Human Services Guide
Minnesota

Social Work Licensure in Minnesota

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Minnesota is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" due to its seemingly endless lakes and waterways. With breathtaking natural beauty and its crown jewel the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Minnesota is great place to live. Minnesota is also 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. Remember, that the best way to stay informed with current regulations is the state’s website on licensure.

There are four different kinds of social work licenses in Minnesota: Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW), Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).

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Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

The entry level designation for licensed social work in Minnesota is the Licensed Social Worker (LSW). This level of licensure will allow you into a greater number of social work opportunities than you would have access to without a license. It is also a great way to start your Social Work career and gain valuable experience towards higher levels of licensure. If you wish to attain the title Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in Minnesota you will need to complete the following steps:

    1. You must first get a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college. They will also accept degrees from the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASW) or a similar accreditation body designated by the board. Alternately, you may hold a Doctorate of Social Work from an accredited school.
    2. Next you will need to pay the $77 criminal background check and application fee and pass a fingerprint background check from a state approved agency as part of the application process.
    3. You will also need to apply with the paper application you find here. If you prefer you can apply online using the application process you can find here.
    4. 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 for your ASWB Bachelor’s Level exam here.
    5. Once you attain your license, you will need to log 4,000 hours of supervised practice with 100 hours of supervision during those 4,000 hours. You will need to complete the Supervision Plan as part of initial licensing which you can find here. You will also need to provide proof you have completed the supervision by having your Board approved supervisor complete the Nonclinical supervision verification form which you can find here.
    6. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 40 contact hours of continuing education.

Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)

The next level of licensure is known as the Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) this allows you to do non-clinical social work in a wider variety of jobs as well as enjoying a higher rate of pay for your work. You can also perform supervised clinical social work if under the supervision of a state licensed LICSW with additional supervised experience being required (see below). If you wish to attain the title Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in Minnesota, you will need to complete the following steps:

    1. You must first get a Master of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college. They will also accept degrees from the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASW) or a similar accreditation body designated by the board. Alternately, you may hold a Doctorate of Social Work from an accredited school
    2. Next you will need to pay the $77 criminal background check and application fee and pass a fingerprint background check from a state approved agency as part of the application process.
    3. You will also need to apply with the paper application you find here. If you prefer you can apply online using the application process you can find here.
    4. Once you attain your license, you will need to log 4,000 hours of supervised practice with 100 hours of supervision during those 4,000 hours. You will need to complete the Supervision Plan as part of initial licensing which you can find here. You will also need to provide proof you have completed the supervision by having your Board approved supervisor complete the Nonclinical supervision verification form which you can find here
    5. If you wish to engage in clinical practice after initial licensure, you will need to meet the following requirements: You must log 4,000 to 8,000 hours of clinical social work practice. 200 hours of this must be supervised within the 4 - 8,000 hours logged. Of the 4,000 hours, at least 1,800 hours must be in the form of direct client contact. You will need to submit a Clinical Supervision Plan as found here to the Board. Your supervisor will then need to complete this Clinical Supervision Verification form after you have logged the required hours.
    6. Finally, you must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Master’s Level Exam. You will need to pay the $230 fee and apply for your ASWB Master’s Level exam here.
    7. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 40 contact hours of continuing education.

Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)

The next level of licensure in Minnesota is known as the Licensed Independent Social Worker. This designation allows the license holder to independently practice social work without supervision in a non-clinical setting or under supervision of a LICSW in a clinical setting. To become a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) in Minnesota, 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. They will also accept degrees from the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work or a similar accreditation body designated by the board. Alternately, you may hold a Doctorate of Social Work from an accredited school.
    2. Once you attain your license, you will need to log 4,000 hours of non-clinical supervised practice with 100 hours of supervision during those 4,000 hours. You will need to complete the Supervision Plan as part of initial licensing which you can find here. You will also need to provide proof you have completed the supervision by having your Board approved supervisor complete the Nonclinical supervision verification form which you can find here.
    3. If you wish to engage in clinical practice you will need to meet the following requirements: You must log 4,000 hours of clinical social work practice. 100 hours of this must be supervised within the 4,000 hours logged. Of the 4,000 hours, at least 1,800 hours must be in the form of direct client contact. You will need to submit a Clinical Supervision Plan as found here to the Board. Your supervisor will then need to complete this Clinical Supervision Verification form after you have logged the required hours.
    4. Next you will need to pay the $77 criminal background check and application fee and pass a fingerprint background check from a state approved agency as part of the application process.
    5. You will also need to apply with the paper application you find here. If you prefer you can apply online using the application process you can find by clicking here.
    6. You must then receive a passing score on an Association of Social Workers ASWB Master Level Exam. You will need to pay the $260 fee and apply for your Master Level ASWB exam here.
    7. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 40 contact hours of continuing education.

      Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

      The highest level of licensure in Minnesota is the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). This level of licensure allows you to practice clinical social work in a private practice or an agency setting. You can also supervise lower levels of licensure (LSW, LGSW, LISW) in a clinical setting. If you wish to hold the title of Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Minnesota, you will need to complete the following steps:

        1. You must first get a Master of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college. They will also accept degrees from the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work or a similar accreditation body designated by the board. Alternately, you may hold a Doctorate of Social Work from an accredited school.
        2. You must log 4,000 hours of clinical social work practice. 200 hours of this must be supervised within the 4,000 hours logged. Of the 4,000 hours, at least 1,800 hours must be in the form of direct client contact. You will need to submit a Clinical Supervision Plan as found here to the Board. Your supervisor will then need to complete this Clinical Supervision Verification form after you have logged the required hours.
        3. You will then need to participate in a CSWE accredited graduate program and complete 360 Clinical Clock Hours. You will need to show you have the following hours:.
          1. 108 clock hours in biopsychosocial assessment including normative development as well as psychopathology throughout full development of a human life. You will also need to have demonstrated differential diagnosis during this process..
          2. 36 clock hours must be in assessment based clinical plans for treatments; the treatment model you create must have measurable goals.
          3. 108 clock hours in clinical intervention methods informed by current standards in social work practice as well as the most recent research in the field.
          4. 18 clock hours must be logged demonstrating evaluation methodologies.
          5. 72 clock hours must be in social policy, cultural context, diversity as well as social work ethics and values
          6. 18 clock hours must be logged demonstrating the ability to perform culturally specific clinical assessments as well as interventions.
        4. You will need to have your graduate program official help you to complete the 360 hours forms which you can find by clicking here.
        5. Next you will need to pay the $77 criminal background check and application fee and pass a fingerprint background check from a state approved agency as part of the application process.
        6. You will also need to apply with the paper application you find here. If you prefer you can apply online using the application process.
        7. Once you have completed and sent in your application you may apply with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) for their Clinical Level exam. You will need to pay the $260 fee and apply for your ASWB Clinical Level exam here..
        8. Once you pass the test you will be eligible to receive your new title of Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the state of Minnesota
        9. To renew your license, you must have successfully completed 40 contact hours of continuing education.