Kentucky Social Work Licensure Requirements

The Kentucky Board of Social Work issues licenses at three levels: Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Certified Social Worker (CSW), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

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CSW Requirements in Kentucky

A CSW has education at the master's level and may practice independently within his or her scope of practice. A CSW may only practice clinical social work under board-approved supervision. After a period of supervised work experience, the CSW can move up to LCSW status. An LCSW is authorized for independent practice of clinical social work.

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited online Master's in Social Work. This program is top-ranked by US News and World Report. The GRE is not required to apply to the [email protected] program. A Bachelor's degree is required Learn more about this program.

The Simmons College School of Social Work ([email protected]) is the nation’s oldest school of social work and is offering an innovative Online Master of Social Work program. You can complete this CSWE-accredited Master's in Social Work program in as little as 15 months. There is no GRE required for acceptance to this program. Request information.

[email protected] is the online Master of Social Work program from the top-20–ranked University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW). The program is for students who earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. GRE scores are not required. Request information.

Capella University is now offering an online Master of Social Work that is in CSWE candidacy status. The MSW program helps prepare students to enter the general or clinical practice role (in most states). Capella also offers an online Doctor of Social Work. Click Here to contact Capella University about their Master of Social Work program or Doctor of Social Work program.

LSW Requirements in Kentucky

There is more than one path to licensure as a Kentucky LSW. One is a bachelor's degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program. The other is a bachelor's degree from another program, plus additional coursework as required for equivalency. The candidate must have at least three upper division units in human behavior with an emphasis on psychosocial aspects (six if the LSW candidate doesn't have a foundation in psychology and sociology). He or she must have three upper division units in social welfare (or six if he doesn't have a foundation in economics and political science). The student will need at least six units of social work practicum (or nine if he or she doesn't have lower-division courses in social work methods) and an educational practicum that meets Board requirements. The LSW candidate will also need a relevant research course.

A candidate must also pass the bachelor's level examination given by the Association of Social Work Boards.

LCSW Requirements in Kentucky

Licensure at this level requires a master's or doctoral degree from an approved institution. The prospective social worker must also pass the ASWB master's level examination. AN LCSW candidate may practice social work under a temporary license while waiting to take and pass the examination. However, the candidate will not be able to accrue the supervision hours that will eventually be required.

You may also want to read the article "Master’s Degree in Social Work: Developing Skills and Competencies" if you have any questions about Master's of Social Work programs.

After licensure as a CSW, the social worker will work under supervision for a period of two to three years. The CSW may opt to work 30 or more hours a week and complete requirements in two years. One may opt to work as few as 20 hours a week and stretch the requirements over a three year period. During this time, he or she will be under the professional guidance of a board-approved supervisor.

The CSW must have supervision/ consultation for at least two hours every two week – 200 hours over the course of the supervision period. Up to 100 hours may take place in a small group setting. Supervision must focus on content areas mandated by the Board. These include the diagnostic process, the use of treatment plans, and the handling of ethical issues, among others.

The supervisor must be a clinical social worker in good standing who has met the Board's experience and training requirements. A social worker who is doing his or her supervised practice requirement in another state but intends to become licensed in Kentucky should still make sure their supervisor has at least three years of experience beyond that required for a clinical social work license. If the supervision will take place in Kentucky, the supervision contract must be approved by the Kentucky Board beforehand.

The social worker in training must provide certain information to their clients, including contact information for their supervisor.

A certified social worker must get Board permission before engaging in supervised clinical social work activities that do not meet experience requirements for the higher license.

Licensure as an LCSW is dependent on passing the ASWB clinical examination.

The Licensing Process

There is a $25 fee associated with application (at any level). Official transcripts are required.

After passing the exam, a candidate should send the licensing fee and unofficial score report to the Board.

Kentucky issues temporary clinical and non-clnical permits for up to 240 days while the candidate is completing examination requirements.

Applicants from out of state should provide documentation of supervised experience. If a candidate has been in active practice as a clinical social worker for the five years prior to application, the Kentucky Board will accept that in lieu of demonstrating that his pre-licensure supervision met Kentucky standards.

Applications can be found on the Board site (Click Here for the CSW, LSW and LCSW application forms).

Licenses are renewed every three years. The amount of continuing education required depends on licensing level.

Social Worker Licensing Board and Professional Organizations in Kentucky

If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to become a Social Worker in Kentucky.

Kentucky Board of Social Work


Kentucky Society for Clinical Social Work

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