ASWB Social Work Exam

Which level of exam should I take?
ASWB offers 4 levels of exam: Bachelors, Masters, Advanced Generalist, and Clinical. The level of exam that you are eligible to take is based upon your level of education and work experience.

Associate/Bachelors Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW)
Masters MSW/Ph.D. + no post-degree experience
Advanced Generalist MSW/Ph.D. + 2 years of post-degree experience
Clinical MSW/Ph.D. + 2 years post-degree clinical experience

The level of exam that is offered varies on a state-by-state basis. You should check with your state’s licensing office to determine the appropriate level of exam.

Do I have to have a degree in Social Work?
Yes. You must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Although there are other related degrees, the degree must actually be in Social Work. For more information about licensing qualifications, check with your state’s social work board or ASWB.

Who administers the exam?
The exam is administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

How many questions are on the exam?
The exam contains 170 standard multiple choice format (4 answers) questions designed to measure minimum competencies at the four levels. Of these 170 questions, only 150 are actually scored; the remaining 20 questions are “pretest” items, which are included to measure their effectiveness as items on future examinations. These pretest items are randomly scattered throughout the exam and are not identified as “pretest” questions. You should, therefore, answer each question as though it were a graded question.

How is the exam scored?
The exam is scored on a scaled basis. Adjustments are made to account for the level of difficulty of the actual items on your exam. There is no penalty for wrong answers. Therefore, if you come across a question you do not know – guess!

What score do I need to pass the exam?
The score that you need to pass the exam depends on your state. Most states require a scaled score of either 70 or 75. The number of questions needed to pass the exam varies exam to exam based upon the difficulty of the questions presented.

Is the exam the same in every state?
Yes. Exams of the same level are identical in each state that used the ASWB exam. There may be multiple versions of each level of exam. In addition, be aware that not all states offer all four levels of the exam.

Do all states require you to take the ASWB exam?
Most states require you to take the ASWB exam. There are 4 levels of the exam. Not all states, however, offer all four levels. To determine which level of exam you are required to take, please check with your state’s licensing office. In addition, be aware that California does not offer any level of the ASWB exam. It has its own licensing exam and requirements.

When is the exam offered?
The exam is given almost daily at numerous testing centers across the country. Check with ASWB to determine where the most convenient testing center for you is.

How is the exam administered?
The exam is administered electronically on a computer. If you don’t know how to use a computer, don’t worry. The computer will be set up for you by the testing center and detailed instructions on how to take the exam and use the computer will be given to you. You will even have time to familiarize yourself and practice using the computer before you begin the exam.

If I fail the exam, can I retake it?
Most states allow you to retake the exam if you fail. The number of times and the waiting period in between exams depend on the state. Most states require you to wait at least 90 days prior to retaking the exam. Check with your state licensing office for specific information on this topic.