Missouri Social Worker License Guide - 2022

Social Worker Licensing Guide for the state of Missouri

Last Reviewed: May 14th, 2022

People may often confuse social work with volunteering as both are directed at providing a variety of services to help members of the population in need. Social workers are trained professionals who provide advocacy, guidance, management, and other professional services as required. The perception of the importance of this profession is heightened in distressed societies where they create channels for indigenes to access governmental and non-governmental support. 

Social workers are professionals in their right and the sensitivity of their job requires that some degree of control be put in place by the government to checkmate the quality of delivery. The Missouri Division of Professional Registration is saddled with the responsibility of issuing licenses to qualified individuals in sensitive professions such as this. Applications are received all year round and successful candidates receive a license to practice social work in Missouri. The division recognizes four categories of social workers in the state which include:

Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW)

This is the most basic level of social work practice in Missouri. An LBSW license allows its holder to practice social work under the supervision of a more advanced and experienced social worker for at least 3000 hours before they can file for independent practice status. At this level of practice, one would be required to put their skills to use in mediation, counseling, advocacy, and resource identification/appropriation.

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

The duties of an LMSW are more advanced than those of an LBSW, hence the qualification requirements are higher. Holders of such a license may not practice the clinical aspects of social work or serious administrative duties. However, they are found to be active in research, supervision and training, and consultation. These professionals can begin the social work profession independently, as it is expected that their training has exposed them to sufficient practice hours.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

LCSW license holders are responsible for helping individuals in society to optimize their mental and emotional health. They can practice clinical social work independently and their job descriptions normally include diagnosis and management of mental and emotional disorders. One should normally hold an LMSW license by the time they are applying for an LCSW license. The upgrade process usually requires a supervised learning experience.

Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW)

LAMSW license holders are at the same professional level as LCSW holders except that their social work practice is heavily administrative. These professionals are more involved in policy development, community organization, and resources management on a larger scale. You also need to accumulate supervised experience whilst holding an LMSW license to qualify for this license. 

Process of Licensure

Social work licensure is critical to the commencement of your career in this field in Missouri. The board has specific requirements that all applicants must meet before they are awarded licenses. In this section, we go over these requirements and the licensing process.

Missouri Social Work License Options