North Carolina Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Guide - 2024

AKA: North Carolina LCSW License

Social Worker License

by Social Worker License Staff

Updated: April 24th, 2023

North Carolina Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Licensure Process

Anyone looking to practice independently or clinically must possess an LCSW. These social workers can be found in several roles, including:

  • Counseling individuals and groups on emotional, behavioral, and mental health issues
  • Developing treatment plans for clients
  • Providing clinical assessments
  • Consulting with medical professionals and officers of the court when necessary
  • Performing administrative duties

Education Requirements

A CSWE-accredited school has to issue an MSW, DSW, or Ph.D. in social work to you before you can apply for an LCSW license.

Find all schools offering graduate degree programs in social work in North Carolina.

Background Check

Criminal background checks are completed on all social work applicants. If you believe you have a violation on your record that may prevent you from receiving licensure, you can send the Board a Request for Predetermination. It gives the Board permission to look over your records and decide whether or not you’d be eligible for a social worker’s license.

Experience Requirements

Before you can gain an LCSW, you must first become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (LCSWA). That’s because you need supervised clinical experience to receive an LCSW. In order to administer clinical services in North Carolina, you must be licensed, and the LCSWA permits you to work while supervised by an LCSW.

Use the application packet to apply for LCSWA licensure and include references from three professionals who have completed the Professional Reference Form. Have them send the forms back to you sealed and include them in your packet along with a sealed copy of your official transcript. If your school doesn’t send transcripts to students, they will automatically fulfill your request and send it to the Board directly. The application fee is $145.

Once the Board receives your packet and issues your LCSWA license, you are on your way to achieving your LCSW. Complete at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate clinical social work as a paid employee. At least 100 of the hours accrued during supervision must be overseen by an LCSW with two years of practice and in good standing. You are expected to complete all hours within two to six years.

Applicants need one supervised hour for every thirty hours of clinical practice. At least twenty-five of the hours can be spent under group supervision. A separate Employment Verification form should be completed by each employer you’ve had while under supervision. A Clinical Social Wok Supervision Form must be filled out by the LCSW overseeing your work. Both forms are to be submitted to the Board for evaluation.

Examination Requirements

When you get the LCSWA license, you are eligible to take the ASWB Clinical exam. Send in the Exam Request Form with the $40 fee, and when you’re approved, register for the exam. The registration fee for the exam is $260. You have two years to pass the test after receiving LCSWA licensure.

Applying for Licensure as a Clinical Social Worker

After finishing the process of gaining your supervised experience and passing the ASWB Clinical examination, you can submit the application packet and fill out the appropriate sections for LCSW licensure. The Board already has most of the information they need on file, so you won’t have to complete the entire packet.

The Board will issue your LCSW once you’re approved, and you can then begin practicing independently. Please note that you must wait for the actual license to be granted even if you meet all the requirements for licensure.