How Do I Prepare for the Licensed Social Worker Exam?

Those with degrees in social work need to be licensed to practice their chosen profession, and there are several things that they usually do to prepare for the licensed social worker exam. A number of human services employment positions are available to those who simply hold a degree in social work. However, these jobs usually do not have the title of social worker in their descriptions because that official job title and function belongs to those who have successfully passed their state's licensing exam and other requirements. Social workers can earn several licenses throughout their careers, and they include ones at the bachelors, masters, advanced generalist and clinical levels. While the education and training requirements of this strictly regulated career field can be rigorous, most social workers seek help to prepare for their state's licensing examination. Here are some things that aspiring social workers do to prepare for the important test.

Understand the Requirements and Fees for the Specific License

Before a student graduates from an accredited social work degree program, their academic and career advisors point them towards the state board for social worker licensing. Since the social worker licensing requirements vary by state, online licensing resources are useful to inexperienced, newly minted social work degree graduates. These directory sites allow visitors to search licensing requirements by state through direct links to specific state regulatory offices. Information about education and examination requirements, testing facilities and required fees are published on the state's regulatory agency site.

Association of Social Work Boards Practice Examinations

Since the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is the organization that creates the examinations, it makes sense for aspiring social workers to contact that organization for help to prepare for the licensed social worker exam. For example, once an examination candidate is registered with ASWB through their state regulation board, they qualify to take a preparatory, online test for an additional fee. The test results come with a detailed score review so that candidates know the topics where they did well and areas where they need to improve.

Take Additional Professional Development Training

A popular way that career minded social workers prepare for their license exam is by taking professional development courses. License exam candidates who find their ASWB practice test results unsatisfactory can register for comprehensive training in specific areas where they need improvement through the National Association of Social Workers. Some topic areas include school social work, child welfare and aging.

Join Test Preparation Clubs

Several for profit, third-party companies have comprehensive social worker test preparation resources to help these professionals at all levels prepare for their examinations. Some online test preparation sites offer resources in a variety of multimedia formats like podcasts, interactive computer based tests and web-based flash cards. These test preparation clubs are usually available to their members around the clock, and some even facilitate introductions among their members for the formation of study partnerships.


While the ASWB generates and distributes licensing examinations for its member boards in 49 states and several Canadian provinces, it is the social worker's state board that usually sets the licensing requirements and coordinates the examinations. Because the social work license is such an important credential for career advancement, aspiring social workers take special care to study and practice to prepare for the licensed social worker exam.

Leave a Reply