Social Work Licensure in Oregon

To earn social work licensure in Oregon, you must first complete a social work degree and receive a passing score on an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. In Oregon, the majority of social work practitioners hold a master's degree; however, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree. Those who graduate from social work programs in Oregon at the bachelor's level are eligible for a non-clinical registered baccalaureate social worker (RBSW) certificate. All other Oregon social work licensure options, including licensed master social worker (LMSW), clinical social work associate (CSWA), and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), require the completion of graduate-level coursework, as well as a passing score on the Oregon jurisprudence exam. Currently, there is no reciprocity between other states and social work licensure in Oregon. Individuals who earn their license or certification from a state other than Oregon must receive a separate license from the state. This includes sending applications to the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers and passing the ASWB and Oregon Jurisprudence exam. Once candidates fulfill all requirements, they must undergo fingerprinting, pass a criminal history background check, pay a fee, and wait for approval from the Oregon State Board.

Types of Social Work Degrees in Oregon

All social work professionals in Oregon are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree, which prepares them to earn the RBSW certificate. To gain the LMSW, LCSW, or CSWA credentials, professionals must hold a master's or doctorate degree. Undergraduate programs give students a strong foundation in social work, while master's programs expand on the foundation and dive deeper into ethics and social justice. Students should expect an undergraduate baccalaureate program to consist of approximately 120 credits. Bachelor's programs can be completed in four to five years if pursued full-time. Earning a social work degree in Oregon at the master's level typically takes an additional two years to complete on a full-time basis. Earning a Ph.D. in social work requires candidates to take further graduate coursework, conduct research on a specific topic of interest, teach undergraduate-level classes, and complete a dissertation.

Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Usually comprised of 120 credits, a bachelor's degree in social work provides students with a solid foundation and ethical framework for a generalist social work practice. Undergraduate students earning their social work degree in Oregon complete field placements and explore topics such as human rights and social justice, ethical and professional behavior, assessment techniques, and intervention strategies. Students typically earn their degrees in four years of full-time study, and graduates are eligible to take the bachelor's-level ASWB exam and become an RBSW. Entry-level RBSW professionals work in various public and private human service organizations that support children, adults, and families through advocacy, research, community development, and child welfare.

Master's in Social Work

A master's degree in social work prepares graduates for careers through advanced coursework and practice. Master's graduates hold a bachelor's degree in social work or related field, and possess a solid understanding of how to provide mental health services to adults, children, families, and communities. Graduate coursework expands on this foundation of social work and ensures students are ready to take on an ethical practice rooted in to economic, political, and social justice. Many social work programs in Oregon at the master's level are theoretically driven and emphasize social values and organizational change processes. Programs are typically 48–60 credits and include coursework, field placement hours, and a final thesis project.

Doctorate Degree in Social Work

Ph.D.s are rigorous, research-heavy degrees in which students teach and produce research. Doctoral graduates become leaders and experts in social work. Candidates complete coursework, supervised research assistantships, and a final dissertation; many Ph.D. candidates also specialize in areas like policy development, children and family services, or substance abuse. Admissions requirements include a master's degree in social work or a relevant discipline, GRE scores, a strong academic background, writing samples, and exceptional communication skills. Ph.D. programs in social work can be quite demanding and take about three to five years to complete. As a result, many students find it challenging to work full time and complete their degree simultaneously.

How to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Oregon

There are four options for Oregon social work licensure. This includes clinical and non-clinical options. One non-clinical route is to earn a certificate as an RBSW, which requires a bachelor's in social work and a passing score on the bachelor's level ASWB exam. Another option for non-clinical social work is to become an LMSW, which requires a master's degree and a passing score on the master's level ASWB exam. Earning a clinical license in Oregon requires practitioners to complete a master's certificate of clinical social work associates. The next step is to become an LCSW, which is available to previously licensed practitioners and those who pass the ASWB clinical exam. The requirements for each certification and license vary.

Registered Baccalaureate Social Worker

  1. Bachelor's Degree: Applicants must send official transcripts from the institution in which they earned their baccalaureate degree. It should be noted that these social work programs must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work. Bachelor's degrees are typically completed in four years and ensure candidates have a strong foundation in the social work field.
  2. ASWB Bachelor's-Level Exam: Candidates must pass the ASWB bachelors-level examination, which consists of 170 multiple-choice questions. Candidates pay a fee and must be authorized by the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers to register for the exam. Resources such as exam content outlines, information about scoring, and practice tests are available on the ASWBs website.
  3. Oregon Jurisprudence Exam: The Oregon jurisprudence exam is an open-book test focused on the administrative statutes, rules, and laws of social work in Oregon. This self-administered quiz is mailed, faxed, or emailed to the Oregon board once completed. A passing score consists of 27 correct answers out of 30 multiple choice questions.

