Requirements for Getting Licensed in Alaska

The Alaska Board of Social Work Examiners is the Licensing Governing body for the State of Alaska. Please refer to the following link for further information:

Purpose of Social Work Licensure

The licensure of professional social workers protects the health, safety and well being of Alaskans through the effective regulation of individuals using the title “social worker” by setting requirements for social work education, professional preparation and continuing education, establishing ethical standards for licensed social workers and offering consumers a legal recourse in the event of unethical or damaging social work services. Hiring qualified, licensed social workers also promotes increased accountability in social service delivery.

Multi-Level Social Work Licensure

Multi-level licensure regulates the practice of all professional social workers by licensing at the bachelor’s, master’s and clinical levels. The three levels of licensure in Alaska include:

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): The LCSW holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) or a Doctorate (DSW) from a college or university approved by the licensing board, and has two years post-MSW supervised clinical experience and has passed an exam and met other requirements for licensure
  • Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW): The LMSW holds a MSW or DSW and has passed an exam and met other requirements for licensure. No additional experience is required
  • Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW): The LBSW holds a Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) and has passed and exam and met other requirements for licensure. No additional experience is required. An exception to the educational requirement are individuals who obtained a Transitional LBSW license, prior to the close of the transitional license period

Social Worker Title Protection

Title protection is now a reality for social workers in Alaska. Effective July 1, 2001, social work title protection allows only those individuals who are licensed as social workers to use the title “social worker”, or to use the titles and associated credentials Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).


The law states that anyone already employed with the job title “social worker” on June 30, 2001, can continue working under that title without a license as long as they remain working in their current job and/or employed by their current agency. Alaska employers are further required to hire into positions using the title “social worker” licensed professional social workers at the appropriate level, as defined by statute.

Practice Protection for Clinical Social Workers

Practice protection allows only those individuals who are licensed at the clinical level (LCSW) to practice clinical social work in Alaska, unless by statute they are obtaining clinical social work experience under approved supervision.

Applying for Social Work Licensure

The Division of Occupational Licensing assists the Board of Social Work Examiners by distributing and processing license applications. An individual may apply for licensure either by examination or by credentials at the Bachelor, Master, or Clinical levels. A temporary license at the BSW or MSW level is also available for a one year period.

To receive a social work license by examination an individual must:

  • Hold a professional social work degree (BSW, MSW) from approved program and provide certified transcript.
  • Provide three professional references acceptable to the Board from individuals designated in statute.
  • Take and pass an exam within one year of approval. Social work licensing exams are developed for each level by Association of Social Work Boards and are standardized across the nation. The LBSW requires passing the Basic Exam, LMSW requires passing the Intermediate Exam, and LCSW requires passing the Clinical Exam.
  • Pay required fees.
  • When applying for the LCSW, an individual must complete the above requirements and submit proof of 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience, with a minimum of 100 hours of approved supervision equitably distributed throughout the supervised period. Clinical supervision, to be approved, must be provided by a licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist or licensed psychiatrist, as defined in the statute.

To receive a social work license by credentials an individual must:

  • Submit verification of licensure from the state(s) where they currently hold or have held a license. Standards for licensure must be equivalent between the states.
  • Verification of having completed continuing competency: consisting of successful passage of the examination within two years before applying for licensure in Alaska, or verification of having worked 1500 hours within the last five years, and documentation of completion of 45 hours continuing education, including 3 hours of ethics and 6 hours of substance abuse related education, as well as provide three professional references acceptable to the Board from individuals designated in Statute.
  • Pay required fees.

Temporary Licensure

Temporary licensure at the BSW or MSW level for qualified applicants may be issued for a one year period to individuals with a BSW or MSW. Prior to expiration of the temporary license, the individual will need to obtain a full license by using the procedure outlined above in Applying for Licensure. Temporary licenses are not be available at the clinical level.

Transitional Licensure

New applications for transitional licensure for the LBSW are no longer available, as the transitional provision has expired.

