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Nevada Social Work Licensing Requirements

Boasting both beautiful landscapes and the excitement of Las Vegas, Nevada has a population that has been steadily increasing since 2010 and currently sits at just over three million.1 It is an excellent state in which to consider a social work career; the average Nevada social work salary is about $8,000 more than the state’s median household income and the number of social work positions is expected to increase significantly in coming years.1,2,3 If you are considering becoming a social worker in Nevada, you will need to become familiar with the state’s Board of Examiners for Social Workers, which oversees the licensure and practice of Nevada social workers. On this page, you will find information about the levels of social work licensure in the state as well as the rules and requirements related to the practice of social work.

How to Become a Social Worker in Nevada

Educational Paths

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 more advanced social work or to practice independently, applicants must possess a master’s of social work (MSW) from a program that has been accredited by the CSWE. Continue reading to learn more about both of these degrees to help determine which educational path is best for you.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

To become a social worker in Nevada, you must have a minimum of a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program. There are two BSW programs accredited by the CSWE in the state as of February 2019. BSW programs typically take four years to complete and provide students with foundational social work knowledge, including coursework in social environments, social policy, and human behavior. Programs also usually include a fieldwork component through which students gain hands-on social work experience. Obtaining a BSW will allow you to apply for the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) credential in Nevada.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Individuals interested in practicing social work in Nevada at the independent or clinical level will need to complete an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program. As of February 2019, the CSWE has accredited two MSW programs in the state. MSW programs typically take two years to complete, but students entering with a BSW may be eligible to receive an “advanced standing” status, allowing them to complete the program in one year. MSW programs may focus on more specialized areas of social work and will include fieldwork to help students decide which area of social work is the best fit for them. With an MSW, you will be eligible to pursue the Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) licenses in Nevada.

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: Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). All licensed social workers in the state must be at least 21 years of age. Read below to learn more about the types of practice allowed at each level of licensure and the steps for obtaining each license.

Licensed Social Worker (LSW)

To earn an LSW license in Nevada, you must have obtained a BSW or an MSW from a CSWE-accredited school. An LSW license allows a social worker to practice general, non-clinical social work as part of an agency or organization. To earn this license, follow the steps below.

1. Submit your LSW application to the Board.

The first step to becoming an LSW in Nevada is to submit the Application for Social Worker License to the Board and have your school send your transcript to the Board. Along with your notarized application, you must submit a copy of your picture ID and a copy of your birth certificate, passport, or other documentation verifying eligibility for employment in the US; a background check packet containing two completed fingerprint cards, the Fingerprint Background Waiver form, and a $36.75 background check fee; and a $40 non-refundable application fee along with a $100 initial license fee (as of February 2019).

Note that the application will also ask if you would like to apply for a provisional license, which costs an additional $75 (as of February 2019). A provisional license will allow you to practice as an LSW for a limited period of time until you attempt the required licensing exam. For more information about the different types of provisional licenses, see the flowchart at the beginning of the application.

2. Pass the ASWB exam.

Once the Board has received your application packet and approved your materials, you will receive permission to take one of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) licensing exams. Applicants holding BSWs must take the Bachelor’s exam, while applicants holding MSWs can choose either the Bachelor’s or the Master’s exam. As of February 2019, both of these exams cost $230 and consist of 170 multiple-choice questions. The ASWB will send your scores to the Board within two weeks of your test date.

3. Receive your LSW license from the Board.

Once your passing ASWB exam score has been sent to the Board, they will issue your license. If you hold a provisional license, it will be replaced with a permanent license and you can continue your social work practice. If you do not hold a provisional license, you can begin practicing as an LSW when the Board has issued your permanent license.

Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)

The LISW license allows a social worker in Nevada to practice more advanced non-clinical social work and to engage in private practice (in other words, outside of an agency or organization). To become an LISW, you must hold an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctoral degree in social work. You will also need to complete supervised postgraduate work experience. Therefore, you must first be licensed as an LSW if you are planning to complete these hours in Nevada. Once you have your MSW and are licensed as an LSW, you will need to complete the steps below to earn your LISW license.

1. Submit an LISW application packet to the Board.

The first step to LISW licensure is to submit a full application packet to the Board. There are two main components to this. The first is the LISW application form. You must request that your school send your transcript to the Board and you will need to include the following materials with the application form: an application fee of $40; a licensure fee of $100; a copy of your photo ID; a copy of your passport, birth certificate, or other documentation verifying eligibility for US employment; and a completed background check packet with two fingerprint cards, the Fingerprint Background Waiver form, and a $36.75 fee. These fees are current as of February 2019.

The second component to submit is the Board’s internship application. This form will require you to provide information about the setting in which you plan to complete your supervised experience (see Step 2). For more information about Board-approved sites and supervisors that may be helpful for this application, see the Board’s internship page.

2. Acquire the required supervised experience.

To become an LISW, you must complete 3,000 hours of supervised, non-clinical, postgraduate social work experience through a Board-approved internship program. You can begin accruing these hours once the Board has approved the internship application form that you completed in the previous step. You will need to receive at least one hour of supervision per week from an LISW during this time. The 3,000 hours of experience must be completed in no fewer than two but no more than three years (unless you obtain Board approval for an extension). Your experience will need to be documented through Quarterly Progress Report forms and a Termination of Independent Supervision form.

3. Pass the ASWB Advanced Generalist exam.

After the Board has reviewed your initial application, they will give you permission to register for the ASWB Advanced Generalist exam, which is required for LISW licensure. As of February 2019, the fee to take the Advanced Generalist exam is $260. If you have completed your supervised experience and this exam is the only requirement you have left to meet, the Board may grant you a provisional LISW license. However, you must pass the exam within 60 days of receiving your provisional license in order to continue practicing.

