LCSW License Requirements

How to Become Registered as an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW)


overview of the lcsw licensure requirements

This information is a brief outline of the license requirements for an individual who wants to pursue licensure as an LCSW in the State of California.

For more detailed information, please refer to:

All hours of experience in California must be gained while registered as an ASW.

All applicants must possess a Master’s degree in Social Work from an accredited school of social work.  Applicants with out-of-state education, experience or licensure must complete an 18-hour course on California Law and Professional Ethics (California graduates have already met this requirement). 

  • 2. Gain 3,200 Hours of Supervised Work Experience and a Minimum of 104 Supervised Weeks

See LCSW Breakdown of Required Experience for more information.

  • 3. Complete Additional Coursework

The following required coursework may have been completed at any time, but must be complete prior to applying for Examination Eligibility:

    • Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting
    • Human Sexuality
    • Alcoholism and Other Chemical Substance Dependency
    • Spousal or Partner Abuse Assessment Detection, and Intervention
    • Aging, Long Term Care, and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse
    • California Law and Professional Ethics

Upon completion of supervised experience and additional coursework, you may apply for Examination Eligibility.  Upon approval, applicants will be eligible to take the Standard Written examination.  Candidates will have a one-year time limit to take the Standard Written examination once eligible.*

  • 5. Pass the Standard Written Examination

Upon passing the Standard Written examination, candidates are eligible to take the Clinical Vignette examination.  The Clinical Vignette examination must be taken within one year of passing the Standard Written examination.* 

Candidates who do not pass the Standard Written examination have a one-year time limit to retake the examination after failing.* There is a 180-day waiting period between examination attempts.

  • 6. Pass the Clinical Vignette Examination

Upon passing, candidates must apply for an Initial License Issuance within one year of passing the Clinical Vignette Examination in order to receive a license number.*

Candidates who do not pass have a one-year time limit to retake the Clinical Vignette examination after failing.* There is a 180-day waiting period between examination attempts.

* Abandonment of Application
When an applicant fails to meet any of the one-year time limits described above, the application is considered abandoned. If the applicant wishes to reapply, the requirements include a new application and fees, and meeting all current requirements.  See Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 1806 for more information, available in the Board’s Statutes and Regulations handbook.