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How to Obtain Social Work Licensure in Louisiana

Obtaining social work licensure in Louisiana requires a degree in social work, a background check, licensed supervision and an examination. There are multiple social work licenses available in Louisiana, including Registered Social Worker (RSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), Certified Social Worker (CSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

Registered Social Worker

This license is given to those who have earned a bachelor's or a master's degree in social work certified by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Per the state of Louisiana, applicants must undergo a background check prior to licensing. Aspiring licensees can start this process by mailing the appropriate documents to the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners (LABSWE), or they can walk into Louisiana State Police (LSP) Headquarters and submit their materials by hand. The application process takes 6-8 weeks by mail and 2-4 weeks via walk-in. The application includes questions regarding ethical conduct, which applicants must answer affirmatively – otherwise, their responses require a notarized explanation. There are no supervision requirements for this licensure, but licensees cannot engage in advanced practice or clinical social work.

Licensed Master Social Worker

Only graduates of a master's degree in social work program can apply for this social work license. The application requires a background check and affirmative answers on the ethical conduct questionnaire. This licensure also requires supervision by an LCSW in order to provide clinical services. Further, applicants must pass an examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Certified Social Worker

This license is provided as a temporary social work licensure following approval for an LMSW license. Approved LMSW applicants must take the Master’s exam provided by the ASWB within 6 months of the issuance date of the CSW. If an applicant fails the exam, he or she must retake the exam within one year. The CSW is available for up to 3 years, subject to yearly renewal.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

This license is issued only to social workers who have completed all the requirements for and obtained their LMSW social work licensure. LCSW licensure requires a master's in social work, and applicants must re-submit a background check, ethical conduct affirmations and application. Additionally, this licensure requires 5,760 hours of supervision, 3,840 of which must have been under a LCSW-Board Approved Clinical Supervisor (LCSW-BACS).

Learn more about the LSU online MSW program.


Louisiana Social Work Licensure: A Handbook for Students. (2012, March 1). Retrieved November 16, 2015, from

Criminal Record Check Instructions For Applicants. (2015, February 1). Retrieved November 16, 2015, from

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