The practice of licensed master social work and the use of the title "Licensed Master Social Worker" and the designation of "LMSW" or derivatives thereof in New York State requires licensure as a licensed master social worker, unless otherwise exempt under the law.
To be licensed as a licensed master social worker (LMSW) in New York State you must:
- be of good moral character as determined by the Department;
- be at least 21 years of age;
- meet education requirements;
- meet examination requirements; and
- complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider.
You must file an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and the other forms indicated, along with the appropriate fee, to the Office of the Professions at the address specified on each form. It is your responsibility to follow up with anyone you have asked to send us material.
The specific requirements for licensure are contained in Title 8, Article 154, Section 7704 of New York State Education Law and Part 74 and Section 52.30 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The Law and Regulations are available in the Laws, Rules & Regulations section of the social work website.
You should also read the general licensing information applicable for all professions.
The fee for licensure and first registration is $294.
The fee for a limited permit is $70 (the limited permit fee is not refundable).
Fees are subject to change. The fee due is the one in law when your application is received (unless fees are increased retroactively). You will be billed for the difference if fees have been increased.
- Do not send cash.
- If you apply for licensure electronically using the online Application for Licensure, you will be required to pay by credit card.
- Other payments must be made by personal check or money order payable to the New York State Education Department. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
- Mail any required forms and fees to the indicated address on the form.
Please Note: Payment submitted from outside the United States should be made by check or draft on a United States bank and in United States currency; payments submitted in any other form will not be accepted and will be returned.
Individuals who withdraw their licensure application may be entitled to a partial refund.
- For the procedure to withdraw your application, contact the Social Work Unit by e-mailing email@example.com or by calling 518-474-3817 ext. 592 or by faxing 518-402-2323.
- The State Education Department is not responsible for any fees paid to an outside testing or credentials verification agency.
If you withdraw your application, obtain a refund, and then decide to seek New York State licensure at a later date, you will be considered a new applicant, and you will be required to pay the licensure fee and meet the licensure requirements in place at the time you reapply.
To meet the professional education requirement for licensure as an LMSW, you must present satisfactory evidence of having received a masters degree in social work (M.S.W.), or its equivalent, (e.g., a higher degree from a social work program that is registered by the Department as licensure-qualifying, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or determined by the Department to be substantially equivalent to a registered program as defined in Sections 74.1 and 52.30 of the Commissioner's Regulations.)
For education to be determined substantially equivalent, the applicant must present satisfactory evidence of having received a masters degree, or its equivalent, in social work through completion of a satisfactory graduate program in social work which includes two years of full-time study (at least 60 semester hours, or the equivalent), of graduate study. No more than half of the total semester hours for the program may be advanced standing credit granted for social work study at the baccalaureate level. The graduate program must include curricular content in the following areas:
- social work values and ethics;
- diversity, social justice, and at-risk populations;
- human behavior in the social environment;
- social welfare policy and service delivery systems;
- foundation and advanced social work practice;
- social work practice evaluation and research; and
- a field practicum of at least 900 clock hours in social work integrated with the prescribed curricular content.
In addition to the professional education requirement, every applicant for LMSW licensure or a limited permit must complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse in accordance with Section 6507(3)(a) of the Education Law. See additional information and a list of approved providers for this training.
Note: New York State candidates for the Social Work licensure examination must have received the M.S.W. degree as a condition for admission to the examination. Applicants for licensure will not be approved to take the examination prior to receipt of the M.S.W. degree.
Licensure as an LMSW requires successful completion of the "Masters" (formerly Intermediate) examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) or an examination determined by the Department to be comparable in content.
To qualify to take the ASWB examination:
- Submit an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and fee ($294) to the New York State Education Department.
- Ask your school to verify your education directly to the New York State Education Department on Form 2.
- The New York State Education Department must approve your education and all application materials. [We will notify ASWB when you have satisfied the examination eligibility requirements.]
- You must register directly with the ASWB to take the Masters examination. Information and the Candidate Handbook for the examination are available on ASWB website or through ASWB’s contact information. No other ASWB examination is acceptable for LMSW licensure.
Note: Applicants who have passed the ASWB examination for licensure in another jurisdiction must have ASWB submit the score directly to the Department. We will not accept examination scores from third-parties, including the candidate or other jurisdictions.
ASWB has an Exam Candidates video that provides an overview of the licensing process in all jurisdictions. In order to be approved to take the Masters or Clinical examination for licensure, you must meet all requirements in law and regulation. Please review the requirements for licensure on this site under the “How to Apply” heading on the left navigation bar.
Reasonable Testing Accommodations
If you have a disability and may require reasonable testing accommodations for the examination, you must complete ASWB's Disability Accommodation Form and submit it with supporting documentation directly to ASWB (see contact information). If your application for a reasonable accommodation is denied, or you have any complaints about your accommodations, please contact the New York State Board for Social Work (see contact information).
