Become a Social Worker in Washington D.C.

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Disclaimer: Due to the rapidly changing nature of social work regulations, for the most up-to-date information on becoming a social worker in Washington D.C., contact the Washington D.C. Social Work Licensing Board.

District of Columbia law recognizes four classes of social workers: Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) and Licensed Social Worker Associate (LSWA). The requirements are as follows:

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs
School Program Description
University of Denver
  • Research-driven faculty dedicated to making an impact on social problems
  • Prepares you to apply social work skills across practice settings
Fordham University
  • Four areas of focus: Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy
Simmons University
  • Four Clinical Specializations: Child and Family, Trauma and Interpersonal Violence, Mental Health and Addictions, and Health and Aging
  • Three program tracks: Traditional, Accelerated, and Extended
Case Western Reserve University
  • From Case Western Reserve University’s top-10 ranked School of social work
  • Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks available
University of Southern California (USC)
  • Offered by USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, a top-ranked graduate School by U.S. News and World Report
  • Features virtual and in-person field education in or near student’s own communities
Baylor University
  • Ethically integrates faith and social work practice
  • Specialize in clinical practice or community practice

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

D.C. LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker)

D.C. LICSW Education Requirement:  A Master of Social Work (MSW) or a doctorate in social work from a CSWE-accredited program

D.C. LICSW Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical Level Examination

Field Requirement: 3,000 hours of post-master’s/doctoral experience, including 100 hours supervised by an LICSW completed over two years

Fee: $230 license application fee, $260 ASWB examination fee, $50 criminal background check fee (new applicants only)

Additional Information: Must be 18 years of age and three character references (two submitted by working professionals), photocopy of one government issued ID, two passport photos, and criminal background are required.

Endorsement: Available upon board approval

License Renewal: Licenses expire on July 31 of every odd-numbered year. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 40 hours of continuing education (including 6 hours of Ethics and 3 hours of HIV/AIDS training) and payment of $145 renewal fee. 

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D.C. LISW (Licensed Independent Social Worker)

D.C. LISW Education Requirement:  A Master of Social Work (MSW) or doctorate in social work from a CSWE-accredited program

D.C. LISW Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Advanced Generalist Level Examination

Field Requirement: 3,000 hours of post-master’s/doctoral experience, including 100 hours supervised by an LISW completed over a minimum of two years but not more than four years

Fee: $230 license application fee, $260 ASWB examination fee, $50 criminal background check fee (new applicants only)

Additional Information: Must be 18 years of age and three character references (two submitted by working professionals), photocopy of one government issued ID, two passport photos, and criminal background are required.

Endorsement: Available upon board approval

License Renewal: Licenses expire on July 31 of every odd-numbered year. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 40 hours of continuing education (including 6 hours of Ethics and 3 hours of HIV/AIDS training), and payment of $145 renewal fee.

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D.C. LGSW (Licensed Graduate Social Worker)

D.C. LGSW Education Requirement:  A Master of Social Work (MSW) or doctorate in social work from a CSWE-accredited program

D.C. LGSW Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Master’s Level Examination

Field Requirement: None

Fee: $230 license application fee, $230 ASWB examination fee, $50 criminal background check fee (new applicants only)

Additional Information: Must be 18 years of age and three character references (two submitted by working professionals), photocopy of one government issued ID, two passport photos, and criminal background are required.

Endorsement: Available upon board approval

License Renewal: Licenses expire on July 31 of every odd-numbered year. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 40 hours of continuing education (including 6 hours of Ethics and 3 hours of HIV/AIDS training), and payment of $145 renewal fee.

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D.C. LSWA (Licensed Social Worker Associate)

D.C. LSWA Education Requirement:  A bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program

D.C. LSWA Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelor’s Level Examination

Field Requirement: None

Fee: $230 license application fee, $230 ASWB examination fee, $50 criminal background check fee (new applicants only)

Additional Information: Must be 18 years of age and three character references (two submitted by working professionals), photocopy of one government issued ID, two passport photos, and criminal background are required.

Endorsement: Available upon board approval

License Renewal: Licenses expire on July 31 of every odd-numbered year. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 40 hours of continuing education (including 6 hours of Ethics and 3 hours of HIV/AIDS training), and payment of $145 renewal fee.

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In order to become a licensed social work practitioner in D.C., you will need to complete prerequisite coursework, examination requirements, and, in some cases, supervised work requirements. Also, certain levels of social work in D.C. can only be reached after completing an on-campus or online MSW program. We are committed to keeping updated information on D.C. social work licensure policies available to you.

Disclaimer: There may be additional methods of certification that have not been covered here. Please contact your state social work licensing department for more information. Last updated 09/06/2018.

Washington D.C. Social Work Salary

Washington D.C. Social Work Salary
Washington, D.C. Social Work Career Average Social Worker Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers $64,800
Healthcare Social Workers $70,580
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $62,900
All Other Social Workers $71,470
Salary Increase from BSW to MSW +$9,000

Disclaimer: Social Worker Salary information is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information about social worker salaries in District of Columbia is subject to change. Please confirm salary information with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 8/22/2018.

Washington D.C. Social Work Scholarships

D.C. Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP)

Type:
 Loan Repayment

Amount: Up to $78,000

Description:  The Health Professional Loan Repayment Program provides loan repayment to health professionals providing primary care, dental and/or mental health services in health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) within the District.

Additional scholarship information is available on the national page of social work scholarships.

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Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs
School Program Description
University of Denver
  • Research-driven faculty dedicated to making an impact on social problems
  • Prepares you to apply social work skills across practice settings
Fordham University
  • Four areas of focus: Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy
Simmons University
  • Four Clinical Specializations: Child and Family, Trauma and Interpersonal Violence, Mental Health and Addictions, and Health and Aging
  • Three program tracks: Traditional, Accelerated, and Extended
Case Western Reserve University
  • From Case Western Reserve University’s top-10 ranked School of social work
  • Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks available
University of Southern California (USC)
  • Offered by USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, a top-ranked graduate School by U.S. News and World Report
  • Features virtual and in-person field education in or near student’s own communities
Baylor University
  • Ethically integrates faith and social work practice
  • Specialize in clinical practice or community practice

Sponsored Online Social Work Programs

Licensure information including requirements, renewals, and fees were retrieved as of August 2018. Information may have changed since, check with the state’s board of licensing for more information.