OCCUPATIONS CODE


TITLE 3. HEALTH PROFESSIONS


SUBTITLE I. REGULATION OF PSYCHOLOGY AND COUNSELING


CHAPTER 505. SOCIAL WORKERS


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 505.001. SHORT TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the Social Work Practice Act.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 505.002. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Board" means the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

(2) "Council on Social Work Education" means the national organization that is primarily responsible for the accreditation of schools of social work in the United States or its successor approved by the executive council.

(3) "Executive council" means the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council.

(4) "Licensed baccalaureate social worker" means a person who holds a baccalaureate social worker license issued under this chapter.

(5) "Licensed clinical social worker" means a person who holds a clinical social worker license issued under this chapter.

(6) "Licensed master social worker" means a person who holds a master social worker license issued under this chapter.

(7) "Licensed social worker" means a person who holds a social worker license issued under this chapter.

(8) "Social worker" means a person who holds any license issued under this chapter.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 2, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 5.318(8), eff. April 2, 2015.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.082, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.0025. PRACTICE OF SOCIAL WORK. (a) The practice of social work is the application of social work theory, knowledge, methods, ethics, and the professional use of self to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or biopsychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, or communities.

(b) The practice of social work may include the provision of individual, conjoint, family, and group psychotherapy using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the International Classification of Diseases, and other diagnostic classification systems in assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and other activities by a person licensed under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 505.003. APPLICATIONS AND EXEMPTIONS.

(a) This chapter does not apply to:

(1) an activity conducted or a service performed by a person who is licensed, certified, or registered in a profession other than social work, including a physician, attorney, registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse, psychologist, occupational therapist, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed chemical dependency counselor, or licensed professional counselor, if:

(A) the activity or service is conducted or performed within the scope of the person's license, certificate, or registration;

(B) the person does not use a title listed in Section 505.351; and

(C) the person does not:

(i) represent the service as social work;

(ii) represent that the person is a social worker; or

(iii) use a title that implies that the person is licensed in social work;

(2) a service performed by a person as a volunteer or staff member if the person does not:

(A) represent the service as social work;

(B) represent the person as a social worker; or

(C) use a title that implies that the person is licensed in social work;

(3) an activity conducted by a social work student, intern, or trainee in connection with an institution of higher education accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; or

(4) an activity conducted or a service performed by a pastoral care counselor who is acting within the person's ministerial capabilities and who does not use a title that implies that the counselor is licensed in social work, including:

(A) a Christian Science practitioner who is recognized by the Church of Christ Scientist as registered and published in the Christian Science Journal; and

(B) any other recognized religious practitioner.

(b) This chapter does not require a public agency or private employer, including a nonprofit corporation, to employ a person licensed under this chapter.

(c) A person who teaches social work at an institution of higher education or a private or independent institution of higher education as those terms are defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, is not required to hold a license under this chapter to the extent the person confines the person's activities to teaching and does not otherwise engage in the practice of social work.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1141 (H.B. 1797), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.

Sec. 505.004. NONDISCRIMINATORY ACTIONS AND DECISIONS. An action taken or a decision made under this chapter, including an action or a decision relating to a license application, examination, regulation, or disciplinary proceeding, shall be taken or made without regard to sex, race, religion, national origin, color, or political affiliation.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

SUBCHAPTER B. TEXAS STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL WORKER EXAMINERS


Sec. 505.101. BOARD; MEMBERSHIP. (a) The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners consists of nine members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate as follows:

(1) two members who are licensed master social workers;

(2) two members who are licensed baccalaureate social workers;

(3) two members who are licensed clinical social workers; and

(4) three members who represent the public.

(b) Appointments to the board shall be made without regard to the race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin of the appointee.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 505.102. PUBLIC MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY. (a) A public member of the board may not:

(1) be licensed under this chapter; or

(2) have an interest in the practice of social work other than as a consumer.

(b) A person is not eligible for appointment as a public member of the board if:

(1) the person is registered, certified, or licensed by an occupational regulatory agency in the field of health care;

(2) the person's spouse is registered, certified, or licensed by an occupational regulatory agency in the field of mental health; or

(3) the person or the person's spouse:

(A) is employed by or participates in the management of a business entity or other organization regulated by or receiving funds from the board or executive council;

(B) owns or controls, directly or indirectly, more than a 10 percent interest in a business entity or other organization regulated by or receiving funds from the board or executive council; or

(C) uses or receives a substantial amount of tangible goods, services, or funds from the board or executive council, other than compensation or reimbursement authorized by law for board membership, attendance, or expenses.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.083, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.103. MEMBERSHIP RESTRICTIONS. (a) In this section, "Texas trade association" means a cooperative and voluntarily joined statewide association of business or professional competitors in this state designed to assist its members and its industry or profession in dealing with mutual business or professional problems and in promoting their common interest.

(b) A person may not be a member of the board if:

(1) the person is an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the field of health care; or

(2) the person's spouse is an officer, manager, or paid consultant of a Texas trade association in the field of mental health.

(c) A person may not be a member of the board if the person is required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305, Government Code, because of the person's activities for compensation on behalf of a profession related to the operation of the board.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.084, eff. September 1, 2019.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.085, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.104. TERMS; VACANCY. (a) Members of the board serve staggered six-year terms. The terms of one-third of the members expire February 1 of each odd-numbered year.

(b) A person who is appointed to fill a vacancy on the board shall serve as a board member for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 505.105. GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL. (a) It is a ground for removal from the board that a member:

(1) does not have at the time of taking office the qualifications required by Sections 505.101 and 505.102(a);

(2) does not maintain during service on the board the qualifications required by Sections 505.101 and 505.102(a);

(3) is ineligible for membership under Section 505.103;

(4) cannot, because of illness or disability, discharge the member's duties for a substantial part of the member's term; or

(5) is absent from more than half of the regularly scheduled board meetings that the member is eligible to attend during a calendar year without an excuse approved by a majority vote of the board.

(b) The validity of an action of the board is not affected by the fact that it is taken when a ground for removal of a board member exists.

(c) If the executive director has knowledge that a potential ground for removal exists, the executive director shall notify the presiding officer of the board of the potential ground. The presiding officer shall then notify the governor and the attorney general that a potential ground for removal exists. If the potential ground for removal involves the presiding officer, the executive director shall notify the next highest ranking officer of the board, who shall then notify the governor and attorney general that a potential ground for removal exists.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 505.106. EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT. Each board member is entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in traveling to and from the business of the board at the rates provided in the General Appropriations Act for state employees. A member may not receive actual or necessary expenses except for travel to and from meetings.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 505.107. OFFICERS. (a) The governor shall designate one board member as presiding officer. The presiding officer serves in that capacity at the will of the governor.

(b) The board shall elect other officers at the first regular meeting of the board each year.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 505.108. MEETINGS. (a) The board shall hold a meeting at least once a year.

(b) The board may hold other regular meetings as provided by board rule and special meetings as determined by the board.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 505.109. TRAINING. (a) A person who is appointed to and qualifies for office as a member of the board may not vote, deliberate, or be counted as a member in attendance at a meeting of the board until the person completes a training program that complies with this section.

(b) The training program must provide the person with information regarding:

(1) the law governing board operations;

(2) the programs, functions, rules, and budget of the board;

(3) the scope of and limitations on the rulemaking authority of the board;

(4) the types of board rules, interpretations, and enforcement actions that may implicate federal antitrust law by limiting competition or impacting prices charged by persons engaged in a profession or business the board regulates, including any rule, interpretation, or enforcement action that:

(A) regulates the scope of practice of persons in a profession or business the board regulates;

(B) restricts advertising by persons in a profession or business the board regulates;

(C) affects the price of goods or services provided by persons in a profession or business the board regulates; or

(D) restricts participation in a profession or business the board regulates;

(5) the results of the most recent formal audit of the board;

(6) the requirements of:

(A) laws relating to open meetings, public information, administrative procedure, and disclosure of conflicts of interest; and

(B) other laws applicable to members of the board in performing their duties; and

(7) any applicable ethics policies adopted by the board or the Texas Ethics Commission.

(c) A person appointed to the board is entitled to reimbursement, as provided by the General Appropriations Act, for the travel expenses incurred in attending the training program regardless of whether the attendance at the program occurs before or after the person qualifies for office.

(d) The executive director of the executive council shall create a training manual that includes the information required by Subsection (b). The executive director shall distribute a copy of the training manual annually to each board member. Each member of the board shall sign and submit to the executive director a statement acknowledging that the member received and has reviewed the training manual.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.086, eff. September 1, 2019.

