California Exam Restructure

If the shift from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5 wasn't enough, here's more change for license-bound social workers in California. As of January 1st, 2016, say good-bye to the BBS Standard Written and Clinical Exams. Say hello to a California Law & Ethics exam (for new registrants) and to the ASWB Clinical Exam (to get your California LCSW). We'll post details about the L&E exam when we have them--and, of course, be preparing Law & Ethics practice tests to help you get ready to get licensed. Here are the details, direct from the BBS:

Effective January 1, 2016, the Board's examination process will be changing. New exams will be implemented for all LCSW and LMFT candidates, and registrants (ASWs, MFT Interns and PCC Interns) will be mandated to take a California Law and Ethics Exam, as specified below.

Currently, the licensing exams are taken upon completion of all other requirements for licensure.  Under the restructure, individuals who hold an ASW, MFT Intern or PCC Intern registration will be required to take a California Law and Ethics Exam a minimum of once per renewal cycle while a registrant until the exam has been passed.

If a registrant does not take the Law and Ethics Exam during a renewal period, he or she will not be permitted to renew the registration until the exam has been taken. If a registrant does not pass the Law and Ethics Exam during a renewal period, he or she will be required to take a 12-hour continuing education course on California Law and Ethics in order to be eligible to re-take the Law and Ethics Exam.

Although the exam restructure takes effect January 1, 2016, a grace period has been established that allows individuals with a registration that expires prior to June 30, 2016, to renew that registration between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016 without first taking the Law and Ethics Exam.


  • LCSW Exams - LCSW applicants will be required to pass two new exams that replace the existing exams:
    • A California Law and Ethics Exam will replace the Standard Written Exam. It is designed to assess the applicant's knowledge of and ability to apply legal and ethical standards relating to clinical practice.
    • The National Clinical ASWB Exam will replace the Clinical Vignette Exam. It is designed to assess an applicant's knowledge of psychosocial principles and methods in treatment and their application, and the ability to make judgments about appropriate techniques, methods and objectives as applicable to the profession's scope of practice.
Categories :

California Social Work Exam Changes

Landscape A change re changes to come from the California BBS.  (Not in California? This doesn't apply to you.) The planned shift to the national ASWB exam--plus a CA Law and Ethics exam--is being postponed till 2016. For the time being, it's business as usual: Standard Written followed by Clinical Vignette...followed by licensure!  For lovers of legalese, here's how it looks in the statute:

(a) Effective January 1, 2016, an applicant for licensure as a clinical social worker shall pass the following two examinations as prescribed by the board:

  (1) A California law and ethics examination.

  (2) A clinical examination.

(b) Upon registration with the board, an associate social worker registrant shall, within the first year of registration, take an examination on California law and ethics.

(c) A registrant may take the clinical examination only upon meeting all of the following requirements:

  (1) Completion of all education requirements.

  (2) Passage of the California law and ethics examination.

  (3) Completion of all required supervised work experience.

(d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2016.

Categories :

BBS Exam Changes Postponed

lcsw-exam-change-imperceptibleThe big changes in the California BBS exam process for LCSWs have been postponed. The changes are now expected to go into effect in 2016. So, if you're anywhere near completing hours and prepping for the LCSW exam in California, proceed as if you'd never heard anything about the changes.  We'll keep you posted as more details emerge.  Happy studying!

Categories :

LCSW Licensing in California

the-lcsw-licensing-processFrom Janlee Wong of the NASW-CA, here's a slideshow overview of the licensing process in California. The slideshow was updated in 2015.

Step one of the CA licensing process--one you've gotten your MSW, that is--is to pass the California Law & Ethics Exam. We've got a practice test designed to help you get ready to do just that. Get started here (remember to click on the California map!). Good luck!

Categories :

DSM-V and the Social Work Exam

DSM-5It's official, DSM-5 has been approved.  Big changes are summarized at the link.  What's this mean for the social work licensing exam?  For the moment, not too much.  The ASWB says the test will stay the same till July, 2015.  So, if you're planning on taking an ASWB-administered exam before July, 2015, study the DSM-IV-TR as if nothing's happened.   

Californians have to get ready sooner. The CA-BBS website reports DSM-5 will begin appearing on California's licensing exams in December, 2014. This is true only for LCSW-hopefuls in California.

Note: The California BBS plans an eventual switch--possibly in January, 2016--to a combination of the national ASWB exam and a California-specific Law & Ethics exam. Check back in this space for details.

(UPDATED 4/3/14)

Categories :

Search Our Blog