Recasting Licensing in Social Work: Something More for Professionalism

Erlene Grise-Owens, Larry W. Owens, Justin Jay Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Abraham Flexner contended that “something more than a degree or claim” is needed to make a profession. He further asserted that the definitions of a profession require recasting over time. This article critically considers recasting licensing as something more for social work. Analysis of past and present discourse on licensing in social work revealed three overarching themes: (a) advocacy and rationale for licensing, (b) scrutiny and critique of licensing, and (c) the disconnect and dissonance between professional licensing and social work education. Moving forward, we suggest recasting social work’s professional paradigm in the common framework of competency, with licensing part of the continuum of professionalization. This recasting can promote critical congruence between social work education and ongoing professional competency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S126-S133
JournalJournal of Social Work Education
StatePublished - Jul 13 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Council on Social Work Education.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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