Getting Your Masters Level Social Work License (LMSW) in New York

Getting Your Masters Level Social Work License (LMSW) in New York

The State of Social Work in New York

Social Work in New York is a dynamic and constantly evolving field, with a high demand for trained and qualified professionals to serve the diverse population of the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, there were approximately 52,050 social workers employed in the state of New York. This number is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, as the need for social work services increases due to factors such as the ongoing opioid epidemic and the increasing number of immigrants and refugees in the state.

Social Workers in New York are employed in a wide range of settings such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, and non-profits. They work with diverse populations and specialize in a variety of areas such as mental health, child welfare, substance abuse, medical social work, and veterans’ services. Social Workers in New York play a vital role in helping individuals, families, and communities to overcome challenges and improve their overall well-being.

In 2022, a total of 26,139 social workers took the Masters Level ASWB exam and it’s estimated that close to 1,200 of those Social Workers were from the state of New York, though this exact breakdown is not released by the ASWB.

Prerequisites for Masters-Level Licensure (LMSW) in New York

Masters-Level Licensure candidates need:

  1. An MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited institution
  2. To pass the Masters Level ASWB exam
  3. To complete the LMSW application for the State of New York
  4. To complete fingerprinting and a background check

Additional information about licensing requirements and rules for licensure can be found on the ASWB website. The fee in New York for the LMSW license is $294.

Steps to Get Your Masters License in New York

1. Complete Your Masters Degree in Social Work

Your Masters Degree in Social Work must be from a CSWE-accredited institution. See a list of accredited institutions here.

A Masters degree in Social Work is required because it provides the necessary education and training including coursework in areas such as human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, and research methods.

Additionally, many programs often include a supervised field placement, where students can apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting and gain hands-on experience. This combination of classroom education and practical experience is necessary to prepare individuals for the complex and challenging work of being a licensed Social Worker.

2. Register for and Pass the Masters Level ASWB Exam

Before you take your exam, make sure to review our Pre-Test Checklist and ensure that you are ready to take your Masters Level exam!

Register for your exam here with the ASWB

3. Complete the Application for Your New York LMSW License

Learn more about how to apply for your New York LMSW license here.

To apply for your New York LMSW license, you will use the state’s online licensing system.  This system allows the user to apply for the license and upload any required first-person documentation.  A user-guide for applying online can be found here.

4. Complete Your Background Check + Fingerprinting

Upon submission of your LMSW application, you will be sent information from the New York State Office of the Professions on fingerprint submission. The fingerprinting is done electronically and in locations throughout the state.

Sources: ASWB, New York State Office of the Professions


► Learn more about the Agents of Change course here:

About the Instructor, Meagan Mitchell: Meagan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been providing individualized and group test prep for the ASWB for over five years. From all of this experience helping others pass their exams, she created the Agents of Change course to help you prepare for and pass the ASWB exam!

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Disclaimer: This content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment


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