Arizona Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) Guide - 2024

AKA: Arizona LMSW License

Social Worker License

by Social Worker License Staff

Updated: April 24th, 2023

Become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Arizona

Social workers looking to advance their careers in Arizona may pursue an advanced degree beyond the bachelor’s to obtain LMSW licensure: licensed master social worker. As the name suggests, social workers with the LMSW licensure must earn a master’s degree (MSW) from an approved program.

With an LMSW license, you can expand the scope of social work to include coordinating services and therapy for individuals, groups, or entire communities. Job settings for LMSWs tend to be less clinical-based since the counterpart licensure, LCSW or licensed clinical social worker, focuses more on the patient-care side of social work.

Roles you may fill as an LMSW include:

  • Health educator in a school
  • Policy analyst
  • Community organizer
  • Transplant coordination in a hospital
  • Program manager for a healthcare group

However, if you’ve earned your LMSW license and realize that you prefer direct patient care, you can still perform supervised therapy under a licensed physician without having to return to school for your LCSW, or Licensed Clinical Social Worker, degree.

Facilities that hire LMSWs include hospitals, schools, clinics, government, and nursing homes. The work is mostly office-based and may include some travel to advocacy events.

The steps to earning your LMSW license in Arizona are described below.

Earn your Degree

To qualify for licensure in Arizona as an LMSW, you must complete a Council of Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited master’s program in social work. We found three programs for Master of Social Work (MSW) inside Arizona that are CSWE-accredited.

Find all social work degree programs in Arizona.

Check your program’s eligibility on the CSWE search for the most up-to-date information before enrolling as well as the Arizona licensing board, regardless of whether it appears in the CSWE search.

Graduate program classes focus on social justice issues affecting communities, leadership skills, advanced practice, ethics, and research. You can complete the master’s program in as little as one year if you already earned your Bachelor of Social Work degree from an accredited school.

Some MSW programs, like those available at ASU, may include options for specializing and may require one or two 480 hour internships to earn your degree. Clinical experience is not a requirement for LMSW licensure unless your degree program mandates it. Once you’ve earned your Master’s in Social Work, you’re ready to take the next step toward getting your license.

Apply for Your License

Although it may seem like you’re skipping some steps, the first thing to do after graduating with your MSW is to start the licensing process. The process beings by filling out a paper application for your license with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. This board will give the go or no-go for you to take the licensing exam. On the application, Part VII gives a space for you to check a box on whether you have taken the exam already or still need to. Instructions will be provided either for scheduling your test or sending test results to the board.

The application for your LMSW license is the same as the LBSW application, which includes the following sections:

  • Part I: Personal Information
  • Part II: Citizenship Status
  • Part III: Education & Transcripts
  • Part IV: Background Questionnaire
  • Part V: Employment History for the past 7 years
  • Part VI: Exam Information
  • Part VII: Permission for query on National Practitioner Data Bank
  • Part VIII: Professional Credentials with verification
  • Part IX: Criminal Background Check & Fingerprinting card
  • Part X: Certification
  • Final Checklist

Pay your application and fingerprinting fees online or by mail, which amount to $250 and $40 respectively, to complete the application process.

Check the status of your application at any time on the board’s website. Soon, your application will be reviewed at a Committee Board meeting. Once approved, the board will send you information on how to begin the process of taking the licensure exam.

Pass the Licensure Examination

The Association of Social Work Board’s (ASWB) Master’s Examination is the test that LMSWs take as a requirement for licensure in Arizona. The cost to register and sit for this exam is $230. After the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners gives you the approval to test, you can register with ASWB and schedule your exam at a Pearson Vue testing center. The period allowed for testing does expire, so pay attention to dates or expirations on any notices that you receive regarding the exam. Exam results will automatically be sent to the Arizona board within two weeks after testing.

It’s official! You have now earned your LMSW license, congratulations! To keep it valid, renewal is required every two years through the Center for Continuing Education (CCE). During the renewal process, you will be asked to provide proof of 30 hours of continuing education credits since your last renewal. The fee is $325 for each renewal.