Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Join
Share |

FAQ's about Licensure

Effective November 19, 2019, the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family
Therapist & Professional Counselors will now permit all 30 clock hours of approved
continuing education to be complete on-line. click here for announcement

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.

Must fill register with the PA State Board website (PALS) System for application
PA State License.

Costs as of 2020 (fees are payable during the licensure process)

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

Applications for PA Licensure click below link

What if I let my license lapse in PA?

If you've let your Pennsylvania social work license lapse and you'd like to reactivate it, you must complete all 30 CE credit hours (including Act 31, suicide prevention, and ethics) and fill out the "Reactivation Application" located online here.

How do I receive my LCSW by using my ACSW credential?

Follow the instruction listed on this page.

FAQ's about CEU's and Renewal

Our current licensure cycle is March 1, 2019 - February 28, 2021.
Next cycle will be March 1, 2021 - February 28, 2023

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 PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapist and
    Professional Counselors. Visit the following link for more information and approved providers for the
    Act 31 Child Abuse Training.---

  • NEW REQUIREMENT - Act 74 of 2016 Suicide Prevention Continuing Education:
    1 hour of continuing education in suicide prevention, If the word "Suicide" or a derivative of the word "suicide" is contained in the tile of a suicide prevention course/program taken through an approved provider, the continuing education earned can be used towards satisfying the suicide prevention continuing education requirement.  If the course and program pertains to suicide prevention and the title of the course/program doesn't not contain the word "suicide", the approved provider of the course/program must indicated n the certification of attendance/completion the number of hours of suicide prevention continuing education earned.
    Please Note: the 1 hour of continuing education in suicide prevention may NOT be used towards satisfying the 3 hours of continuing education in ethics. 
    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
  • Effective November 19, 2019 all 30 ceus can be done online.
  • Keep records of your continuing education credits for at least 4 years
  • You can not take a course with the same name more than once in a cycle period. 

How can i confirm if the board/commission has received my Act 31 of 2014 Child Abuse continuing education credits? 

To confirm receipt of your continuing education results, log in to your PALS dashboard at If you have questions regarding the submission of the continuing education, please contact the approved provider. A list of approved child abuse education providers can be found on the Department of State website at

Renewal on the PALS System

To renew on the PALS System
Locate the “Professional License Details” section on your dashboard. Click the “Renew” button associated with the license you wish to renew. You will be directed to the application form.

How do i verify if my license/certificate/authorization was renewed?
You will receive email confirmation when your license is renewed. Visit to verify the status of your license online. Your license expiration date will be updated with the next biennial year once your license is successfully renewed.

47.39. Exemption and waiver.   

 (a)  An individual applying for licensure in this Commonwealth for the first time shall be exempted from the continuing education requirement for the biennial renewal period following initial licensure.

 (b)  The Board may waive or grant an extension of all or a portion of the continuing education requirement for biennial renewal upon request of a licensee. The request must be made in writing, with appropriate documentation, and shall include a description of circumstances sufficient to show why compliance is impossible. The request for waiver or extension will be evaluated by the Board on a case-by-case basis. Requests for waivers and extensions may be granted for serious illness, military service or other demonstrated hardship. The Board will send written notification of its approval or denial of a waiver or extension request.



   The provisions of this §  47.39 amended December 22, 2006, effective December 23, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 7841. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (258246). 


How can I request to place my license on inactive status?

Locate the “Professional License Details” section on your dashboard. Click the “Inactivate” button associated with the license you wish to place on inactive status. Once the “Request to Place License on Inactive Status” form is open, select the date you wish to make your inactive status effective. If the license you are inactivating is a prerequisite for any other license, the license(s) attached to this license will also be inactivated. You do not need to maintain professional liability insurance, meet continuing education requirements, comply with other applicable administrative requirements or pay the biennial fee while on inactive status. However, you will be required to comply with all such requirements when you apply to reactivate your license.

Information provided by -


Will your credits count?

  • Were your hours earned between March 1, 2019, and February 28, 2021?
  • 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
  • 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:

DON'T FORGET: Act 31; Ethics; and Suicide Prevention Requirements

You must receive 3 CEs in ethics; 1 suicide prevention 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 Certificate Approval
Pre-Approved Provider

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

To view the list of pre-approved providers, click this link to PA State Board Regulations go to section 47.36 (Pre-approved providers of CE programs)
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.

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 at the beginning of 2019. 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.





Find a Social Worker

NASW Liability Insurance

Submit Feedback

Email a Staff Member

1000 Bent Creek Blvd. Suite 40
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717.232.4125

Fax: 717.697.5686

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal