District of Columbia Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA) Guide - 2024

AKA: District of Columbia LSWA License

Social Worker License

by Social Worker License Staff

Updated: February 16th, 2024

District of Columbia Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA) Licensure Process

The Licensed Social Work Associate or LSWA is the entry-level offered by the Board of Social Work in DC. With this, holders can practice general social work with the supervision of another who has a higher license, specifically, the LISW or LICSW.

You can start your application during the final semester of the bachelor of social work program you are taking or after you graduate.

Educational Requirement

LSWA requires at least a bachelor’s degree in social work or BSW. The program you take should have the Council on Social Work Education accreditation. The CSWE is a national association that represents social work education in the country. Here you can find all schools offering social work degree programs in DC.

The program will expose students to the professional practice of social work through both classroom teaching and hands-on experience. The common courses include:

  • Social welfare policy
  • Human behavior and social environment
  • Social welfare policy

Application Requirement

A candidate for LSWA needs to submit the New License Application form. It should be packaged with all documents required. Your application is reviewed by the Board of Social Work to determine eligibility for the license. The supporting documents include:

  • Two recent passport photos
  • Your Social Security Number or a Sworn Affidavit
  • Applicant Work Experience Forms
  • Three Character Reference Forms
  • Social Work Transcript submitted in a sealed envelope coming from the issuing institution. You can submit a written letter to the Board of Social Work from the program that documents your expected graduation date.
  • $230 application and license fee in the form of a check, money order, or a certified check made payable to the DC Treasurer.

You will also need to go through a criminal background check. Follow the instructions carefully before sending in your application to expedite the process and avoid delays. You can check the list of requirements here.

Examination Requirement

To qualify for an LSWA license, applicants must take and pass the bachelor’s exam by the Association of Social Work Boards, or ASWB. However, you cannot register for the exam before the Board of Social Work has reviewed your application first. Wait for them to tell you to take the test.

The ASWB offers a Candidate Handbook, which contains useful information about your licensure exam and what to expect moving forward. Take the time to download and read it before moving forward.

Once you pass the exam and complete all the steps, the Board of Social Work will provide you with an LSWA license. You can now practice social work in DC under the supervision of a LISW or LICSW.