ASWLB - Licensing Information & FAQs
The Social Work Licensing Law (A.C.A. 17-103-101 et seq.) requires individuals who practice social work or represent themselves to the public as social workers to be licensed.
"Social work practice" is defined as a professional service that affects change in social conditions, human behavior, and emotional responses of individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations. "Social work practice" can only be performed with specialized knowledge and skills related to human development, the potential for human growth, the availability of social resources, and the knowledge of social systems. The disciplined application of social work knowledge and skills includes, but is not restricted to, the following:
- Counseling with individuals, couples, families, and groups for purposes of assessment and enhancement of the problem-solving and coping capacities of people; and
- The application of social work knowledge and skills in social planning, administration, and research.
Levels & Qualifications
The levels of licensure and requirements are as follows:
Licensed Social Worker (LSW):
A bachelor's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in A.C.A. 17-103-307.
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW):
A master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied for a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in A.C.A. 17-103-307.
Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW):
A master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; two-years (4000 hours) postmaster's LCSW supervised social work experience; successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied for a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in A.C.A. 17-103-307.
First-time applicants for LSW or LMSW licensure will be issued a provisional license upon approval of his or her application. A provisional license will be issued one time per person and will expire exactly one year from the date of issuance. Provisional licensing is prohibited at the LCSW level.
Applicants must apply for a criminal background check prior to being issued a provisional license. The fingerprint cards and instructions for having a background check will be mailed to the applicant upon receipt of his or her application.
The Board currently uses the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examinations. Information about the examination may be found at www.aswb.org. The levels of licensure and examinations are as follows:
- Licensed Social Worker - Bachelors
- Licensed Master Social Worker - Masters
- Licensed Certified Social Worker - Clinical
Note: No one may take the examination without a valid application on file with the Board.
Q: If I fail the exam, may I retake it?
A: Yes, Your application is valid for one year or for up to three attempts to pass the examination. You must wait for 9O-days before retaking the examination. lf your approval period expires, you must complete a new application.
Criminal Background Checks
All first-time applicants for a social work license must apply to the Identification Bureau of the Arkansas State Police for state and national criminal background checks. No person shall be eligible to hold a license if that person has been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in A. C. A. 17-103-307. The provisions of the requirement may be waived by the Board if the applicant meets the requirements for a waiver as defined in A.C.A. 17-103-307.
The Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board may grant a license without examination to a person meeting all of the other requirements of this chapter and who at the time of application is licensed as a social worker by a similar board of another state, territory, district, or Canadian province whose standards, in the opinion of the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board, are substantially equivalent to those required by this chapter.
Q: I am moving out of state, can I be licensed in more than one state?
A: Arkansas does not restrict you from holding a license in any other state. You will need to check with the state where you are moving to see what their qualifications and requirements are. Please note, we have a $20 fee to endorse your license to another state.
Q: How Do I Change My Name or Address?
A: A Change of Address/Name is found under the FORMS tab on the Board's website. Rule X. E. Duty to provide accurate information: The licensee has the responsibility to provide and update the Board with accurate information of any change in their name or address and must do so within thirty (30) days of the change.
Q: What are the types of Supervision?
A: There are two types of Supervision. Please see Rule Vl. Supervision: A. Indicates that all social workers must be supervised. B. Gives information about supervision for obtaining an LCSW license.
Q: Is There an Inactive or Retired License?
A: Arkansas does not have a retired or inactive status. Your license is either active or expired.