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Note: The NASW credentialing department is currently experiencing a large backlog and it is taking longer than usual to process applications. Rest assured, your application will be processed as soon as possible. You will receive an email from us once your application has been approved. We apologize for the delay in communication and processing.

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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 expansion into multiple specialty practice areas, including gerontology, hospice and palliative care, administration, healthcare, case management, youth and family, addictions, and more.

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. A professional credential does not replace licensure; 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.

Environmental Scan of Social Work Credentialing Needs

The NASW Credentialing Committee is seeking an individual or group to lead an environmental scan and data collection efforts. The specific activities would include:

  • Engage with the credentialing committee to finalize the study methodology that addresses the study objectives and to define the instrument(s) to be deployed with the consultation and advice of the committee.
  • Work together with the committee in identifying the appropriate partners to contact in the pursuit of the study’s objectives.
  • Engage social work stakeholders and regularly update the committee on the study progress.

Learn more about this project and how to apply

Renew Your Specialty Credential

Renewal of the ACSW occurs every year with the payment of NASW dues. Specialty credentials are renewed every two years. Email reminders are sent prior to the expiration date.

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CE Tracker

Confidently track your licensing renewal requirements with CE Tracker, the online tool that tells you exactly what you need to renew your license and tracks your progress along the way.

Learn more about CE Tracker and subscribe

NASW / CCMC Collaborative

NASW and the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) are collaborating to offer social workers the opportunity to earn the Commission’s Certified Case Manager® (CCM®) credential.

Learn more about the NASW / CCMC Collaborative

Credentialing Committee

The NASW Credentialing Committee (the Committee) provides strategic guidance and oversight of the NASW Credentialing Program, and its ongoing exploration and pursuit of new, value-added offerings.

Learn about the Credentialing Committee

Social Work Licensure Mobility

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) owns licensing exams that test a social worker's competence. To learn about ASWB's social work licensure mobility strategy, visit ASWB's website.

Interstate Licensure Compact

The Council of State Governments is overseeing the development of an interstate licensure compact for social workers.

Learn about the Interstate Licensure Compact