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Social Work Licensure Bill Filed in North Carolina House of Representatives

Thursday, February 28, 2019   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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Contact: Valerie Arendt, Executive Director,, 919-828-9650


(RALEIGH, NC) - On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, a bill was filled in the North Carolina House of Representatives to update the North Carolina Certification and Licensure Act (Chapter 90B) which is the law that regulates social work certification and licensure in the state of North Carolina.


NASW-NC has been working with legislators to introduce this legislation to make necessary changes to Chapter 90B in order to remain in compliance with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the entity that designs and implements the qualifying national social work examinations for the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board (Licensure Board). NASW-NC has been working with the Licensure Board for the last year and has come to an agreement on necessary changes to be introduced during the 2019 Legislation Session.


House Bill 203 is sponsored by Representatives Sydney Batch, MaryAnn Black, Graig Meyer and Donna White (Batch, Black and Meyer are all social workers who hold their MSW degree).


In addition to a number of minor changes and updates, outlined below are the significant updates requested in draft legislation:

  • Clinical Licensure Exam must be taken AFTER two years of having the LCSWA. Currently, LCSWAs in North Carolina can take the Clinical Social Work Licensure Exam as soon as they receive their LCSWA and must take and pass within two years of receiving their LCSWA. The clinical examination is designed by ASWB to be implemented AFTER completing all required clinical hours under the Associate Licensure. Effective July 1, 2021, LCSWAs will not be able to sit for the Clinical exam until they have documented all required clinical supervised hours. Removal of the requirement to take the clinical exam before two years from the Statute would allow Associate licensees to renew their license if additional time is required to satisfy the two year practice requirement for exam eligibility and independent licensure; and allow the Licensure Board to be in compliance with ASWB’s examination design and policies and continue to use the National exam when testing clinical competency prior to independent clinical licensure.
  • Temporary License to Military or Military Spouse. This addition would allow the Licensure Board to issue a temporary license to military or military spouse applicant who is actively licensed in another jurisdiction and needs to expedite the licensing process in order to secure employment.
  • Change the minimum number of years a social worker licensed by the Board shall maintain records from three to ten years from the date the social worker terminates services to the client and the client services record is closed. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Insurance Trust strongly recommends retaining clinical records indefinitely. Statutes of limitations for professional liability are based on when the injured party first realizes or should have realized that the practitioner caused harmed.
  • Social Work Certification and Licensure Board appointments; terms; composition. As the number of certified social workers in North Carolina continues to decline, it is recommended to change the composition of the board membership from two members who are certified as a Certified Social Worker (CSW), a Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW) or a Certified Social Work Manager (CSWM) to one. Amend three members of the Board who are Licensed Clinical Social Workers to four.

NASW North Carolina is in full support of the necessary changes suggested in HB203. If passed into law, the changes would take effect January 1, 2021.

NASW-NC's Policy Brief and Talking Points on the changes can be found here to distribute to your North Carolina Senators and Representatives.

Take action! Write your legislators and ask them to support House Bill 203!

Read the draft bill here and see the suggested changes which are underlined and crossed out in text:


NASW-NC is committed to advocating on behalf of our social work membership in North Carolina. Our lobbying and advocacy efforts benefit the entire profession. If you are not a member of NASW, please join your professional association today. We are the voice of the profession, your membership is the volume.


Francis G. Heitmann says...
Posted Monday, March 4, 2019
I read it: six years. That's a long time. Hard to believe that is necessary. I can see four years. I also read a subtle change of language in 90B-6(h):where the Board has the "power to adopt rules to carry out the purposes of this chapter" and they've added the word "supervision" in conjunction with "ethics" and "discipline." I hope this means the Board will adjust the rules to strengthen supervisory oversight, make some adjustment such as a supervisory credential (such as the LPC-S, the CCS, the LMFT supervisor) or that supervisors need to have practiced four or five years rather than two; at least requiring clinical supervision course work (cit. CCS 30 hours plus 15 hours per renewal; LPC-S or Qualified Supervisor 45 hours and continuing education). Frank Heitmann MSW LCSW LCAS CCS
Francis G. Heitmann says...
Posted Monday, March 4, 2019
I am confused. As it is now, if an associate DOES NOT pass the exam during the first two years of licensure, the associate must start over. I've always thought this was unfortunate, but how long will the grace period be? They'll have between two years and two years plus six months? Two to three years? I'll certainly read the legislation myself, but the news brief might ought to include that information. Sincerely, Frank Heitmann MSW LCSW LCAS CCS

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