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FAQ's about Licensure



How can I be licensed by examination?

You must first apply to take the examination to the Board for a license. Forms are available at the State Board Web site or by calling the licensure Board at 717-783-1389. Your application will then be reviewed to determine if you meet the requirements contained in the social work licensing regulations to take the examination.  The board will send and approval letter and you can then apply to take the examination administered by the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB).  

Which level of exam do I take?

If you are applying for an LSW, you must take the Master's level exam. If you are applying or an LCSW you must take the Clinical Level.

When and where can I take the exam?

The exam is given electronically via a touch sensitive screen. It is offered at numerous locations throughout the state on a regular basis. See for more information.  

What if I am licensed in another state and want a Pennsylvania license?

The regulations states that an individual must:
        a. Have a license or certificate to practice social work from another state
        b. Have demonstrated qualifications equal to or exceeding those required by Pennsylvania.  
        c. Have passed the appropriate level of the ASWB exam.

Costs as of 2014

Application Fee for LSW - $25
Licensing Exam Fee for LSW - $230
Application Fee for LCSW - $45
Licensing Exam Fee for LCSW - $260
Biennial Licensing Renewal Fee - $95 (as of 2017)           

Applications for PA Licensure click below link


 FAQ's about CEU's

Our current licensure cycle is March 1, 2017 - February 28, 2019.
To renew your license, you will need 30 continuing education hours which include.

  • 3 Ethics related (can be either online home study or in person)
  • Child Abuse Credits (first time renewal you will need 3 credits, after the first renewal only 2 credits are needed-this course may be done online or in person). This course may be done in person or online. This course must be approved by the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therpist and Professional Counselors. Visit the following link for more information and approved providers for the Act 31 Child Abuse Training. 
  • NEW REQUIREMENT - 1 hour of continuing education in suicide prevention.  If the word "suicide" in contained in the title of a suicide prevention course/program taken through an approved provider. click here for announcement from the State Board of Social Workers 
  • Effective May 10, 2016 one clock hour continuing education courses will be acceptable towards the 30 clock hour for renewal requirements
  • You may do up to 20 hours of online home study 10 hours must be done in person.
  • Keep records of your continuing education credits for at least 4 years

(Licensees renewing for the first time are not required to have any continuing education credits except for the child abuse credits)

Will your credits count?


  • Were your hours earned between March 1, 2017, and February 28, 2019?
  • Are your certificates issued by pre-approved providers OR do they list the Pennsylvania State Board approval number on them? Most popular Pre-Approved Providers are the following:
    • NASW and its state affiliates (See our events calendar for upcoming trainings)
    • ASWB (association of Social Work Board)
    • Graduate & Undergraduate programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
    • NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc)
    • APA (American psychological Association)
    • for full list of pre-approved PA providers click here
  • If you received an individual approval for a course, do you have the Board approval letter to attach to the certificate?
  • Do your certificates contain the date, location, title of the course, name of program provider, instructor's name, and number of CE hours earned?

For courses from pre-approved providers, especially those courses not presented in Pennsylvania:

  • Was the course at least one hour in length?
  • Did it pertain to office management or marketing a practice? In this case, the hours do not count.
  • Was there an evaluation of the course offered?
  • Did the provider have an established mechanism for selecting the presenter and measuring the quality of the course?

 All courses must be offered by:

  • A pre-approved provider or the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapist & Professional Counselors
  • A provider approved by the PA state regulatory board (have a PA approval provider number on the certificate)
  • or you have received individual approval.
  • Individual approval forms must be submitted PRIOR to attending the course. Approval is not offered AFTER you have attended the course.
  • In some states, the regulatory board approves of the course. Once again, this is not accepted in Pennsylvania.

Still have questions?

For members of NASW contact the Chapter PA office at 717-232-4125 or the State Board at 717-783-1389.

Look for renewal information from the State Board beginning of 2017. If you do not receive your renewal form, you may download / renew online at the PA State Board website or contact the state board at 717-783-1389. It is a requirement to keep your licensure record current, so remember to update any name and address changes immediately.

DON'T FORGET: Act 31 and Ethics Requirements

You must receive 3 CEs in ethics and 2 CEs in Act 31 child abuse recognition and reporting training to renew your license. First time renewals must receive an additional CE hour in Act 31 training (totaling 3 CEs). Have questions about ACT 31 Child Abuse Reporting credits? Click HERE to read ACT 31 FAQs.

For a list of Act 31 child abuse recognition and reporting training provider click HERE

Do my CE's count?

Below is a chart that can help you determine if your CEC’s will count and if you have all of the documentation you need.


Course Provider



Pre-Approved Provider

Certificate should include:*
  • the date
  • location, and title of course; *
  • name of the program provider; *
  • instructors name; *
  • and # of CEC’s
The provider is pre-approved by the (Board), AND the program meets the following requirements:*
  • the program is at least 1 hour in length, *
  • the subject matter DOES NOT pertain to office management or marketing the practice, *
  • an evaluation of the course was offered, *
  • the provider has an established mechanism for selecting the presenter & measuring the quality of the course.

Other Provider Who Received Approval from the Board

Certificate should include everything above AND the approval # given by the Board. If the certificate does not include the number, you should obtain it from the provider for your records. PA NASW recommends that you obtain the Boards approval # for the program PRIOR to attending the program to be sure that the program was approved. This can be found on the PA State Board's website under Lisensure Information then CE programs for current year.

Other Provider - Approval Pending

Certificate should include everything above with the exception of the approval #. If you attend a program that has an "approval pending” status, you take the risk of not receiving credits for that program. If the program is approved after you attend, you should obtain the Boards approval #. The Board will not accept "contact sponsor” on your license renewal form.

Individual Approval

Certificate should include everything above with the exception of the approval #. You may use your letter of approval from the Board as documentation at the time of an audit If a program provider is not seeking approval from the Board, you may apply individually for CEC approval. Application forms must be submitted prior to the program (up to one day before the program) and will take 30-90 days to process. You may attend the program if it has not yet been approved for you, but you take the risk of not receiving CEC’s for that program.


*Pre-Approved Providers are providers of continuing education programs who are pre-approved by the PA State Board of Social Work Examiners. They include:


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