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Licensure - Overview
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Overview of Licensure


What is Licensure?

If you want to call yourself a "Social Worker" in Michigan you must be licensed.


On July 1, 2005, the Social Work Licensure Act (Public Act 61 of 2004) went into effect in Michigan. Licensure changed the regulation of the social work profession from simple title protection (registration) to the protection of the practice for qualified social workers through a license.


The major goal of the Social Work Licensure Law is to provide protection for the citizens of Michigan by ensuring qualified and competent practitioners. This is accomplished through establishing and monitoring high standards for practice. People have to be educated in social work, have supervised experience under a licensed social worker and pass a standardized nationally developed examination that ensures applicants possess the minimum skills needed to practice social work. The description of the scope of practice for each level of licensure is included in the Public Health Code.

Licensure Resources:

  • Michigan licensure updates with COVID-19 (Update as of April 13, 2020)
  • Licensure application materials (both BSW and MSW) - Michigan Department of Licensure and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)
  • Renew your license or limited license
  • How to obtain your social work license (Webinar). NASW Michigan Director of Member Services, Duane Breijak, LMSW-Macro, walks Michigan social workers through the process to get licensed in Michigan. (Original webinar, March 2020)
    • Changes to the ASWB Social Work Exam Outlines (Webinar) - From 2015 to 2016, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) conducted its sixth analysis of the practice of social work, in order to update both the content and the distribution of content in the blueprints for the social work licensure examinations. This practice analysis serves an important role for ensuring exams are relevant to contemporary practice, and that they reflect the opinions and expertise of a diverse group of stakeholders. This being the case, changes have been made; beginning January 2nd of 2018, all exams now reflect their respective new blueprints. This webinar will walk students, new social work graduates, limited licensees, and supervisors on these new changes and best ways to prepare for the exam. Presenter: Dawn Apgar, PhD, LSW, ACSW. (Original webinar, March 2018)





    What is Title Protection?

    Protects the Public

    Working with a licensed professional gives clients peace of mind that the person is educated in evidence-based practice and treatments, adheres to a strict code of ethics and is regulated by a licensing board. A licensed professional is subject to professional sanctions.


    Vulnerable Clients Need Correct Information

    People often encounter a social worker at their most vulnerable and building a trust with a stranger, even a licensed professional, is difficult in the best of times. For people to engage in potentially transformative work with social workers, Michiganders must be assured that the social worker with whom they're working is required to comply with the licensing law.


    Titles Matter

    As a society we do not tolerate someone who is untrained or unlicensed being called an attorney, doctor or certified public accountant. The same holds true for other licensed professions like social work.


    Value of Social Work

    If the need for social work is expected to increase twice as fast as any other occupation, then it is important for the public and decision-makers to understand the value of social work. When the value of social work is realized, programs will be better funded; jobs will be valued at the salary level they should be; and educational debt relief, workplace safety and caseload sizes will become important because securing a workforce of social workers is important.


    Questions About Licensure?

    If you have questions about licensure, including how to apply for your license, the status of your application, details about your license, or any other license issue, you need to contact the Bureau of Health Professions in the Michigan Department of Community Health. To reach this office, please call 517-335-0918 or email

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