By helping people cope with daily problems, social workers help fulfill the purpose of the profession as defined by the National Association of Social Work: “to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources and opportunities that allow them to meet basic needs.”
Social workers need licensure to practice in mental health clinics, schools, hospitals, child welfare home and other settings. Licensing requirements vary by state, and some states classify social workers differently.
The following sections explore social worker licensure in Kentucky.
Social Worker Licensure in Kentucky
There are three levels of social worker licensure in Kentucky.
Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
Becoming an LSW in Kentucky requires a bachelor’s degree and passing a bachelor’s level examination from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
Typically, you would earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited social work program, but you may earn a degree in another program, and then complete additional coursework required for equivalency. This option includes:
- Three upper division units in human behavior with an emphasis on psychosocial aspects (six units are required if you don’t have a foundation in psychology and sociology)
- Three upper division units in social welfare (six units are required if you don’t have a foundation in economics and political science)
- Six units of social work practicum (nine units are required if you don’t have lower-division courses in social work methods)
- Educational practicum that meets Board requirements
- A relevant research course
After obtaining the appropriate educational and examination requirements, you may apply for licensure with the Kentucky Board of Social Work. No further steps are needed.
LSWs often work in entry-level human services roles. Further education is needed to work directly with clients in most social work settings.
Certified Social Worker (CSW)
Becoming a CSW in Kentucky involves earning a graduate degree and passing a master’s level examination given by the ASWB.
A master’s or doctoral degree in social work accredited by the CSWE is required. Once you have obtained the educational and examination requirements necessary to become a CSW, you may apply for social work licensure through the board.
CSWs may only practice clinical social work under board-approved supervision. After obtaining supervised work experience, CSWs can pursue LCSW status, enabling independent practice of clinical social work.
Clinical social work is defined as “the practice of social work that focuses on the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of an emotional disorder and mental illness.”
Kentucky Board of Social Work
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Becoming an LCSW in Kentucky involves completing a graduate degree and passing the clinical level examination given by the ASWB. Experience and supervision requirements also apply.
You can opt for two years of full-time post-graduate experience of at least 30 hours per week. Another option is three years of part-time post-graduate experience of at least 20 hours per week. Each path must take place under proper supervision, which includes specific details such as a consultation of at least two hours every two weeks.
You may apply for social work licensure through the board after obtaining the proper requirements. LCSWs can practice clinical social work independently.
Learn More About Social Work
Life as a social worker is one of the most rewarding professions available. If you’d like to learn more about how to become one, choose from Brescia University’s fully online Bachelor of Social Work program. For students who have already met the minimum GER of Brescia University and have qualifying transferable credits, the program can be completed in about two years.
Brescia University also offers an online Master of Social Work program for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work, and it can be completed in less than two years.
In both programs, you’ll learn the latest social work trends from knowledgeable faculty with your success in mind. Plus, you can take advantage of our fully online format, allowing you to complete your degree while balancing a busy schedule.