All about Licensing

Getting your online degree in social work is a giant leap forward in pursuing your career goals. Licensing is an important next step in fulfilling the credentials that many employers look for when hiring a social worker.

What Your License Tells Employers

Professional licensing, regardless of discipline, helps to protect society against malpractice and misconduct that would be committed by health care workers. Licensing is more stringent than registration or certification, requiring that formal testing is conducted and successfully completed. Obtaining your license as a social worker tells prospective employers that you are serious about your future, and the future of the profession as a whole. It shows that you understand the value of social work in serving others, and the significance of your work as a contribution to social justice and the greater good. Licensing helps to protect that status of social workers everywhere.

Why Each State has Different Requirements

Each state has the latitude to define what social work is and who may practice the profession. Some states require their social workers to be licensed, while others want certification and/or professional registration with a regulatory board. The goal is to minimize abuse of the profession and ensure that counseling is only provided by individuals with the proper education and credentialing. Depending on where you want to work, you will need to determine if the state requires a license to practice social work and how to go about getting one. You should also investigate whether there are any exemptions to licensing requirements based on practice setting. For example, some states do not require a license for social workers in nursing homes, non-profit organizations, or specific types of state agencies.

When to Take Your Exam & More

Some states will allow you to sit for your social work licensing exam while you are still in school. This is a huge advantage to get a head start on your goals for the future of your career. All states that require social workers to be licensed use some version of the American Association of State Social Work Boards (AASSWB) exams. This can make it easier for you to transfer your license from state to state if you choose to move for a new opportunity. Keep in mind that you will have to renew your license throughout the course of your working life, and will also need to advise the licensing board of any changes to your name, address or professional information.

Social work is a profession dedicated to enhancing the quality of life, the pursuit of social justice, and helping a wide range of individuals to reach their full potential. Offered by the School of Social Work at the University of New England, the Master of Social Work online option is open to students from a variety of educational backgrounds. The program envisions a world where social workers are at the forefront of advocating with individuals and communities for human dignity and social inclusion by mobilizing efforts to end inequalities, exploitation and violence.

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