Graduating MSW students are eligible to register and take the LSW exam during their final (graduating) semester in Pennsylvania. The LSW is a national exam. If a student passes the exam in Pennsylvania, they are able to apply for reciprocity in another state.
The LCSW (clinical) exam can be taken a minimum of three years in Pennsylvania (two years in New Jersey) post-LSW exam with the approval of a clinical supervisor.
Licensure in Pennsylvania
The PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Counselors no longer accepts paper applications. Please go to their website to apply. Go to the Licensing Services on the left column to Register and begin the process.
The application no longer requires two recommendations from professional social workers. A Criminal Background Check is now required as part of the application for PA licensure. Also, there is a new requirement indicating that each applicant must complete the Self-Query form from the National Database of Clinicians within 6 months of the application. Details are contained in the application on the website.
The online application process includes the verification of social work education form, which students can download and give to the SP2 Registrar to sign and submit directly to the Board. This allows students to register and sit for the exam before graduation. Students do not submit their transcript until after graduation.
State Boards must have official, final transcripts on file. Even if students pass the exam before graduation, they must send their official transcript to the State Board after graduation, once degrees have been conferred. SP2 does not send the transcript on students’ behalf; students are responsible for ordering transcripts from the University Registrar. To ensure that a transcript is sent properly, students should check their unofficial transcripts in Penn In Touch to ensure:
- that the degree has been conferred; and
- that all information is correct
Questions about the information displayed on a transcript should be addressed to the SP2 Registrar.
Please note that criminal history checks must be no older than 90 days from the date of Application for Licensure by examination.
Licensure in Other States
If you are interested in the licensure requirements of other states, please utilize this Professional Licensure Disclosure list. Under “Degree Name,” select “Master of Social Work.” From there you can navigate to the state of interest and find their respective licensure board and website.
Study Materials, Exam Registration, & Practice Test: https://www.aswb.org
LSW Pre-Course through Bryn Mawr College: https://www.brynmawr.edu/swprodev/lsw-lcsw-exam-preparation
A recent survey of past participants of the prep course revealed a 90% exam pass rate after taking this course.