Social Worker in Gerontology (SW-G)

Recognizes Experience Working with Older Adults

  Download the SW-G Application

Who seeks this credential?

The field of gerontology recognizes that older adults have distinct characteristics that can be differentiated from earlier stages of adulthood. Social work practice with older adults encompasses a broad range of functions. Whether working in micro or macro settings, the primary goal of the social worker is to address the specific challenges of the aging process by promoting independence, autonomy, and dignity in later life. 

Social workers in gerontology must be knowledgeable about unique legislation, policies and social programs that affect older adults. In addition, they must be knowledgeable about the aging process and the issues older adult and their caregivers face, adept at accessing resources for clients, and strong advocates who champion their rights.

Bachelors’ level social workers specializing in gerontology possess knowledge and skills necessary for serving older adults including: assessment of older adult needs and functional capacity, expertise regarding physical and mental health issues, case and care management, long-term care, elder abuse, quality of life issues, service planning and advance care planning are eligible to apply.

What does this credential represent?

The SW-G credential represents bachelor’s level experience and excellence for social workers specializing in gerontology. The SW-G was established in 2006, as one of the three gerontology certifications offered through the NASW to recognize social work skill and experience in service to older adults. 

The SW-G credential certifies that the holder has; a BSW; has met national standards of knowledge, skill, and experience at the bachelors level in gerontology; and agreed to abide by the NASW Code of Ethics, the NASW Standards for the Services in Long-Term Care Facilities and the NASW Standards for Continuing Professional Education.

What are the basic eligibility requirements?

  • A bachelor’s degree in social work from a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
  • Documentation of no less than three (3) years (equivalent of 4,500 hours) of experience working with older adults under social work supervision.
  • Twenty (20) contact hours of continuing education relevant to work with older adults, or provided proof of an aging/gerontology concentration via transcripts or certificate.
  • One of the following: ACBSW, current state BSW-level license, ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards) BSW-level exam passing score, or one (1) additional year of experience and ten (10) additional contact hours of continuing education.
  • Adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics, the NASW Standards for Social Work Services in Long-Term Care Facilities, and the NASW Standards for Continuing Professional Education.

Please read and review the complete criteria in the application.

co-workers having a conversation

Still have questions?

Read the Credentialing Center FAQ or contact the Credentialing Center at

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.

  Download the Specialty Certification Renewal Form