Continuing Education

All licensed social workers must receive 45 contact hours of continuing education during the biennial licensing period, (every even year) maintain documentation and be able to submit verification of attendance if audited. Continuing education must be relevant to the practice of social work and is available from a variety of sources as defined by statute, including seminars and conferences, university classes, by audio or videotape. The NASW Alaska Chapter offers continuing education events each year, including an annual conference.

The law prescribes areas required for continuing education, as defined below:

During the first renewal period the licensee must receive:

  • 45 contact hours of continuing education including
  • 6 contact hours with content in Alaska Native cross-cultural studies;
  • 6 contact hours covering substance abuse training;
  • 3 contact hours in professional ethics.

During subsequent renewal periods the licensee must receive:

  • 45 contact hours of continuing education including
  • 6 contact hours with content in cross-cultural studies, 3 hours Alaska Native specific;
  • 6 contact hours covering some aspect of substance abuse training;
  • 3 contact hours in professional ethics.

The Board of Social Work Examiners also pre-approves qualified Continuing Education programs and providers.

Licensure Fees

Each application is reviewed by the Board of Social Work Examiners. The licensing period is two years (biennially on even numbered years, the next period ends June 30, 2004); a licensee must apply and pay a fee to renew the license every two years. The application fees for all categories are the same: $50 application fee, $205 initial licensing fee, and $410 renewal fee all paid to the Division of Occupational Licensing; and a $175 examination fee paid directly to ASWB. The Division of Occupational Licensing sets the licensing fee in Alaska, based on the cost for administering the social work licensure program as required by state law.

Regulation of Licensed Social Workers

A social work licensee is subject to a disciplinary process for violation of social work statutes and regulations. Complaints of incompetent, unprofessional, unsafe practice from consumers or other practitioners are investigated by an Investigator employed by the Division of Occupational Licensing. If the case cannot be dismissed or settled, it will be heard by a Hearing Officer. The State is represented by the Department of Law, and the social worker/respondent may be represented by private counsel. The Hearing Officer makes a proposed decision to the Board. If the Board of Social Work Examiners decides the social worker violated the law, the Board may impose various remedies or sanctions ranging from additional professional training to suspension or revocation of the license.

NASW Social Work Credentials and Social Work Licensure

In a competitive marketplace, social workers may choose to distinguish their expertise with NASW credentials and certifications, such as Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (DCSW), Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), Qualified Clinical Social Worker Credential (QCSW), or certifications, such as the Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM), Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM), Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs Social Worker Credential (C-CATODSW) or Certified School Social Work Specialist (C-SSWS).


NASW credentials and certifications can benefit you, as they can distinguish knowledge, experience or specialized training that may go beyond the minimum state requirements for licensure. NASW professional credentials and specialty certifications are not a substitute for social work licensing in Alaska.

For Additional Information

For more information on social work licensing in Alaska, to obtain a copy of Alaska statutes and regulations, or an applications for the LBSW, LMSW, or LCSW license, please contact Board of Social Work Examiners Licensing Examiner at 1-907-465-2551 or visit Division of Occupational Licensing website: .


To obtain a copy of the Model Social Work Practice Act, by the Association of Social Work Boards, which includes information on social work practice standards, clinical supervision standards and codes of conduct, call 1-800-225-6880 or visit Model Social Work Practice Act


For information on NASW Credential and Certifications, contact the Credentialing Office at 1-800-638-8799.

Licensing Test Preparation Resources *Not endorsed by NASW

Where To Find Us:

National Association of Social Workers - Alaska Chapter


Mailing address:

PO Box 241292
Anchorage, AK 99524


Phone: 907-332-6279

Toll Free: 1-800-478-6279



Office Hours:

Monday-Thursday:  5:00 AM - 2:00 PM Alaska Standard Time 





Board of Directors

The next meeting of the Board of Directors is December 14th, via teleconference.  Please click the link below to contact your regional representatives for details on how to participate. A call in number will be provided.

Licensing Board

Reach the AK Licening Board by calling

(907) 465-2551.  Research the Rules & Regulations via and navigate to Become A Licensed Professional and then Professions Licensed, then click on Social Work Examiners.



Future Dates:

September 2021

NASW-AK Chapter Biennial Conference


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