Application and Renewal
If you have questions on licensing, please contact the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR).
As of December 1, 2009 Illinois is now a pre-approved state, which means candidates must apply for licensure and be granted approval prior to sitting for either the masters or clinical examination. If you are unsure of your elligibility or have questions about licensing procedures, please contact IDFPR.
Request the appropriate application for examination from IDFPR at 217.782.8556 or download the forms from IDFPR (Be sure select "Social Worker - Examination" if applying for the LSW and "Clinical Social Worker - Examination" if applying for the LCSW). Complete the forms with ALL supplementary documentation, including the application fee and mail to IDFPR. Partial applications will not be processed.
Once you have passed the exam, IDFPR will send you your license in the mail. Remember that just passing the exam does NOT mean you are licensed. You may not declare yourself as licensed or as a social worker until you have received your license from IDFPR.
Note: The state of Illinois uses the clinical examination for the LCSW license and the masters examination for the LSW license.
First Time Licensure
If this is your first time applying for the LSW or LCSW, you do not need to accumulate 30 CEUs for licensure.
First Time Renewal
If this is your first time renewing your LSW or LCSW, you also do not need to accumulate 30 CEUs for licensure. However you must apply for licensure renewal with IDFPR (see below).
- Renew your license every two years.
- Regardless of when you first receive your license, it always expires on November 30th of each odd-numbered year.
- You are required to accumulate 30 CEUs before licensure renewal. A minimum of 3 of those 30 hours must be in ethics; an additional 3 must be in cultural competency. NOTE: CEUs are not required for the first renewal after which you are first licensed.
- A minimum of 50% of the total continuing education unit (CEU) hours required must be obtained by a method that includes face-to-face, in-person instruction or experience. According to IDFPR, live-virtual workshops DO NOT qualify as face-to-face, in-person instruction.
- CEUs must be from a licensed provider in Illinois, NASW and all of our affiliates, or the ASWB. Check the agency's provider number; it will be a 9-digit number beginning with 159.
- If you accumulate more than 30 CEUs in one two-year cycle, the extras do NOT carry over to the next period.
- Keep records of your CEUs on file for at least five years.
- IDFPR will mail renewal reminder postcards to you by mid-October in each odd-numbered year. Follow the instructions on the postcard to renew your license online. If you do not receive a postcard, you can still renew your license using your social security number. Renew on IDFPR's website. NOTE: Not receiving a renewal reminder is not an extenuating circumstance for failure to renew your license.
- Keep IDFPR up-to-date on any address changes.
- You don’t need to send proof of your CEUs in with your renewal form unless (1) you are applying after the deadline or (2) IDFPR requests it.
- If you renew after the November 30th deadline, additional fees are required, CEUs must be submitted, and your license may be suspended temporarily.