SUBCHAPTER D. POWERS AND DUTIES


Sec. 505.201. GENERAL RULEMAKING AND ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY OF EXECUTIVE COUNCIL. (a) The executive council may:

(1) adopt and enforce rules necessary to perform the executive council's duties under this chapter;

(2) establish standards of conduct and ethics for license holders; and

(3) ensure strict compliance with and enforcement of this chapter.

(b) The executive council by rule may define a term not defined under Section 505.002 if a definition is necessary to administer or enforce this chapter.

(c) For each type of license issued under this chapter, the executive council shall establish:

(1) the minimum eligibility requirements;

(2) educational requirements;

(3) professional experience criteria;

(4) supervision requirements; and

(5) independent practice criteria.

(d) The executive council shall establish procedures for recognition of independent practice.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 431, Sec. 1, eff. May 28, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 5.119, eff. April 2, 2015.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.087, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.2015. BOARD DUTIES. The board shall propose to the executive council:

(1) rules regarding:

(A) the qualifications necessary to obtain a license or order of recognition of specialty, including rules limiting an applicant's eligibility for a license or order based on the applicant's criminal history;

(B) the scope of practice of and standards of care and ethical practice for social work; and

(C) continuing education requirements for license holders or holders of orders of recognition of specialty; and

(2) a schedule of sanctions for violations of this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.088, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.205. ROSTER OF LICENSE HOLDERS.

Without reference to the addition of this subsection, this section was repealed by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.113(95), eff. September 1, 2019.


(d) The board may not include the home address of a person licensed under this chapter in a roster the board publishes on the board's Internet website unless the person requests that the person's home address appear in the roster on the website. A request under this subsection must be made in the manner prescribed by the board.

(e) The home address of a person licensed under this chapter that is included in the roster the board prepares under this section is public information and is not excepted from required disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.267(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 91 (H.B. 125), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2019.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.113(95), eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.206. ROSTER OF INDEPENDENT SOCIAL WORKERS. The executive council shall publish a roster of persons recognized under Section 505.307 as qualified for the independent practice of social work.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.089, eff. September 1, 2019.

SUBCHAPTER F. SPECIALTY AREAS OF SOCIAL WORK


Sec. 505.301. ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIALTY AREA. (a) The executive council may establish within the scope of social work practice and this chapter specialty areas of social work for license holders under this chapter who are licensed in good standing if establishment of the specialty areas:

(1) is necessary to promote the public interest; and

(2) assists the public in identifying qualified persons in a social work practice specialty.

(b) The executive council may not authorize a specialty area within the practice of social work unless the executive council sets the minimum qualifications for social work practice with appropriate supervision and examination, as determined by the executive council.

(c) The executive council may not establish a specialty area of social work or a specialty area identification that conflicts with a state licensing law.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.090, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.302. REGULATION OF SPECIALTY AREAS. (a) In establishing a specialty area of social work, the executive council shall:

(1) define the scope of the specialty;

(2) establish qualifications for specialty area practitioners that describe, in accordance with Subdivision (1), the scope of the specialty area;

(3) adopt rules of conduct to ensure strict compliance with and enforcement of this chapter; and

(4) adopt rules for the suspension or revocation of an order of recognition of specialty.

(b) A person who is not recognized as satisfying the qualifications for a specialty area may not practice in the specialty area.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.091, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.303. CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK SPECIALTY. (a) The executive council shall establish a specialty area for the practice of clinical social work that is available only to a licensed master social worker who satisfies the minimum number of years of active social work practice with appropriate supervision and clinical examination, as determined by the executive council.

(b) A person may not use the title "Licensed Clinical Social Worker" or the initials "LCSW" unless the person is recognized as qualified for the independent practice of clinical social work.

(c) For purposes of Subchapter C, Chapter 1451, Insurance Code:

(1) a person recognized as qualified for the independent practice of clinical social work may use the title "Licensed Clinical Social Worker" or another title approved by the executive council; and

(2) a title approved by the executive council under this subsection has the same meaning and effect as the title "Licensed Clinical Social Worker."

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 728 (H.B. 2018), Sec. 11.148, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.092, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.304. ORDER OF RECOGNITION OF SPECIALTY. (a) The executive council shall prescribe the name, design, and content of an order of recognition of specialty.

(b) An order of recognition of specialty must:

(1) state the full name of the person recognized in the order; and

(2) state the official specialty serial number.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.093, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.305. RECOGNITION OF SPECIALTY; ISSUANCE OF ORDER. (a) The executive council shall recognize a social worker as qualified for the practice of a specialty area of social work if the social worker satisfies the recognition requirements established by the executive council and the executive council determines that the person is worthy of the public trust in performing services within the scope of the specialty area.

