There are two levels of licensure in Illinois: licensed social worker (LSW) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
LSWs are authorized to practice social work which includes social services to individuals, groups or communities in any one or more of the fields of social casework, social group work, community organization for social welfare, social work research, social welfare administration or social work education. LSWs may engage in clinical social work practice, as long as it is not conducted in an independent practice as defined by law.
LCSWs are authorized to independently practice clinical social work in Illinois under the auspices of an employer or in private practice.
Those seeking LSW or LCSW licensure must file an application for licensure with IDFPR on forms provided by IDFPR in addition to the following:
Must have a certification of graduation from a master's degree program of social work approved by IDFPR, OR
Must have a certification of graduation from a baccalaureate degree program of social work approved by IDFPR AND and verification of completion of 3 years of supervised professional experience
Must have proof of successful completion of the Masters ASWB examination for the practice of social work as a licensed social worker.
Testing Service Administration Fee, Masters Examination: $230.00
Must be of good moral character
Must have certification of graduation from a master's degree program in social work approved by IDFPR AND verification of completion of 3000 hours of satisfactory supervised clinical professional experience, OR
Must have certification of graduation from a doctorate degree program in social work approved by IDFPR AND verification of completion of 2000 hours of satisfactory supervised clinical professional experience
Is Illinois a pre-approval state?
As of December 1, 2009, Illinois became a pre-approval state (*). This means candidates must apply for licensure and be granted approval prior to sitting for either the masters or clinical examination. If you are unsure of your elligibility or have questions about licensing procedures, please contact Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
Do I need to disclose sealed or expunged records when applying for licensure?
No! Individuals applying for a license, certification, or registration under an Act administered by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are not obligated to disclose sealed or expunged records of a conviction or arrest.
My immigration status is not finalized. Do I need to disclose this?
No, Illinois does not require you to declare immigration status on your application.
Does Illinois have licensure reciprocity?
Social workers from other states wishing to become licensed in Illinois should contact IDFPR.
Illinois social workers wishing to obtain licensure in another state should contact the licensing body in that state. There is currently no direct reciprocity between states. For referral to the appropriate entity, contact the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
What are approved programs of social work?
Will ASWB offer virtual examinations due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Is IDFPR waiving the in-person CEU requirements for the 2019–2021 LSW/LCSW licensure cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
We are elated to announce that our efforts in advocating for the social work profession were successful, and that IDFPR has now released a new guidance for social workers and clinical social workers that allow for waiver of the in-person CEU requirement for the current 2021 licensure cycle. You may now utilize any mixture of in-person, live virtual, or virtual trainings to reach your 30-hour CEU requirement. Read more here.