Transferring information about your social work license from state to state may be less of a strain in coming years.
According to Mary Jo Monahan, CEO of the Association of Social Work Boards, professional licensing portability and social work practice mobility is catching up with 21st century technology.
"We're living in a mobile society," she said. "Social workers move. Clients move as well."
Because of this, ASWB — the nonprofit organization dedicated to social work regulation — is making strides to implement social work practice mobility from state to state a faster, smoother and possibly cheaper process.
The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) owns and maintains the social work licensing examinations that are used to test a social worker’s competence to practice ethically and safely. To learn more about ASWB's social work licensure mobility strategy, visit movingsocialwork.org.
Monahan says data show social workers are moving to different states more than ever.
"We now recognize with electronic practice that social workers are going to want to practice in more than one jurisdiction," Monahan added.
"The purpose of getting mobility is to make it safe for clients to be protected as well to make it more convenient for social workers to move from state to state and obtain a license in their new jurisdiction," Monahan said. "Or if they are practicing electronically in more than one state, they will need to get licensed where they are practicing and where the client is located."
It currently takes anywhere from one to three months to complete a license request in various states.
ASWB membership includes 64 U.S. and Canadian social work regulatory boards.
In November, ASWB delegates voted to adopt a mobility strategy that is premised on a concerted effort by member boards to harmonize licensure eligibility criteria across all ASWB member boards so that equivalently licensed social workers can obtain licenses necessary to lawfully practice in other jurisdictions either in person or through technology-assisted practice, said Jayne Wood, director of Communications and Marketing at ASWB.
The next step is developing tools for implementation, which is the topic of ASWB's 2018 education conference.
ASWB is developing and populating a centralized, secure databank that can provide member boards with access to verified primary source documentation for social workers seeking equivalent licensure in additional jurisdictions.
According to ASWB:
Current candidate and licensee data contained in the ASWB Social Work Registry will be integrated into the databank.
It will serve as a permanent and secure repository of primary source records, including:
- Educational transcripts
- Exam scores
- Verified supervision hours
- Continuing education documentation
- Licensure applications
- State-issued license(s)
Upon the social worker’s request, ASWB will share database materials with identified member boards. ASWB staff will also verify the status of all social work licenses held, query the ASWB Public Protection Databank, and perform other checks as required.
Social workers will have multiple opportunities to enroll in the databank:
- as a social work student
- when registering with ASWB to take the licensing exam
- when applying for licensure or renewing with the member board(s)
- at any time as a social work professional