SWC (credential), LSW, & LCSW Licensure

IMPORTANT CHANGES to licensure have occurred as of July 14, 2020 with Governor Polis' signing of the (revised) Mental Health Practice Act:  final signed bill  and summer 2020 DORA Rule-making . The many improvements to social work licensing in this update were made possible by NASW-CO's strategic planning, collaborations, and successful lobbying efforts, which are entirely supported through NASW Member Dues. Please join, rejoin or renew  NASW to support critical workforce and social justice advocacy. 

NASW-CO recently published a Step-by-Step Guide to Colorado Social Work Licensure, which is viewable for all HERE

NASW-CO's finalized document reviewing step-by-step instructions for the initial licensure process can be found here: NASW-CO Licensure Process Guide

We have offered a number of free webinars on these changes, e.g. here is an October 2020 recorded NASW-CO webinar and a July 2020 recorded MH Coalition webinar ). DORA links summarizing changes are here: Updates for all MH Professionals & Updates for Social Workers . 

The SWC (Clinical Social Worker Candidate) registration ($47 fee as of Jan 2024) application is available online here, and the checklist for completing this application can be found here. DORA currently requires the SWC (Clinical Social Worker Candidate) application to be completed and paid for online. Email  DORA for application questions or completed applications, or  contact DORA with general questions about licensure applications.  

Detailed information about requirements for applying for the SWC (Clinical Social Worker Candidate) credential and earning the LSW (Licensed Social Worker; $84 as of Jan 2024) and LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker; $84 as of Jan 2024) licenses, including supervision requirements are here  and in the Mental Health Practice Act and the DORA Social Work Rules & Regulations (links in side-bar, choose most recent versions of documents on DORA website and Secretary of State website) . The School Social Work license is provided through the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) (not DORA). For more information see  CDE info.

Licensees are required to comply with Colorado's  Continuing Professional Competency (CPC)/Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program requirements for LSWs and LCSWs. Additionally, for SWCs (Clinical Social Worker Candidates), LSWs and LCSWs, there are  HPPP/Skolnik Act requirements.   

Colorado's MH Practice Act Statute, section 12-245-217 allows those who are clinically licensed in other states to practice for up to 20 days per year in Colorado without having to become licensed in CO (see side bar for Statute link and scroll to 12-245-217; must be in good standing with other licensure boards and practice within scope). 

Although NASW continues its longtime advocacy on this front, there is (generally) no automatic reciprocity for licensure with another state; licensees must check directly with the state in which they reside and the state in which their client resides/will be physically present in at the time that psychotherapy services are provided (via telehealth or in-person) and follow all laws and regulations. Some states' Emergency Orders, such as during the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, may allow reciprocity so check NASW resource pages during such emergencies. For information about current practice of telehealth in Colorado during the Covid-19 Pandemic: click here . 

For information about what to do if you forgot to renew your license, see the  license renewal information.

Licensees who are not currently practicing in the state but who want to keep a license may put their license on "Inactive Status" ( see details here ).

Interstate Social Work Compact Development Update - June 2022:

Development of an interstate compact for social work licensure has been underway for nearly a year, with a draft expected to be released for stakeholder review and public comment in July, and the goal of having model legislation available to states for passage in their 2023 legislative sessions. The development of a social work licensure compact is vital to ensuring the portability of professional social work practice as the landscape of practice continues to evolve due to the expansion of telehealth and the re-examination of how (and where) social workers engage with clients in the midst of the ongoing pandemic and beyond.

The social work compact development process has been led by the Council of State Governments (CSG), through funding from the Department of Defense. Please read the brief update on the process thus far from CSG here: CSG's latest update. NASW cares deeply about social work licensure, supports the development of an interstate licensure compact, and has worked hard to help inform various steps of the compact development process. The list of participating stakeholders included in CSG’s update includes organizations and states that had contributors participating in the technical assistance group and/or the document team during the drafting process. While it was impossible to include voices from every state in the Nation at this stage of development, the next step in the compact development process (stakeholder review and public comment) includes an opportunity for anyone in the Nation to provide input, and it will be vitally important for all of us to participate in this process. NASW will share further information about the stakeholder review and public comment process in the coming weeks - stay tuned!

Links on Licensure:

NASW-CO's Steps To Licensure can be found at this link.

www.aswb.org/colorado - Info on how to initiate application for licensure (start here)

ASWB Exam - info on the license exam

License Exam Prep Course

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

Mental Health Practice Act - CO licensing law (check that it's the updated 2020)

DORA Rules - of the Social Work Board (choose most recent version!)

DORA SW Board Policies - of the Social Work Board

DORA HPPP/Skolnik Act Program

Jurisprudence Exam Help - help from the Chapter includes exam resources & links

DORA Cont Professional Development Portal

DORA License Lookup - verify a license

DORA Complaint - file a complaint about a licensee

DORA Disciplinary Actions- current and past board actions