Note: New York State will not accept an examination given under non-standard conditions such as the use of a dictionary or extra time for applicants whose primary language is other than English. A candidate will be required to retake the examination under standard conditions.
Applicants Licensed in Another Jurisdiction
Endorsement, often referred to as reciprocity, is not available in New York State. However, you may be eligible for licensure in New York State if you:
- meet all the general requirements for licensure; and
- have passed the Masters (formerly Intermediate) ASWB licensing examination or an examination that the Department determines adequately tests social work proficiency at the master's degree level and adequately measures the candidate's knowledge concerning practice as an LMSW.
Full documentation of compliance with all New York State licensure requirements, including professional education, must be submitted directly to the Department by the appropriate entity, not by the applicant.
A limited permit allows an individual who has met all requirements for licensure as an LMSW except the licensing examination to practice as an LMSW provided that the individual is under the general supervision of an LMSW or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). The proposed supervisor must include a copy of his/her license with the Application for Limited Permit (Form 5). To be eligible for a limited permit, you must:
- submit an application (Form 1) and fee for licensure and first registration ($294);
- have your school verify completion of the M.S.W. degree (Form 2);
- submit proof of completion of coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider; and
- be at least 21 years of age and be of good moral character as determined by the Department.
The limited permit is issued for a specific employment setting and the permit holder must be under the supervision of an LMSW or LCSW. If you are a new applicant for licensure in New York State, a private practice that you own or operate would not be an acceptable setting for a limited permit holder. The setting must be legally authorized to provide licensed master social work services such as:
- A professional service corporation, registered limited liability partnership or professional service limited liability company that is owned by a licensed master social worker, licensed clinical social worker or other licensed professional(s) authorized to provide licensed master social work services;
- A sole proprietorship owned by a licensee who provides services that are within the scope of his or her profession and services within the scope of licensed master social work;
- A professional partnership owned by licensees who provide services that include licensed master social work;
- A program or service operated, regulated, funded , or approved by the Department of Mental Hygiene, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the State Office for the Aging and the Department of Health or a local governmental unit as that term is defined in section 41.03 of the Mental Hygiene Law or a social services district as defined in section 61 of the Social Services law to provide services that are within the scope of licensed master social work or licensed clinical social work;
- An entity holding a waiver issued by the Department pursuant to section 6503-a or 6503-b of the Education Law to provide services that are within the scope of licensed master social work or licensed clinical social work;
- A program or facility authorized under federal law, such as the Veterans’ Administration, to provide health services including licensed master social work or licensed clinical social work; or
- An entity authorized under New York law or the laws of the jurisdiction in which the entity is located to provide services that are within the scope of practice of licensed master social work or licensed clinical social work.
The permit application must include the certificate of incorporation for the professional entity, the operating certificate or other authorization for an authorized program or service, a waiver issued by the Department, or other documentation, acceptable to the Department, to demonstrate the setting’s authority to provide professional social work services in New York.
In New York State, a general business corporation or not-for-profit corporation may not provide professional services or employ licensed professionals unless authorized under law. The permit application must include a copy of the operating certificate or certificate of incorporation that authorizes the entity to employ licensed professionals and provide services that are restricted under Title VIII of the Education Law.
A limited permit holder may not practice clinical social work, including diagnosis and psychotherapy, under the supervision of an LMSW. If the supervisor is an LCSW, the supervision must be consistent with Education Law §7702 and Section 74.6 of the Commissioner’s Regulations.
Limited permits are valid for a period of one year and are not renewable.
A limited permit cannot be issued until the Department has determined that you have satisfied all requirements for licensure except the licensing examination.
Limited permits are not issued to applicants for employment in public schools. Such applicants should apply for a provisional school social worker credential through the Office of Teaching Initiatives. See more information on the Office of Teaching Initiatives’ website. In accordance with Section 74.4 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, the LMSW or LCSW supervisor may not supervise more than five permit holders to ensure public protection.
Practice of Licensed Master Social Work
Effective September 1, 2004, the practice of licensed master social work, as defined in Article 154 of the Education Law, is restricted to individuals who are licensed, under a limited permit, or authorized under the law. The use of the title “licensed master social worker” is restricted to persons who are licensed.
A licensed master social worker may only practice clinical social work, including diagnosis and psychotherapy, under the supervision of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), licensed psychologist or psychiatrist in an acceptable setting. Once you are licensed as an LMSW, you may submit a plan for practicing licensed clinical social work under supervision using the Plan for Experience (Form 6) included in this packet to the New York State Board for Social Work. See more information about the requirements for LCSW.