A Preliminary Analysis of State Scopes of Practice for the Profession of Social Work

Authors: Christian Vazquez, MSW | Jessica Buche, MPH, MA | Angela Beck, PhD, MPH | Mary Ruffolo, PhD, LMSW | Brian Perron, PhD

Topics: Behavioral Health, Scope of Practice (SOP)

Research Center: Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center

August 1, 2016

Social work scopes of practice (SOPs) define the services and functions that are allowed by social workers. However, no studies have been conducted to assess the uniformity, or lack thereof, of the profession’s regulations across each state. As the need for social workers increases, the capacities of social workers will increase as well.

This policy brief analyzes social work SOPs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC), and helps determine the range of allowable services and professional training requirement of social workers.

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