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Title Protection in North Carolina

What is title protection?

In 2009, NASW-NC achieved Title Protection for social workers in the private sector. This means, unless you are hired under the North Carolina State Social Work Personnel Series, you cannot call yourself a "social worker" without a degree in social work.

"Social work" is now defined in North Carolina as someone who hold a bachelor (BSW), masters (MSW) or doctorate (PhD) in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited school.  North Carolina has previously had mandatory licensure for those who seek to practice Clinical Social Work and school social work in our state.


What does the statute state?

2010 North Carolina Code: Chapter 90B Social Worker Certification and Licensure Act

§ 90B-16.  Title protection.

(a)  Except as provided in G.S. 90B-10, an individual who (i) is not certified, licensed, or associate licensed by this Chapter as a social worker, (ii) does not hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a college or university having a social work program accredited or admitted to candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education, or (iii) has not received a doctorate in social work shall not use the title ‘Social Worker’ or any variation of the title.

(b)  The Board is authorized to enforce title protection pursuant to this section in accordance with G.S. 90B-13.

(c)  The Board shall adopt rules to implement this section.


What can I do if I find an organization who is in violation of title protection?

You can contact Kay Castillo at the chapter office by emailing or contact the North Carolina Social Work Licensure and Certification Board by clicking here.

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