Social Work Careers, Licensure, and Salaries in Washington DC

The District of Columbia is one of the higher-paying locations for social work across the country. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest sector is in health care with an annual salary average of $74,160. By comparison, those specializing in child and family services make $71,590 annually (highest of any state in this category) and mental health and substance abuse social workers make $66,080 annually.

Washington DC Social Work Licensure Requirements

After the completion of a Master’s degree, students can become one of the following licensed social work professionals:

  • Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
  • Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)
  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

Hours of Experience Requirements

All licensures require the passing of the required professional examination through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The LGSW allows professionals to perform non-clinical and clinical work under supervision. The LISW offers an opportunity for independent non-clinical work after completing 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised work under a professional with the LISW or LICSW.

The LICSW is a variation of social work for those interested in practicing in a clinical setting. 3,000 hours are also needed after completing the Master’s degree and requires ASWB examination. If the license is verified by another state, is in good standing, and meets Washington DC requirements, this location will recognize the license after applying for a new state-specific license.

Renewal Requirements

Renewals take place prior to July 31st of every odd-numbered year and require 40 credit hours of continuing education. This includes six credit hours dedicated to ethical practice and two credit hours on the LGBTQ community. All ethics courses must be completed in person, and a limit of 12 credit hours can be used for online education.