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Iowa Social Work Licensure

How to become a Social Worker in Iowa

Below are basic guidelines for those wishing to earn their social work licensure in Iowa. Most procedures and requirements remain constant over the years; however, it is wise to contact the Iowa Bureau of Professional Licensing at (515) 281-7689 to make sure you are on the right track.

Follow the steps to earn your Iowa Social Work License:

Step One:

To practice as a social worker in the state of Iowa you will need to satisfy the following educational requirements...

  • Licensed bachelor social workers (LBSW) will need to receive their bachelors degree in social work from an accredited school.
  • Licensed masters social workers (LMSW) and Licensed independent social workers (LISW) will need a masters in social work from an accredited school.

Request information from schools offering social work degree programs.

Step Two:

Supervised Experience Requirements...

  • A LBSW is not required to complete supervised experience before being licensed.
  • A LMSW is also not required postgraduate experience before licensing.
  • Once a LISW has completed their education at a masters level, they can begin their supervised work experience requirements. This can be fulfilled either by two years of full time work experience or 4000 hours finished in a minimum of 2 years and no more than 6 years. All experience needs to under a Board approved supervisor.

More details about the hourly experience and supervisor qualifications can be found under the Licensure Rules on the following Iowa Department of Public Health webpage.

Step Three:

Once the educational and work experience requirements are fulfilled, you can download and submit your Iowa social work licensure application to the Board. Include all necessary forms and fees with the application.

You can download the Iowa social work licensure application here.

Step Four:

Once your application has been approved by the Board, they will contact and inform you of your eligibility to sit for the Iowa social work licensure examination. LBSW candidates will need to take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) basic level examination. LMSW candidates will need to take and pass the intermediate level examination of the ASWB. Finally, LISW candidates will need to pass the clinical level examination of the ASWB.

Information on all of the above exams is available on the ASWB website.

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

Iowa Social Work Schools & Colleges
Note: This list contains online and campus schools that accept students from Iowa.
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
            • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
            • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
            • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
            • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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            • Online Courses
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Online school designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • Commited more than $60 million in tuition savings in 2015 through scholarships.
            • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
            • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
            • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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            • Online Courses
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            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked #11 in the 2015 Best Graduate Schools in Social Work by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Offers more specialization opportunities than any other social work program, with 10 concentrations and sub-concentrations and 8 dual-degree programs.
            • The first elite researching university to offer a Master of Social Work degree online.
            • Has 4,000 field internship opportunities that give students real-world experience.
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            • Online Courses
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            5 Program(s) Found
            •  Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            •  Offers a no-obligation, 3-week trial period where students may determine if the university is right for them before they commit to it.
            •  Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
            •  Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
            •  Provides career-oriented diploma through master’s programs in fields such as healthcare, business, legal and paralegal services, information technology, criminal justice and design.
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            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked 33rd among the Best Grad Schools for Social Work in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Founded in 1904 as the nation’s first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers.
            • Provides a rigorous education, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and PhD in Social Work.  
            • Offers inventive programs with hands-on experience.  
            • Incorporates social justice values and multicultural perspectives into curriculum. 
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            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
            • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
            • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
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            • Online Courses
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
            • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
            • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
            • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
            • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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            Good for Working Adults
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.

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