There are various types and levels of licenses in Michigan, each of which has specific requirements that must be met. The following licenses are available through the Social Work Licensure Act:
You may click on any of these licenses to jump directly to their requirements.
Limited Licenses (LLBSW/LLMSW)
The Social Work Licensure Act allows the Board of Social Work to grant a limited license to any individual who has completed all the educational requirements for licensure as a LBSW or LMSW.
Individuals must hold a limited license in order to accrue hours toward the experience requirement for their full license.
A limited licensee must be supervised by a licensed master’s social worker and may practice only in an agency, health facility, institution, or other Board-approved entity. "Health facility” is defined as a health facility or agency licensed under the Public Health Code, or a hospital, psychiatric hospital or psychiatric unit licensed under the Mental Health Code.
A limited license is renewable for not more than six years.
The Act also allows the Board to grant a limited social service technician registration to an individual who has met all of the following requirements:
- Has successfully completed two years of college
- Is employed in the practice of social work or has been made an offer of employment in the practice of social work with an agency recognized by the board
- Applies social work values, ethics, principles, and skills under the supervision of a LMSW or a LBSW
- Is seeking to obtain the experience for registration as a social service technician
A limited social service technician registration is renewable for not more than one year.
Licensed Bachelor's Social Worker (LBSW)
The Social Work Licensure Act requires an applicant for licensure as a Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker to have:
- A bachelor’s degree in social work from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
- Successfully passed the Bachelor’s exam given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). A passing score is 75%.
- Completed at least 4,000 hours (two years of full-time, or the equivalent in part-time) of post bachelor’s degree experience in the practice of social work at the bachelor’s level under the supervision of a fully licensed master’s social worker. Experience cannot be accrued in no less than two years.
Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW)
The Social Work Licensure Act requires an applicant for licensure as a Licensed Master’s Social Worker to have:
- A master’s degree or doctoral degree in social work from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
- Successfully passed the Clinical exam (for the Clinical designation) or the Advanced Generalist exam (for the Macro designation), both given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). A passing score is 75%.
- Completed at least 4,000 hours (two years of full-time, or the equivalent in part-time) of post master’s or post doctoral degree experience in the practice of social work at the master’s level under the supervision of a fully licensed master’s social worker.
In addition to these licensure requirements, LMSWs employed by school districts must meet the employment requirements for school social workers in the Revised School Code.
Second Practice Designation
Both new applicants and current licensees may add the second master’s level social work specialty designation (clinical or macro) by completing an additional 2,000 hours of post-degree social work experience, accrued over not less than 1 year, in the second specialty designated area with at least 50 hours of supervisory review.
Registered Social Services Technician (RSST)
The Social Work Licensure Act requires an applicant for a Registered Social Service Technician credential to have:
- Completed at least 2,000 hours of social work experience, accrued over not less than one year and under the supervision of a LMSW or LBSW, as well as current employment in human services or social services during which social work values, ethics, principles and skills were applied.
- Completed two years of college that included at least four courses relevant to human service needs. Successful completion of two years of college means completion of 60 semester or 90 quarter hours of college-level courses with a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.0.
- Successful completion of an associate degree in social work from an accredited college or university.
All qualifying experience for both LBSW and LMSW licensees, regardless of specialty designation, must meet all of the following requirements:
- Experience can only be earned after all graduation requirements are completed. Effective September 1, 2005, experience in Michigan may be earned only in the limited license status.
- Experience must be completed under the supervision of a Michigan-licensed master’s social worker or a person who holds the equivalent license, certificate, or registration from the state in which the experience was obtained. The supervisor’s license, certificate, or registration must be in good standing during the period of supervision.
- The applicant must meet individually and in person with his or her supervisor, or in a group modality that provided for 50% of the supervision to include individual contact, during which active work functions and records of the applicant were reviewed. In cases of extreme hardship where an approved supervisor is not available, the Board of Social Work may approve an alternative supervision arrangement by a related health practitioner. Before using an alternate supervisor, the applicant must submit a request with a proposed plan and documented willingness by the alternate supervisor. The Board must approve the alternative supervision arrangement before the arrangement is implemented.
- Supervisory review must be conducted for at least four hours per month with at least one hour being conducted between the applicant and the supervisor on an individual basis.
- Not more than 2,000 hours of acceptable experience may be accumulated in any one calendar year.
- Experience can be accumulated at not less than 16 hours per week but not more than 40 hours per week.
- The applicant must function as a bachelor's social worker or master’s social worker using generally accepted applications of social work knowledge and techniques acquired during the applicant’s education and training.
Functions for Qualifying Experience
Licensed Bachelor's Social Worker (LBSW)
Qualifying work experience for the LBSW includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
- Social casework assessment, planning, and intervention with individuals, couples, families, or groups to enhance or restore the capacity for social functioning.
- Case management of health and human services.
- Providing information about and referring individuals to resources.
- Planning and collaborating with communities, organizations, or groups to improve their social or health services.
- Working with clients in accessing, coordinating, or developing resources to develop solutions for interpersonal or community problems.
Licensed Master's Social Worker - Macro Designation
Qualifying experience for the LMSW with macro designation must be completed in at least one of the following areas:
- Administration, management, and supervision of human service organizations, including the translating of laws and administrative rulings into organizational policy and procedures
- Collaboration, coordination, mediation, and consultation between and among organizations, disciplines and communities
- Community organizing and development
- Research and evaluation
- The seeking of social justice through the legislative process or the social action and advocacy processes
- The improvement of social conditions through social planning and policy formulations
- Social work education and training
- Advanced application of macro social work processes and systems to improve the social or health services of communities, groups, or organizations through planned interventions.
Licensed Master's Social Worker - Clinical Designation
Qualifying experience for the LMSW with clinical designation must include one or more of the activities specified in the definition of clinical social work:
- Advocating for care
- Protecting the vulnerable
- Providing forensic practice functions
- Increasing social well-being
- Providing education and resources
- Providing case management for complex and high-risk cases
- Serving on community committees
- Providing clinical supervision or direction of clinical programs
- Providing psychotherapy
- Psychotherapy is defined in the Rules as the assessment, diagnosis, or treatment of mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders, conditions, addictions, or other biopsychosocial problems and may include the involvement of the intrapsychic, intrapersonal, or psychosocial dynamics of individuals.
Registered Social Service Technician (RSST)
Qualifying work experience for a RSST registration means the delivery of social work services through any of the following:
- Interviewing clients to obtain information about a client’s situation, providing information about available services, and providing specific assistance to help people use community resources.
- Conducting case-finding activities in the community and encouraging and providing linkages to available services.
- Monitoring a client’s compliance with a program’s expectations.
- Providing life-skills training.