4. Receive your LISW license from the Board.

After you have completed your supervised experience and passed the Advanced Generalist exam, the Board will grant your LISW license. At this point, you can begin practicing advanced non-clinical social work in Nevada. After three years of practice, you will be eligible to supervise interns working towards LISW licensure.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

The LCSW is the only Nevada license that allows for the independent practice of clinical social work. To become an LCSW, you must first earn an MSW from a CSWE-accredited school or a doctoral degree in social work. Like the LISW license, the LCSW license requires that you complete a certain amount of post-graduate supervised experience; if you are earning these hours in Nevada, you must first be licensed as an LSW. Once you hold an approved degree and an active LSW license, follow the steps below to become licensed as an LCSW in Nevada.

1. Submit an LCSW application packet to the Board.

To initiate the LCSW licensure process, you must first submit an application packet to the Board. The first component of this packet is the LCSW application form. In addition to requesting that your school send a copy of your transcript to the Board, you will also need to submit the following materials with your application: an application fee of $40; a licensure fee of $100; a copy of your photo ID; a copy of your passport, birth certificate, or other documentation verifying eligibility for US employment; and a completed background check packet with two fingerprint cards, the Fingerprint Background Waiver form, and a $36.75 fee. All fees are current as of February 2019.

The second component to the application packet is the Board’s internship application. On this form, you will need to provide information about the setting in which you plan to complete your supervised experience (see Step 2). For more information about internship sites and supervisors that are Board-approved, see the Board’s internship page.

2. Accumulate the required supervised experience.

To become an LCSW, you will need to acquire at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate clinical social work experience. This must include a minimum of 2,000 hours of training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological conditions. At least 1,000 of the total hours must be under the supervision of an LCSW; any portion of the remaining hours can be under the supervision of a licensed, Board-approved psychologist or psychiatrist. During the time that you are completing your supervised experience, you must meet with your supervisor for at least one hour each week.

You can begin accruing your supervised hours after the Board approves your internship application submitted in the previous step. After you start your hours, you must finish them in no fewer than two and no more than three years (unless you receive Board approval for an extension). During your internship, your supervisor will need to track your progress using the Clinical Quarterly Progress Report form and the Termination of Clinical Supervision form

3. Pass the ASWB clinical exam.

Once the Board has approved your application, they will allow you to register for the ASWB Clinical exam. As of February 2019, this exam costs $260. Once you have completed all requirements for licensure except the Clinical exam, the Board may issue you a provisional LCSW license. This will allow you to begin practicing as an LCSW, but you must pass the exam within 60 days of receiving your provisional license to continue working.

4. Receive your LCSW license from the Board.

Once you have completed all requirements for licensure, including successful completion of the ASWB clinical exam and 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work, the Board will issue your LCSW license. At this point, you can begin working as an LCSW in Nevada if you have not already been doing so under a provisional license. After three years of practice, you will be eligible to supervise LCSW interns.

Social Work Licensure by Endorsement in Nevada

Nevada allows social workers licensed and in good standing in other jurisdictions to apply for licensure by endorsement. This method allows social workers to become licensed in Nevada without having to repeat the licensure exams or supervised experience. LSW applicants and LISW/LCSW applicants who have been working under their current licenses for at least five years can apply for equivalent Nevada licensure with minimal additional documentation. LISW and LCSW applicants who have been practicing for fewer than five years will need to provide documentation of Board-approved supervised experience. To apply for licensure by endorsement, follow the steps described above (except the exam and supervised experience requirements) for the license that you are seeking. In addition to these steps, you must have the ASWB send your exam scores to the Nevada Board and submit the license verification form for each state in which you are licensed.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Social workers in Nevada must renew their licenses every year on the last day of their birth month. Although licenses are renewed yearly, continuing education (CE) requirements are on two-year cycles. Every two years, LSWs must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education (CE), 10 of which must relate to the specific field of practice of the licensee. LISWs and LCSWs must complete at least 36 CE hours, 12 of which must be in the licensee’s field of practice. All social workers must complete two CE hours in suicide prevention and four CE hours in social work ethics.

Nevada Social Work Jobs and Salary Information

As of May 2017, 4,800 social workers were employed in Nevada, the majority (3,040) in the subfield of child, family, and school social work.2 The average salary for a Nevada social worker was reported to be $65,583, well above Nevada’s median annual household income of $57,652.1,2 The highest Nevada social work salaries are in the subfield of healthcare social work, at an average of $78,940 per year.2

Healthcare social work is also the subfield expected to see the most job growth, with a projected 30.2% increase in positions between 2016 and 2026.3 All other subfields of social work in Nevada are also expected to grow, with a projected 20.6% total increase in jobs during this time (or about 100 new social work positions each year).3

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers3,070$51,840
Healthcare Social Workers730$78,940
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers730$60,320
Social Workers, All Other300$71,230

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.2

Social Work Associations in Nevada

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Social Worker in Nevada

Question: What kind of degree do I need to become a licensed social worker in Nevada?

Answer: The minimum degree required to become licensed in Nevada is a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the CSWE. This will allow you to apply for the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) credential. To become licensed as a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), you must have a master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctoral degree in social work.

Question: How much supervised experience do I need to accumulate to become a social worker in Nevada?

Answer: To become an LSW, you do not need any supervised experience. To become an LISW or an LCSW, you must accumulate 3,000 hours of post-graduate experience.

References:
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Nevada: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/nv
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Nevada: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nv.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm