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North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board



Pursuant to the North Carolina Social Worker Certification and Licensure Act, NCGS § 90B, it is unlawful to engage in or offer to engage in the practice of clinical social work in North Carolina without first being licensed as a clinical social worker by this Board.  If you lack any of the criteria for licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and wish to engage in clinical social work practice, you must become licensed at the associate level (LCSWA).  The following rules and procedures apply to all current and prospective LCSWA licensees:

  1. The LCSWA licensee may practice only under appropriate supervision.
  2. The LCSWA license is issued for two years but may be renewed if needed; however, the associate licensee MUST pass the qualifying clinical exam prescribed by the Board within the initial two year licensure period to be eligible for renewal.
  3. Failure to pass the qualifying exam within the initial licensure period will necessitate re-application for a new LCSWA license which will not be issued until the exam is passed.  Supervision and clinical experience acquired under the expired license will not carry over to the new LCSWA license.  Under the new LCSWA license, the required 2 years/3000 hours of supervised clinical practice experience must be documented again.
  4. Clinical supervision is required until LCSW licensure is obtained.
  5. A minimum of 3000 hours of appropriately supervised clinical practice over a period of time no less than two years, or more than six years are required for LCSW eligibility. 
  6. Appropriate supervision means that provided by a supervisor who is an LCSW with a MSW degree from a CSWE accredited program and two years of post LCSW clinical practice experience, and who is in good standing with this Board (not under discipline). Prospective supervisors with prior disciplinary history must obtain written permission from the Board to supervise LCSWA licensees.
  7. A minimum of 100 hours of supervision is required and shall be maintained at a ratio of 1 hour of supervision for every 30 hours of practice.  A maximum of twenty-five (25) hours of group supervision is allowed but all remaining applicable supervision must be individual (one-on-one, face-to-face). 
  8. All LCSWA licensees must notify the Board in writing (on applicable forms) and have in place prior to practice, appropriate clinical supervision and immediate access to emergency clinical consultation.  An Emergency Crisis Plan must be in place pursuant to Section .0210(c) of the N. C. Administrative Code.
  9. If applying from another jurisdiction (comity), to receive credit for clinical supervision and practice obtained in another state or jurisdiction, please note that this process is based on a current and active license at an equivalent level from the other state/jurisdiction.  No exceptions.
  10. LCSWA licensees are approved to sit for the clinical examination with the issuance of the license and must pass the qualifying clinical exam prescribed by the Board within the initial two years of associate licensure (see #2).  Those who fail the examination may re-examine before the expiration of their license and after waiting 90 days and payment of another exam processing fee to this Board. [Actual cost of the exam must be paid by the candidate directly to the examining body, ASWB.]
  11. A waiver of the 90-day wait to re-examine may be requested if the number of items missed is within 5 points of a passing score AND if you your employment is at risk for failure to maintain licensure. Waiver requests must be sent directly to ASWB.
  12. Continuing Education (CE) is required to apply for LCSW licensure and for renewal of the LCSWA license.  CE requirements are set forth in N.C. Administrative Code [21 NCAC 63.0401] and require 40 clock hours over a two year period.  CE may be prorated for renewal periods less than two years. Refer to the Board's Position Statement on Continuing Education.
  13. Practice and supervision shall be reported to the Board every 6 months on the LCSWA Six-Month Review Form.  It is the licensee’s responsibility to submit each report to the Board on time, assuring that a case narrative has been completed and is on file with the clinical supervisor.  Failure to report to the Board is a violation of the law and may result in action against the license.
  14. The LCSWA license may be renewed (see #2) upon submission of the Renewal Affidavit, appropriate fee, documentation of CE activity, and current Six-Month Review report.
  15. Upon satisfying all LCSW requirements (experience, supervision, examination, CE activity) submit the LCSW Short Form application (available for download at  Include the final Six-Month Review Form, along with the required application fee of ($115.00) one hundred and fifteen US dollars.