Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Licensed Master Social Worker


Social work is a profession that helps individuals, families, and groups change behaviors, emotions, attitudes, relationships, and social conditions to restore and enhance their capacity to meet their personal and social needs.

Social workers are trained to provide a variety of services, ranging from psychotherapy to the administration of health and welfare programs. They work with human development and behavior, including the social, economic, and cultural systems in which people function.

New York Licensed Master Social Workers have earned a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from a graduate school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and passed a national licensing exam. The Licensed Master Social Worker may provide clinical services only under supervision of an LCSW, licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

Licensure Requirements

The practice of licensed master social work and the use of the title "Licensed Master Social Worker" and the designation of "LMSW" or derivatives thereof in New York State requires licensure as a licensed master social worker, unless otherwise exempt under the law.

To be licensed as a licensed master social worker (LMSW) in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character as determined by the Department;
  • be at least 21 years of age;
  • meet education requirements;
  • meet examination requirements; and
  • complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider.

The specific requirements for licensure are contained in Title 8, Article 154, Section 7704 of New York State Education Law and Part 74 and Section 52.30 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

Recertification Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2015, each Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) must complete 36 hours of approved continuing education courses for each triennial registration period. No more than 12 hours of continuing education activities in any 36 month period, or one-third of the total hours in periods of other length, may consist of self-study educational activities from New York State Education Department approved providers.

Education and/or Experience Requirements

To meet the professional education requirement for licensure as an LMSW, you must present satisfactory evidence of having received a masters degree in social work (M.S.W.), or its equivalent, (e.g., a higher degree from a social work program that is registered by the Department as licensure-qualifying, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or determined by the Department to be substantially equivalent to a registered program as defined in Sections 74.1 and 52.30 of the Commissioner's Regulations.)

In addition to the professional education requirement, every applicant for LMSW licensure or a limited permit must complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse in accordance with Section 6507(3)(a) of the Education Law.

Examination Requirements

To qualify to take the ASWB examination:

  1. Submit an Application for Licensure (Form 1) and fee ($294) to the New York State Education Department.
  2. Ask your school to verify your education directly to the New York State Education Department on Form 2.
  3. The New York State Education Department must approve your education and all application materials. [We will notify ASWB when you have satisfied the examination eligibility requirements.]
  4. You must register directly with the ASWB to take the Masters examination. Information and the Candidate Handbook for the examination are available on the Web at or through ASWB (see contact information). No other ASWB examination is acceptable for LMSW licensure.

Fees (as of November 2, 2016)

The fee for licensure and first registration is $294.
The fee for a limited permit is $70.

Licenses Issued and Registered

In 2014, there were 2,968 licenses issued for this occupation.
In 2015, there were 2,815 licenses issued for this occupation.
As of July 1, 2016, there were 28,699 registered licenses for this occupation.

Licensing Authority

New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Social Work Unit
89 Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor
Albany, New York 12234
Phone: (518) 474-3817 Ext. 592
Fax: (518) 402-2323

Occupational Reference Code

21-1022 - Medical and Public Health Social Workers
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Additional Information

Association of Social Worker Boards
400 Southridge Parkway, Suite B
Culpeper, VA 22701
Phone: (800) 225-6880
Fax: (540) 829-0562


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 11/29/16.

Thanks for the feedback! It will help us improve your experience.