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Social Work Exams

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is in charge of the maintenance of national social work licensing exams. Most states require that anyone who intends to become a licensed social worker must complete the ASBW test that correlates to their career aspirations and level of education and experience. Some states, such as California, administer their own examinations. There are four different levels of the exam:
  • Bachelor’s Social Work Exam

    A basic test for social workers with a bachelor of social work (BSW) and no post-degree experience as a social worker. Passing Rate: 77%
  • Master’s Social Work Exam

    A generalist test for social workers with a Masters in Social Work (MSW) and no post-degree social work experience. Passing Rate: 74%
  • Advanced Generalist

    A more advanced test for social workers with an MSW and at least two years of post-degree experience in non-clinical social work settings. Passing Rate: 58%
  • Clinical

    A more advanced test for social workers with an MSW and at least two years of post-degree experience in direct clinical practice settings. Passing Rate: 76%


Featured Online MSW Programs
University of Southern California (USC)
  • Top-ranked program, with multiple start dates throughout the year
  • Engaging curriculum designed to meet the demands of 21st-century challenges
Simmons College
  • Acclaimed clinical social work curriculum combined with cutting-edge technology
  • Live, weekly seminar-style classes taught by renowned Simmons faculty
University of Denver
  • Research-driven faculty dedicated to making an impact on social problems
  • Prepares you to apply social work skills across practice settings
Fordham University
  • Four main areas of focus: Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy
These schools offer online MSW programs with 100% online instruction - no campus visits required

Sponsored MSW Programs

The exam is composed of 170 questions, 20 of which do not count toward your score. They are instead included as a test-run for future test questions. Passing scores range from 103 and 115 correct answers depending on what level of test you are required to take. Exam questions are written by trained social workers and test students’ knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, social work policy, administration and community organization. You will be allowed 4 hours to take the test. For further information, the AWSB offers an FAQ section.

Further Reading

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