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Board of Social Work Examiners


License Process

What is the current processing time for a license to be issued?

The duration of the license process can vary depending on the applicant and their diligence in submitting the required forms as complete and correct.

Once the application and all supporting documentation is reviewed by the licensing examiner and the packet is determined complete, it will be forwarded to the board for review. There are two methods for reviewing applications: mail ballot, and during a regularly scheduled board meeting. Board members currently review applications via mail ballot twice monthly.

In order to reach a majority vote, 3 of the 5 board members must vote as approved. The standard review period to complete a mail ballot is 10 business days. An applicant will be notified of the board’s decision within 4 weeks of the date the mail ballot was sent to the board. If the next scheduled board meeting is more than 1 month away, the packet would be forwarded to the Board by mail ballot.

If a ballot is required to be discussed during a regularly scheduled board meeting, it is division policy that staff follow up with board business within 10 days of returning to the office.

Is there anything I should know before I begin the license application process?

Please send all documentation to our office via certified mail, with a return receipt. This will eliminate any confusion on if your documentation has been received or not.

You may want to collect the completed reference and supervision forms from the appropriate individuals and mail them via certified mail with your initial application packet - rather than having the references and supervisors send them into our office directly. This will also help eliminate any confusion on if the forms have been received or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Supervision FAQs

Who qualifies to provide Clinical supervision for Social Workers?

Any individual with an unrestricted license as a Clinical Social Worker, Psychologist or Psychiatrist to practice that profession in this state of other licensing jurisdiction during the period of supervision can provide Clinical supervision in accordance with 12 AAC 18.115(b)(2).

If they do not meet one of these requirements, a written request must be submitted and approved by the Board prior to receiving supervision hours in accordance with 12 AAC 18.115(e).

Any hours received prior to approval will not count towards licensure in accordance with 12 AAC 18.115(e).

Can a Marital & Family Therapist or other behavioral health practitioner provide clinical supervision?

This is a possibility. However, the board would need a written request showing a justifiable reason as to why a licensed Clinical Social Worker, Psychologist or Psychiatrist wouldn’t be able to provide the supervision to you. The written request must be voted on and approved by the board prior to gaining any supervision hours. Any hours received prior to approval will not count towards licensure in accordance with 12 AAC 18.115(e).

Can the LCSW providing my supervision also provide a reference?

Yes! If you wish to use your clinical supervisor as a professional reference, then the LCSW providing your supervision will need to complete both a “Post Graduate Clinical Social Work Supervision” form and a "Professional Reference" form in accordance with 12 AAC 18.100(a)(4) and (5).

Does either of my supervisor references have to hold licenses?

No! The current and previous supervisor references do not need to hold a license – they can be any individual who held a position above you in a supervision capacity. The ‘other’ professional reference must hold one of the license types required in the Social Work Statutes and Regulations under 12 AAC 18.130(b).

What if the LCSW that was doing my supervision recently had a job change and is at a different facility?

Three things would be required in this case:

  • A written request, by the applicant, stating that there isn’t an adequate supervisor (licensed clinical social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist) at the current facility who is able to provide the appropriate supervision required;
  • A written request from your employer stating that it is okay for you, the applicant, to be receiving distance supervision from the LCSW located at an outside facility; and
  • A written request from your proposed supervisor stating that they will be providing you with distance supervision from an outside facility.

Once these documents are received, the board must then vote to either approve or deny the request. Voting would take place at the following board meeting or via mail ballot. The board reviews mail ballots twice monthly. The written requests must be voted on and approved by the board prior to gaining any supervision hours in accordance with 12 AAC 18.115(e).

If my supervisor doesn’t recommend me what do I do?

If a supervisor states that they do not recommend you, the hours of supervision and time period of employment would be null and void and unfortunately would not count toward licensure.

For example, let’s say I supervised you from 01/01/2020 to 10/01/2021 and John Smith supervised you from 10/01/2021 to 01/01/2022. If John did recommend you but I did not, you could still use John’s supervision but mine would essentially be nonexistent since you didn’t have a positive referral. You would then need to either continue supervision with John or find another suitable supervisor to supervise you until 10/01/2023 (to satisfy the 2 year minimum requirement).

When acquiring clinical supervision - if I have my full-time job receiving supervision and I get a second part-time job, would I be able to double up my supervision hours to satisfy the requirements quicker?

No. The requirement is a minimum of 2 years continuous postgraduate full-time employment in clinical social work or a minimum of 3,000 hours of less than full-time employment over a period of time greater than 2 years in accordance with AS 08.95.110(a)(2)(A) and (B).

  • You could have 5,000 hours by 08/01/2017 and you would still have to wait until 01/01/2018 to satisfy the 2 year minimum requirement.
  • You could have only 2,000 hours by 04/01/2018 (making the time period well over the 2 year minimum requirement) and you would still be obligated to gain the remaining 1,000 hours due.

What would qualify as Clinical Supervision?

There are a variety of principals and methods; this information is reflected in our statutes and regulations under 12 AAC 18.120.

Continuing Education FAQs

Do I need to maintain records and/or certificates of completion for each CE course I complete? Why?

You are required to maintain complete and accurate records for each CE course you complete in accordance with 12 AAC 18.230(c).

