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Bureau of Professional Licensure

Iowa Board of Social Work

Frequently Asked Questions

LBSW, LMSW and LISW Practice

How does the Board distinguish counseling from therapy?

Counseling is a method to assist clients in learning how to solve problems and make decisions about personal, health, social, educational, vocational, financial, and other interpersonal concerns. Counseling is an educational process which involves “giving advice, delineating alternatives, helping articulate goals, and providing needed information.” Social Work Dictionary (4th ed. 1999).

Psychosocial therapy is a specialized, formal interaction between a social worker and a client in which a therapeutic relationship is established to assist the client in overcoming or abating specific emotional, mental, or social problems and achieving specific goals for well being. Therapy is a planned, structured program based on a diagnosis and is directed to accomplish measurable goals and objectives specified in the client’s individual treatment plan.

Iowa law provides that master and independent level social workers may provide psychosocial therapy services. Bachelor level social workers may not provide therapy, but they may provide counseling services.

Can an LBSW provide bachelor level social work services (assessment, intervention, counseling) as a solo private practitioner?

Yes. An LBSW may provide bachelor level social work services as a self-employed solo private practitioner. However, an LBSW who provides master level services, including therapy, in any setting may be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Social Work Examiners for practicing outside the scope of the license.

Can an LMSW provide master level social work services (diagnosis, psychosocial therapy, and treatment) as a solo private practitioner or as a member of a partnership?

No. A social worker must be licensed as an LISW in order to provide master level social work services as a solo private practitioner. Hence, a social worker who is self employed providing master level social work services must be licensed as an LISW. An LMSW who practices as a solo private practitioner may be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Social Work Examiners for practicing outside the scope of the license.

LBSW,LMSW,and LISW Practice continued

Can an LMSW provide master level social work services (diagnosis, psychosocial therapy, and treatment) in a group private practice?

Yes, provided that the LMSW does not have ongoing control of the clinical, financial, administrative, or professional arrangements between the LMSW and the client/patients of the LMSW. Hence, an LMSW who provides master level social work services in a group practice must have his or her clinical practice supervised and must not exercise control over the financial, administrative, or professional arrangements between the LMSW and his or her clients/patients. An LMSW who practices in a group practice without clinical supervision, or who exercises control over the financial, administrative, or professional arrangements of the practice may be subject to disciplinary action by the Board of Social Work Examiners for practicing outside the scope of the license.

Please Note If an LMSW is seeking licensure at the LISW level, he or she must obtain supervision from an LISW. If the LMSW is not seeking to utilize the supervision toward LISW-level licensure, the supervision may be provided by any mental health provider who assumes ultimate responsibility for the clinical care of the client.

License Application

How can I apply for a license?

See web page "Application Process & Form" listed on the left.

If I am not approved for licensure in Iowa, will I receive my application fee back?

No, application fees are non-refundable.

Name & Address Changes

How can I make an address and/or name change?

Any time there is an address and/or name change, it is up to you to let the board office know within 30 days of the change. Complete the "Name & Address Change" form available on this site.

Duplicate Certificate or Wallet Card

How can I get a duplicate license?

To obtain a duplicate license and/or wallet card, complete the "Application for Duplicate License" and mail it along with the correct fee.

Continuing Education

Where can I find information about continuing education?

See the "Continuing Education" page on this site for specific information regarding your continuing education.

Renewal

I have not received notification regarding renewal of my license. How can I renew?

Online license renewal is fast and safe! https://IBPLicense.iowa.gov/ Click here to renew online up to 60 days before your current license expires and follow the directions.

You will be asked to verify that you have met the continuing education requirements. You may renew your license for 30 days after your current license expires but will be required to pay a late fee.

Paper applications will NOT be mailed. Instead you will receive a postcard as a reminder it is time to renew the license. If you do not renew online you may download a paper renewal from the "Renewal" page on this website.

Can I use the extra continuing education hours that I earned from my previous renewal for the present renewal?

The only time this is allowed is for your second renewal.

For those newly licensed, continuing education is not required for the first license renewal. Any continuing education hours obtained anytime from the initial licensing date may be used for the second license renewal. After the second renewal, licensees are required to complete the full number of required continuing education hours within each compliance period. For more information see "Continuing Education" page on this website.

When does my license expire?

See the "Renewal" page on this website for specific information.

What is the license renewal fee?

See the "Fees" page on the website for specific information.

What are the required courses for mandatory reporters of child and adult abuse?

License Reactivation

How can I reactivate my license?

See the "Reactivation" page on this website for more information.

Licensure in other States

What are the requirements for licensure in another state?

You will need to contact the board in that state and find out the requirements. Our verification fee for verifying your license to another state is $20.00. Include a money order or cashier's check for that amount along with your written request. Make check payable to your specific board (e.g., Iowa Board of Athletic Training).

License Verification

How do I verify a license for a licensed professional?

Go to www.licensediniowa.gov and select License Search. Insert your name or license number. Select your profession from the dropdown list. You may print a copy of your licensure status by selecting Print.

Disclaimer: The Bureau is responsible for maintaining all of the information on the website, including licensure information and public disciplinary action. The information provided on the website is the same information provided through verbal and mail verification, and is true and complete to the best of our knowledge.

The professional boards require primary source verification of credentials prior to issuing a license in this state. The Bureau believes this site is appropriate for verification information, but is not responsible for determining appropriateness of information compared to standards of any given organization or program.

Inactive License

How do I put my license on hold?

It is not necessary to place your license on hold. If you do not renew your license by 30 days after the license expiration date, it will automatically be placed on inactive status.

Iowa Law & Administrative Rules

How can I get a paper copy of the current Iowa Law & Administrative Rules?

To receive a paper copy of the current Iowa Law & Administrative Rules, submit completed form along with the $5 fee to your board office. Please make the check payable to your board.

Lists of Licensees

How can I get a list of active licensees in the state of Iowa?

  • Go to https://eservices.iowa.gov/ibpl/
  • Select 'List of Active Licensees'
  • Select Profession from dropdown list
  • Select the 'Basic Search' button
  • Select the 'Download File' button
  • Save the file to your desired directory

Complaints

How can I file a complaint?

See the "Complaints" page listed on the left for more information about how to file a complaint.