BSW Level Social Work Licensure in Michigan

Social work licensure has been in effect in Michigan since July1, 2005. Although obtaining a social work license is required for many social work jobs, it is not a universal requirement by any means.  Health care settings, community mental health and organizations that rely on Medicaid or third party reimbursement are more likely to require staff be licensed.One of the key issues is obtaining supervised experience. Normally, you must have MSW supervision through your employer or arrange your own supervision by a licensed MSW social worker in order for experience to qualify.  In Michigan, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is responsible for most professional occupation licensing.  You can obtain an application packet and other information from their website.

Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker (LBSW)

Application Criteria

Public Act 61 requires an applicant for licensure as a Licensed Bachelor’s Social Worker to have:

  • A bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited social work program.
  • Completed at least two years of full-time post bachelor’s degree experience, or the equivalent in part-time hours, in the practice of social work at the bachelor’s level under the supervision of a licensed master’s social worker. (Until July 1, 2008, the supervision can be done by a person with a master’s or doctoral degree in social work from a college or university school of social work).

The Administrative Rules clarify that the work experience must consist of at least 4,000 hours accrued over not less than two years.

The Rules also require LBSW applicants to pass the Basic or Bachelor’s exam given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The passing grade is 75. (Note: For exam information: See or call the Association of Social Work Boards at 800-225-6880 for additional information and exam preparation materials. Another source of examination preparation material is Social Work Examination Services, 800-933-8802,

Scope of Practice

The Act defines the scope of practice at the bachelor’s level as including all of the following, applied within the scope of social work values, ethics, principles, and skills:

  • Applying social work theory, knowledge, methods, and ethics to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or bio-psycho-social functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, or communities with particular attention to the person-in-environment configuration.
  • Social work case management and casework, including assessments, planning, referral, and intervention with individuals, families, couples, groups, communities, or organizations within the context of social work values, ethics, principles, and skills
  • Helping communities, organizations, individuals, or groups improve their social or health services by using social work practice skills
  • Administering assessment checklists that do not require special training or interpretation

A person who performs one or more of these functions, but not all of them, will not be considered engaged in the practice of social work at the bachelor’s level.

The practice does not include the practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine and surgery, including prescribing drugs or administering electroconvulsive therapy; the practice of psychotherapy and other advanced clinical skills specified in the master’s level scope of practice; or the administration or interpretation of psychological tests except as described in the bachelor’s scope of practice.

Qualifying Work Experience – Functions

Qualifying work experience for the LBSW would include, but not be limited to, any of the following:

  • Social casework assessment, planning, and intervention with individuals, couples, families, or groups to enhance or restore the capacity for social functioning.
  • Case management of health and human services.
  • Providing information about and referring individuals to resources.
  • Planning and collaborating with communities, organizations, or groups to improve their social or health services.
  • Working with clients in accessing, coordinating, or developing resources to develop solutions for interpersonal or community problems.

Note: For supervision and other requirements concerning qualifying work experience for LBSWs see “Qualifying Work Experience – General Requirements: LMSWs, LBSWs, SSTs” at this website