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Full LMSW in Four Steps!

Becoming a fully licensed Masters Social Worker is a long process; it will take you at least 2 years! And a lot of the time, you are not quite sure where or how to start after graduation! We are here to simplify and help you understand the steps to becoming fully licensed!


*While most states generally follow the same requirements, some may differ slightly! For the purposes of this blog, Michigan info was used as a reference. You can check for any differences in your states’ process here. Documents linked are for Michigan SWs only!*


To become licensed, there are a few qualifications that apply in most states. Firstly, you must have graduated from an accredited Social Work program (whether it is an MSW or BSW program). Then you need to pass a licensure exam as well as gain 4,000 supervised work hours. Where should you start?

Step One

Apply for a Limited License


Your first step is going to be applying for your Limited License (LLMSW/LLBSW). You will be able to use your LLMSW to start earning your supervision hours towards your full license. You are not able to start collecting your hours without it! You can fill out the application here. You can renew your Limited License up to 6 times.

Step Two

Start Collecting Required Hours


Usually, it takes at least 2 years to gain your 4,000 required supervised work hours. And as of June 2021, you will not be able to take your licensure exam until after you have completed all of your hours. You should set up a system to track your hours, whether it is through excel or your payroll. Here is the form to fill out, by you and your supervisor, to verify the hours you have collected.

Step Three

Register for & Take Exam


Once you've collected all of your hours, it is time to take your exam! There are only a few steps to registering for the exam.

  1. Complete your 'pre-registration' process to gain approval to take the exam here. You will be asked to pay the exam fee during this process!

  2. Once you receive approval (usually via email), they will give you a link so that you can set an exam date!

When picking an exam date, make sure to give yourself adequate time to study and prepare. It is not recommended to study for longer than 3 months! And remember, while taking this exam is an important step for licensure, it is not the end of the world! Many people have to take the exam more than once before they get a passing grade. So study hard and do your best! Your exam score is directly send to ASWB, so there is no need to send them anything.

Step Four

Apply for Full Licensure


Once you have collected your hours and passed your exam, you will fill out the same licensure application as you did for the Limited License. Of course, there is a fee here too!

Hopefully this helps lay out the process of becoming a fully licensed social worker! Are there any other processes you do not understand and need explained? Send me an email or leave a comment below and let me know!

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