  • For application for licensure by credentials you are required to provide proof of completing the mandatory CEs. We verify the completed courses by having the applicants submit the certificates of completion in accordance with 12 AAC 18.110(3).
  • You are not required to send us copies of your CE certificates when renewing your license unless you have been selected for an audit or are under a consent agreement. Each renewal period 10% of licensees are randomly selected for audit. If audited, you will be required to send in copies of your CEs in accordance with 12 AAC 18.230.

Is there a limit to how many contact hours I can accrue in one day? Is there a limit or ratio of in person vs. online contact hours we can have?

Yes, you can only obtain a maximum of 12 contact hours per a day in accordance with 12 AAC 18.210(e).

No, there are no limitations for the types of contact hours regarding in person vs online.

Can I receive CE credit for instructing a class or course?

Yes, you may receive CEU credit the first time you teach the class or course for a maximum of 10 contact hours in accordance with 12 AAC 18.220(b)(8).

Are there specific approved websites for online CEs?

Yes! Any website accredited through the ASWB (Association of Social Work Board), the NASW (National Association of Social Work) or the CSWE/CASWE (Council on Social Work Education/Canadian Association for Social Work Education) would be applicable for CEs.

Please see the link below for the ASWB ACE program; this program is designed to help licensing boards evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of CE providers and the CEs covered. The ASWB ACE Program is accepted by over 40 states and providences, including Alaska.

ASWB ACE Program

If you have CEs from non-accredited providers and you’re not sure if they would be accepted, please review our statutes and regulations - 12 AAC 18.220.

Other General FAQs

How often does the Board meet?

The Board is required to meet a minimum of 2 times per year; however, we try to meet every 3-4 months. A full list of our meetings can be found on our upcoming meetings page.

If I applied for my LMSW a few years ago and will be applying for my LCSW in the near future am I able to ‘transfer’ the Verification of Postgraduate Experience forms, reference forms and official transcripts to my new application? If not, why?

No, the only document we are able to transfer to the new application is the Official Transcripts. The reason being: the individuals who completed and signed your verification of postgraduate experience and reference forms were attesting to your skills on a Master level. These individuals (or other individuals if employers and information has changed) need to complete a new form and sign/attest to your skills on a Clinical level. Since the official transcript information would be the same if you requested another official copy be sent to us, we can transfer them.

Can I send in supporting documentation before I send in my application? If so, how long will you hold on to these?

Yes, you can send in supporting documentation before you send in your application. However, after one year of the date received, documents are considered “stale” and will be marked VOID. If your application is not received within the 1 year after a document is received, you will need to have this document recompleted. Stale documents are unable to be added to an application.

Exam FAQs

Do I have to wait for Board approval before I can schedule my exam?

Yes! By applying ‘via examination’ you are requesting permission from the board to take the ASWB exam based on whichever level of licensure you’re applying for. This application and all the required supporting documents will be presented to the board for approval. You will be notified once the board has reviewed your application for licensure by examination.

How do I register to take the exam?

Once the application is approved your information will be entered into the ASWB website and you will then be permitted to register for your examination appointment. When registering, you will be promoted to select a date, time and location.

Where do I take the exam?

ASWB (testing centers set up through Pearson Vue) has over 250 exam testing sites throughout the country – when you go to register they give you the option to pick your location per your convenience. If there are no locations near you (within a 5.5 hour drive) there is the option of making a special arrangement – however, this is determined on a case by case basis.

How much is does it cost to take the ASWB Exam?

If you take the exam at the Bachelors or Masters level, the test is $230. If you take the test at the Clinical level, the test is $260. Examination fees may change therefore it is best to double check ASWB’s website to verify.

Is there a Practice Exam or tool to prepare for the test?

ASWB offers an online practice exam which is available to purchase on their website.

I passed my ASWB Masters level exam less than one year ago; do I really need to provide proof of completing 45 hours of CEU’s and 1500 hours of postgraduate experience to apply for licensure by credentials?

No! Successful passage of the applicable ASWB exam within two years immediately before the application can satisfy the continued competency requirement in accordance with 12 AAC 18.112(1). You must contact ASWB and have your scores sent to our office here in Alaska – we do not have the ability/authority to obtain the score reports for you.

How do I transfer my scores?

You may request the scores be sent to our office from ASWB online. You may also complete & mail a score transfer request form.

What happens if I fail the exam? Am I able to retake the test? Do I have to repay the exam fee?

If you fail the exam you are able to test again; the ASWB makes candidates wait 90 days before being able to re-test. Yes, you are required to pay the exam fee each time you attempt to take the test.

How long do I have to take the exam once the board approves my application?

You have 1 year to take the examination from the date you are approved in accordance with 12 AAC 18.100(c).

What happens if I don’t pass the exam within this one-year time period due to the ASWB requiring 90-days pass before retaking the test?

If you don’t pass the exam within 1 year of your approval, you must write a written request to the board for an exam extension. This request must be signed & dated, and provide a simple explanation as to why you need an extension. The board must vote and approve this request – voting takes place at the next scheduled meeting or via mail ballot. The request must be approved before your expiration date. The board’s Position Statement on this topic can be found here. If you are approved for an extension, your approval will be entered into the aswb exam database and you will be allowed to resume the process of scheduling your exam.