Minnesota Licensed Social Worker (LSW) Guide - 2022

AKA: Minnesota LSW License

Last Reviewed: May 15th, 2022

Minnesota Licensed Social Worker (LSW) Licensure Process

This is the fastest way to get into social work in Minnesota as a licensed practitioner. LSWs can handle positions that touch on numerous areas of social work.

Education Requirements

A bachelor of social work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited program qualifies you to apply for an LSW license. At this level, you will be introduced to the fundamentals of human behavior and social work. The board also accepts programs accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASSW) or any similar accreditation body.

You will need to request that a copy of an original transcript be sent from your institution to the board during your application process. The transcript should show your degree, major, and date the degree was conferred. If sent by email, it must be a secure, certified PDF sent from your school to social.work@state.mn.us. They can also mail it to:

Minnesota Board of Social Work

335 Randolph Ave Suite 245

Saint Paul MN 55102

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

Examination Requirements

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Basic Level Examination is the qualifying test for an LSW license. The test is computer-based with 170 multiple-choice questions. It is administered by Pearson Vue and the testing fee is $230 which can be paid for with a MasterCard, Visa, or credit card.

You can only apply for the test after your application for an LSW license has been reviewed and accepted by the board. You will then receive a notification to that effect directing you to schedule your test on the ASWB website. The board application review may take as long as 30 to 60 days and the speed is heavily dependent on your ability to provide all the required documents and fees on time. BSW students who are six months away from completing their program may be allowed to sit for the test without a transcript on record. However, it must be provided before a license is issued.

Once the ASWB accepts your test application, you will receive an Authorization to Test (a notification containing helpful information about the test). The ASWB provides online practice materials and a test guide for a fee. You can register for the test online or download the form and send a filled copy to them via fax (1-540-829-0142) or mail to the following address:

ASWB Registration Center

P.O. Box 1508

Culpeper, Virginia 22701

Your test results will be sent to the board approximately two weeks from your testing date. A failed attempt means you will be allowed to try again in the next 90 days.

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 Social Worker

  • Fill out an application online or download the application form and mail a completed copy to the board address with application fee for initial licensure. The fee is non-refundable and can be paid online with a debit or credit card. You can also send in a cashier’s check, personal check, or money order made payable to the board.
  • Complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check.
  • Send a request to your BSW institution for a copy of your original transcript to be sent to the board by mail or email.
  • Register for and take the ASWB Basic Level examination. You must achieve a passing score which will be sent to the board by the ASWB.
  • Finally, you will need to pay your initial license fee online to activate your license.

Your license expires in your birth month, two calendar years from the date it is first issued. The license fee for an LSW license is $93.50.