LCSW Licensing Process in California

How to Navigate the LCSW process in California

lcsw licensing process

The licensing process can be confusing! I thought it would be useful to break down the LCSW licensing process in California. Here I’ve listed the process in more detail than on the info graphic above.

  1. Graduate from an accredited MSW program
  2. Register with the BBS for an ASW number
    1. Application
    2. LiveScan fingerprints
    3. Photos
    4. Official Transcripts with degree posted
    5. $75 fee
  3. Find a qualified supervisor and site to gain your experience
  4. Complete the Supervisory Plan and LCSW Supervisor Responsibility Statement with your supervisor (don’t send it in)
  5. Complete 3200 hours of experience in the approved categories & at least 104 weeks of supervision
  6. Keep track of your hours
  7. Complete additional coursework
    1. Child Abuse (7 hours)
    2. Human Sexuality (10 hours)
    3. Alcoholism and Other Chemical Dependency (15 hours)
    4. Spousal/Partner Abuse (15 hours)
    5. Aging, Long-term Care, Elder Abuse (10 hours)
  8. Submit all documentation to BBS
    1. application
    2. $200 fee
    3. photo
  9. Study and prepare for exams
  10. Pass Standard Written Exam
    1. Application
    2. $100 fee
  11. Pass Clinical Vignette Exam
  12. Apply for and receive LCSW


Whew, you made it! The LCSW licensing process in California can be daunting. It took me almost 4 years to complete my process. This was many years ago when the process was different (the oral exam was still in effect). Regardless, the process time still seems to be about 3-4 years.

I wish you much success on your journey. And I assure you, it will be worth it!


Source: Board of Behavioral Sciences

Sharon Martin has a passion for clinical supervision, mentoring new social workers, blogging, and reading all things social work related. She is a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years in the field. Sharon has worked extensively in Bay Area non-profits and successfully runs a private counseling practice in San Jose. Sharon writes regularly for PsychCentral and the Good Men Project. She's also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism.

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