How to Become a Social Worker in South Carolina

 

South Carolina Social Work Licensing Reqsouth carolinauirements

In South Carolina, social workers provide important services, including counseling those with mental and emotional problems, helping to coordinate, administer and improve social services at the community level, and providing research, supervision and education in the field. They are an important part of our communities. The State Board of Social Work Examiners offers three levels of licensure for social workers in this state:

License Type Required Education Experience Exam
Licensed Bachelor’s Social
Worker
(LBSW)
Bachelor’s Degree in
Social Work CSWE-
accredited program
No supervised experience
requirement prior to
licensure.
ASWB National Bachelor
Social Work Examination
Licensed Master’s Social
Worker
(LMSW)
Master’s Degree in Social Work
CSWE-accredited program
No supervised experience
requirement prior to
licensure.
ASWB National Master Social
Work Examination
Licensed Independent Social
Worker
(LISW-AP or LISW-CP)
Master’s Degree in Social Work
CSWE-accredited program
Three years, full-time
supervised experience. A
minimum of 3,000 post-
degree hours.
ASWB National Clinical Social
Work Examination or National
Advanced Generalist
Examination

LBSW Requirements in South Carolina

The LBSW is your first step in a career as a social worker in South Carolina. It is the prerequisite for higher level licensure and allows you to perform the basic level of social work duties, often as a case worker or administrator.

Education Requirements: To obtain an LBSW you must have a bachelor’s degree from an institute of higher learning which carries accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Work Requirements: Aside from having employment as a social worker, there are no supervision requirements to obtain an LBSW.

Exam Requirements: Applicants for this license must complete the bachelor’s level national exam offered by the ASWB. The state board must approve you to take this exam and will help you get registered.

Application Package: Upon completion of the exam, submit your application package to the state board, including:

  • Completed application
  • Academic transcripts
  • Criminal background check
  • Legal photo ID
  • Social security card
  • Verification of lawful residence
  • Exam scores

LMSW Requirements in South Carolina

The next step in your social work career, the Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW) status qualifies you to perform advanced case management and social work administrative functions; you will not, however, be able to perform clinical duties at this level.

Education Requirements: A CSWE-accredited master’s degree in social work is required at this level of licensure.

Work Requirements: Though you must be employed as a social worker, you do not have supervised work requirements at this level.

Exam Requirements: You are required to complete the ASWB national master’s level exam to qualify for this level of licensure.

Application Package: The application package at this level is identical to that for the LBSW license, above.

LISW Requirements in South Carolina

The LISW is the highest level of licensure offered by the state. It is divided into two areas of specialization: the LISW-AP and the LISW-CP. The difference is that those at the A level perform administrative and advanced generalist duties, often as the heads of social service departments or organizations, or as professional independent consultants.

LISW-AP holders may run community centers, homeless shelters or even work for licensing boards. LISW-CP workers provide direct diagnostic, clinical and mental health services to clients. At either level, LISW holders can operate independently without supervision.

Prior Licensure: You must hold an LMSW before applying for an LISW.

Education Requirements: Your educational program, accredited by the CSWE, must include at least 45 hours of psychopathology and 45 hours in the diagnosis of psychosocial disorders. If you are looking towards the advanced practice level, you will need 90 hours of advanced practice work in organizations and communities.

Work Requirements: This level of work requires 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, 100 of which must include face-to-face meetings; half of these face-to-face hours must be individual, one-on-one. You have from two to four years to complete this supervision. In addition, your supervision must include training in professional ethics comprising an additional 15 academic credit hours or 20 continuing education contact hours.

Exam Requirements: Applicants must complete the ASWB advanced generalist exam (for LISW-AP applicants) or the clinical level exam (for LISW-CP applicants)

Application Package: Your application package is similar to that for the LBSW and LMSW, but includes additional elements:

  • Completed application
  • Academic transcripts
  • Proof of additional education requirements in professional ethics
  • LISW Supervision contract
  • Documentation of supervised hours
  • Criminal background check
  • Legal photo ID
  • Social security card
  • Verification of lawful residence
  • Exam scores 

The Importance of CSWE Accreditation

The CSWE provides oversight and standards for quality education in social work. It is the only organization in the nation that offers accreditation for social work programs. Without this accreditation, you may not be able to find work as a social worker, and you won’t be able to pursue licensure in the state of South Carolina.

Research Additional Psychology Professional Licenses Granted by South Carolina:

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from South Carolina