State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) is working to address the critical shortage of licensed social workers in Illinois by closing the gap between when an individual receives their master’s degree and when they can sit for the licensing exam.
Today, those seeking to become a licensed social worker in Illinois must finish their master’s degree before applying to sit for the licensing exam. Through Wehrli’s SB 1888, signed into law as Public Act 101-0568, students can sit for the examination during the final semester of their master’s program.
“This is a simple change that moves more qualified professionals through the employment pipeline quicker, so their skillset can be put to good use as soon as they possess the proper skillset and qualifications,” said Wehrli. “Every member of the General Assembly supported the bill, and I was pleased to learn the Governor signed it into law.”
Through SB 1888, The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) will set rules that allow students to take the licensing exam during their final semester of college. The new rules take effect on January 1, 2020.
“Current caseloads for Illinois social workers are well beyond what is considered appropriate and manageable, so taking steps to streamline the licensing process so we can put more social workers to work quicker is a step in the right direction,” Wehrli said. “These professionals do a job that is critical importance to the safety and welfare of our state’s most vulnerable people, so we must do all we can to ensure proper staffing levels.”