Nevada Social Work Licensing Requirements
With around 2.8 million residents, Nevada is the country’s 35th most populous state. The state of Nevada’s Board of Examiners for Social Workers (the “Board”) is the authority that regulates the profession as well as administers licenses to applicants. If you think you might be interested in becoming a social worker in Nevada, you should continue reading below to learn more about the levels of licensure in the state, as well as the rules and requirements expected of social work candidates.
How to Become a Social Worker in Nevada
In Nevada, the minimum educational requirement for social workers is a bachelor’s of social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). To practice at a higher level of social work, or to practice independently, applicants must possess a master’s of social work (MSW) program that has been accredited by the CSWE. Continue reading to learn more about each and to decide which educational path is best for you.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
To become a social worker in Nevada, you must first have received a minimum of a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program. There are currently two BSW programs accredited by the CSWE in the state. BSW programs typically take four years to complete, and provide students with a foundation of the career, including coursework in social environment, social policy, and human behavior. Programs also usually include a fieldwork component, whereby students learn first-hand in social work practice. Obtaining your BSW will be the first step in becoming a social worker (SW) in Nevada.
Master of Social Work (MSW)
For those who are interested in practicing social work in Nevada at the independent or clinical level will need to first complete an accredited MSW program. The CSWE has approved two MSW programs in the state. MSW programs typically take two years to complete, but those entering an MSW program with a BSW may be eligible to receive an “advanced standing” status, allowing them to complete the program in one year instead. MSW programs will focus on more specialized areas of social work, and will heavily rely on fieldwork to give students an idea of what area of social work they would like to pursue. With an MSW, you will be eligible to pursue a independent social worker (LISW) or a clinical social worker (LCSW) license.
Steps for Becoming a Licensed Social Worker in Nevada
You must be licensed in Nevada in order to practice social work, and the state offers three levels of licensure, the social worker, the independent social worker, and the clinical social worker. All licensed social workers in the state must be at least 21 years of age. Read below to learn more about each level of licensure and how to get there.
Licensed Social Worker (LSW)
To become a licensed social worker in Nevada, you must have obtained a BSW or an MSW from a CSWE-accredited school. Once you have met that requirement, you must:
1. Submit your application to the Board.
The first step in becoming an LSW in the state is to submit the application to the Board. Along with your notarized application, you will submit:
- A copy of a picture ID
- Fingerprints for a background check
- A $40 non-refundable application fee*
- A $100 initial license fee*
- A $75 provisional license fee (optional)*
*Please note that the application will need to be notarized. All fees are current as of December 2015.
2. Take and pass the ASWB bachelors exam.
Once the Board has received your application packet and approved you to apply, you will be sent an examination packet from the Board. At this time, you will visit the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) website to register for and take the ASWB bachelor’s level exam. Applicants holding MSWs will be able to choose between the bachelor’s level and the master’s level exam. Note that once you have registered for the exam and have met all other application requirements, you are able to receive a provisional license for an additional fee of $75. The provisional license is valid for one sitting of the exam only, and the exam must be taken within 60 days of Board approval of your application. You may retake the exam after 90 days if you do not pass it the first time. The bachelor’s and master’s level exams cost $230 as of December 2015.
3. Receive your LSW license from the Board.
Once the ASWB exam scores have been sent to the Board, they will review your scores and send you your license.
Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
The next level of licensure in Nevada is to become an independent social worker, an advanced practitioner license that allows the social worker to practice independently. An LISW must have received an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctoral degree in social work. In addition to the educational requirements, a prospective ISW must:
1. Acquire the required supervised experience.
To become an ISW, you must have gained experience working as a social worker. It will be necessary to gain 3,000 hours of post-graduate advanced generalist social work under the supervision of a more senior licensed social worker. This experience must be acquired in no fewer than two years and no greater than three years. For one hour per week, face-to-face supervision meetings must be held. Once this experience has been obtained, your supervisor will need to submit a letter to the Board describing the nature of your work and the documentation of your work hours.
2. Submit the application to the Board.
The first step for becoming an ISW in Nevada is to complete and submit a notarized application to the Board. As with the LSW application, you will need to include a copy of your picture ID, submit to fingerprinting and a background investigation, and pay the required fees. The fees as of December 2015 were $40 for the application, $100 for the initial licensure fee, and $75 for a provisional license, which is optional.
