How to Become a Social Worker in Louisiana

Louisiana Social Work Licensing Requirements

Social workers in Louisiana work with communities, individuals and families to provide important and necessary social services, from helping to set up, establish and improve new or existing services to diagnosing and treating psychosocial problems in a clinical capacity. They can be found at all levels of the social services career chain and are an important part of any community.

There are three levels of social work licensure in Louisiana.

Continue reading for a detailed summary of the requirements for licensure in Louisiana,  including specific information about the education, supervised experience and exam requirements established by Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners. For more information, please refer to Louisiana Revised Statutes Chapter 35;2706-2709.

LICENSE TYPE
EDUCATION REQUIREMENT SUPERVISED EXPERIENCE EXAM
Registered Social Worker (RSW) Bachelor's Degree in Social Work  No Supervised Experience Requirements None
Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW) Master's Degree in Social Work  No Supervised Experience Requirements Prior to Licensure ASWB National Master of Social Work Examination
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Master's Degree in Social Work  Three Years, Full-Time Supervised Experience / A Minimum of 3,000 Post-Degree Hours ASWB National Clinical Social Work Examination

Read more about social work degrees in Louisiana.

RSW Requirements in Louisiana

  1. Education Requirements: All that is required to become a registered social worker in Louisiana is a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program.
  2. Examination Requirements: None. Although the ASWB does offer a bachelor’s level examination, this is not required to become an RSW in Louisiana.
  3. Application Requirements: All applicants should be familiar with the application requirements on the LABSWE website, including the student handbook to guide you through the process of applying.
  4. Application Package: Your application package must include the following:
    • Official transcripts from educational institutions
    • Criminal background check results ($40.75 fee)
    • Current “passport” style photo
    • RAP disclosure form
    • $50.00 Application Fee

LMSW Requirements in Louisiana

  1. Education Requirements: Becoming a Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW) in Louisiana requires a degree at the Master’s level from a CSWE-accredited institution. Those who receive only a Bachelor’s degree in social work can become an RSW, or Registered Social Worker, by filing their application with the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners. This, however, is not licensure, and those who want to pursue a career in this field should seek a Master’s level education with an accompanying license.
  2. Employment Requirements: The next step in your path to licensure is to obtain employment as a social worker.
  3. Exam Requirements: Next, arrange to take the appropriate ASWB social work examination and add the proof of your successful completion of the exam to your transcripts.
  4. Application Package: When you have completed the ASWB exam, you will complete an application package that includes the following:
    • Official transcripts from educational institutions
    • Criminal background check results
    • Authorization form
    • RAP Disclosure form
    • $75 Application Fee

When you have forwarded your completed application package, you should receive a confirmation letter within two to four weeks.

LCSW Requirements in Louisiana

The Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is a more advanced licensure from the state which shows that you have committed yourself to training and supervision in the field, and are ready to proceed at a higher level.

  1. Education Requirements: As with the LMSW, you need a Master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited institution.
  2. Supervised Experience: In order to obtain an LCSW, you must have at least 5,760 verified hours of work experience, at least 3,840 of which must be under the supervision of an LCSW-BACS (board-approved clinical supervisor). This supervisor is not required to work for the same agency as the potential licensee. The LABSWE website has a list of approved supervisors.
  3. Registration of Supervision: You must register your supervision at a fee of $35 through LABSWE. This registration requires the following: a) Employment verification b) Detailed plan of supervision within 60 days of the commencement of your supervision period. Any revisions requested by the board are due within 30 days.
  4. Exam Requirements: All applicants for licensure must successfully pass the ASWB clinical level social work examination.
  5. Application Package: Following the completion of your supervised experience and the clinical level exam, you will submit an application package. Requirements to apply for the LCSW are as follows:
    • Completed application
    • Current photo
    • Copy of your Master’s transcripts
    • Documentation of all supervised experience
    • Employment verification
    • Records of supervision
    • Verification of ASWB exam completion
    • Criminal background check
    • $100 application fee

Social Worker Career Outlook In Louisiana

In May of 2014, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics collected employment and wage information in all industries including social work in the state of Louisiana. It found that the social work community in Louisiana is starting to disappear. The BLS reports that there were just 810 child, family and school social workers in the state, far less than the more than 2,000 estimated to be working in the state in 2011. There are also 1,910 social workers employed in a healthcare setting, 910 substance abuse social workers and 470 specialty social workers working in the state. The annual average salary for these social workers can range from $43,150 for substance abuse social workers to $52,190 for child and family social workers. For more information on the occupational data and wage estimates in this state, please visit the Louisiana Occupational Employment Statistics Page with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aspiring social workers in Louisiana would be wise to check out the job board maintained by the Louisiana chapter of the NASW.

The Importance of CSWE Accreditation

The CSWE, or Council on Social Work Education, is a nonprofit association that functions at the national level to oversee educational and professional institutions in the social work field. All fifty states require social workers to complete a program that is accredited by this association in order for their education to be viewed as valid. It is absolutely vital that you make sure your program is accredited by this council; otherwise, you may not be able to find employment and almost assuredly will not be able to seek licensure. The importance of CSWE accreditation cannot be understated.

Search Accredited Social Work Programs

Additional Resources for Social Workers in Louisiana: