First Time Licensure Application
Illinois is a pre-approved 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:
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).
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.
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.
*There is a bill pending in Illinois that would allow Master's level graduate students to take their LSW exam their last semester of school without pre-approval.
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
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.
For further questions about the PEL (formerly Type 73), contact ISBE: http://www.isbe.net/.