YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Social work professionals in the area are happy with a decision to revise an Ohio House Bill that will keep the criteria for licensing the same.

HB 509 contained a proposed revision that eliminated some criteria for licensing in the field of social work. If approved, the bill would have allowed people with “related” degrees other than social work to become licensed. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) opposed the changes.

The changes were to elevate roadblocks to licensing to help with the worker shortage, such as has been done in other fields.

A revised bill called an omnibus bill says that to be eligible to become licensed as an independent social worker, a person must hold a bachelor’s degree in social work, complete at least two years of post-master’s degree social work supervised by an independent social worker and pass an exam administered by the board. 

The Ohio Senate Workforce Committee will vote to adopt the omnibus bill this week and move it through the legislative process.

“We are working with people often in the most vulnerable times in their life and so those people really need to be able to trust in those moments that the person they are meeting with is qualified to do so,” said Danielle Smith, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Chapter. “And there are a lot of related degrees that sound similar to social work but are not actually rooted in the same theory of practice that we are.”