Human Services Guide
Ohio

Social Work Licensure in Ohio

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

The geography of Ohio has been very important to its historical and economic importance to the US. Linking the Northeast to the Midwest has allowed large amounts of business traffic and cargo to pass through the state. One of its nicknames is the mother of presidents due to it having a large number of presidents that were born there. With its rich history and great geography, Ohio is a fantastic place to live. Ohio 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. Information on rules and current regulations for Ohio can be found on the state’s website on licensure.

There are three different kinds of social work licenses in Ohio: Social Worker Assistant (SWA), Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW).

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Social Work Trainee (SW-T)

In the state of Ohio, there are five levels of licensure. The first of these is Social Work Trainee (SW-T). This designation allows you to act as a social worker while you are a student in an internship course as part of a master’s program. To attain this designation, complete the following steps:

  1. The only educational requirement for this license is to be registered in a CSWE accredited Master of Social Work internship.
  2. You must complete the application online, which you can find here.
  3. You will be required to successfully pass a BCI and FBI criminal record check. Background checks completed by another agency are not acceptable.

    Social Worker Assistant (SWA)

    The second level of licensure is the Social Worker Assistant (SWA). The title of SWA is an excellent entry level into the higher levels of social work licensure in Ohio. Having your SWA licensure will help you to gain experience that will help to open doors to higher levels of licensure. If you want to earn the SWA title in Ohio you will need to complete the following steps:

    1. If you wish to attain the title Social Worker Assistant (SWA) in Ohio, you must first get an associate’s in “social service technology” which is defined as 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of core social work systems, theory and skills courses. This must include a social service practicum with 14 semester or 21 quarter hours of related coursework in economics, psychology or sociology. You must average a minimum of a C- average for your classes..
    2. You must pay a $60 fee along with a $3.50 processing fee as part of your application to the board of social work in Ohio which you can find here. You can apply once you have registered and created a user ID and password.
    3. You must view this video which reviews the Ohio board’s laws and rules. This will help assure that you know what your scope of responsibilities encompasses as a SWA.
    4. You will be required to successfully pass a BCI and FBI criminal record check.
    5. 5. Request that your school send your official transcripts to the Ohio board. The board prefers that your institution email the transcript to socialwork@cswb.ohio.gov. If this is not an option, you can have it mailed to 77 South High Street, 24th Floor, Room 2468 Columbus, Ohio 43215-6171.

      Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

      The third level of licensure in Ohio is known as the Licensed Social Worker (LSW). This level of licensure is available to people who have earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in social work. This level of licensure brings with it a higher pay scale, which usually comes with increased responsibilities. To attain the LSW title, one must complete the following steps:

      1. If you wish to attain the title Licensed Social Worker (LSW) in Ohio, you must first get a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college.
      2. You must pay $80 as part of your application along with a $3.50 processing fee. Find the online application for LSW here, where you’ll need to register with a user ID and password.
      3. You will be required to successfully pass a BCI and FBI criminal record check.
      4. You must view this video which reviews the Ohio board’s laws and rules. This will help assure that you know what your scope of responsibilities encompasses as an LSW.
      5. Finally, you must pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelor’s Level Exam after paying the $230 fee and registering for a Pearson Testing Center.
      6. Request that your school send your official transcripts to the Ohio board. The board prefers that your institution email the transcript to socialwork@cswb.ohio.gov. If this is not an option, you can have it mailed to 77 South High Street, 24th Floor, Room 2468 Columbus, Ohio 43215-6171.

      Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)

      The fourth level of licensure in Ohio is known as the Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW). This license allows you to independently practice clinical social worker including opening your own independent practice. In order to become a LISW, you will need to complete the following process:

      1. If you wish to hold the title of Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) in Ohio, 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. Your training must be documented by your training supervisors via this professional employment reference form
      3. To attain your license, you will need to accrue 3,000 hours of professional Social Work supervised practice. You will need to log these hours over not less than two years with 150 hours of individual or group supervision by a Licensed Independent Social Worker..
      4. You must pay the $100 fee in addition to submitting your application online which can be accessed here. You must also complete registration by creating a user ID and password. Pay $260 for either the clinical or advanced generalist exam. Register for a Pearson Testing Center for the exam.
      5. You must view this video which reviews the Ohio board’s laws and rules. This will help assure that you know what your scope of responsibilities encompasses as an LISW.
      6. Ensure that the board has your MSW/MSSA transcripts; these can be emailed to socialwork@cswb.ohio.gov.
      7. You will be required to successfully pass a BCI and FBI criminal record check. .

        Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervision Designation

        The final level of licensure in Ohio is known as the Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervision Designation (LISW-S). This level of licensure is required in order to supervise social workers who are accruing professional supervised social work experience. This level of licensure allows you to practice all the elements of the LISW, and also be able to perform supervision services. For those wishing to attain their LISW-S license, just follow these steps:

        1. If you wish to hold the title of Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervision Designation (LISW-S) in Ohio, you must first get a year of experience working as an LISW.
        2. Complete the application for LISW-S here.
        3. Complete nine hours or more of continuing education in social work, or
        4. Complete a supervision course at the master’s level within the past three years.

        Here is the website for the State of Ohio:

OH Human Services Topics