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License Questions

Who must be licensed?

Anyone who practices social work or represents himself/ herself to the public as a social worker must be licensed.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, members of the clergy, Christian Science practitioners, and licensed professionals such as physicians, nurses, psychologists, counselors and attorneys provided they do not represent themselves to the public by any title or description of services as being social workers. State employees with the job classifications of family service worker, social service worker, or Adult protective services worker are exempt from licensure.

What are the levels and qualifications for licensure?

Licensed Social Worker (LSW) - a bachelor's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied for a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in

A.C.A. 17-103-307(f) - PDF

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) - a master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied for a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in

A.C.A. 17-103-307(f) - PDF

Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) - a master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; two-years postgraduate LCSW supervised social work experience; successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied for a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in A.C.A. 17-103-307 (f)

Provisional License

Will I be issued a provisional license while I am waiting to take the examination?

First time applicants approved for LSW or LMSW licensure are provisionally licensed for one-year or three attempts to pass the exam. Provisional licensing is prohibited at the LCSW level.

Independent Practice

Upon receipt of my license may I engage in the private/independent practice of social work?

Only Licensed Certified Social Workers may engage in the private/independent practice of social work.

Please explain the LCSW supervision requirement.

An applicant for LCSW licensure must submit documentation of two-years post-graduate LCSW supervised experience. The supervision must include an average of one hour per week of direct contact with the LCSW supervisor. Group supervision is acceptable as long as there are no more than four in the group and it does not constitute more than one-half of the total supervision requirement. For the purposes of LCSW supervision, two-years is equivalent to 4,000 hours.

Are social workers required to display their licenses?

LCSW's in the private/independent practice of social work are required by law to publicly display their licenses. Other social workers may choose to display their licenses, but they are not required by law to do so. A licensee whose license has expired, been suspended or revoked must immediate remove from public display his or her license.

Examination

When and where may I take the examination?

You may register to take the examination after the Board approves your application and notifies you of your eligibility. The Board currently uses the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) examinations. An ASWB approved vendor administers the exam. The ASWB vendor sets the testing dates and locations.

If I fail the examination, may I retake it?

Yes. Your application is valid for one year or for three attempts to pass the examination, whichever comes first. You must wait ninety days before retaking the examination.

Supervision

What types of Supervision are there?

There are two types of Supervision.

  • All LSW and LMSW's must be supervised as a part of their jobs.
  • Supervision for LCSW licensure. This supervision must be by a LCSW.

Please explain the LCSW supervision requirement.

An applicant for LCSW licensure must submit documentation of two-years postgraduate LCSW supervised experience. The supervision must include an average of one hour per week of direct contact with the LCSW supervisor. Group supervision is acceptable as long as there are no more than four in the group and it does not constitute more than one-half of the total supervision requirement. For the purposes of LCSW supervision, two-years is equivalent to 4,000 hours.

Criminal Background Checks

Why must I have a criminal background check before being approved for licensure?

Act 1317 of 1997 requires social workers to apply to the Identification Bureau of the Arkansas State Police for state and national criminal background checks before being approved for licensure. No person is eligible to hold a license if that person has been found guilty of or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in

A.C.A. 17-103-307(f) - PDF

Is there any way I can be approved for licensure if I have been found guilty or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in A.C.A. 17-103-307(f)?

Yes. The provisions of A.C.A. 17-103-307(f) - PDF may be waived by the Board for any applicant who meets the requirements for a waiver as defined in A.C.A. 17-103-307(h)(1)(2) - PDF.

Reciprocity

Does Arkansas have reciprocity agreements with other states?

Arkansas does not have any formal reciprocity agreements with other states. The law allows for licensure without examination if, at the time of application, the applicant is currently licensed in another state, territory or district with standards not lower than those in Arkansas. You must meet our current minimum requirements.

I am moving out of state, can I be licensed in more than one state?

Arkansas does not restrict you from holding a license in any other state. You will need to check with the state where you are moving to see what their qualifications and requirements are.

Fees

What are the fees?

Application Fee:
$100.00
Renewal Fee:
$80.00
Late Renewal Fee:
$80.00
Replacement License:
$20.00
Endorsement to Another State:
$20.00
Examination:
Determined by ASWB

Application Fee: $100.00

Replacement License: $20.00

 

Renewal

When will my license expire?

A social work license is effective when issued and shall expire on the last day of the month exactly two years from the date of issuance.

How do I renew my license?

You will be mailed a notice of license renewal approximately two months prior to the expiration date of your license. To avoid a lapse in your licensure, you must submit renewal prior to your expiration date. You may apply for renewal online or print the renewal application packed and mail your application and fee to the Board.

