Ohio Social Worker License Guide - 2022

Social Worker Licensing Guide for the state of Ohio

Last Reviewed: October 3rd, 2022

The Buckeye State is full of opportunities for those looking to become social workers. Social work is one of the most meaningful careers one can pursue. You’ll help people with psychological, behavioral, and even physical issues cope with their situations on a daily basis. Social workers connect those in need to health and social services to improve their circumstances.

Ohio Social Work License Options



The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist (CSWMFT) Board issues two licenses, the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and the Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW). Because social workers deal with the health and wellness of individuals and communities, each licensure comes with a separate set of qualifications.

LSWs in Ohio are permitted to administer unsupervised counseling and psychological intervention. If an LSW wants to provide psychotherapy, it must be done while supervised by an LISW. Other approved healthcare practitioners allowed to supervise social workers are professional clinical counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, or registered nurses holding a master’s in psychiatric nursing.

Each of these career paths is extremely fulfilling for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community. Visit the CSWMFT website for more information, or continue reading for a full breakdown of the requirements needed for each license.

Process of Licensure

Those planning a career in social work in Ohio need a license to begin practicing. Consider the job you want and the degree you need to enter that particular area. Advanced degrees will open more doors as you reach a higher level of licensure. The process starts with an Associate of Social Work (ASW) degree. The two-year program gives a general overview of what social work covers. The subjects studied are aging, addiction, and poverty. Helping skills and workplace competencies are also part of the coursework.

Once you have the associate degree, you can work as a Social Service Assistant (SWA) and provide:

  • Client assessments
  • Referrals
  • Screenings
  • Case management and outreach
  • Record keeping
  • Prevention services

A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) allows you to take on more responsibility in the field. After completing the four-year program, you can apply for an SWA position or become a Licensed Social Worker (LSW).

Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees allow you to earn higher wages. You can apply for licensure as an independent clinical social worker once you complete an MSW program. The length of the courses usually spans two years unless you already have a BSW. If so, you may be eligible for “advanced standing” and be able to finish the program within a year.

During your enrollment in the MSW program, you can qualify for placement at a social work agency if you register as a social work trainee (SWT). Register and apply online, and then track your application status on the website. You’ll be notified by email if you can be recognized as an SWT.

The process is pretty straightforward, and the instructions provided are clear. Visit the CMSWFT’s website to learn more or continue reading for a more in-depth look at social work licensure in Ohio.