Social Work Licensing Exam FAQs
Please note: In Utah, and many other jurisdictions, you must apply for a license with your licensing department before scheduling your exam. In Utah, the entity responsible for licensure is the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). In most circumstances, DOPL will forward approval and instructions on how to schedule your exam. Across the nation, with the exception of California, exams are administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
How do I schedule my exam?
After you have called your state’s department of licensing to confirm that you can take the exam and after you know which exam you need to take, the next step is to prepare for the exam. Study materials and classes may be found on our Website under “Licensing.” You may wish to schedule your exam afer you have completed your studies so you do not feel rushed or ill-prepared. You may schedule your exam with ASWB. Their Website address is www.aswb.org. In Utah, you must first receive pre-approval from the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing before taking the exam.
What exams are required for licensing?
ASWB develops and maintains four categories of social work licensure examinations: Bachelors, Masters, Advanced Generalist, and Clinical. Not every state uses all four categories, so candidates must be sure to check with individual licensing boards to find out which examinations are appropriate for the state in which they are seeking licensure. In Utah there is an SSW (Bachelor), CSW (Masters) and an LCSW (Clinical) level license.
How many questions are on the exam?
Each examination contains 170 four-option multiple choice questions designed to measure minimum competencies at four categories of practice. Only 150 of the 170 items are scored; the remaining 20 questions are "pretest" items included to measure their effectiveness as items on future examinations.
How much time do I have to complete the exam?
Candidates have four hours to complete the test, which is administered electronically. Examinations are administered by appointment at ACT test centers throughout the U.S.
When can I take the exam?
There are no fixed administration dates; instead, registered candidates schedule a time to take the test. Testing centers are typically opened all year long with testing time availablity throughout the week.
Am I able to get special accommodations, if needed?
Special accommodations are available for candidates with disabilities. Additionally, many jurisdictions offer arrangements for candidates whose first language is not English.
Is the exam the same in each state?
Yes, these are national exams. However, some states, like California, may have an additional state exam. You must call your licensing board to confirm the requirements.
Can I transfer my license from one state to another?
Licensing requirements are established by each state. There are some states that have reciprocity and some states that will not accept a license from another state. You must call the state board in which you wish to reside to learn about transferring your license.
What is the passing score?
The passing score varies from state to state. In Utah, for example, the passing score is 70. In Arizona the passing score is 75. However, scores are weighted so that the tests are comprable. In other words, it is just as difficult to pass the exam in Utah as it is in Arizona.
Is the same test administered all year?
No. There are multiple versions, or forms, of each level of the ASWB examination, and within those forms, the order of items is changed frequently. Some items will be the same from one administration to the next, but all items are reordered as part of the new examination.
How can I find my state licensing board?
In Utah, The Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing is in Salt Lake City and the number is 801.530.6628. Their Website is www.dopl.utah.gov. If you do not live in Utah you may find your department of licensing by going to
or you may prefer to do a search on Google with the key words: “social work licensing board” (plus your state name)
I've passed my exam and found a job, but my employer doesn't provide me an LCSW to supervise my hours. Can I hire my own supervisor?
In the state of Utah, a CSW working towards becoming licensed as an LCSW MAY NOT hire their own supervisor. Supervision must be provided by an LCSW employed or contracted by the CSW's employer. The CSW must be a W-2 employee to receive supervision and may not work as an independent contractor