District of Columbia Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) Guide - 2024

AKA: District of Columbia LISW License

Social Worker License

by Social Worker License Staff

Updated: April 24th, 2023

District of Columbia Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) Licensure Process

The first two licenses discussed practices under supervision. If you want to practice social work independently in the District of Columbia, you will need to get a Licensed Independent Social Worker or LISW license.

Holders of this license are allowed to practice non-clinical social work without any supervision. They need supervision if practicing clinical social work, which is the path towards the LICSW license.

Educational Requirement

The primary educational requirement for a LISW license is a master’s in social work accredited by the CSWE.

There are several MSW programs in the District of Columbia. The curricula are similar to one another. The main difference is in the available electives and options to specialize in specific areas. Here you can find all schools offering social work degree programs in the District of Columbia.

It takes two years on average to complete a master’s program in social work. If you hold a bachelor’s degree in social work, it is possible to finish it in just one year.

Work Experience

You need to complete at least 3,000 hours of supervised social work practice to be eligible for a LISW license in DC. The work has to be completed in no less than two years and no more than four.

You need to do one-hour supervision for every 32 hours of work. A hundred hours of in-person supervision is also required.

Application Requirement

Once you complete the proper education and work requirements, you will need to fill up the new license application form from the board. Submit this along with the required documents:

Include all the documents in the application packet for easier submission. Missing documents can lead to delays in the process.

Examination Requirement

Every LISW candidate needs to take and pass the ASWB Advanced Generalist examination as part of the licensing process. The exam will assess your knowledge of advanced social work practices, interventions, and methods. It has a fee of $260. The score is sent directly to the Board of Social Work a couple of weeks after your exam date.

The ASWB recommends downloading the Candidate Handbook to prepare for the exam.