For the latest updates on licensure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

First Time Licensure Application

Illinois is a pre-approval state*, which means candidates must apply for licensure and be granted approval prior to sitting for either the Masters or Clinical examination (see Test Prep). If you are unsure of your eligibility or have questions about licensing procedures, you must contact IDFPR

CEUs: You do not need to accumulate 30 CEUs for licensure if this is your first time applying for the LSW or LCSW.

To apply for the LSW or LCSW license, complete the following steps: 

  1. Have a certification of graduation from a baccalaureate/master's/doctorate degree program in social work approved by IDFPR and all required professional experience (see Licensure Steps).

  2. Download the appropriate application for examination from IDFPR. (Select 'Social Worker - Examination' if applying for the LSW and 'Clinical Social Worker - Examination' if applying for the LCSW). Complete the forms with ALL supplementary documentation, including the application fee, and mail to IDFPR. Partial applications will not be processed.

  3. Once you have passed the exam, IDFPR will send you your license in the mail. Remember that just passing the exam does NOT mean you are licensed. You may not declare yourself as licensed or as a social worker until you have received your license from IDFPR.

*Thanks to an amendment to The Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act (Senate Bill 1888), beginning January 1, 2020, Illinois social work students currently enrolled in their last semester of a master’s level social work program no longer need pre-approval to sit for the ASWB Masters exam (for LSW).

UPDATED 01/23/2020: While the above law is still in effect, at this time the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is not prepared to implement this new Illinois law. We were told by ASWB that they are working with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to rectify this issue as quickly as possible. The NASW-Illinois Chapter will continue to monitor this issue and push both organizations for a swift conclusion that allows master’s students in their last semester to sit for the ASWB test as Illinois law allows.

Licensure Renewal

CEUs: If this is your first time renewing your license, you do not need to accumulate 30 CEUs for licensure. Otherwise, you must fulfill the CEU requirement for licensure renewal. 

If you do not know when your license was issued, go to the IDFPR website "License Look Up."

In 2011, IDFPR implemented a system by which Illinois professionals are required to renew their license online

Regardless of when you first receive your license, every license shall expire on November 30 of each odd-numbered year. The holder of a license may renew that license during the month preceding the expiration date of the license by paying the required fee set and complying with the continuing education requirements.

If you renew after the November 30th deadline, additional fees are required, CEUs must be submitted, and your license may be suspended temporarily.

It is the responsibility of each licensee to notify IDFPR of any change of address. Failure to receive a renewal form from IDFPR shall not constitute an excuse for failure to pay the renewal fee or to renew one's license. (Need to change your contact info? Click here.)

For details on seeking restoration of a license (LCSW or LSW), review Section 1470.80 Restoration in the Social Work Rules. We at the NASW-Illinois Chapter do not recommend letting your license lapse due to the excessive cost and effort required to restore a license. 

Professional Educator License (PEL, formerly Type 73) Licensure Renewal

As communicated to the NASW-Illinois Chapter by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE): 


The attached chart shows shows the renewal requirements for Illinois professional educator licenses (PEL) endorsed for Illinois public, charter, and state-operated school social workers.

The requirements do not apply to individuals working in private schools or in non-school settings. Individuals not employed in the Illinois public education system do not have professional development requirements. They need only pay their $50 registration fees every five years to renew their PEL.

Click here to download the ISBE Professional Educator License Renewal for Public School Social Workers chart. 

Do CEUs qualify for the PEL? In Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will accept courses that fulfill the IDFPR continuing education unit (CEU) requirements for renewal of the Professional Educator License (PEL) if you concurrently possess an active LSW or LCSW license.

For more about PEL requirements, visit our School Social Work page.

For further questions about the PEL (formerly Type 73), contact ISBE: