Social Workers

Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners

The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE) regulates the profession of Social Work in Texas. The TSBSWE is a nine-member state licensing board appointed by the Governor. The board is authorized to adopt and enforce rules and is administratively attached to the Texas Health and Human Services.

This website contains information about Licensed Social Workers including a roster of currently licensed Social Workers, scope of practice, licensing requirements, how to file a complaint against a Social Worker, and where to find more information.

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Scope of Practice

(a) Practice of Baccalaureate Social Work—Applying social work theory, knowledge, methods, ethics and the professional use of self to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or bio-psychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities. Baccalaureate Social Work is generalist practice and may include interviewing, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, case management, mediation, counseling, supportive counseling, direct practice, information and referral, problem solving, supervision, consultation, education, advocacy, community organization, and policy and program development, implementation, and administration.

(b) Practice of Independent Non-Clinical Baccalaureate Social Work—An LBSW recognized for independent practice, known as LBSW-IPR, may provide any non-clinical baccalaureate social work services in either an employment or an independent practice setting. An LBSW-IPR may work under contract, bill directly for services, and bill third parties for reimbursements for services. An LBSW-IPR must restrict his or her independent practice to providing non-clinical social work services.

(c) Practice of Master's Social Work—Applying social work theory, knowledge, methods and ethics and the professional use of self to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or bio-psychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities. An LMSW may practice clinical social work in an agency employment setting under clinical supervision, under a board-approved supervision plan, or under contract with an agency when under a board-approved clinical supervision plan. Master's Social Work practice may include applying specialized knowledge and advanced practice skills in assessment, treatment, planning, implementation and evaluation, case management, mediation, counseling, supportive counseling, direct practice, information and referral, supervision, consultation, education, research, advocacy, community organization and developing, implementing and administering policies, programs and activities. An LMSW may engage in Baccalaureate Social Work practice.

(d) Advanced Non-Clinical Practice of LMSWs—An LMSW recognized as an Advanced Practitioner (LMSW-AP) may provide any non-clinical social work services in either an employment or an independent practice setting. An LMSW-AP may work under contract, bill directly for services, and bill third parties for reimbursements for services. An LMSW-AP must restrict his or her practice to providing non-clinical social work services.

(e) Independent Practice for LMSWs—An LMSW recognized for independent practice may provide any non-clinical social work services in either an employment or an independent practice setting. This licensee is designated as LMSW-IPR. An LMSW-IPR may work under contract, bill directly for services, and bill third parties for reimbursements for services. An LMSW-IPR must restrict his or her independent practice to providing non-clinical social work services.

(f) Practice of Clinical Social Work—The practice of social work that requires applying social work theory, knowledge, methods, ethics, and the professional use of self to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or bio-psychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, and/or persons who are adversely affected by social or psychosocial stress or health impairment. The practice of clinical social work requires applying specialized clinical knowledge and advanced clinical skills in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, conditions and addictions, including severe mental illness and serious emotional disturbances in adults, adolescents, and children. The clinical social worker may engage in Baccalaureate Social Work practice and Master's Social Work practice. Clinical treatment methods may include but are not limited to providing individual, marital, couple, family, and group therapy, mediation, counseling, supportive counseling, direct practice, and psychotherapy. Clinical social workers are qualified and authorized to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Codes, and other diagnostic classification systems in assessment, diagnosis, treatment and other practice activities. An LCSW may provide any clinical or non-clinical social work service or supervision in either an employment or independent practice setting. An LCSW may work under contract, bill directly for services, and bill third parties for service reimbursements.

(g) A licensee who is not recognized for independent practice or who is not under a board-approved non-clinical supervision plan must not engage in any independent practice that falls within the definition of social work practice in §781.102 of this title (relating to Definitions) without being licensed and recognized by the board, unless the person is licensed in another profession and acting solely within the scope of that license. If the person is practicing professionally under another license, the person may not use the titles "licensed clinical social worker," "licensed master social worker," "licensed social worker," or "licensed baccalaureate social worker," or any other title or initials that imply social work licensure unless one holds the appropriate license or independent practice recognition.

(h) An LBSW or LMSW who is not recognized for independent practice may not provide direct social work services to clients from a location that she or he owns or leases and that is not owned or leased by an employer or other legal entity with responsibility for the client. This does not preclude in-home services such as in-home health care or the use of electronic media to provide services in an emergency.

(i) An LBSW or LMSW who is not recognized for independent practice may practice for remuneration in a direct employment or agency setting but may not work independently, bill directly to patients or bill directly to third party payers, unless the LBSW or LMSW is under a formal board-approved supervision plan.

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Contact Us

Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners
Texas Health and Human Services
Mail Code 1982
P.O. Box 149347
Austin , TX 78714-9347
Email: lsw@hhsc.state.tx.us
Telephone: 512-719-3521 or 800-232-3162
Fax: 512-834-6677