Licensure Information 

Registering for the Master's Exam

Licensing is a state function, but all exams are developed by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and cover content that is national in scope. There are four levels of exams: Bachelor's, Master's, Advanced Generalist, and Clinical. You need to check with the state in which you intend to practice to determine specific requirements. To get started, review your state’s social work licensure requirements. This website provides an overview for each state as well as links to the social work board for each state. Please contact the Dean of Students' office to complete any certification of education forms.

If you decide to stay in Illinois after graduating from SSA you can take the Master's level exam for the LSW (Licensed Social Work) license in Illinois. Contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) by accessing their the IDFPR social work page or click directly to the licensure instructions and application. Once you have downloaded the application, follow the instructions for “Examination—Social Worker” on page two of the document. The Dean of Students’ office at SSA is responsible for completing the Certification of Education form.

Once you have your board’s approval, you can move forward with registering to take the test. There is a fee, and the exam is scheduled for multiple dates at testing sites across the United States. For complete instructions on how to register, please reference the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Candidate Examination Handbook.

Applying for Licensure

After passing the exam, your next step is to apply for licensure through your jurisdiction’s social work board. Again, a listing of social work boards by state can be found here.

Students remaining in Illinois should contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). You may access the IDFPR social work page here or go directly to the licensure instructions and application. Once you have downloaded the application, follow the instructions for “Acceptance of Examination” on page four of the document.

Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker

After 3,000 hours (approximately 2 years) of post-master’s degree supervised clinical work, you will be eligible to sit for the Clinical exam which will prepare you for your Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) license. This license allows social workers to practice independently. Only experience supervised by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker will meet the professional experience requirement.

Preparing for Your Exams

You will have the necessary knowledge to pass the LSW exam when you graduate if you have taken the courses in the Clinical Practice concentration. Students who find multiple choice tests challenging may find it helpful to take a review course. SSA’s Professional Development Program offers a review session two times per year.

Ashley Lepse

Child Welfare Witness

Many scholars don’t get an opportunity during their entire career to testify on Capitol Hill. Ashley Lepse has already done so as a Master’s student at SSA.