Washington Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) Guide - 2024

AKA: Washington LICSW License

Social Worker License

by Social Worker License Staff

Updated: April 24th, 2023

LICSWs can work independently and go into private practice. Some of their duties include:

  • Psychotherapeutic treatment
  • Treat and diagnose mental and emotional disorders
  • Clinical services for individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations

Follow along below to learn how to become a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Washington.

Washington Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) Licensure Process

Education Requirements

A CSWE-approved program must issue you an MSW to gain the highest level of licensure Washington offers.

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

Experience Requirements

LICSWs are allowed to provide services independently so the experience requirements are greater than those of and LASW. LICSW candidates have three years to complete 4,000 hours of postgraduate clinical social work experience. One thousand of the supervised hours must be spent in the field working in direct contact with clients, while supervised by an LICSW. While completing these hours, you must spend at least 130 hours must under direct supervision. LICSWs must spend 70 hours supervising your work. The remaining 60 hours of experience can be supervised by another qualified mental health practitioner.

Background Check

A fingerprint-based background check is required for licensure. It’s completed through the Washington State Patrol and FBI. Any fees associated with the background check are your responsibility to pay.

Examination Requirements

The ASWB Clinical exam is required to become an LICSW. After the Department approves your application, you can register for the exam. The registration cost is $260 and it consists of 170 multiple-choice questions. The scores are electronically transferred to the Department about two weeks after the test date.

Applying for Licensure as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker

You’ll need to apply for a Licensed Social Worker Associate-Independent Clinical (LSWAIC) license before you can begin collecting hours toward your clinical social work experience. The license is provisional and gives you permission to practice under while supervised by a qualified LICSW.

Fill out the application packet to become a LSWAIC, or submit an application online. Supporting documents to complete the packet will include the following:

You’ll be informed once your LSWAIC is evaluated and your temporary license is granted by the Department. You can then get started accumulating the necessary supervised clinical hours.

The next step once your 3,000 supervised hours are complete, is to apply for full licensure. Submit the application for LICSW licensure online or download and print the application packet to mail to the Department at:

Department of Health
P.O. Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099

If you have to send in further documentation that wasn’t included in the initial application packet, mail it to:

Social Worker Credentialing
P.O. Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877

Don’t forget to include a check or money order with the appropriate licensing fee. As part of the application packet, you’ll also have to send in additional materials including the Supervised Postgraduate Experience form. The fees for licensing and processing are $216.

The Department will receive your ASWB scores and if you passed the test, they will issue a LICSW license for independent practice in the state of Washington.