Minnesota Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) Guide - 2024

AKA: Minnesota LISW License

Social Worker License

by Social Worker License Staff

Updated: April 24th, 2023

LISWs are social workers licensed to carry out non-clinical social work without supervision. They can put their skills to use in organizations and in administration, policy development, and many others. They may carry out certain clinical tasks only under supervision.

Follow along to learn how to become a Licensed Independent Social Worker in Minnesota.

Minnesota Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) Licensure Process

Education Requirements

Applicants for an LISW license in Minnesota are required by the board to have completed a CSWE or CASSW accredited social work program awarding an MSW on completion. The program can be completed in any state or province. However, during the application process, the applicant is responsible for ensuring that an original copy of their transcript is sent from the institution to the board.

Here you can find all schools offering social work degree programs in Minnesota.

Experience Requirements

Prospective LISW applicants must complete 4000 hours of non-clinical practice which should include at least 100 hours of supervision. At least 4 hours of supervision must be obtained every 160 hours of practice. They should preferably be supervised by an LISW licensed to practice in Minnesota.

The supervised experience should be completed between 24 – 48 months and it must be documented with the board. You are required to submit a supervision plan to the board no later than 60 days from your resumption. On the completion of the supervised experience period, the supervisor must submit verification that the supervisee has fulfilled all supervision requirements.

Fingerprint-Based Criminal Background Check (CBC)

All applicants for an initial license (by examination or reciprocity) or license reactivation are required to have a fingerprint-based CBC run on them. The CBC fee is $33.25 and it is charged with the application fee when applying online.

Once the board receives and accepts your application, fees, and supporting documents, you will be sent information and relevant forms for the CBC. You are responsible for getting your fingerprints captured. This can be done for $10 at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) Office (St. Paul) or any law enforcement agency or private vendor at their fixed fee. Note that CBC results are not shared, hence you will still need to do one for licensure whether you have done one for previous internships, military, or employment purposes. The BCA typically takes 3 weeks to process fingerprints received.

Apply for Licensure as a Licensed Independent Social Worker

Apply and pay online on the board website or download the application for licensure form and mail a filled copy to the board. Your application must include the application fee to be considered valid. For a mail application, a check or money order made payable to the board suffices.

Complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check. If you already hold a social work license in Minnesota, you might be exempted from this requirement.

The board requires that an original copy of your transcript be sent to them from the institution where you obtained your MSW. The transcript must contain the degree, major, and date conferred. It can be sent by mail or email. No license will be issued without this on record.

The board must be provided with documentation of 100 hours of supervision over 4000 hours of non-clinical practice. You can download the relevant form here or fill out the Supervision Verification form online.

Finally, you must pay the initial license fee to activate your license. The fee for an LISW license is $295. This makes your license valid for two years. It expires in your birth month, two calendar years from the issue date.

Examination Requirements

The ASWB Advanced Generalist Examination is the qualifying examination for an LISW license to practice in Minnesota. The board takes 30 -60 days to review your license application after which you will be eligible to test if you meet all the requirements. The test is computer-based and administered by Pearson Vue. The testing fee of $260 can be paid online with a credit or debit card.

You can register online or download a copy of the registration form and fax or mail a completed copy to the ASWB. If your registration is accepted, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) containing more information about the test. Take advantage of the online practice materials the ASWB provides here.

Your test results will be sent to the board about two weeks from your testing date. People who fail a test attempt are only allowed to retake it after 90 days.