Texas Social Work License Requirements
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- There are three main types of Texas social work licensure and requirements.
- All Texas social work licensure requires a degree in social work.
- You must maintain your license by completing continuing education.
Interested in earning a social work license in Texas? There are three main types of Texas social work licensure you can pursue. This guide explains the different types, how to earn them, and how to maintain your license. Explore your licensing options today.
Texas State Board of Social Work
The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners oversees Texas social work licensure and regulations. It establishes licensing standards, oversees the processes for applying and renewing licensure, examines complaints of unprofessional conduct or other ethical violations, and carries out any needed disciplinary action.
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Texas Social Work Education Requirements
Texas social work licensure requires earning a degree in social work from an accredited program, passing a national examination and a state jurisprudence (law) exam, and submitting an application for a license. Unlike social worker requirements in some states, you can earn the first level of Texas social work licensure with a bachelor’s degree, although you are not licensed to provide the full scope of social work practice.
Bachelor’s Degree in a Related Field
Most master of social work (MSW) programs accept students with any bachelor’s degree related to social work, such as psychology or sociology. However, you must have a BSW or an MSW to meet Texas social work licensure requirements.
Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW)
Most BSW programs take four years of full-time study. In addition to preparing you for the first level of Texas social work licensure, earning a BSW means you may be eligible for an accelerated MSW program rather than the typical two-year master's program. A BSW includes fieldwork as well as classroom-based social work courses. The curriculum covers human development, types of interventions, social structures and determinants of health, and the role of politics.
Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW)
A master of social work program prepares you for the highest Texas social work licensure level. If you already have a BSW, earning an MSW can take as little as one year. Students without a BSW typically take two years to graduate.
Requirements for Initial Texas Social Work Licensure
Texas has three main levels of social workers: one at the bachelor’s level and two at the master’s level. All levels of Texas social work licensure require earning a degree from an accredited program, passing the related examinations, and submitting relevant documentation to the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners.
Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)
At the LBSW level, you can perform many social work functions, including case management, referrals, and advocacy. However, you are not authorized to perform clinical social work. Unlike many states, you do not need field experience to apply for an LBSW, and you can begin the process during your final term of school.
Requirements for LBSW licensure include:
- Apply to the Association of Social Work Boards to take the bachelor's-level exam (in your final term or after you graduate)
- Graduate from your BSW program
- Pass the ASWB bachelor's exam and the Texas jurisprudence exam
- Apply for a license by submitting your official transcripts and fingerprints for a background check
Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW)
The steps for applying for an LMSW license are similar to those for applying for an LBSW, though the educational and exam requirements are different. As an LMSW, you can perform clinical social work (e.g., diagnosing and offering counseling for mental health conditions) under the supervision of an LCSW.
Requirements for LMSW licensure include:
- Apply to the Association of Social Work Boards to take the master's-level exam (in your final term or after you graduate)
- Graduate from your MSW program
- Pass the ASWB master's exam
- Pass the Texas jurisprudence examination if you have not already passed
- Submit official transcripts
- Apply for a license, including submitting your fingerprints for a background check if you have not already done so
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
This is the highest level of Texas social work licensure. An LCSW license authorizes you to perform independent clinical social work by diagnosing mental health conditions and providing counseling to patients.
Requirements for LCSW licensure include:
- Have at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience over at least 24 months
- Have at least 100 hours of direct supervision
- Apply to the Association of Social Work Boards to take the clinical exam
- Pass the ASWB clinical exam
- Pass the Texas jurisprudence exams if you have not already passed
- Send official transcripts and confirmation of supervised experience
- Apply for a license and, if you have not already done so, submit your fingerprints for a background check
Transferring Your Social Work License to Texas
While Texas social work licensure does not have formal licensing reciprocity, it does have a process for transferring your license. To do so, you must submit:
- A completed application for a transfer license
- Certification that you passed the Texas jurisprudence examination
- Clinical supervision verification (if you have had your LCSW for less than a year)
- A National Practitioner Data Bank self report
- A form from your state licensing agency (including any past licenses) confirming your license and noting any disciplinary action
- ASWB test scores
- Official transcripts
How to Maintain Your Social Work License in Texas
Texas social work licensure requires renewing your license every two years. At least 30 days before your renewal deadline, you will receive a postcard at your official address reminding you to do so. Renewing your license requires at least 30 hours of continuing education in the last two years. The 30 hours must include at least six hours related to professional ethics and social work values and at least three hours pertaining to cultural diversity or competency.
If you are a supervisor, you must also have at least six hours of professional education in supervision, which count toward the total required hours.
Frequently Asked Questions About Social Work in Texas
Do social workers need to be licensed in Texas?
Social workers need to be licensed in Texas. You can earn a license with a bachelor's or a master's degree. Only an LCSW license requires previous professional experience.
What are the pros and cons of becoming a social worker in Texas?
The pros of social work in Texas include easier license requirements than in many states and the opportunity to work with a diverse population. Some may consider the high number of uninsured individuals as a potential con — Texas has the largest percentage of uninsured people in the U.S. Other pros and cons will depend on your personal preferences regarding variables like climate and lifestyle.
What are the continuing education requirements for social workers in Texas?
Texas social work licensure requires at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years, with at least six hours in ethics and at least three hours in cultural diversity. These nine hours count toward the 30 total hours.
Are social workers in demand in Texas?
Social workers are in demand in Texas, and jobs are expected to grow in the coming years. The state projects 14.4% growth for child, family, and school social workers between 2020 and 2030, as well as 18.4% growth for mental health and substance abuse social workers, 18.75% growth for community and social service specialists (including social workers), and 19.39% growth for healthcare social workers. This increase in demand may lead to higher salaries for social workers.
What is the average salary for social workers in Texas?
The average salary for Texas social workers depends on several variables, including a worker's specific field. For example, 2022 data shared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that mental health social workers in Texas make an average of $44,100 annually. In contrast, child, family, and school social workers make $49,810, while healthcare social workers earn $62,500 a year.