Licensed Master Social Worker

  1. Master's Degree: Applicants must send official transcripts from the social work school in Oregon in which they earned their graduate degree; these programs must be accredited by the CSWE. Master's degrees take approximately two years to complete and ensure candidates build on their foundational knowledge of social work.
  2. ASWB Master's-Level Exam: Candidates must pass the ASWB master's-level examination, which consists of 170 multiple-choice questions. Candidates pay a fee and must be authorized by the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers to register for the exam. Resources, including exam content outlines, information about scoring, and practice tests, are available on the ASWBs website.
  3. Oregon Jurisprudence Exam: Candidates must pass the Oregon jurisprudence exam, which is an open-book test surrounding the administrative statutes, rules, and laws of social work in Oregon. This self-administered quiz is mailed, faxed, or emailed to the Oregon board once completed. A passing score consists of 27 correct answers out of 30 multiple choice questions.

Clinical Social Work Associate

  1. Supervision Experience: The CSWA certificate is for master's-level social workers who are working towards licensure. Candidates must complete a minimum of two years of supervision hours, and the supervisor must have two years of licensed practice and a minimum of six continuing education hours. Pending board approval, hours may be transferred from other states and jurisdictions.
  2. Master's Degree: Applicants must send official transcripts from the social work school in which they earned their graduate degree; programs must be accredited by the CSWE. Master's degrees take approximately two years to complete and ensure candidates have had the opportunity to build on their foundational knowledge of social work.
  3. ASWB Clinical Exam: Candidates must pass the ASWB clinical examination, which consists of 170 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must pay a fee and be authorized by the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers to register for the exam. Resources including exam content outlines, information about scoring, and practice tests are available on the ASWBs website.
  4. Oregon Jurisprudence Exam: Candidates must pass the Oregon jurisprudence exam, which is an open-book test surrounding the administrative statutes, rules, and laws of social work in Oregon. This self-administered quiz is mailed, faxed, or emailed to the Oregon board once completed. A passing score consists of 27 correct answers out of 30 multiple choice questions.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

  1. Full-Time Experience: The LCSW license is for certified CSWAs. To apply, applicants must complete 3,500 work hours. These hours must include a minimum of 2,000 client hours and 100 hours of supervision. Pending board approval, hours may be transferred from other states and jurisdictions.
  2. Master's Degree: Applicants must send in official transcripts from the social work program in which they earned their graduate degrees. Programs must be accredited by the CSWE. Master's degrees take approximately two years to complete and ensure candidates have had the opportunity to build on their foundational knowledge of social work.
  3. ASWB Clinical Exam: Candidates must pass the ASWB clinical examination, which consists of 170 multiple-choice questions. Candidates pay a fee and must be authorized by the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers to register for the exam. Resources including exam content outlines, information about scoring, and practice tests are available on the Association of Social Work Boards website.
  4. Oregon Jurisprudence Exam: Candidates must pass the Oregon jurisprudence exam, which is an open-book test surrounding the administrative statutes, rules, and laws of social work in Oregon. This self-administered quiz is mailed, faxed, or emailed to the Oregon board once completed. A passing score consists of 27 correct answers out of 30 multiple choice questions.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed Social Worker in Oregon?

Each license has its own set of requirements and timelines for completion. To become an RBSW, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree. To become a CSWA, an LMSW, or an LCSW, candidates must hold graduate-level degrees, which can take up to five or six years to complete. All licensure and certification candidates must consider the time it takes to obtain a passing score on the bachelor's-level, master's-level, or clinical ASWB exams. Becoming an LCSW takes the longest amount of time, as it requires 3,500 hours of full-time experience. Once candidates have completed all the requirements and submitted their applications, it can take two to three months to process and receive approval from the Oregon board.

Out of State Licensing Reciprocity in Oregon

Oregon does not currently have reciprocity with other states for social worker licensure. Professionals who are licensed or certified in a state other than Oregon must submit an application, a license or certificate verification form, and a copy of their official transcripts to the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers. Out-of-state licensed Individuals who have not been required to pass the appropriate ASWB exam must take the test and submit a passing score. Although there is no reciprocity for Oregon social work licensure, those who hold an out-of-state certificate equivalent to the CSWA may be able to transfer their hours pending board approval. All applicants must pass the Oregon jurisprudence exam, submit fingerprinting for a background check, and pay a fee. The application fee for RBSWs and LMSWs is $50. The fee is $150 for CSWAs and LCSWs. The fee for an initial issuance of a certificate or license is $50 for RBSW, $100 for LMSW, $60 for CSWA, and $260 for LCSW.

License Renewal

Social work professionals are required to renew their certifications and licenses everyone one or two years, depending on the specific license. CSWAs must renew their license annually, while LCSW, LMSW, and RBSWs must renew every two years. Each license, except the CSWA, has a set of continuing education requirements that must be met and submitted 45 days prior to the renewal date. Continuing education requirements include 40 credit hours every two years for LCSWs, 30 credit hours every two years for LMSWs, and 20 credit hours every two years for RBSWs.

To renew a certificate in Oregon, candidates must apply online and pay a fee. The renewal fee is $110 for an active RBSW and $40 for an inactive RBSW; active LMSWs pay $220 and inactives pay $80; active CSWAs must pay $66; active LCSWs must pay $286 to renew their licenses, and $106 for an inactive LCSW. Licenses and certificates submitted for renewal after expiration will incur a late fee. The late fee is $60 for an RBSW, LMSW, CSWA, and an inactive LCSW. The late fee for an active LCSW is $200.

