New York State Certification, Professional Development
October 16, 2008

Social Work Licensure and School Social Worker Certification


In New York State, social workers are both licensed professionals and certified school employees. In 2005 the State Education Department made changes to certification regulations to bring them into compliance with the professional licensure of social workers.

Effective September 1, 2004, the certified social worker (CSW) title was eliminated and two new titles for social work were created, the licensed master social worker(LMSW) and the licensed clinical social worker(LCSW). Individuals previously licensed as CSWs automatically became LMSWs as of September 1, 2004.

In addition to meeting the requirements of their profession, social workers in educational settings must also obtain certification as school social workers. In 2005 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education were amended to align the certification of school social workers with the licensure changes found in Education Law. These changes did not impose any new requirements on certified school social workers who were already employed in school settings in 2005.

This Information Bulletin addresses:

  1. Social work licensure and the scope of practice;
  2. Requirements for school social worker certification;
  3. Frequently asked questions regarding social work licensure (Appendix I); and
  4. Regulations of the Commissioner of Education/Part 80 requirements for school social worker certification (Appendix II).

While there are separate fees for licensure and for certification, the State Education Department has indicated that these changes have not resulted in additional costs. The fees for licensure and certification remain the same.


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