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What is the ASWB?

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is made up of regulatory boards, colleges, and universities throughout the United States and some provinces in Canada. The ASWB develops five levels of examinations targeted to licensure candidates with various levels of experience and education in the social work field. The ASWB exams certify that a candidate has the required knowledge of common social work practices and regulations.

Those interested in social work positions would take the Associate, Bachelors, or Masters ASWB exams. Those interested in administration or clinical work would take the Advanced Generalist or Clinical ASWB Exams. Some licensing authorities do not recognize all ASWB exams, so candidates will need to check the licensing authority for their area to make sure they take the appropriate exam. Tests are administered through Pearson VUE testing centers.

What is on the ASWB exam?

There are five different ASWB exams:

  • Associate
  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Advanced Generalist
  • Clinical
Each exam offers 170 multiple-choice questions that test a candidate's understanding of four knowledge domains, and 150 of those questions are used to calculate the score. Twenty questions are included as experimental items that are being tested for use in future exams and do not count towards the final score. Candidates have four hours to complete each test.

What is on the ASWB Bachelors exam?

The Associate and Bachelors exams test the same content. The local license authority may accept Associate exam results to issue a license to examinees who do not have a degree in social work. The Bachelors exam is intended for those who have studied social work at an undergraduate level.

Category Number of Questions
Human Development, Diversity, and Behavior in the Environment 38
Assessment 43
Interventions with Clients/Client Systems 39
Professional Relationships, Values, and Ethics 50
Experimental Questions 20

What is on the ASWB Masters exam?

The ASWB Masters exam is intended to be taken by those who have completed advanced graduate studies in social work.

Category Number of Questions
Human Development, Diversity, and Behavior in the Environment 40
Assessment and Interventions Planning 36
Interventions with Clients/Client Systems 36
Professional Relationships, Values, and Ethics 38
Experimental 20

What is on the ASWB Advanced Generalist exam?

The ASWB Advanced Generalist exam is intended to be taken by experienced professionals who have studied Social Work and want to demonstrate their advanced knowledge of the field. Typically, licensing authorities require two years of relevant experience before taking this exam.

Category Number of Questions
Human Development, Diversity, and Behavior in the Environment 35
Intervention Processes and Techniques for Use Across Systems 48
Intervention Processes and Techniques for Use with Larger Systems 27
Professional Relationships, Values, and Ethics 40
Experimental 20

What is on the ASWB Clinical exam?

The ASWB Clinical exam is for those who want to engage in social work that has a clinical component. The exam emphasizes clinical topics, such as assessment and intervention. Licensing authorities generally require at least 2 or 3 years of relevant experience to take this exam.

Category Number of Questions
Human Development, Diversity, and Behavior in the Environment 36
Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning 45
Psychotherapy, Clinical Interventions, and Case Management 40
Professional Relationships, Values, and Ethics 29
Experimental 20

How can I study for the ASWB exam?

The hard work candidates have put into their social work studies, as well as the experiences they have had in the field, will provide a solid foundation that they can draw from as they prepare for the exam. However, studying for the ASWB is still important to make sure that one is ready. Consider some of the tips below to help prepare.

Start studying for the ASWB as early as possible. Each ASWB exam covers four categories of social work concepts. Each category is further broken down into sub-categories, with a long list of specialized topics. You should start reviewing early to make sure that you have enough time to go over each topic.

Prioritize reviewing areas that you feel are your weakest. Given the breadth of content on the exams, consider focusing your studies on the areas that you need to review most. You can find this out by considering which areas you have the least experience with. Another great way to assess this is by taking an ASWB practice exam and reviewing the concepts related to the questions you miss.'s full practice tests offer instant diagnostic information to help you identify strong and weak areas.

Set a consistent time each day to work through ASWB study materials. Study time can slip away quickly, and it's easy to put off reviewing a chapter or taking a lesson in an ASWB exam prep course. Setting aside 30 to 60 minutes each day will help you review and retain the material for the exam.

