Social Work Licensure


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Why should I get licensed?

Licensure for social workers provides numerous benefits for the profession, our clients, and the public at large.

  • It signifies completion of a degree in Social Work and serves as verification of social work education.
  • It safeguards the public interest through state regulation.
  • It provides recognition of the importance and value of the social work profession by regulating its practice.
  • It signifies knowledge of social work ethics and values.
  • It provides Title Protection.  Act 68 of 2008 specifies that it is illegal for an individual to hold oneself out as social worker, use the title “social worker” or use the abbreviation “SW” unless they hold a current license (LSW or LCSW) or have a requisite degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate) from a CSWE accredited social work program.
  • It provides Practice Protection and professional privileges. Act 76 of 2018 specifies that only licensed clinical social workers can provide clinical social work services within Pennsylvania.
  • It mandates that individuals holding a social work license have completed continuing education in child abuse recognition and reporting, suicide prevention, and professional ethics at the initiation of licensure and every two years thereafter.
  • It assures a legal guarantee for safe, competent, ethical, and responsible practice that holds social justice and client best interest as priorities.

Quick Reference Links

CWEB/CWEL Incentive

  • Licensure among child welfare professionals serves to elevate child protection and family support as a specialized area of practice.
  • Beginning December 2023, current CWEB and CWEL participants are eligible to receive a one-time licensure stipend payment to help support their pursuit of social work licensure.   
  • Eligibility: CWEB graduates who have secured county employment and are in their required year of service; CWEL students in their final semester of graduate study; CWEL graduates completing their contractual work commitment up to one year after graduation.
  • Applies only to graduates in December 2023 and forward. Previous CWEB & CWEL graduates are not eligible for this incentive.

Documentation of registration and payment for the PA LBSW or LSW examination is required.

Contact the CWERP team for details!

Social Work Licensure flyer (PDF)