How to Become a Social Worker in Texas

Texas Social Work Licensing Requirements

Texas defines the scope of professional social work as the application of social work knowledge, theory, methods and professional ethics in order to enhance or restore the social situation of an individual on a socio-economic, psycho-social or medical level. Typical duties include treatment, assessment, case management, implementation, planning, mediation, counseling, referral services, consultations, advocacy, community organization and the development of social programs.

In Texas, there are three levels of social work licensure available to individuals who have met the educational, training and experience requirements established by the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners:

Each license authorizes the licensee to perform corresponding levels of social work service.

Licensed Baccalaureate Social
Worker (LBSW)
Bachelor’s Degree in
Social Work 
No supervised experience
requirement prior
to licensure.
ASWB National Bachelor’s
Social Work Examination
Licensed Master Social
Worker (LMSW)
Master’s Degree in
Social Work 
3,000 hours of relevant
100 hours supervised
ASWB National Master Social
Work Examination
Clinical Social Worker
Master’s Degree in
Social Work 
3,000 hours of clinical
100 supervised experience.
ASWB National Clinical Social
Work Examination

Learn more about social work degrees in Texas

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LBSW Requirements in Texas

Texas recognizes social workers who have attained a Bachelor’s level education in a CWSE-accredited social work program as long as they have satisfied the following requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree from a CSWE-Accredited Program – All applicants must have graduated from recognized social work curriculum at the Bachelor’s level or greater. Applicants can provide proof of program completion in the form of a mailed, sealed official transcript.
  2. ASWB Bachelor’s Exam – Applicants who achieve the minimum scaled passing grade on the ASWB Bachelor’s exam and can satisfy the documentation requirements as requested by the State of Texas will be recognized as licensed LBSW workers.
  3. LBSW Advanced Practitioner – Texas permits individuals who possess a LBSW license to practice social work unsupervised in a non-clinical setting if they can satisfy a 3,000 hour supervised work experience program under a board-approved supervisor who holds an LBSW-IPR license or higher.

LMSW Requirements in Texas

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria in order to obtain a Master’s level social work license in the state of Texas:

  1. Master’s Degree in Social Work – Applicants must have graduated from a CSWE-accredited program at the Master’s level and provide proof of completion in the form of an official college transcript
  2. Supervised Experience – Before being eligible to sit on the ASWB Master Social Work Exam, the applicant must submit and receive approval for a supervised work experience plan and a general work experience plan. Over the course of 24-48 months, the applicant must accrue 3,000 hours of appropriate experience as well as no less than 100 hours of experience under the supervision of a board-approved social work or clinical professional.
  3. ASWB Master Social Work Examination – Applicants who complete their mandated work experience and supervised experience during within the accepted time frame will be eligible to sit for their ASWB Master’s level Social Work Examination. Achieving a minimum scaled passing grade will enable one to receive their LMSW licensure.
  4. LMSW Advanced Practitioner – Individuals wishing to practice social work independently and unsupervised in a non-clinical setting must complete an appropriate work supervision program as determined by the recommendation and approval of the state board

LCSW Requirements in Texas

  1. Master’s Degree in Social Work – Applicants must have graduated from a CSWE-accredited program and provide documented proof in the form of a certified transcript.
  2. Supervised Experience – Texas’ LCSW supervised experience requirements are identical to those for the LMSW with the exception that the board-approved supervision plan must include relevant work experience in a clinical setting under supervision of a board-approved licensed clinical social worker or equivalent professional.
  3. ASWB Clinical Examination – Upon completion of their board-approved supervision plan, the applicant may sit for their ASWB exams at the clinical level. Upon achievement of the minimum scaled passing grade, the applicant is officially eligible for their LCSW credentials.

The Importance of CSWE Accreditation

The CSWE, or Council of Social Work Education, works with educational professionals to develop accreditation standards that meet the minimum level of rigor appropriate to teach the skills needed in the professional field of social work. Their multi-step accreditation process approves post-secondary and graduate level programs according to these standards. All 50 U.S. states require attendance in a CSWE-accredited program as a component of licensure so that graduates are prepared with the needed knowledge and critical thinking skills to successfully practice Social Work.

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Persons without a CSWE-accredited degree could potentially apply with their respective state board for an exemption. However, the majority of exemptions are typically granted to individuals already licensed to practice other related disciplines like medicine or psychology.

Search Accredited Social Work Programs

Additional Resources for Social Workers in Texas: