ND Seal ND Board of Social Work Examiners

LBSW Initial Application

Please read this page carefully before completing the application to avoid delays in your LBSW process. 

In order to be approved to take the Bachelor's examination, you must submit the following items to the North Dakota Board of Social Work Examiners (NDBSWE):

  • Application for Licensure;
  • $25 non-refundable application fee; and
  • a copy of your transcript showing you have graduated or are currently in your last term and are eligible to graduate
  • Faculty Advisor Reference Form from your faculty advisor indicating you are eligible to graduate and are in good standing. 

Once NDBSWE receives these three items, you will be approved to take the Bachelor's examination.  A letter of approval will be mailed to you with the information to register with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the testing agency.  Please note: ASWB is the point of contact to (1) request a nonstandard testing arrangement (accommodation), (2) register for the exam, and (3) make payment for the examination fee.

Separately, you will receive a "background check" packet which will include the documents needed to complete a statewide and nationwide Criminal History Record Check and to complete a Child Abuse and Neglect Background Inquiry. You may submit the background check documents to NDBSWE at any time, you do not have to wait to take the exam first.

In addition to the three items noted above that are required before you will be approved to take the Bachelor's examination, the following items are required before NDBSWE will review your application for an initial LBSW licensure.

  • Reference forms – Links to the reference forms can be found below. NDBSWE does not accept letters written by references. Reference forms should be completed by those you listed as references on your application. 
  • Criminal History Record Check, Child Abuse and Neglect Background Inquiry – Once NDBSWE receives the completed forms from you, it can take 5-6 weeks to get the results. Your license will not be issued until NDBSWE has the results. More information can be found here
  • ASWB Scores – NDBSWE will receive your test scores directly from ASWB which can take up to 10 days following the examination. Please do not send NDBSWE a copy of your test score. 
  • Official Transcript – Upon graduation, an official and final transcript must be sent directly from your college or university.
  • License Fee – The Board requires a license fee of $75, which is separate from the $25 application fee. This fee is paid online with your online license application.  

Licenses are issued and the certificates are mailed on a weekly basis. If your application needs to be reviewed by the Board for any reason, your license will not be issued until the Board has reviewed and approved your application. Please review the Meeting Dates page for upcoming meeting dates. 

When you submit your application and your information is added to NDBSWE's database, you may view your Application Status to keep updated on your license application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to keep updated on their application status and to ensure all required items are submitted to NDBSWE. The Board does not send out emails about your application status. If you have any questions about your application, please email the Board office.