What happens if I have not accrued 48 hours of social work continuing education during the two-year licensure period?

You cannot renew your license unless you had extenuating circumstances that prevented you from completing the continuing education requirement. If you had extenuating circumstances that prevented you from completing the requirement, you may request special consideration. Request for extensions due to extenuating circumstances should be submitted to the Board prior to the expiration date of the license. Proof of extenuating circumstances must be submitted with the request for special consideration.

What kinds of circumstances are considered extenuating circumstances?

Circumstances that prevent you from working or performing normal day-to-day activities are considered extenuating circumstances. An extended illness is one example of an extenuating circumstance. Request for extensions due to extenuating circumstances should be submitted to the Board prior to the expiration date of the license.

What can be counted as social work continuing education?

Social work continuing education has been defined as formalized activities that are directed at developing and enhancing an individual's social work knowledge base and service delivery skills in the applicable areas of social planning, administration, education, research or direct service with individuals, couples, families and groups. These activities may include short academic courses, audit courses in colleges and universities, independent study courses, Internet courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, and lectures oriented toward enhancement of social work practice, values, skills and knowledge.

Q. Are social workers required to complete continuing education in professional ethics to be eligible for license renewal?

A. Yes Social workers are required to complete three (3) hours of continuing education in professional ethics every two years to be eligible for license renewal.

Q. How many hours of continuing education will be approved for independent home studies/Internet courses?

A. A maximum of twenty (20) clock hours will be approved during each two-year licensure period.

If I have more hours than I need to renew my license, may I use them during the next licensure period?

No. You are required to accrue (48) hours of social work continuing education every two years.

What can I do if my license expires?

A license that has expired less than six months may be renewed by submitting the renewal application, an $80 renewal fee, an $80 late penalty and proof that you completed 48 hours of social work continuing education due during the two-year licensure period.

If I do not meet the requirements for license renewal, what can I do to be licensed?

Social workers who allow their licenses to expire are treated as new applicants. They are subject to all the current requirements.

Is there an exception if I failed to receive my renewal notice due to an incorrect address?

No. It is the licensee's responsibility to keep the Board notified of any address change. The Board cannot be responsible for misdirected mail.

Continuing Education

What can be counted as social work continuing education?

Social work continuing education has been defined as formalized activities that are directed at developing and enhancing an individual's social work knowledge base and service delivery skills in the applicable areas of social planning, administration, education, research or direct service with individuals, couples, families and groups. These activities may include short academic courses, audit courses in colleges and universities, independent study courses, Internet courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, and lectures oriented toward enhancement of social work practice, values, skills and knowledge.

Q. Are social workers required to complete continuing education in professional ethics to be eligible for license renewal?

A. Yes Social workers are required to complete three (3) hours of continuing education in professional ethics every two years to be eligible for license renewal.

Q. How many hours of continuing education will be approved for independent home studies/Internet courses?

A. A maximum of twenty (20) clock hours will be approved during each two-year licensure period.

Code of Ethics

Does the Board have a Code-of-Ethics?

Yes. Please refer to 17-103-203 of the regulations for the Code-of-Ethics/Standards for practice.

Complaints

Will I know if a complaint has been filed against me?

Yes. When a complaint is filed against a social worker, a copy of the complaint is mailed to the social worker. The social worker is asked to respond to the allegations in the complaint.

What disciplinary action can be taken as a result of a complaint?

The Board may refuse to issue or renew a license or may revoke or suspend a license if it finds a violation the Social Work Licensing Law or Regulations has occurred.

Change of Name or Address

How do I change my address?

A change of address form is available under "FORMS" on the Board's website. Instructions for submitting the form are found on the form.

How do I change my name?

A change of Name/Address form is available under "FORMS" on the Board's website. Instructions for submitting the form are found on the form. You must submit a copy of the official name change documentation.

Contract work

Can a LSW or LMSW be a contract worker?

The terminology for "Contract" worker may be confusing. LSW's and LMSW's must be paid by W2. Only LCSW's may work independently or be paid by 1099.

Inactive or Retired Status

Is there an inactive or retired license?

Arkansas does not have a retired or inactive status. You license is either active or expired.

I am moving out of state, can I be licensed in more than one state?

Arkansas does not restrict you from holding a license in any other state. You will need to check with the state where you are moving to see what their qualifications and requirements are.

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) - a master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied for a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in

A.C.A. 17-103-307(f) - PDF

Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) - a master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; two-years postgraduate LCSW supervised social work experience; successful completion of a Board-approved examination; and has applied for a criminal background check and has not been found guilty of or pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any of the offenses listed in A.C.A. 17-103-307 (f)