MSW Licensure Information and Resources
Graduating MSW students are eligible to register and take the LSW exam during their final (graduating) semester in Pennsylvania. The LSW is a national exam. If a student passes the exam in Pennsylvania, they are able to apply for reciprocity in another state.
Please note that the LCSW (clinical) exam can be taken a minimum of three years in Pennsylvania (two years in New Jersey) post-LSW exam with the approval of a clinical supervisor. The LCSW exam is an exam separate from the LSW exam.
Licensure in Pennsylvania
The application no longer requires two recommendations from professional social workers. A Criminal Background Check is now required as part of the application for PA licensure. Also, there is a new requirement indicating that each applicant must complete the Self-Query form from the National Database of Clinicians within 6 months of the application. Details are contained in the application on the website.
State Boards must have official, final transcripts on file. Even if students pass the exam before graduation, they must send their official transcript to the State Board after graduation once degrees have been conferred. SP2 does not send the transcript on students’ behalf; students are responsible for ordering transcripts from the University Registrar. To ensure that a transcript is sent properly, students should check their unofficial transcripts in Path@Penn to ensure:
- that the degree has been conferred; and
- that all information is correct
Additionally, the SP2 Registrar will reach out directly with a degree conferral confirmation. Questions about the information displayed on a transcript should be addressed to the SP2 Registrar.
Please note that criminal history checks must be no older than 90 days from the date of Application for Licensure by examination.
Licensure in Other States
The MSW Program offers a licensure information session for students in their final semester. Please find the materials from the most recent session below.
- Advanced clinical instructors, advanced macro instructors, and field liaisons are familiar with the LSW exam and will spend practice class time on the LSW exam.
- Students interested in exploring funding for exam preparation are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Affairs.
- Study Materials, Exam Registration, & Practice Test: https://www.aswb.org
- The ASWB Examination Guidebook: https://www.aswb.org/exam/getting-ready-for-the-exam/aswb-examination-guidebook/
- Information Sessions Available through the NASW-PA: https://www.nasw-pa.org/
- LSW Pre-Course through Bryn Mawr College: https://www.brynmawr.edu/swprodev/lsw-lcsw-exam-preparation. A recent survey of past participants of the prep course revealed a 90% exam pass rate after taking this course.
ALUMNI Q&A | Kerry Doyle, DSW ’22
SP2 alumna Kerry Doyle, DSW, MSSW, is an associate professor of practicum education at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. She is a licensed independent clinical social worker interested in trauma sensitive mindfulness interventions in the school setting, compassion fatigue among educators, and trauma responsive interventions.
SP2 expands practical experience for MSW students through simulation curriculum
With the support of SP2 Dean Sara S. Bachman, simulations were recently expanded beyond the MSW Program’s second-year clinical courses so that they are now also part of the second-year macro practice courses as well as the first-year curriculum. The exercises provide space for students to grow and gain experience outside the parameters of more traditional settings.
Gifts & Giving
Penn Today features SP2 expertise for Giving Tuesday
Katherina ‘Kat’ Rosqueta and Iris Leon of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP) at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) speak with Penn Today about the history of Giving Tuesday.
Career Services Office
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Philadelphia, PA 19014-6209
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Walk-in Hours for SP2 Students
Wednesdays, 2:30pm to 3:30pm