District of Columbia Social Worker License Guide - 2022

Social Worker Licensing Guide for the District of Columbia

Last Reviewed: October 3rd, 2022

The mission of social workers is to enhance the human condition and help meet both the basic and complex needs of society, especially those who are oppressed and vulnerable. If you are the type of person who looks for meaning, diversity, action, and satisfaction in a career, social work might be for you.

District of Columbia Social Work License Options



What makes social work different from other professions is the focus on people and their environment. Social workers also deal with outside factors that affect the situation of a person. The job is to create an opportunity to assess and eventually intervene to make a positive change.

Not only do social workers help people deal with their feelings about a situation, but with what they could do about it as well.

If you want to practice social work in the District of Columbia, you are required to hold a license for it. There are four types of licenses in the district, including:

  1. Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA)
  2. Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
  3. Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
  4. Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Each license has different levels of tasks to handle. Requirements vary as you go up the ladder, too.

The DC Health Regulation and Licensing Administration (HRLA) oversees all applicants and current license holders in the district. This government unit provides the steps on how to become a social worker. If you need to contact the office, you can call (877) 672-2174 or emailĀ doh@dc.gov. The HRLA Processing Center has its public service counter at 899 North Capitol Street, NE, Washington DC.

The application process for social workers in DC depends on the license you need. Follow the links above to find the specific requirements for each license.