Accredited Social Work Programs in Oregon

For individuals interested in becoming a professional social worker, it's important to look for accredited online social work programs in Oregon. When a school or program is accredited, prospective students are assured the program has been evaluated and approved by a professional accrediting agency. Agencies use various standards, such as the CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, to develop criteria that schools must meet or exceed. These standards articulate requirements that demonstrate a program's competence for preparing graduates for the social work profession. Individuals who earn an online social work degree should confirm that their program is accredited by the CSWE, who works with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to ensure schools are offering high-quality education to students.

What Can You Do With a Social Work Degree?

Graduates of social work programs in Oregon have many career options. They may choose to work in a clinical setting, such as a hospital, where they provide professional psychotherapeutic counseling services to those suffering from mental illnesses or issues with substance abuse. Some social workers may prefer to work in nonclinical settings, such as public policy or victim-advocacy groups. Social workers may also work with children, adults, families, or other communities. They often help people by listening, assessing situations, providing advice, and directing clients to necessary resources. All professional social workers must have a bachelor's degree to practice in Oregon. Those who want to work in clinical settings must earn their master's or doctoral degree.

  • Social Workers: Social workers help individuals, groups, and communities identify and solve problems. Whether through policy and advocacy work or by providing counseling services, social workers help people enhance their overall emotional and mental health. Social workers must hold a bachelor's degree and a certificate or license to practice in Oregon.
  • Marriage and Family Therapists: Using various family-centered approaches, techniques, and counseling services, marriage and family therapists help people solve interpersonal problems. Therapists talk with individuals, couples, and families about emotions and personal experiences. Marriage and family therapists must hold a master's degree and a certification to practice in Oregon.
  • School and Career Counselors: School counselors help students develop and improve their academic and social skills. They typically work with parents and teachers in elementary, middle, and high school settings. Career counselors may work in colleges, universities, or job placement firms. They help students identify the best career path by evaluating interests and skills, and often provide job search assistance and interviewing or resume-writing tips.
  • Healthcare Social Workers: Healthcare social workers provide psychosocial support to individuals and groups through counseling services, patient education, and case management. They design intervention plans and strategies to help people recover from mental illness. Healthcare social workers work in settings that include hospitals, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and home health care providers.
  • Mental Health Counselors: Mental health counselors help people identify and treat symptoms of mental illness and emotional stress. They may work in one-on-one or group settings, providing counseling services or lead support networks. Mental health counselors help people with depression, anxiety, and grief improve their overall emotional and mental well being.

Salary Expectations for Social Workers in Oregon

In Oregon, community and social service workers earn approximately $50,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the annual income for social workers in 2017 was $47,980. Oregon is one of the top-paying states for social workers in the healthcare settings. With an annual mean wage of $64,600, central Oregon is the top paying nonmetropolitan area for mental health and substance abuse social workers. Social workers in community service and residential care facilities are on the lower end of the income spectrum, while those who work in government, school, and hospital settings have higher earning potential. Use the table below to consider the average yearly salaries for various types of social workers in Oregon.

Average Salary for Social Workers in Oregon

Social Workers $53,370
Marriage and Family Therapists $50,350
School and Career Counselors $61,370
Healthcare Social Workers $70,190
Mental Health Counselors $57,420
Source: BLS

Professional Organizations for Social Workers in Oregon

Professional organizations and associations foster collaboration and a sense of collegiality across the field of social work. When social workers become a member of an organization, they gain access to continuing education opportunities, professional affiliations, employment resources, research grants, and more. Some organizations offer member-only events, conferences, publications, and journals. There are often leadership opportunities available, enabling social workers to give back to their communities by mentoring graduate students and new professionals in the field. Establishing oneself as a member of a professional organization is a great way to demonstrate credibility in the industry. Joining an organization also allows social workers to develop and strengthen their collective voice to advocate for their profession.

  • Oregon Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-Oregon): Founded in 1955, NASW is the largest organization of social workers. The state of Oregon established its own chapter in 1971, and it now boasts 1,800 members. NASW protects the social work practice through legislation and advocacy work, research, and continuing education. Members participate in networking activities and have access to a job board.
  • Oregon Counseling Association: ORCA represents the Oregon branch of the American Counseling Association, the largest association for professional counselors and therapists in the world. Dedicated to the improvement, advocacy, and protection of the profession, ORCA fosters collaboration through professional development and networking opportunities. Members benefit from liability insurance, continuing education programs, annual conferences, journal subscriptions, research assistance, research grants, and a job board.
  • Oregon School Social Work Association: OSSWA supports school social workers and social justice in Oregon. Members benefit from access to conferences and networking opportunities. The organization also provides a job board and continuing education courses and training. Members of OSSWA meet regularly to plan workshops and support each other.
FIND A PROGRAM
Sponsored Schools
usc msw