How to Become a Social Worker in New Jersey

New Jersey Social Work Licensing Requirements

Social workers are a vital part of providing mental health and psychosocial services to individuals, families and the community at large. Whether it’s helping to administrate an outpatient mental health facility, engaging in educational seminars or providing direct clinical and psychological care, social workers are present at all levels of society. In New Jersey, the state board of licensure offers three levels of social work licensure:

Certified Social Worker
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work


No supervised experience
requirement prior to
No exam requirements
Licensed Social Worker
Master’s Degree in Social Work


No supervised experience
requirement prior to
ASWB National Master Social
Work Examination
Licensed Clinical Social
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

Learn more about social work degrees in New Jersey

CSW Requirements in New Jersey

The CSW, or Certified Social Worker, designation is for bachelor’s degree holders who do not practice clinical social work and function as social workers at an entry level.

  1. Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited institution of higher learning is required for this certification.
  2. Work Requirements: There are no supervised work requirements necessary for a CSW, but applicants should be working as professionals in a social work field.
  3. Exam Requirements: Though the ASWB offers a bachelor’s level exam, this is not required for CSW status in New Jersey.
  4. Application Package: To apply for a CSW, simply mail the application and your official academic transcripts with a $75 fee to the State Board of Social Work Licensure. Following your application, you will receive information about obtaining fingerprint and background checks as well as certification fees.

LSW Requirements in New Jersey

Those seeking formal licensure and the ability to perform supervised clinical work as a social worker will obtain status as a Licensed Social Worker, or LSW. These professionals may not engage in independent practice.

  1. Educational Requirements: A master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited school is required for licensure at this level.
  2. Work Requirements: Though you will need to obtain a job as a paid social worker, there is no supervised work experience needed to obtain an LSW in New jersey.
  3. Exam Requirements: Applicants will need to apply for and successfully complete the ASWB national master’s level social work examination.
  4. Application Process: Following successful completion of the ASWB exam, you will apply for LSW status. Your application package will include the following:
    • Completed application form with $75 application fee
    • Official academic transcripts
    • Documentation of ASWB exam scores
    • Fingerprint and criminal background checks
    • “Passport style” photo

LCSW Requirements in New Jersey

Professionals who hold licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) credentials are those who function at the highest levels of the profession. They are licensed to practice clinical social work including the treatment and assessment of mental health issues and independent counseling, as well as setting up an independent practice.

  1. Education Requirements: LCSW status requires at least a master’s degree from a school accredited by the CSWE. Education must include 12 hours of course work in clinical practice, a field placement and 12 credits in any of the following areas:
    • Human behavior and social environment
    • Social work diagnosis and assessment
    • Models of clinical practice or psychotherapy
    • Clinical consultation or supervision
    • Special population intervention
  2. Prior Licensing: You must hold an LSW before you can pursue an LCSW.
  3. Work Requirements: This licensure requires at least two years (a maximum of three), or 1,920 hours of face-to-face client contact. Professional clinical work will be under the supervision of an LCSW.
  4. Exam Requirements: Successful completion of the ASWB clinical level social work exam is required.
  5. Application Process: Following completion of supervision the ASWB exam, you will submit to the state board an application package including the following:
    • Completed application form with $75 application fee
    • Official academic transcripts
    • Proof of LSW licensure
    • Documentation of supervised work hours
    • Documentation of ASWB exam scores
    • Fingerprint and criminal background checks
    • “Passport style” photo

The Importance of CSWE Accreditation

The CSWE is a nonprofit organization representing thousands of individuals, institutes of higher learning and social work organizations all over the nation. It is the only accrediting agency for social work education, and ensures that coursework and training is at the highest level and up to current standards of the profession. Without CSWE accreditation you may not be able to find work as a social worker, and you will not be eligible for licensure in the state of New Jersey.

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