Board of Social Work
Frequently Asked Questions
NOTE: If you are applying for supervision or licensure, please review the Licensure Process Handbook for more information.
1. What is the mailing information for the Board of Social Work?
Our mailing address is: 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300, Henrico, Virginia 23233
2. How do I notify the board office of an address change and/or name change?
Licensed Social Workers or Licensed Clinical Social Workers may submit a name and/or address change in writing using the Name/Address Change Form. Address changes may also be made online through the Online Licensing website.
All name changes must be accompanied by a marriage license, divorce decree, or court order.
3. How may I obtain a duplicate copy of my license?
To obtain a duplicate copy of your license submit a written request and a $15.00 fee check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia. Duplicate licenses may also be ordered online through the Online Licensing website.
4. What is the cost to have my license verified to another state?
Submit a Request for Verification of Virginia Licensure form along with a $25.00 check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia. Please note that the verification process can take approximately 5-7 business days upon receipt of your request.
1. When is it necessary to register supervision?
Supervised experience in all settings obtained in Virginia must be approved by the Board before applicants are permitted to begin supervision toward licensure.
2. Can I begin counting hours under supervision before I receive approval from the Board of Social Work?
No, you must receive written Board approval prior to counting hours towards licensure.
3. Does the Board have a list of supervisors that are available?
No, the Board does not have a list of current supervisors, but we suggest contacting a social work association who might be able to provide this information. You can also check with other applicants who have been through the registration process.
4. If I am unable to locate my supervisor or if my supervisor is deceased, how can I verify my supervision hours?
The applicant shall submit to the Board a notarized affidavit from the present chief executive officer of the agency, corporation or partnership in which the applicant was supervised. The affidavit shall specify dates of employment, job responsibilities, supervisor’s name and last known address, and the total number of hours spent by the applicant with the supervisor in face-to-face supervision. Or, if the applicant is licensed in another state, obtain a copy of the application from their state board and submit the verification of supervision forms from that state board.
5. Will supervision obtained in another state count towards licensure in Virginia?
Yes, as long as it meets the requirements of the Board’s regulations. The Credentials Reviewer is unable to make a determination as to whether this time will count until you submit a complete application for consideration.
6. If I was approved to take exam, do I need to stay under supervision? What if I change jobs? Do I still need to meet with my supervisor weekly?
Yes, you must stay under Board approved supervision until you have passed your examination if working in a non-exempt setting. If you have a change in supervision (i.e. a change in job duties, supervisors and/or location) you must receive board approval to continue providing clinical social work services in that setting. You must continue to meet with your supervisor weekly in accordance with Regulation 18VAC140-20-50.
1. Do I have to have a license to provide social work services?
If you work in a non-exempt (for-profit) setting, you are required to be a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Work in an exempt (not for-profit) setting does not require licensure to render services.
2. Can I practice with a temporary license until a full license is issued?
Virginia does not issue a temporary license.
3. Does Virginia have reciprocity?
Virginia does not have reciprocity with any state. Virginia offers application by endorsement for applicants holding a current and active social work license in another jurisdiction who have passed the necessary licensing examination. Please review the requirements for licensure by endorsement which can be found in the regulations.
4. What information should be maintained on a client?
Written or electronic clinical records shall be maintained for each client to include identifying information and assessment that substantiates diagnosis and treatment plans. Each record shall include a diagnosis and treatment plan, progress notes for each case activity, information received from all collaborative contacts and the treatment implications of that information, and the termination process and summary.
5. How long must a social worker keep clinical records on a client?
Client records must be maintained for a minimum of 6 years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the therapeutic relationship with the following exceptions:
a. At a minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for 6 years after attaining the age of majority or 10 years following termination, whichever comes later.
b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time.
c. Records that have been transferred to another mental health professional or have been given to the client or his legally authorized representative.
1. When must I take the licensing exam?
Effective January 7, 2010, exam candidates must take the exam within 2 years of the date of initial board approval. If the candidate has not passed the exam by the end of the 2-year period, the applicant must reapply according to the requirements of the regulations in effect at that time.
2. If I’ve taken the required exam in another state how do I have this information transferred to Virginia?
You may contact ASWB to request an official score report which will be sent directly to the Board.
3. What levels of the exam does Virginia offer?
Virginia offers the Clinical level ASWB exam for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker application and the Bachelor's level ASWB exam for the Licensed Social Worker application. The Bachelor's Level exam is for both bachelor's and master's level candidates for LSW.
4. Can you obtain approval to sit for the exam before you complete the requirements for licensure?
With respect to the LCSW license applicants, Virginia requires that all licensure requirements be completed before approval is granted to sit for the exam. However, with respect to BSW applicants for LSW license applicants, BSW applicants may apply to take the Bachelor's level exam prior to completion of the 3,000 hours of post-bachelor's experience required.
5. How quickly is the applicant notified if he/she was successful on the exam?
The applicant is notified that day at the testing site.
6. Once I have taken the exam do I need to contact the board office?
No, once you have taken the exam it takes about two to three weeks before the board office receives the official score report. Once the board office has received the official score report the applicant is licensed that day and mailed the license.
7. If I was unsuccessful on the exam do I need to contact the board office?
No, follow the instructions in the Candidate Handbook to sit for the exam again.
8. After the board office has received the official score report how long does it take to receive the hard copy of the license.
Allow 7 to 10 business days to receive the license.
9. After I have passed the exam may I use the designation LSW or LCSW?
No. You must wait until you are issued a license from the board office. Passing the exam does not mean you are licensed.
1. What is title protection?
It shall be unlawful for any person not licensed under chapter 54.1-3709 to use the title “Social Worker” in writing or in advertising in connection with a practice unless he simultaneously uses clarifying initials that signify receiving a baccalaureate or master's degree in social work from an accredited social work school or program approved by the Council on Social Work Education or a doctorate in social work.
2. When did title protection become effective?
The unlawful designation as social worker became effective on July 1, 2013.
3. How does the law pertain to those who work in a nursing home or hospice?
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 54.1-3709:
- Any individual meeting the qualifications provided for in 42 C.F.R. Part 483 may practice as a "qualified social worker" in any licensed nursing home using such title. However, any such individual may only use the title "social worker" in connection with the activities of the nursing home.
- Any individual meeting the qualifications provided for in 42 C.F.R. § 418.114(b) (3) may practice as a "social worker" in any licensed hospice using such title. However, any such individual may only use the title "social worker" in connection with the activities of the hospice.
4. What if I have called myself a “Social Worker” after this law went into effect?
If a complaint or report of a possible violation of section 54.1-3709 is made against any person who is licensed, certified, registered, or permitted, or who holds a multistate licensure privilege issued by any of the health regulatory boards within the Department of Health Professions, that complaint shall be referred to the applicable board within the Department for disciplinary action. A violation of this section shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
5. Where can I find the Code of Virginia pertaining to title protection?
This information is available on the Virginia Board of Social Work website at www.dhp.virginia.gov/social under “Laws and Regulations.” Please click on Laws Governing Social Work and refer to the appropriate section.