Becoming a Social Worker in Indiana
All professionals seeking a social work license must have a college degree in social work, but the requirements vary depending on the level desired. In Indiana, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) dictates the requirements for licensure.
The main types of licensure for social workers in Indiana are licensed bachelor social worker, licensed social workers, and licensed clinical social worker. All of these licenses can be obtained by submitting the required materials to the Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board (BHHS Licensing Board) and passing the licensing examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.
While pursuing social work degrees, students are required to take a variety of classes. They may focus on subjects like substance abuse or family and marriage counseling. In Indiana, both LBSWs and LSWs can pursue careers in schools, mental health centers, home health agencies, correctional institutions, and other sectors. However, if students wish to practice on a clinical level, they are required to obtain their LCSW license. Read on to learn more about the different levels of social work in Indiana.
CSWE-Accredited Online MSW Programs by State
LBSWs and LSWs in Indiana
In order to become an LBSW, or licensed baccalaureate social worker, and gain the first level of licensure, individuals must first complete an approved Bachelor of Social Work. They work under supervision performing general social work duties, such as consulting, researching, or managing cases for their supervisors. However, they cannot diagnose, perform psychotherapy, or have their own private practice.
In order to become an LSW, or licensed social worker, individuals must graduate with a Master of Social Work (MSW). LSWs are required to work under a LCSW, or as part of an organization. They cannot diagnose anyone and often work at all levels of government or with a nonprofit to advocate reform, promote human rights, and support communities.
Then, the trajectory of either licensure applicant is primarily the same:
Each applicant must download and submit the BHHS Licensing Board’s Application for Licensure as a Social Worker form. This Indiana social work form asks various questions about the applicant’s experience, including their education, employment, and licensure history. Applicants will need to include a headshot and official school transcripts. Once their application is submitted, applicants must schedule a fingerprinting and criminal background check through IdentoGO. The application and background check each require fees as well.
Next, the applicant will have to apply for approval to take the Association of Social Workers Board’s bachelor's-level or master's-level exam, depending on the level of licensure being applied for. The former covers the basic generalist practice of baccalaureate social work, while the latter covers the practice of LSWs, including the application of specialized knowledge and advanced practice skills. Once an applicant has been approved by the Board, they have one calendar year to take the exam.
Licenses must be renewed every two years for a small renewal fee.
LCSW in Indiana
LCSWs, or licensed clinical social workers, work as leaders and provide direct care to clients. They perform assessments, direct therapies, supervise LBSWs, and build treatment plans. LCSWs in Indiana must have an MSW and two years (or comparable) experience in nonclinical settings.
In Indiana, the LCSW is one of the most rigorous certifications to obtain. It requires an Application for Licensure as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Applicants must submit a fee as well as their completed undergraduate degree, graduate degree, and employment history. Applicants must also disclose their current supervisor and note how long they were supervised by that contact. The supervision requirement demands that applicants have at least four hours of face-to-face supervision each month by another LCSW. Applicants also need to include a headshot and official school transcripts. Once the application is submitted, along with a fee, applicants must schedule a fingerprinting and criminal background check through IdentoGO.
Applicants must have completed the following before they can apply to take the clinical-level exam:
A LSW certification (before they can apply for their LCSW certification)
Two years of full-time, paid, supervised work experience after receiving their MSW degree
The Association of Social Work Boards Clinical level exam
Verification of Supervision form
Verification Experience form
Clinical Coursework form
Specific MSW clinical coursework that will better prepare them for practice
Social Work License Reciprocity in Indiana
Indiana social work laws support reciprocity for a social work license held in another state. Out-of-state professionals wishing to become a social worker in Indiana must comply with expectations set by the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Service Licensing Board. LSW, LMSW, and LCSW candidates must submit applications for reciprocated licensure, as well as prove official licensure in the state they are coming from, including verification of passage of an applicable Association of Social Work Board examination. They cannot have any pending disciplinary hearings and must pay a fee to have their application processed.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
All Indiana social work licenses must be renewed between April 1 and March 31 on every even-numbered year. In order for LSWs, LMSWs, and LCSWs to maintain their social work license, they must complete 40 continuing education credits (CEUs) per renewal cycle. This can be done online through the National Association of Social Work’s CE Institute.
Professionals must obtain a minimum of 20 Category I CEUs — which consist of formal programming — and a minimum of 20 Category II CEUs, which are self-directed. A course in Ethics is the only required class, which must be taken at the Category I level. Proof of CEU completion must be submitted if students are audited, and there is a fee associated with form submission.