LBSW | Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker

Learn About The Role and Education Path for LBSW

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A Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) is the entry level social work license offered in a number of states. Most states require a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) to practice under a social work license, but some states allow limited social work under the Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker designation. This allows a limited amount of client face to face contact in a therapeutic setting usually under the direct supervision of a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). While they are not allowed to make assessments of clients, they can assist Licensed Clinical Social Workers or other higher level licensure in therapy and research. What particular roles and tasks you are able to perform will depend on your state’s board designated rules for the LBSW title holder. Most people will use their Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker experience to get into a Master’s of Social Work program or as part of their required supervised hours in states that allow those hours to be counted.

Why become a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)?

Some people prefer to jump start their career or get into direct contact social work without spending extra time getting their education. For people who want to dive right into licensed social work, the Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) is a great way to quickly earn your degree and move into your profession. Others see the LBSW designation as a great stepping stone towards getting their Master’s of Social Work and eventually higher licensure designations such as Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). The LBSW designation is a great way to start learning skill sets and a knowledge base around critical social work concepts such as Cultural Competency, Equity and Inclusion and Trauma Informed Care. Some states will allow some amount of supervised clinical hours gained while you work as an Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker to count towards the required clinical hours that are needed to achieve higher levels of licensure like the Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Some states will require that you are actively working in a Master of Social Work program in order for hours worked as an LBSW in a clinical setting to be counted. You should always familiarize yourself with your state board’s rules regarding supervised hours to ensure that your hours can be counted towards eventual higher licensure. Regardless of your long term goals, the Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW) can be a great way to gain experience while being paid for your profession.

Steps to become a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)?

You will need to complete the following steps to be able to receive your license from your state board:

    1. The first step will be to earn a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited university or college.
    2. You will need to schedule, pay for, and pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Bachelor’s Level Examination.
    3. Some states will also require that you pass a Jurisprudence Examination.
    4. Apply to your state’s board for certification and licensure and pay the fee.
    5. Complete continuing education credits, most states require 40 contact hours per renewal period.