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Licensure Summary

Summary of Social Work Licensure Law

January, 2016


The Washington Legislature created clinical social work licensure law in 2001. The Licensure Law, RCW 18.225, includes in statute the licensure of Advanced Social Work (LASW), Independent Clinical Social Work (LICSW), Licensed Social Work Associate Independent Clinical (LSWAIC), and Licensed Social Work Associate Advanced (LSWAA). Rules for implementing this law, WAC 246-809, currently include the AIDS Training (one time), Continuing Education Rule, the Disclosure Rule, Approved Supervision Rule, Suicide Prevention Training (6 hours every six years), and the Uniform Disciplinary Act.  Experience and supervision hours required for each level of licensure can be found here. Any applicant for licensure should read the RCWs and WACs for social work licensure carefully.

LICSWs are required to have 36 hours of approved continuing education every two years, with six of those hours in ethics and 6 hours in Suicide Prevention every 6 years. Proof of Continuing Education Units must be provided to the Department of Health when clinicians are randomly audited. Auditing periods may occur every two years on the LICSW's birth date. An LICSW applicant, an LSWAIC, must be supervised by an LICSW who is an approved supervisor for 70 hours; the other 60 hours may be provided by an LMFT, LMHC, psychologist, psychiatrist, or advanced practice psychiatric nurse who are approved supervisors. Any clinician who has received a Doctorate in these fields must meet the same requirements as a clinician who has received a Master's. For more information click here.

LASWs are required to have 36 hours of approved continuing education every two years, with six of those hours in ethics and 6 hours in Suicide Prevention every 6 years. Proof of Continuing Education Units must be provided to the Department of Health when clinicians are randomly audited. Auditing periods may occur every two years on the LICSW's birth date. An LICSW applicant, an LSWAA, must be supervised by an LICSW or LASW who is an approved supervisor for 70 hours; the other 60 hours may be provided by an LMFT, LMHC, psychologist, psychiatrist, or advanced practice psychiatric nurse who are approved supervisors. Any clinician who has received a Doctorate in these fields must meet the same requirements as a clinician who has received a Master's. For more information click here.

Approved supervision requirements include 15 hours of training in supervision; 1 years of non-approved supervision; and two years of clinical practice post-LICSW licensure.  An attestation to these requirements must be made to the Department of Health at www.doh.wa.gov.

Anyone who needs a Licensure Application for the LICSW or LASW should call Washington Department of Health at 360-236-4900, x 3, or go to www.doh.wa.gov.

Emeritus licensure is available for anyone who has been a licensed social worker and wants to maintain a license, but will not be doing any clinical social work practice.  Call Washington Department of Health at 360-236-4900, x 3, or go to www.doh.wa.gov .



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