California Social Work License

California Social Work License

Earn Your California Social Work License

Are you interested in getting your social work license in California? By getting your social work license in California, you’ll be joining approximately 29,609 other social workers in providing the residents of California with quality mental health services. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide for obtaining your social work license in California. While we work hard to keep our information up-to-date, it’s best to get in touch with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences at (916) 574-7830 to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

5 Steps for Obtaining Your California Social Work License:

  1. 1

    Fulfill Your Education Requirements.

    Obtain a Master of Social Work (MSW) from a CSWE approved or accredited college or university.

  2. 2

    Register as an Associate Social Worker

    Register with the BBS as a Associate Social Worker BEFORE starting your clinical hours.

    Have you supervisor sign a Supervisory Plan  BEFORE beginning your clinical hours. Give a copy to your supervisor and make folder to keep this.  You will need to submit it with your hours once they are complete.

    Complete 3,200 hours of supervised work experience (minimum 2,000 hours focused on clinical psychosocial diagnosis, assessment, and treatment; minimum 750 hours focused on face-to-face psychotherapy; maximum 1,200 hours focused on client-centered advocacy, consultation, evaluation and research).

    Obtain 104 weeks of supervision (any week of at least one hour of individual supervision or two hours of group supervision counts as a supervised week; at least 52 of the 104 weeks must include a minimum one-hour meeting with a supervisor); 52 hours must be individual supervision and 13 of those must be with a current LCSW; no more than five hours of supervision may be credited during any single week.

    If not obtained during your MSW, additional required course work includes: child abuse assessment and reporting (seven hours), human sexuality (10 hours), alcoholism and chemical dependency (15 hours), spousal/partner abuse (15 hours), and aging and long-term care (10 hours).

  3. 3

    Pass the California Law and Ethics Exam

    Complete the State Application for exam eligibility.

    Make sure to review your completed application. Missing dates and signatures are the most common reasons applications are delayed. And don’t forget to include the check!

    Our Law and Ethics Prep Course will get you ready in 35 hours!

  4. 4

    Prepare for the LCSW Clinical Exam

    Submit your application to the BBS once your clinical hours are complete and you've passed the Law and Ethics Exam.

    Pick an exam date and make your test appointment with Pearson Exams.

    Use our complete study system for the LCSW Exam. We cover the essential topics and supply the thinking strategies you’ll need to figure out the right answer. We provide an organized, step-by-step approach so you won’t waste your time trying to figure out what to study. Coaches who recently passed the exam are available to answer any questions while you prepare. Our materials are developed by social workers who passed the social work licensing exam with over 90% correct. We recommend studying 4-8 weeks with our program.

  5. 5

    Pass the LCSW Clinical Exam.

    Congratulations! What an accomplishment. We wish you all the best in your career as a licensed clinical social worker.

Do you have questions about the Social Work Exam? Download our free Social Work Exam Guide.

Do you still have questions about obtaining your California social work license? Contact us and one of our coaches will help out.

The Therapist Development Center Team


Follow Us