California Social Work License

California Social Work License

Earn Your California Social Work License

In the state of California, the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) oversees and administers the licensing process for California LCSWs. While we work hard to keep the following information up to date, we do recommend contacting the BBS directly at (916) 574-7830 or visiting their website here.

Once you have obtained your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, here are the remaining steps towards earning your California Social Work License.

STEP 2 - Register as an Associate Social Worker and Accrue Hours.

  • BEFORE starting your clinical hours, the first thing you must do is register with the BBS as an Associate Social Worker (ASW). Click here for application instructions and the form you must submit. A few things that are required for this application (but not limited to):
  • Also BEFORE you start your hours, makes sure your supervisor signs your Supervisory Plan. You will need to submit this with your hours once they have been completed, so make a copy for your supervisor and keep yours on file in a safe place.
  • Next complete 3,200 hours of supervised work experience
    • Minimum of 2,000 hours of focused on clinical psychosocial diagnosis, assessment, and treatment
    • Minimum of 750 hours of focused on face-to-face psychotherapy
    • Maximum of 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
  • Please note, additional coursework may be required if you did not if you did not obtained them during your MSW. This includes:
    • Child abuse assessment and reporting (7 hours), human sexuality (10 hours), alcoholism and chemical dependency (15 hours), spousal/partner abuse (15 hours), and aging and long-term care (10 hours)

STEP 3 - Pass the California Law and Ethics Exam

  • Congratulations! You’ve finished your hours and are now ready to take the first of two California social work license exams.
  • If this is your first time taking the Law and Ethics exam, you must register for eligibility by filling out this form (click here).
    • Make sure you review the application before submitting. Missing dates and signatures are the most common reasons for processing delays. And don’t forget to include the check for the $100 registration fee!
  • Next… start studying! And the best way to do this is using TDC’s CA Law and Ethics Exam Prep course that can have you ready for exam day in 35 hours! If you’d like more information on this program contact us here.

STEP 4 - Prepare For and Pass the LCSW Clinical Exam

  • You’re almost there! Just one more step toward earning your Social Work license in California.
  • Now that you’ve completed your hours and passed the CA Law and Ethics exam, you can submit your application to register for the LCSW Exam (click here)
  • Once your registration has been accepted, contact the Association for Social Work Boards (ASWB) or Pearson VUE to find a test center near you and register for your exam date.
  • And next… of course, start studying! With TDC’s LCSW Exam Prep: ASWB Clinical Level Exam program, 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.

CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve earned your California Social Work License and are now a registered LCSW! We wish you all the best in your career.

The Therapist Development Center Team