Social WorkerSPRINGFIELD – Students seeking a master’s degree in social work would be allowed to take their licensing exam sooner under a bill sponsored by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) that passed the Illinois House this week.

“There is a devastating shortage of social workers in Illinois,” said Gillespie. “Streamlining the licensing process will allow students to search for jobs in communities that need their expertise.”

Under current law, individuals seeking to be licensed as a social worker must first graduate with a master’s degree in social work. Senate Bill 1888 would allow them to take the exam prior to graduation in order to streamline the process.

Senate Bill 1888 is an initiative of the National Association of Social Workers and passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

“This is such a critical bill to address the workforce shortages we are having throughout the state, but particularly in rural areas,” said Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs for the organization’s Illinois chapter. “If we can get social workers licensed quicker, we can get these practitioners into our agencies quicker to provide the needed mental health care in such demand.”

Senate Bill 1888 awaits the governor’s signature to become law.