Frequently Asked Questions – Certification & Licensure

Certification & Licensure

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Is the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Exam in person?

Yes, the ASWB exam is administered in person.

When should I take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Exam?

Deciding when to take the ASWB exam is a personal decision, but you may start the process for certification six months before graduating from your program.

What documents should I save from the MSW Program?

The social work licensure requirements from state to state vary. This means that if you decide to move to another state, you may be required to show proof of coursework requirements. This is why it is a good idea to keep ALL of your syllabi from your MSW Program in a safe place (i.e. email inbox and a secondary location).

Should I become certified at the BSW level, if I am pursuing an MSW immediately following graduation?

While a Certified Social Worker (CSW) credential is not required for many of the entry-level social work jobs you may apply for with your BSW, it is required if you plan to apply for any position titled ‘Social Worker’ in the state of Wisconsin or if you would like to be able to refer to yourself as a ‘Social Worker’ in professional settings.

How long does it take to obtain degree verification?

It can take several weeks (i.e. 6-8 weeks after graduation) for your degree to post. Any degrees posting related questions should be directed to the Office of the Registrar at 608-262-3811 or You can also refer to the Degree verification/completion letter page on the Office of the Registrar website. If your employer needs verification before your degree has been posted, they may do so by using the Verification Services of the National Student Clearinghouse. There is a small charge for this service.

Should I seek my Substance Abuse Counselor – In Training (SAC-IT) licensure?

If your goal is to work as a therapist with individuals experiencing substance use issues, it is probably a good idea to also obtain your SAC-IT license as well. Here is why, if you are licensed as an Advanced Practice Social Worker (APSW), either with intent to earn a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), or to stay licensed as an APSW, having the SAC-IT, along with appropriate supervision, allows your employer to bill for Substance Use Disorders (SUD) services in Wisconsin. Additionally, since other states have different licensing requirements than Wisconsin, having a separate license may be helpful if you plan to move out-of-state and wish to continue SUD treatment by transferring licensure.

How long does the process take to obtain certification as a Certified Social Worker (CSW) or an Advanced Practice Social Worker (APSW)?

To obtain certification as a CSW or APSW in the state of WI it several weeks/months. The process can be delayed if any items are missing from your application.

How can I best prepare for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam?

While we are unable to recommend a specific resource for the ASWB exam, you may want to check out the ASWB website since they provide practice exams, and our School’s Library that also offers a number of free practice prep materials.

What is the pass rate for the ASWB?

According to the ASWB, the pass rate for the ASWB for the Bachelor’s level exam is 67.4%, for the Masters level exam is 74% and for the Clinical exam, it is 74.2% (ASWB, 2019). Typically, graduates of the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work pass at a significantly higher rate than average.

If I am in the Title IV-E Program, should I obtain my certification before I graduate from the program?

If you are in the Title IV-E Program, obtaining your license before graduating may be beneficial but not required. This is because, generally speaking, many Child Welfare positions do not require social work certification and/or licensure. However, obtaining your social work certification/license could provide a competitive edge when you do enter the job market, which might make it useful to get the process started before graduating from the program.

What courses count for mental health credits?

The updated list of courses that count for mental health credits can be found in the Specialization Handbook (found on the Student Resources page) in Appendix I.

If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I be able to meet the Wisconsin requirements for my Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW)?

Yes. Since 2002, those who wish to be licensed as Clinical Social Workers in the State of Wisconsin must meet certain requirements. The statute states that the student must complete a Master’s level “Clinical Concentration.” The Mental Health focus area meets these requirements.

If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I be able to meet the requirements to apply for Wisconsin School Social Work licensure?

Yes. The MSW Program’s Child, Youth, and Family Welfare (CYFW) focus area meets the requirements for licensure as a School Social Worker in the state of Wisconsin.

I have an MSW degree and would like to apply for the Wisconsin School Social Work licensure. Can I complete the necessary course and field requirements at the School of Social Work?

If you have already earned your MSW degree and are seeking to become licensed as a School Social Worker in the state of Wisconsin, you may be able to take the coursework requirements as a special student in the Part-Time MSW Program. For more information about, please visit our  Post-MSW Opportunities page.

I am interested in obtaining my Independent Clinical Social Work license (LICSW) from the State of Minnesota. Will I be able to obtain the Minnesota Board of Social Work required clinical clock

Yes. It is possible to complete all 360 clock hours while in the Part-Time MSW Program. Please consult with an academic advisor for more information.

I do not graduate until May, what date should I put on my #1978 Form?

May [Year of Graduation] will suffice.

I have a 'Certified Social Worker (CSW)' license; the #1978 Form states I need to provide 'Letters from all State Boards where licensed, active and inactive'. How do I get this letter?

This is not necessary for your Advanced Practice Social Worker (APSW) license unless your ‘CSW’ was issued outside of Wisconsin.

I'm seeking APSW licensure, which exam should I pay and register for?

Individuals seeking APSW licensure will need to pay and register for the ‘Associate, Bachelors, or Masters Exam’.

Where should I send my 1978 Form?

After your MSW degree is posted, submit the Social Worker Certificate of Professional Education form (Form #1978) to:

Student Services – Office of the Registrar
University of Wisconsin-Madison
333 East Campus Mall #10101
Madison, WI 53715


M-F 8:00am – 4:30pm

*This process can take 2 weeks or longer after your semester, term has ended. Check your Student Center to verify that your degree has been posted, before submitting this form.

Request More Information

Didn't find what you were looking for? Fill out this form with your question, and we'll get back to you.