New Mexico Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) Guide - 2024

AKA: New Mexico LISW License

Social Worker License

by Social Worker License Staff

Updated: April 24th, 2023

New Mexico Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) Licensure Process

If you want to work in private practice, pursuing a career as a licensed independent social worker might be the right choice. You’ll be able to engage in clinical and general social work with this license, and you can do so on your own. This is very appealing to independent people who want full autonomy with their careers.

Education Requirements

If you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to complete a little bit more school before applying to work as a LISW. The board states that you must earn a master’s degree in social work from a program that’s been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Browse through the available programs on the our website, and choose one to continue your education. All the available schools offer online and in-person learning, allowing you to work around your schedule. That’s especially important if you are balancing your existing career with going to school.

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

Experience Requirements

You need a great deal of experience to handle your duties as a LISW effectively. Thus, the board has an experience requirement in place that you must fulfill before getting your license. This experience is invaluable and will help you succeed in your career.

The board states that you must complete 3,600 hours of supervised experience for 24-60 months. You must allocate 90 hours to face-to-face supervision to satisfy the requirement.

Your supervisor must fill out the Supervision Verification Form once you complete 3,600 hours. After filling it out, have your supervisor email the form to

Examination Requirements

You will need to complete your experience and submit your application for licensure. Upon review, the board will approve you to take the exam through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). You can register and pay the $260 fee on ASWB’s website.

You also have to pass the jurisprudence exam before getting your license. However, instead of scheduling it at an offsite location, you’ll take it online as part of the application process. You must score at least 70 percent on the open book test to get your license.

Applying for Licensure as a Licensed Independent Social Worker

You don’t have to struggle with a paper application when applying to become a licensed independent social worker in New Mexico. Instead, head to the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NMRLD) portal once you finish your supervised work experience. Then you can submit your application online.

The portal provides applications for various professions, so you’ll need to navigate the right spot after creating your account. First, head to the section of the site that says “Boards and Commissions Division”. Click on “Apply for a License” underneath before selecting “Board of Social Work Examiners” from the list. Then choose to apply to become a licensed independent social worker.

The application is straightforward and will prompt you to submit supporting documents and provide additional information. Then submit the application, along with the $125 fee. You’ll receive approval to take the exam, and then you can secure your license.

While it takes some time to meet each requirement, you’ll be pleased you put in the hard work after receiving your license. Along with earning a paycheck, you’ll be in the position to make a real difference in your community and people’s lives. Thus, get started today to get on track to becoming a social worker.