New York Social Worker License Guide - 2022

Social Worker Licensing Guide for the state of New York

Last Reviewed: October 3rd, 2022

Social workers are some of the most important members of our society. They are a source of comfort and reassurance for many who are having troubles in their everyday life. They don’t just assist individuals, but they affect change for families and community groups also. They have the ability to identify and offer treatment plans for those with mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.

New York Social Work License Options



If advocating for others is a passion of yours, social work is a field that will bring you satisfaction and fulfillment. They examine a client’s needs and recommend support networks to help them reach their goals. When there are major life changes afoot, a social worker helps their clients adjust to and power through the challenges. These changes include divorce, unemployment, or receiving a diagnosis of a life-altering illness. These aren’t situations that only affect one person, but there are loved ones who will need help adapting to the new way of life. A social worker will help everyone involved find the best course of action to help them with their specific problem.

There are several areas you can pursue in the field if you want to work in certain environments or with particular population segments. For instance, child and family social workers ensure children have a voice. If they see signs of child abuse or neglect, they can quickly take action to protect the child and make arrangements for them to be moved to a safe environment. They also help parents find childcare, appropriate housing, and apply for benefits that will improve their situation.

Working with children in an educational setting is another way you can help your community. New York is among the top five most populated states and that comes with a large number of schools that need assistance. Teachers and school administrators are often overworked and unable to care for each child in a meaningful way. A social worker can bridge that gap and create plans for students to improve academic and social development. If bullying is an issue, the social worker can step in and devise a strategy to address a student’s aggressive behavior.

The elderly is another segment of our population who go through many life changes. They may need help scaling down and finding a home that they can easily navigate without worrying about falling and injuring themselves. Remaining independent is another area they may find challenging. Social workers are able to find resources that will make food deliveries or provide activities for older participants. Getting older can be a scary experience for someone who is used to doing everything for themselves, but a social worker can make the process simple.

If you are compassionate, a great communicator, and well organized, the social work field needs you. New York is a big state with people from all backgrounds and a great place to start your career.

Process of Licensure

While those with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) are allowed to practice as social workers in New York, they are not permitted to provide clinical services. The state offers two social worker licenses, the licensed master social worker (LMSW) and the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Follow the links above and in the left-hand navigation to take a look at the specific steps you need to complete your social work licensure to help New Yorkers in need.