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News & Press: Updates for Members

Changes to Social Work Licensure

Friday, February 14, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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NASW-NC has been sharing with our members via email, in our news alerts, in the NASW-NC newsletter and was the main advocacy issue at the 2019 North Carolina Advocacy Day, there will be changes that are significant to the North Carolina Clinical Social Work Certification and Licensure Act. The bill that NASW-NC had been working on for two years was passed (SB 537) by the North Carolina House and Senate and signed by the Governor. This new law will take effect on JANUARY 1, 2021.


The North Carolina Social Work Licensure Board has put a summary of these changes to the Clinical Social Work Statute on their website:


Currently, under state statute, individuals who are Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associates (“LCSWA”) must pass the clinical examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (“ASWB”) within two years to be eligible to renew their license. Effective January 1, 2021, LCSWAs will not be required to pass this examination in order to renew their license. This change was made to comport with the ASWB requirements that test-takers have an MSW and two years of experience in a clinical setting before taking the examination.


Notwithstanding this change, however, LCSWAs still are required to pass the ASWB clinical examination within six years from their initial date of licensure and they cannot receive a subsequent associate license until they pass the examination. New language also provides that supervision and experience hours acquired under an associate license expire six years from the date of initial licensure and that expired hours cannot apply toward future licensure.


Please be advised that new rules will take effect January 1, 2021 that will allow an LCSWA to take the exam only after they have completed two years of clinical practice. Due to these changes, eligibility for examination without two years of clinical practice experience will only be valid through 12/31/2020. After January 1, 2021, an individual will not be eligible to take the exam until after they have met the experience requirements.


Therefore, any current LCSWA, and all MSW students who are graduating in 2020 and apply and receive their LCSWA, have until December 31, 2020 to take and pass the Clinical Social Work Exam without having completed the experience requirement. After January 1, 2021, LCSWAs have to meet the experience requirements in order to apply and take the ASWB Clinical Social Work exam.


As a reminder, this was a mandate by ASWB, not changes NASW-NC desired. However, NASW-NC was the only entity with lobbying power to get the legislation passed so North Carolina could continue to use the ASWB Clinical Social Work Exam and LCSWAs could continue to become fully licensed.


We are planning a webinar to explain these changes BUT there needs to be updates to the North Carolina Administrative Code: The Licensure Board writes this language and will have a time period for public comment. This does not need to be changed in the statute.


If you want to take the exam before December 31, 2020:

The NASW-NC Spring LCSW Exam Prep Session on April 18, 2020 is filling up! The NASW-NC Spring and Fall 2020 Prep Sessions will be the only sessions hosted by NASW-NC before the law takes effect.

We always sell out so register today!

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