After completing a degree program for social work, the next step is to get licensed. While it may seem overwhelming at first, there are a few things you can do for social work license exam preparation to make it a little less frightening. Since all states have their own licensing requirements, it’s important that you find out the regulations for your area.
Before getting licensed after social work graduation, you must complete the required number of fieldwork hours. Every state requires a social worker to complete a certain number of hours in the field while being supervised. Most states require 3,000 hours or two years before an individual fulfills their clinical requirement. Make sure you check the requirements by state.
Once you’ve met the requirements, you will need to register for the exam. To find out where the exam is being held and the individual guidelines for your state, contact the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) or National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The exam itself consists of 150 questions, multiple choice, taken on a computer with a four hour time period.
There are several companies that offer assistance with social work license exam preparation. The ASWB offers a study guide, as well as a computer practice test. The Association for Advanced Training in the Behavioral Sciences also offers test preparation services as well as advice on creating a private practice, and continuing education materials. You can check in the NASW newsletter as many people advertise their for test preparation as well as supervision.
Supervised experience is a pre-requisite for the exam. Also certain states, such as California require licensing to be able to call oneself a social worker. Certain states also require fingerprints. Things change over time. When I first moved to Florida, in addition to the exam of clinical questions that had to be passed, there was also a test called the laws and rules. I fortunately passed both on my first attempt, but they each required a great deal of studying. A few years later, the Florida laws and rules has been made into a required course instead.
You can be hired at various agencies without having the license though many expect one to be taking the exam in the future. As part of your social work license exam preparation, verify the requirements for the state you want to practice in before taking the exam. Also you will need to take continuing education classes in social work in order to renew your license. Many of these are available online and there are some that are required courses such as ethics.