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California Social Work Licensure

How to become a Social Worker in California...

Below are basic guidelines for those wishing to earn their social work licensure in California. Most procedures and requirements remain constant over the years; however, it is wise to contact the California Board of Behavioral Sciences at (916) 574-7830 to make sure you are on the right track.

Follow the steps to earn your California Social Work License:

Step One:

A masters degree in Social Work from an approved school is necessary in order to begin the process of licensure.

Additional coursework has recently been added to the list of educational requirements. These courses can be taken during the MSW program or as an Associate Social Worker (ASW) - find more information about ASW in step 2. You can find more information about educational requirements on the following California Board of Behavioral Sciences webpage.

Request information from psychology schools and colleges in California.

Request information from schools offering social work degree programs or learn more about accredited social work programs offered in California on the Council for Social Work Education website.

Step Two:

Once you have completed your Masters degree in social work, the next step is to begin acquiring experience. However, you must first register as an Associate Social Worker (ASW) prior to logging any hours counting as supervised hours.

You can download the application here.

Step Three:

To Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California, you will need to acquire supervised experience. A total of 3200 hours of supervised work experience and 104 weeks of supervision is required for licensure.

There are also rules as to the type of supervisor you must have and their experience. These hours are broken down into specific categories and need to be completed within six years of applying for your final exams. More detailed information can be found on the following California Board of Behavioral Sciences webpage. Or download this simplified chart.

Step Four:

Now you can download and submit your examination eligibility application to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Once they have reviewed and accepted your application you will be provided with information about the written exam and clinical vignette exam.

This process can take some time, so being aware of deadlines and keeping your Associate Social Worker license active is important.

California Social Work Schools & Colleges
Note: This list also contains online schools that accept students from California.

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