Credentials & Certifications

Being a credentialed social worker makes all the difference. Social workers who want recognition for their professional achievements and who want to unlock new career paths come to NASW for their credentials. The NASW Credentialing Center administers NASW Professional Social Work Credentials (membership required) and NASW Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials (available to all qualified social workers). 

NASW is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious organization granting social work credentials. We have been offering credentials to social workers for more than 50 years and Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials since 2000.  NASW’s Social work credentials are indicative of the profession’s metamorphosis and expansion into multiple specialty practice areas like gerontology, hospice and palliative care, administration, healthcare, case management, youth and family, addictions, etc.

What Is a Social Work Credential?


Definitions of social work practice within state or territorial jurisdictions may vary significantly depending on the resources in a given part of the country. Licensure does not replace a professional credential; rather it speaks to meeting minimal requirements of proficiency like education, licensure, and experience for the social work practitioner. 

Obtaining a credential is the next progression in a social worker’s professional career. Beyond the educational degree and professional license, credentials, (in the form of professional certifications) are a voluntary pursuit. Voluntary credentials denote professional commitment and achievement and represent a “license plus” feature of certifying knowledge and experience that meets or exceeds excellence in social work at the national level. Professional social workers agree to a critical review process that includes evaluation of the candidate’s educational preparation, practice experience, and peer review of observable skills and abilities.

Why Obtain a Social Work Credential?


  • Holders of NASW Professional Social Work Credentials and Advanced Practice Specialty Credentials become part of the most widely recognized social work organization in the nation.
  • Credentialed social workers are recognized as having in-depth knowledge, proven work experience, leadership capacity, competence, and dedication to the social work profession.
  • Credential holders agree to a critical review process that strives to measure adherence to The NASW Code of Ethics, NASW Standards for Continuing Education, and national practice standards consistent with the area of specialized social work practice.
  • Some employers seek out highly credentialed professionals to fill key leadership positions within their organizations/agencies and/or factor voluntary credentials in their salary scales.

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Renew Your Specialty Certification


Renewal for the ACSW is every year and the QCSW is every two years. Renewal for Specialty Credentials is every two years. Renewal packets are sent prior to the expiration of the credential/certification.



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