How do I transfer a social work license to another state?

Social work licensing reciprocity is different state by state. Unfortunately, there is not a single set of guidelines that applies across the nation, as each state’s licensing board sets their own rules and criteria. No automatic reciprocity exists between the states. Thankfully, once you pass the ASWB clinical exams, you won’t have to retake those exams if you are getting licensed in additional states. The University of Northern Iowa put together a state reciprocity document outlining the rules for each state, but as always, the best bet is to check with each individual state’s social work board to get the most accurate and up-to-date information. A couple of things you can do to prepare yourself for this process are:

  1. If you wish to be licensed in your current state and the state you are transferring to, make sure you complete all your current state requirements before trying to transfer. If you attempt to transfer BEFORE you meet your current state license requirements, it may make the process more complicated than if you are already fully licensed in your existing state.
  2. Keep all pertinent information about your clinical supervision, including a detailed log of your hours, and up-to-date information on your supervisor (i.e. full name, license number, contact information). Many states want to know specific information on your accrued hours.
  3. Be prepared to have your MSW school transcripts sent to the state licensing board you’re applying to. This usually includes a fee to your graduate school for sending those transcripts.
  4. Complete all continued educational requirements for the state you are transferring to. For example, certain states have “Law and Ethics” requirements while others may have “Child Abuse Reporting” courses that need to be taken. Be sure to check with the state social work board to determine which (if any) courses you need to complete.
  5. You will need to apply with the state you are pursuing licensure with, including paying any applicable application fees. Fees are usually at least $100, but can be higher in some states.
  6. And finally, be patient. Whether you’re trying to get someone on the phone for information or are waiting for the application to be processed, it can take some time. So, get all your ducks in a row early, and be prepared to wait for a bit.