Maryland Social Worker License Guide - 2022

Social Worker Licensing Guide for the state of Maryland

Last Reviewed: October 3rd, 2022

When you think of poverty alleviation and child welfare, social workers come to mind. These people, who are dedicated to enhancing lives, are an integral part of our society. The passionate social workers of Maryland help individuals, groups, and families find solutions to their everyday problems.

Maryland Social Work License Options



The ability to help people solve problems requires sensitivity among other things. This is why it is necessary for social workers to get licensed before practicing. Getting licensed is simply your way of assuring people that you are capable and efficient as a social worker.

The Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners is the licensing body responsible for issuing licenses to qualified and competent social workers.

There are four social work licenses recognized in Maryland. They include:

  • Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)
  • Licensed Masters Social Worker (LMSW)
  • Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical (LCSW-C)

The responsibilities for each are outlined below.

Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW)

This is an entry-level license that allows a social worker to perform basic, non-clinical social work services. Newly-licensed LBSWs must work under supervision for several years before they may seek to work freely after gaining a specified amount of supervised experience. Mediation, case management, resource identification, emergency response, and client advocacy are all common LBSW roles.

Licensed Masters Social Worker (LMSW)

The Licensed Masters Social Worker license follows the Licensed Bachelor Social Worker (LBSW). A person with this license can perform the roles of an LBSW and more.  Unlike the LBSW license, with the LMSW license, you can work in a clinical social work setting under the supervision of a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical.

LMSWs are allowed to practice non-clinical roles under supervision until they have gained sufficient years of experience to practice independently.

Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW)

Moving a step up from the Licensed Masters Social Worker(LMSW) is the Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW). The LCSW license allows you to practice non-clinical social work independently and clinical social work under supervision.

Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical (LCSW-C)

This is the highest level of social work in Maryland. With this license, you can provide clinical social work services independently.  An LCSW-C license holder has gained specialized knowledge about social work in a clinical setting and can help in diagnosing mental and behavioral disorders such as PTSD and substance abuse disorder.

Process of Licensure

Before you can be awarded a social work license in Maryland, you must meet specific requirements for the particular license you wish to obtain. The process of acquiring social licensure for each social worker in Maryland can be found by following the links above or in the left-hand navigation.