3. Take and pass the ASWB advanced practice exam.
Once the Board has received and reviewed your application packet, they will send you an examination packet clearing you to apply for the ASWB advanced practice exam. As of December 2015, the fee to take the advanced practice exam was $260. You must take the exam within 60 days of Board approval. During that time, you may wish to receive a provisional license, which will allow you to practice until you have taken the ASWB exam and receive your full license.
4. Receive your LISW license from the Board.
Once you have passed the ASWB exam and all other requirements have been met, you will receive your license from the Board and be eligible to practice independent social work.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
If you wish to practice at the clinical level, you will likely pursue a clinical social work license. The LCSW requirements are the most stringent. First, you will need to have an MSW from a CSWE-accredited school or a doctoral degree in social work. Once you have the necessary education, you will:
1. Accumulate the required supervised experience.
To become an LCSW, you will need to acquire at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate experience that includes a minimum of 2,000 hours in face-to-face direct clinical social work practice using psychotherapy as treatment, and 1,000 supporting clinical hours, which may include documentation of and case management of these face-to-face hours. The experience must be accumulated in no fewer than two years and no greater than three years, and must include one hour per week of face-to-face meetings with the supervisor. Once this experience has been obtained, your supervisor will need to submit a letter to the Board describing the nature of your work and the documentation of your work hours.
2. Submit your application to the Board.
You will need to submit a notarized application form, along with a copy of your picture ID, fingerprints and background check, and fees of $40 for the application, $100 for the initial license, and $75 for a provisional license if so desired. All fees are current as of December 2015.
3. Take and pass the ASWB clinical exam.
Once they have cleared your application, the Board will send you an examination packet, which will signal you that you are allowed to register and sit for the ASWB clinical level exam. The clinical level exam costs $260 as of December 2015 and must be taken in 60 days after the Board grants approval. During this time, a provisional license may be granted if all other requirements have been met.
4. Receive your LCSW license from the Board.
Once you have successfully taken the clinical exam and fulfilled all other requirements, the Board will send your LCSW license and you will be eligible to practice independent, clinical social work in the state of Nevada.
Social Work License Reciprocity in Nevada
While Nevada has no formal reciprocity agreement with other states, the Board may grant licensure to a person who proves to have been licensed in another state without having to take the examination, so long as the requirements of the license in that state is deemed equivalent to those of the desired licensure level. These applicants will complete the same LSW or LISW/ LCSW application, pay the necessary fees, and have the verification of licensure form sent directly to the Board from the issuing agency.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Social workers in Nevada must renew their licenses every two years. During this time, LSWs must also complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education (CE), two of which must relate to ethics and 10 of which must relate to the specific field of practice of the licensee. LISWs and LCSWs must complete at least 36 CE hours, three of which must relate to ethics and 12 of which must be in the licensee’s field of practice.
Nevada Social Work Jobs and Salary Information
With 4,060 social workers currently practicing in the state, the vast majority (over two-thirds) of those are in the sub-field of child, family, and school social work.1 The highest paid social workers are in the sub-categories “other” social workers and healthcare social workers, who reportedly earned $65,600 and $62,300 respectively per year in 2014.1
Projections Central forecasts positive growth for social workers in Nevada, with an average of 9.3% job growth expected through 2022 across all sub-categories of social work.2 The highest rate of growth is expected in the sub-fields of healthcare social work (15.1%) and mental health and substance abuse social work (11%).2
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||3,030||$47,600>|
|Healthcare Social Workers||460||$62,300|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||440||$50,940|
|Social Workers, All Other||240||$65,600|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.
Social Work Associations in Nevada
- The National Association of Social Workers, Nevada Chapter – The Nevada chapter of the NASW offers members the chance to attend the annual conference, access to job postings, and education opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Social Worker in California
Question: What kind of degree do I need to become a licensed social worker in Nevada?
Answer: The minimum degree required to become a licensed social worker (LSW) in Nevada is a bachelor’s degree in social work. The BSW must be from a program accredited by the CSWE.
Question: How much experience do I need to accumulate to become an advanced practice social worker in Nevada?
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Nevada: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nv.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm