Test Prep


The state of Illinois uses examinations developed by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB): the Masters examination for LSWs and the Clinical examination for LCSWs. Tests are administered at sites throughout the state utilizing a computer touch screen. Each examination is graded immediately following completion, and the participant informed of the results on-site. For updates on whether ASWB will offer virtual examinations due to COVID-19, click here.

As of December 1, 2009, applying for the examination in writing to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the first step in obtaining licensure as an LSW (*) or LCSW (application can be downloaded on the IDFPR website). Individuals who plan to sit for their LSW immediately after graduating with their MSW must be sure to apply for the examination through IDFPR after they have officially graduated from their program (*). Once a letter of approval is received from IDFPR, register to take the exam and/or receive a testing handbook by contacting ASWB Candidate Services. Upon passing the ASWB exam, you can begin applying for licensure.

While there is no limit to the number of times the licensing exam can be taken in Illinois, you must wait 90 days between sittings for each exam. Also, examination fees will be due again each time you take the exam. 

*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 from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to sit for the ASWB Masters exam (for LSW). Individuals who plan to apply for their LSW immediately after graduating from an approved master’s degree in social work program can register to sit for the ASWB exam so long as they are enrolled in their last semester of graduate school.


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.

Test Preparation with the NASW-Illinois Chapter

The NASW-Illinois Chapter LSW/LCSW Review Course is the longest running review course in the state. Highly rated by our participants, this unique course will cover the format and structure of the LSW/LCSW examination as well as the most current content areas as determined by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) for licensure. Practice questions will be reviewed to illustrate test-taking strategies and reinforce content material.

  • Live Virtual Training: This two-day, four-hour course includes three-month access to a digital version of the NASW-IL–proprietary manual which includes selected readings and handouts designed to complement the lecture.

  • Live In-Person Training (currently canceled until further notice): This one-day, eight-hour course includes a printed NASW-IL–proprietary manual (includes selected readings) and a packet of handouts designed to complement the lecture


Access to the NASW-IL–proprietary manual is available to course registrants only.

The majority of course content (98%) will cover material relating to both the LSW and LCSW exams; the remaining 2% will cover content relating to just the LCSW. However, we feel this is still valuable information to those pursuing their LSWs so they know what to expect when hopefully pursuing an LCSW later on in their career.

Content areas will include: theories of human development; assessment, diagnosis and treatment; psychopathology; psychopharmacology; communication; professional ethics; management and administration; research; and diversity.

Sample questions and some group discussion are used to illustrate the lecture material. An optional 8 CEUs are available for the NASW-Illinois Chapter LSW/LCSW Review Course.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no refund policy for participants who, after taking the test, fail to reach the passing requirement. While our review course has been highly regarded in the state for over fifteen years, no review course can replace three to four years of college education in eight hours. What our review course does do is prepare you for taking the LSW/LCSW test with test-taking assistance, a review of testing topics, case studies, and additional reading material. Think of it as a structured class to help review what you know and identify what you need to work on before you sit for the test.


You cannot earn CEUs toward licensure renewal if the class is taken BEFORE earning your license. The reason the LSW/LCSW Review Course provides the option of CEUs to attendees is because some individuals taking the course already have an LSW (or like-minded professional license) and are looking to earn education credits toward keeping their license.


Below are a list of all confirmed dates. To register for an upcoming review course, scroll down and click on the date you are interested in attending. If there are no dates that fit your current schedule, check back for new dates as they are announced.

If your organization or school would be interested in hosting a future review course downstate, please contact the chapter (class size minimums required). You can also see review courses under the Events page.


$225.00 - Nonmember
$235.00 - Nonmember with 8.0 CEUs
$175.00 - NASW Member (CEUs free for members)

NOTE: While there is no deadline for signing up for the review course, we encourage participants to sign up sooner rather than later since space is limited and courses can sell out. New dates are added as soon as they are scheduled.

On-site registration will not be accepted. Registration will close TEN DAYS from event date 

Don't see a date below that works with your schedule? Click here to add yourself to the Review Course Scheduler to help us determine when best to schedule a new course. If there is enough interest, we can add new dates to the existing schedule.

  • LSW/LCSW Review Course
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If you require disability accommodations to permit your attendance/participation in the event, complete the online registration form with payment and submit a written request at least thirty (30) days prior to the workshop. Requests received after this deadline may not be able to be processed or fulfilled in time for the event.


(Revised April 10, 2020)

While we understand that emergencies do occur, once a participant has been registered and is expected to attend a course, the NASW-Illinois Chapter has already factored that person’s attendance into costs already absorbed by the chapter. Please see the event registration form for complete cancellation details.

NASW-Illinois Chapter
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