Social Work licensing falls under the Mental Health Licensing Section of the Division of Professions and Occupations within the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Colorado currently has two licenses for social workers: the LSW and the LCSW. These two licenses are for MSWs only as there is no licensure for BSW level social workers in Colorado.
The LSW (or provisional license) is required for those working toward a LCSW. This LSW requirement started in 2009. While not recommended by NASWCO, an alternative to the LSW requirement when working toward a LCSW is to list in the "unlicensed registered psychotherapist" database. The LSW may also be acquired by MSW's under supervision in indirect/macro practice. Colorado does not currently have a license for the independent practice of indirect/macro social work (in previous years there was the LISW).
For an overview of the licensing process for the LSW and LCSW see the Licensure Flow Chart. Detailed information about requirements for earning a license may be found in Rule 14 of the DORA Social Work Rules. Specifically, Rule 14 (c) (4) and (5) provide definitions of the experience and supervision required. Links to the rules, and additional helpful info, is in the grey box on the right of this web page.
Starting in 2011 there are Continued Professional Development requirements for LSWs and LCSWs. This CPD requirement was phased-in at the 2011 license renewal cycle and became fully operational in the 2013 license renewal cycle. Additionally, there are HPPP/Skolnik Act requirements. Be sure to adhere to both these requirements.
There is no automatic reciprocity for licensure with another state, but there is a process called Licensure by Endorsement. It is overseen by DORA to facilitate obtaining a Colorado license if one is licensed in another state. A social worker must complete the License by Endorsement Application (see the link to DORA Licensing Services and scroll to Endorsement section) and show that she has met the equivalent requirements of a Colorado social work license. The social worker must show that she has the appropriate degree and has previously passed the appropriate ASWB exam. In addition, the Colorado Jurisprudence Exam may need to be taken and passed. For more information, please see the links in the grey box on this web page.
For information about what to do if you forgot to renew your license see the License Renewal Information.
The School Social Work License is through the Colorado Department of Education (not DORA). For more information see CDE info.
Licensees who are not currently practicing in the state but who want to keep a license may put it on "Inactive Status". See details.
Links on Licensure:
ASWB Exam - info on the license exam
DORA Board of Social Work Examiners - homepage, update address, online services
DORA Licensing Forms - for original license by exam, original license by endorsement, or for provisional application
Check Application Status - for applications in progress
DORA License Lookup - verify a license
DORA Complaint - file a complaint about a licensee
DORA Disciplinary Actions- current and past board actions
DORA HPPP/Skolnik Act Program
DORA Cont Professional Development Portal
DORA Rules - of the Social Work Board
DORA Practice Policy(s) - of the Social Work Board
Forum - Post questions and get guidance quickly and directly via this website
Jurisprudence Exam Help - help from the Chapter includes exam resources & links
Mental Health Practice Act - CO licensing law