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Master of Social Work Master of Social Work

School of Public Service Leadership

Licensure

Expand Your Opportunities with Licensure

Make the most of your degree from Capella University by earning your license. In most U.S. states and Canadian provinces, a professional license may be necessary for:

  • Access to employment: Allows you to work with clients.
  • Earning compensation: Permits access to insurance billing and eligibility for malpractice insurance.
  • Consumer Protection: Licensing laws guarantee a minimum standard of education and training that must be met by practitioners who offer their services to the public. In other words, professional licensing ensures some degree of professional competency.
  • Professional Integrity: Licensing serves as a gatekeeper in the accounting profession. It provides a means of accountability for ethical violations. If you step out of bounds, you can lose your license and the ability to legally practice your profession.

Do I Need a License?

Determine if licensure is a factor in your program decision by reviewing your educational goals and career interests. Answering the following questions will help to determine whether sitting for the Social Work Licensing Exam is necessary for you:

◦ What are you specifically planning to do with your graduate degree?

  • If you plan to counsel, diagnose, or implement treatment plans, you will likely need a license.

◦ What type of work do you intend to do?

  • If you plan to bill for direct payment or third-party reimbursement (insurance), you will likely need a license.

◦ For what type of employers and in what type of work setting do you see yourself working?

  • If you intend to work in non-profit services, private practice or for a hospital or clinic, you will likely need a license.

◦ In which state(s) do you want to work?

  • Each Board of Social Work defines their states licensure requirements; you may need particular requirements in one state but not in another.

Your enrollment counselor can help you decide how this program aligns with your professional goals and help you understand your state's unique requirements. However, we cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement.

Capella Licensure Support

Capella's licensure team is up-to-date on the licensing requirements in all 50 states. We have successfully established relationships with state licensing boards and agencies.

Capella's licensure team supports all graduates through the license application process. This type of specialized support is available during your program, after graduation, and throughout your career.

The Licensing Process

Each state licensing agency or office creates rules or regulations that provide the specific details governing the profession, including licensing requirements. This process is defined by your state but typically involves some or all of the following:

  • Documenting how you have met specific educational components
  • Proving your fitness to practice
  • Demonstrating completion of any required clinical fieldwork experience
  • Successful examination(s) completion
  • Licensure application and fees

It is crucial to understand the licensing process in your state. Your enrollment counselor is a valuable resource as you research your state’s requirements.

State Licensure Requirements

Licensing requirements include the following for most states

  • Completion of degree: Capella can help you complete this step, which includes coursework, clinical supervised fieldwork (practicum/internship), and national or state test (sometimes, this must be taken after graduation and license application is approved).
  • Application for license: This is between each individual applicant and the board or licensing office. Capella supports all graduates by verifying completion of the degree and/or specific coursework.
  • Post-graduate fieldwork: Includes completion of 1-4 years of fieldwork under a board-approved supervisor.
  • Application for full license: After you successfully complete your post-graduate fieldwork, you will be issued a full license that must be kept current through continuing education coursework.

Each state and province has different licensing requirements that are governed by a specific group or agency such as the educator licensing office. To understand your state's requirements, start by contacting your enrollment counselor. Additionally, you will want to do your own research on your state's requirements. The following resources may be helpful:

Miscellaneous Requirements

Many states have "fitness to practice" requirements. For example, if you have a medical condition that limits your ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety, chemical substance use within the past 2 years, past or current diagnosis of a sexual disorder, or criminal convictions, you may be prevented from obtaining a license.

Earning a Degree Out of State

Because Capella's main campus is located in Minnesota and we have students in all 50 states and 61 countries, we have designed our programs to meet national standards or accreditations recognized by many states.

For most Capella students, earning a degree from Capella is similar to earning a degree at a university outside of their state, and then moving back to their home state to pursue their professional license. Capella's Enrollment Counselors can provide specific information about unique educational requirements in your state. Contact us to learn more.

Reciprocity and Transferring of Licenses

Most states have rules that address reciprocity and the transfer of licenses from another state, although some will require you to meet their state's educational requirements as if you were a new applicant. As you relocate and seek new opportunities, Capella's licensure resources and support will be available to help you make the most of your Capella degree.

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