Take an ASWB exam prep course. A test prep course can provide effective structure and organization so that you can focus on reviewing. Consider taking some of's courses to prepare for your ASWB exam. Each course has been developed by subject-matter experts to help you prepare for the exam and contains a variety of ways to interact with the material including videos, self-assessment quizzes and a comprehensive practice exam.

Get some test-taking experience by taking ASWB practice tests. Getting experience taking practice tests that are similar to the real exam can be invaluable. Reviewing information can help you understand the concepts, but taking practice tests helps you apply the concepts in an authentic way you'll encounter on exam day.

ASWB scoring

What is an ASWB exam passing score?

The passing score for an ASWB exam depends on which exam you take. Usually, the pass range is between 90-107 questions, which corresponds to about 70%. The passing score for a given test is the same regardless of your area or licensing authority. Due to differences in legal requirements and reporting policies, scores may be reported differently across areas.

What is the ASWB pass rate?

The pass rate for ASWB exams is generally between 65%-75% depending on the exam taken.

ASWB exam registration

Candidates taking the ASWB to become licensed social workers need to follow several steps to register for the exam.

How do I register for the ASWB exam?

Before registering for the exam, make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements for your area's licensing authority. Once you meet these requirements, you may register for the exam online, by mail, or by fax. You can find the registration form for these options on the ASWB website.

During the registration process, you'll need to make a payment for the exam, as well as provide personal, academic, and professional information about yourself. You'll receive an email from the ASWB within two business days with information for making your exam appointment with the testing provider, Pearson VUE.

What are the ASWB exam costs?

The ASWB has different fees depending on the type of exam a candidate takes. These fees are separate from other licensing and application fees that candidates may need to pay to their state's licensure authority.

Exam Cost
ASWB Associate Exam $230
ASWB Bachelors Exam $230
ASWB Master Exam $230
ASWB Advanced Generalist $260
ASWB Clinical Exam $260

How do I prepare for ASWB test day?

Set yourself up for success by taking the right steps to get ready for exam day.

  • Get a good night's sleep the day before the exam and eat a good breakfast the morning of your test.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the test center. It is a good idea to look up the location of your test site prior to testing day and get familiar with the best route.
  • Plan to arrive a little early. If you're late, your exam may be forfeit.
  • Bring two current IDs, such as a driver's license, passport, or social security card. Both the first and last names on the identification must match your registration. At least one ID needs to have your photo.
  • Bring layers of clothing so that you're able to easily adjust your outfit to the temperature of the testing site.
  • Leave prohibited items at home, in your car, or in the testing locker. Prohibited items include cell phones, printed materials, chewing gum, food, and some articles of clothing.

Are there ASWB test accommodations?

The ASWB does provide accommodations for people with disabilities or health conditions and for those who speak English as a second language. You'll need to request and receive approval for test accommodations prior to registration. For accommodations related to disabilities or health conditions, you'll need to fill out a form that includes an evaluation from a licensed practitioner. English as a second language accommodations may not be permitted for every area, so you'll need to check with your licensing authority. During your registration for the exam, you'll need to select whether you've been approved to receive accommodations or not. The email ASWB sends after registration will include your approved accommodations.

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How many times can I take the ASWB exam?

Candidates are allowed to retake the ASWB exams after a 90 day waiting period. The number of retakes permitted is determined by the state in which a candidate is seeking licensure. Candidates can follow the standard registration process to enroll in a retake of their exam.

Is the ASWB exam the same in every state?

Yes, the ASWB exam covers the same content regardless of the state. Additionally, the scoring procedure and passing scores are the same across states. However, different states may report the results of the exam differently due to legal and reporting policies.

What happens after you pass the ASWB exam?

When you pass the exam, ASWB will send your scores to the licensing authority you selected during registration. That licensing authority may follow up with you about your licensure within 30 days. Some states, however, require candidates to make requests about license status and take additional steps after the exam. Review your licensing authority's guidelines for what to do after the exam.

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