Certified Master Social Worker


Click on the appropriate tab below to see the Initial Licensing Requirements, Process, Fees, Statutes and Administrative Rules for a Certified Master Social Worker.

To be licensed as a Certified Master Social Worker in Florida you must have:

  • A master’s Degree in social work from a university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, with a major emphasis or specialty in clinical practice or administration
  • Completed 3 semester hours of graduate level coursework in the following content areas: (1) agency administration and supervision; (2) program planning and evaluation; (3) staff development; (4) research; (5) community organization; (6) community services; (7) social planning and (8) human services advocacy
  • Three (3) years experience, two (2) years of which must be at the post-master’s level under the supervision of a person who meets the education and experience requirements for certification as a certified master social worker or a licensed clinical social worker
  • Passed the national masters level examination developed by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
  • Completed an eight-hour laws and rules course from a board approved provider
  • Completed a two-hour prevention of medical errors course from a board approved provider
  • Completed a three hour HIV/AIDS course and two hour domestic violence course from a board approved provider within six months of licensure

Applicants with Health History

The Board reviews each applicant’s history to determine that the applicant is able to practice the profession with reasonable skill and competence. If you have a history of serious, chronic, or recent mental health problems or addiction to drugs, you must submit a current mental health status report. Mental health status reports must come from a licensed mental health professional, with which you have no personal or professional relationship.

The report should include: a description and summary of the diagnosis, onset, course of treatment, medications, inpatient treatments, outpatient treatments, group settings, factors which have triggered setbacks, compliance with treatment, prognosis, and recommendations for continued treatment.

Applicants with Discipline History

Applicants with prior disciplinary actions are required to submit the following:

Board Actions – Certified copies of document(s) relative to any disciplinary action taken against any license. The documents must come from the agency that took the disciplinary action and must be certified by that agency.

Self-Explanation -€“ A detailed description of the circumstances surrounding your disciplinary action and a thorough description of the rehabilitative changes in your lifestyle since the time of the disciplinary action which would enable you to avoid future occurrences. It would be helpful to include factors in your life, which you feel may have contributed to your disciplinary action, what you have learned about yourself since that time, and the changes you have made that support your rehabilitation.

Applicants with Criminal History

Applicants with prior criminal convictions are required to submit the following:

Final Dispositions/Arrest Records -€“ Final disposition records for offenses can be obtained at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. If the records are not available, you must have a letter on court letterhead sent from the clerk of the court attesting to their unavailability.

Completion of Probation/Parole/Sanctions -€“ Probation and financial sanction records for offenses can be obtained at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. Parole records for offenses can be obtained from the Department of Corrections or at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. If the records are not available, you must have a letter on court letterhead sent from the clerk of the court attesting to their unavailability.

Self-Explanation -€“ Applicants who have listed offenses on the application must submit a letter in their own words describing the circumstances of the offense. Include in your letter the date of the original offense, the charge, and the jurisdiction where it occurred.

Health Care Fraud; Disqualifications for License, Certificate, or Registration

Effective July 1, 2012, Section 456.0635, Florida Statutes (F.S.), provides that health care boards or the department shall refuse to issue a license, certificate or registration and shall refuse to admit a candidate for examination if the applicant:

  1. Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under Chapter 409, F.S., (relating to social and economic assistance), Chapter 817, F.S., (relating to fraudulent practices), Chapter 893, F.S., (relating to drug abuse prevention and control) or a similar felony offense(s) in another state or jurisdiction unless the candidate or applicant has successfully completed a drug court program for that felony and provides proof that the plea has been withdrawn or the charges have been dismissed. Any such conviction or plea shall exclude the applicant or candidate from licensure, examination, certification, or registration, unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or plea ended:
    1. For the felonies of the first or second degree, more than 15 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
    2. For the felonies of the third degree, more than 10 years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
    3. For the felonies of the third degree under section 893.13(6)(a), F.S., more than five years from the date of the plea, sentence and completion of any subsequent probation;
  2. Has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a felony under 21 U.S.C. ss. 801-970 (relating to controlled substances) or 42 U.S.C. ss. 1395-1396 (relating to public health, welfare, Medicare and Medicaid issues), unless the sentence and any subsequent period of probation for such conviction or pleas ended more than 15 years prior to the date of the application;
  3. Has been terminated for cause from the Florida Medicaid program pursuant to section 409.913, F.S., unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with the Florida Medicaid program for the most recent five years;
  4. Has been terminated for cause, pursuant to the appeals procedures established by the state or Federal Government, from any other state Medicaid program, unless the candidate or applicant has been in good standing with a state Medicaid program for the most recent five years and the termination occurred at least 20 years before the date of the application;
  5. Is currently listed on the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. The section above does not apply to candidates or applicants for initial licensure or certification who were enrolled in an educational or training program on or before July 1, 2009, which was recognized by a board or, if there is no board, recognized by the department, and who applied for licensure after July 1, 2012.

You may not provide clinical services with this license.  It is an administrative license.  Contact board staff for additional information and/or an application.

Certified Master Social Work
Apply by Exam Fees:

Application Fee $100.00 (non-refundable)
Initial Licensure Fee $105.00
Total $205.00

Make checks or money orders payable to the “Department of Health.”

Click on Chapter or Section Number to View

Florida Statutes

Chapter 491: 491, Clinical, Counseling, and Pschotherapy Services
Chapter 456: Health Professions and Occupations: General Provisions
Chapter 120: Administrative Procedure Act
Chapter 39: Proceedings Related to Children
Chapter 90: Evidence Code
Chapter 394: Mental Health
Chapter 397: Substance Abuse Services
Chapter 415: Adult Protective Services

Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)

Rules: Chapter 64B4, F.A.C.: Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy & Mental Health Counseling