds of social work licenses in Massachusetts: Licensed Social Worker Assistant (LSWA), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).

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Licensed Social Work Assistant (LSWA)

Massachusetts has several levels of licensure available to people interested in social work. The entry level is known as the licensed social work assistant. This level of licensure allows for work in various social work settings under the direction of more senior license classifications depending on the setting. To become a LSWA in Massachusetts you will need to take the following steps:

    1. First you will need to get a bachelor’s degree in any field.
    2. Or you can get an Associate’s degree in a human services field along with 60 credit hours over two years from an accredited school.
    3. Another option is if you have a High school diploma or equivalent with a minimum of four years of documented social work experience.
    4. You must also provide three professional references one of whom must be currently licensed at the LICSW or LCSW level.
    5. You must then apply for the title providing proof of education to the Massachusetts State Board of Social Work Examiners and pay the $173 fee. You can find the application
    6. Finally, you must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Associate Level Exam and pay their required fee. You can find information on ASWB exams
    7. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 10 contact hours of continuing education.
      • Remember, that the best way to stay informed with current regulations is the state’s website on licensure. Here is the website for the State of Massachusetts:

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

Once you hold the title Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in Massachusetts you will find you have a lot more opportunities as well as a higher pay scale compared to only having an LSWA. In order to be granted a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) license you will need to complete the following steps:

    1. The best option is to get a BSW from a CSWE accredited institution.
    2. Alternately you may hold Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, but you are then required to have four years (3,500 hours) of documented experience in a human services field.
    3. Other options include 75 credit hours over at least a two and a half year period from an accredited school along with an additional 8,750hrs of work in experience over a minimum of a five year period at a social work agency..
    4. Another option is to have at least 60 credit hours over a two year minimum time frame of undergrad college experience from an accredited school along with 10,500 hours of documented work experience over a minimum of a six year period.
    5. The final method is to have at least 30 credit hours (minimum of one full year) of undergrad experience from an accredited school.
    6. You must also provide one (BSW applicants) to three professional references (all other candidates) one of whom must be a current LCSW or LICSW license holder
    7. You must then apply for the title providing proof of education to the Massachusetts State Board of Social Work Examiners and pay the $173 fee. You can find the application by clicking here.
    8. Finally, you must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelor’s Level Exam. You will need to pay the $230 fee and apply to take the exam here.
    9. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 15 contact hours of continuing education.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

The Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) level of licensure allows one a great many opportunities including participating in clinical social work in various social work agencies. This level of licensure acts as a stepping stone for LICSW licensure listed below. In order to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Massachusetts, you will need to complete the following steps:

    1. You must first get your Master of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college.
    2. You must also provide three professional recommendations including one second year field placement supervisory reference; in addition you must include at least one reference from a current LCSW or LICSW license holder.
    3. Then you will need to receive a passing score on an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Master’s or Advanced Generalist Level Exam. You will need to pay the $230 or $260 fee respectively, and apply to take the exam.
    4. You must then apply for the title providing proof of education to the Massachusetts State Board of Social Work Examiners and pay the $173 fee. You can find the application here.
    5. Once you have passed the exam have the results sent to the board and receive your LCSW license.
    6. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 20 contact hours of continuing education.

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

The gold standard of licensure in Massachusetts is the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). This license will allow you to have an independent private clinical practice in Massachusetts. You will need to complete the following steps to earn your LICSW license:

    1. You must first get a Master or Doctorate of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college.
    2. You must also provide documentation showing at least 3,500 hours of post-graduate clinical social work experience. The supervision must be by that of an LICSW, or a professional with equivalent licensure in another state. You must log all 3,500 hours within a two year period that begins after graduation. The 3,500 hours must include 100 hours of face-to-face clinical supervision by the LICSW.
    3. You must then apply for the title providing proof of education to the Massachusetts State Board of Social Work Examiners and pay the $173 fee. You can find the application here.
    4. Finally, you must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical Level Exam. You will need to pay the $260 fee and apply to take the exam here.
    5. Once you pass the test you will be eligible to receive your new title of Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the state of Massachusetts.
    6. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 40 contact hours of continuing education.