Utah issues two social work licenses: Certified Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Both are dependent on earning a graduate degree specifically in social work. The state also has a Social Service Worker credential. This is the license that individuals who hold bachelor’s degrees in social work qualify for; it is also an option for people with degrees in related fields.
Many states, notably, do use the title social worker for professionals who hold social work degrees at the bachelor’s level; scope of practice can’t be inferred from title alone. The Utah SSW role may include non-clinical psychosocial assessment, supportive counseling, advocacy, and ongoing case management, among other duties (https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title58/Chapter60/58-60-S202.html?v=C58-60-S202_1800010118000101). The CSW scope includes supervised mental health practice as well as some other duties which may be carried out independently.
Certified Social Worker Intern is a temporary license for individuals who have not yet met the examination requirement necessary for licensing at the CSW level.
Achieving CSW/ LCSW Eligibility
The foundation for practice as either a CSW or LCSW is a graduate degree. Master’s degrees are acceptable if they are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASSW). The program can also be accepted if it held candidacy status at the time the student completed it (Master’s of Social Work programs in Utah).
Doctoral degrees should include a clinical concentration and practicum.
An individual who wishes to progress to the level of LCSW will need a course sequence in case work, family treatment, or group work. The study is to be accompanied by a clinical practicum.
A prospective LCSW will need 4,000 hours of qualifying experience. Requirements are to be completed over a period of not less than two years. The individual will have a clinical social worker as supervisor. The individual is to accrue no fewer than 1,000 hours of mental health therapy. He or she will accrue at least 100 hours under direct supervision by a clinical social worker.
Training will include the following elements: individual, family, and group therapy, crisis intervention, intermediate and long-term therapy.
The supervisee will need a two-hour approved course in suicide prevention.
Achieving SSW Eligibility
There are multiple pathways to SSW. Licensing can be earned on the basis of education at the bachelor’s or master’s level, either in social work or another field. However, additional requirements may be imposed.
An individual can meet requirements on the basis of a bachelor’s degree from a program that was CSWE-accredited or held candidacy status.
A master’s degree in any of the following fields can qualify a person: marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, psychology, or social work. An individual may achieve the designation after a year of study in a CSWE-accredited social work program.
A prospective SSW who has a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work will need at least three semester hours in each of the following: social welfare policy, human growth and development, and social work practice. DOPL has provided a list of in-state courses that fulfill the SSW coursework requirement.
An individual who holds a bachelor’s degree in a field outside social work will need to accrue 2,000 experience hours. The supervisee will work under a written job description as outlined in state administrative code (https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/code/r156/r156-60a.htm#T7).
The prospective SSW must pass the ASWB licensing exam at the Bachelors level.
At the Certified Social Worker level, the Board can, according to state rule, accept either the Masters, Advanced Generalist, or Clinical exam. However, the individual should expect to take either the Masters or Clinical exam; these are the two referenced in the license application packet. At the LCSW level, an individual must pass the clinical exam.
The Application Process
The examination and application process is different in Utah than in most other states. Utah candidates apply directly to the ASWB for examination pre-approval. They will still need to demonstrate that they are qualified for examination. They will submit an ASWB application online (https://www.aswb.org/utah/). Candidates can be approved to test as early as their final semester. In general, candidates do not submit applications to Utah until they have passed the exam. The exception is if they are applying for intern status. In this case, a candidate may submit an application after applying for ASWB pre-approval.
Application materials can be found on the website of the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. The application is now available in an online format. Applicants who were approved to test by the ASWB on the basis of letters from their program deans (pending degree completion and issuance of final transcripts) will need to submit their transcripts to Utah DOPL.
There is a $120 application fee for CSW or LCSW. At the SSW level, the fee is $85.
Currently, social work licenses are set to expire on even-numbered years.
Out-of-state social workers can be endorsed into Utah on the basis of 4,000 practice hours, provided that at least 1,000 were in mental health therapy. The endorsement applicant will need to provide official verification from at least one current state of licensure. The applicant will need to demonstrate that he or she has passed the required examination; examination results may be included on the license verification. Otherwise the applicant can request them from the ASWB.
Utah social workers are licensed by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (https://dopl.utah.gov/licensing/social_work.html). Utah DOPL can be reached by phone at (801) 530-6628 or, toll-free in Utah, at (866) 275-3675.
Utah’s Social Worker Licensing Act is part of its Mental Health Professional Practice Act. Standards are further delineated in the state’s Social Worker Licensing Act Rule. Both documents are occasionally revised or amended.