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​State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Navigator

The purpose of the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors Guide is to provide transparency, inform applicants of expected timelines for receiving your license, and outline steps you can take to reduce mistakes and mitigate delays. To provide the greatest clarity on the licensing process from start to finish, we will break it down into three phases, providing estimated times for each stage of the process, and recommendations for how to reduce processing times.


Social Work license by Examination (SW):

The primary way to receive a Social Work license in PA by examination is to hold a Masters in Social Work (MSW) degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited school, and passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Master’s Examination.

A licensed social worker (SW):

  • Holds a minimum of a master’s degree in social work or social welfare;
  • Has a special knowledge of social resources, human personality and capabilities and therapeutic techniques; and
  • Uses that knowledge to help people to achieve adequate and productive personal, interpersonal and social adjustments in their individual lives, in their families or in their communities.

Initial Social Work Licensure Phases and Timeline

 Accordion



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Renewal of Existing Social Work Licenses

On average, renewal licenses for Social Work licenses are issued within three calendar days.

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Process Overview

How to Apply for a Professional License.

 

What Happens to My Application?

 

  1. Sign in or create account at www.pals.pa.gov

  2. Select the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to apply and plain-language questions will appear to help you get started

  3. Application appears – review checklist, upload required documents, follow prompts

  4. Review all information and edit as needed

  5. Pay the required fee and your application is submitted

  6. Keep an eye on your email or get real-time updates at www.pals.pa.gov