Become a Social Worker in Wisconsin

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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 Wisconsin, contact the Wisconsin Social Work Licensing Board.

Wisconsin law recognizes four classes of social workers: Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker (CAPSW), Certified Independent Social Worker (CISW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified Social Worker (CSW). 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

Wisconsin CAPSW (Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker)

Wisconsin CAPSW Education Requirement: A master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program

Wisconsin CAPSW Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Master’s Examination, Wisconsin State Examination

Field Requirement: None

Fee: Applicants for certification must pay a total of $165 to the Board with their application unless they have taken the law exam during the preceding five years. If they have done so, the fee is reduced to $90; $230 ASWB examination fee

Additional Information: None

Endorsement: Available upon board approval

License Renewal: Social workers must: renew their license every two years. To renew your license, you must successfully complete 30 contact hours of continuing education, including 4 hours in ethics, and a payment of $85. Though, the first renewal does not require continuing education.

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Wisconsin CISW (Certified Independent Social Worker)

Wisconsin CISW Education Requirement: A master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program

Wisconsin CISW Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Advanced Generalist Level Examination, Wisconsin State Examination

Field Requirement: 3,000 hours of post-degree social work experience supervised by an approved social work supervisor

Fee: Applicants for certification must pay a total of $165 to the Board with their application unless they have taken the law exam during the preceding five years. If they have done so, the fee is reduced to $90; $260 ASWB examination fee

Additional Information: None

Endorsement: Transfer of credentials is possible for an applicant who pays the required fee and provides evidence of holding a current credential as an independent social worker or the substantial equivalent in good standing in another state or territory of the United States if the requirements for the granting of the credential in the other state or territory of the U.S. are substantially equivalent to Wisconsin requirements.

License Renewal: Social workers must: renew their license every two years. To renew your license, you must successfully complete 36 contact hours of continuing education, including 4 hours in ethics, and a payment of $85. Though, the first renewal does not require continuing education.

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Wisconsin LCSW

Wisconsin LCSW Education Requirement: A master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program with supervised clinical field training, a concentration in clinical social work, and a clinical focus in pre-master’s-level field placement and coursework (which includes a course on psychopathology in social work)

Wisconsin LCSW Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical Level Examination, Wisconsin State Examination

Field Requirement: 3,000 hours of clinically focused supervised practice including at least 1,000 hours of face-to-face client contact and including DSM diagnosis and treatment of individuals in not less than 2 years and completed under a board-approved supervisor (Applicants without a clinical field placement in their MSW program can earn a clinical license by completing a total of 4,500, rather than 3,000, hours of supervised post-graduate clinical experience.)

Fee: Applicants for certification must pay a total of $165 to the Board with their application unless they have taken the law exam during the preceding five years. If they have done so, the fee is reduced to $90; $260 ASWB examination fee

Additional Information: None

Endorsement: Reciprocal credentials may be granted to an applicant who pays the required fee and provides evidence of holding a current credential as a clinical social worker in good standing in another state if the requirements in the other state are substantially equivalent to Wisconsin’s requirements. Important to note when researching endorsement are the specific clinical requirements of the Wisconsin LCSW license.

License Renewal: Social workers must: renew their license every two years. To renew your license, you must successfully complete 30 contact hours of continuing education, including 4 hours in ethics, and a payment of $85. Though, the first renewal does not require continuing education.

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Wisconsin CSW (Certified Social Worker)

Wisconsin CSW Education Requirement: A bachelor’smaster’s, or doctoral degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program

Wisconsin CSW Exam: Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelor’s Level Examination, Wisconsin State Examination

Field Requirement: 3,000 hours of supervised practice in no less than 2 years, including at least 1,000 hours of face-to-face contact and including DSM diagnosis and treatment of individuals.

Fee: Applicants for certification must pay a total of $165 to the Board with their application unless they have taken the law exam during the preceding five years. If they have done so, the fee is reduced to $90; $230 ASWB examination fee

Additional Information: None

Endorsement:  Reciprocal credential may be granted to an applicant who pays the required fee and provides evidence of holding a current credential as a social worker or the substantial equivalent in good standing in another state or territory of the United States if the requirements for the granting of the credential in the other state or territory of the U.S. are substantially equivalent to Wisconsin requirements.

License Renewal: Renewal is required every two years. Requirements for renewal are the successful completion of 30 contact hours of continuing education, including 4 hours in ethics, and a payment of $85. Though, the first renewal does not require continuing education.

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

Wisconsin Social Work Salary

Wisconsin Social Work Salary
Wisconsin Social Work Career Average Social Work Salary
Child, Family and School Social Workers $48,950
Healthcare Social Workers $51,210
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $47,470
All Other Social Workers $57,370
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 Wisconsin is subject to change. Please confirm salary information with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 8/22/2018.

Wisconsin Social Work Scholarships

For social work financial aid options, check out our social work scholarships page.

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.