Rules for licensure
Social work regulation is grounded in clear requirements for licensure, certification, or registration—qualifications and standards that ensure entry-level competence and practice standards that ensure safe, ethical practice.
Social workers who want to get a license must demonstrate entry-level competence by
- Earning a social work degree from an accredited program
- Passing the appropriate licensing exam
- Meeting state or provincial expectations for moral character
Social workers are expected to abide by the profession’s code of ethics and are required to abide by their board’s standards of conduct.
Laws and regulations database
ASWB maintains a database of licensing requirements, along with links to every state and province’s statutes and rules.Explore the Laws and Regulations database
The statutes that govern social work licensing are passed by state and provincial legislatures. These laws empower social work regulatory boards to issue licenses and enforce practice standards.
Rules and regulations
Empowered by statutes, boards implement rules for the safe, ethical practice of social work. These rules help social workers understand appropriate practice and give boards guidelines for when enforcement is needed.
Model Social Work Practice Act
ASWB’s Model Social Work Practice Act outlines best practices for social work laws and regulations.