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Licensure in North Carolina

The North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board (NCSWC&LB) is a SEPARATE entity from NASW-NC. North Carolina does NOT have licensure reciprocity with any other state. Find out if your license meets substantial equivalency here:


For official information please contact the Board directly. Applications for licensure or certification must be requested from the NCSWC&LB.


Contact the NC Licensure Board

P.O. Box 1043
Asheboro, NC 27204



History of Licensure and Certification in North Carolina

In 1984 the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act for Certification of Social Workers in North Carolina which is NC GS 90-B. This legislation created the NCSWL&C Board and set 4 voluntary levels of certification. In 1991 the Act was amended, making certification for clinical social workers mandatory. In 1999 the General Assembly modified the Act to change certification to licensure for clinical social workers. The act was amended again in 2007. Licensure is mandatory for all clinical social workers in North Carolina. Other social workers may choose to receive voluntary certifications.


Types of Certification and Licensure

  • CSW (Certified Social Worker) Voluntary- Requirements: BSW from CSWE accredited Social Work program, Exam.
  • CMSW (Certified Master Social Worker) Voluntary- Requirements: MSW from CSWE accredited program, Exam.
  • CSWM (Certified Social Work Manager) Voluntary- Requirements: BSW or MSW with two years supervised administrative experience, Exam.
  • LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) Mandatory - Requirements: MSW from CSWE accredited program and two years/3,000 hours post- masters supervised clinical experience, Exam. 40 hours of Continuing Education (CE) each renewal cycle. 20 of these hours can be done via online CE.

Interested in the CMSW?

The NCSWC&LB considers the ACSW exam to be equivalent to the exam required to obtain the CMSW, thus if you have your ACSW and took an exam to receive it, you should be able to be certified as a CMSW without having to take or pay for the exam required for that level of certification. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of, as you can gain a national professional credential (the ACSW) and a state certification (the CMSW) for the work and price of one and a half credentials!


Additional Resources for NASW-NC Members

National NASW Credentialing

The NASW Credentialing Center recognizes the achievements of social work professionals. Credentialed social workers are recognized for having in-depth knowledge, leadership capacity, dedication and competence in the social work profession. These credentials are NOT required to practice social work in North Carolina. Visit the credentials list to find out more. 


ASWB Study Guides

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) developed the exams that are used in North Carolina for licensure and certification. ASWB publishes and sells study guides for each of their national exams. If you are a NASW-NC member and would like to borrow an ASWB study guide, click here.


Other Study Guide Materials 

Many individuals use resources such as the NASW Social Work Dictionary or the NASW Social Work Encyclopedia in preparation for licensure or certification exams. These resources, as well as others, are available for NASW-NC members to borrow through the Chapter Lending Library.


If you are a NASW-NC member and would like to consult with social work staff in the Chapter office about studying and preparing for the exam, please contact Valerie Arendt at 800-280-6207.

NASW-NC suggests that you refer to the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board (NCSWC&LB) for information regarding licensure and certification. The NCSWC&LB sets the standards for qualifications, training, and experience for those who pursue and acquire social work certification and/or licensure in North Carolina. 
Visit the NCSWC&LB.

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