North Carolina Social Worker License Guide - 2022

Social Worker Licensing Guide for the state of North Carolina

Last Reviewed: October 3rd, 2022

Social workers are caring individuals who seek to make a difference in the lives of others and their communities. They provide much-needed counseling services for families and are their voice when they need to communicate with community organizations for resources. Social workers assist health professionals in creating treatment plans for those suffering from mental, physical, or behavioral issues. They are committed to helping clients get through their toughest life moments.

North Carolina Social Work License Options



If this sounds like something you’re interested in, then you should get involved. Social work is not an easy practice as you often encounter people at their worst. But that is the time they need your help the most. You are the person they go to for reassurance and knowledge. If you love solving problems, put your creative skills to work and begin assisting those who need it most.

You can choose a specialty area and work with government organizations, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and various other facilities requiring social workers’ presence. North Carolina has a growing population which means communities are expanding and need access to resources. You can be the person who acts as a liaison between the community and large organizations that have the means to help.

You’ll need to acquire a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) to get started. It is the minimum degree required to begin your career as a social worker in North Carolina. If your goal is to become engaged in more advanced services, a Master of Social Work (MSW) or doctoral degree will allow you to start an independent practice.

The North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board is standing by, ready to help you achieve a high level of success in the field. Don’t hesitate to contact them with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the requirements. You can also use the information here to jump-start the process, so let’s look at North Carolina’s licenses and what obligations you need to meet to attain certification.

Process of Licensure

North Carolina grants different certifications and licenses to those wishing to practice as social workers in the state. Depending on the scope of work you want to pursue, you will need at least a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a school or program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Independent or clinical work requires a license, while certification is needed for those looking to engage in other services. You’ll need to:

  • Have your school send your transcripts to you in a sealed envelope and include them with your application
  • Pass the required exam for the certificate or license you want
  • Send a notarized application with three professional references
  • Complete a criminal background check

Each qualification has its own set of steps to attain the particular credential. Follow the links above and in the left-hand navigation to explore the steps required for licensure.