(b) The executive council shall issue an order of recognition of specialty to a social worker who is recognized as qualified for the practice of a specialty area of social work. The order of recognition of specialty evidences the state's recognition of the social worker as a specialty social work practitioner under the identification or title designated by the executive council.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.094, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.306. PROHIBITED USE OF SPECIALTY AREA IDENTIFICATION OR TITLE. If the executive council establishes a specialty area of social work, a social worker may not use the specialty area identification or title designated by the executive council unless the person is recognized as qualified for the practice of the specialty area under this chapter.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.095, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.307. INDEPENDENT PRACTICE RECOGNITION; MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS. (a) The executive council shall establish procedures for recognizing a social worker qualified for the independent practice of social work.

(b) A social worker may not be recognized as qualified for the independent practice of social work unless the person satisfies the requirements of social work education, experience, and supervision as determined by the executive council.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.096, eff. September 1, 2019.

SUBCHAPTER G. LICENSE REQUIREMENTS


Sec. 505.351. LICENSE REQUIRED. (a) A person may not use or cause to be used the title "social worker," "licensed baccalaureate social worker," "licensed master social worker," "licensed clinical social worker," or "licensed social worker," or any combination, variation, or abbreviation of those titles, as a professional or business identification, representation, asset, or means of obtaining a benefit unless the person holds an appropriate license issued under this chapter.

(b) A person may not use a title that implies that the person holds a license in social work unless the person holds an appropriate license issued under this chapter.

(c) A person who engages in or attempts to engage in conduct described by this section is considered to be engaged in the practice of social work.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 505.352. LICENSE APPLICATION. A person may apply for a license under this chapter by submitting an application to the executive council. The application must:

(1) be on a form prescribed by the executive council; and

(2) contain statements made under oath regarding the applicant's education and experience and any other information required by the executive council that qualifies the applicant for a license.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.097, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.353. ELIGIBILITY. (a) To be eligible for a license under this chapter, an applicant must:

(1) be at least 18 years of age;

(2) be worthy of the public trust and confidence;

(3) satisfy the education and experience requirements

under this section; and

(4) pass the licensing examination conducted by the executive council under Section 505.354 and the jurisprudence examination conducted by the executive council under Section 505.3545.

(b) An applicant may take the licensing examination conducted by the executive council under Section 505.354 for:

(1) a master social worker license if the applicant possesses a doctoral or master's degree in social work from a graduate program that is accredited by or is in candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education;

(2) a baccalaureate social worker license if the applicant possesses a baccalaureate degree in social work from an educational program that is accredited by or is in candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education; or

(3) a clinical social worker license if the applicant possesses a doctoral or master's degree in social work from an accredited graduate program approved by the executive council and meets the qualifications for clinical social work practice as determined by the executive council under this chapter.

(c) The executive council may require an applicant to submit documentary evidence of the quality, scope, and nature of the applicant's experience and competence to:

(1) determine the credibility and acceptability of the applicant's professional or technical experience or competence; and

(2) ensure the public safety, health, and welfare.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.269(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 18, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1141 (H.B. 1797), Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 2011.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.098, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.354. EXAMINATION. (a) The board shall prepare an examination to assess an applicant's qualifications for a license under this chapter. The executive council shall administer the examination at least once each calendar year.

(b) Each license examination shall be conducted in a manner that is determined by the executive council and is fair and impartial to each applicant and school or system of social work.

(c) Applicants may be known to the examiners only by numbers until after the general averages of the applicants' numbers in the class are determined and licenses are issued or denied.

(d) To maintain the highest standards in the social work profession, the scope and content of each examination must be sufficient to ensure professional efficacy and competence.

(e) The executive council shall have the written portion of the examination, if any, validated by an independent testing entity.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.099, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.3545. JURISPRUDENCE EXAMINATION. (a) The board shall develop a jurisprudence examination to determine an applicant's knowledge of this chapter, rules adopted under this chapter, and any other applicable laws of this state affecting the applicant's social work practice. The executive council shall administer the examination at least twice each calendar year.

(b) The executive council shall adopt rules to implement this section, including rules related to the development and administration of the examination, examination fees, guidelines for reexamination, grading the examination, and providing notice of examination results.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 19, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.100, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.357. TEMPORARY LICENSE. (a) The executive council shall issue a temporary license to an applicant who:

(1) has not taken the licensing examination under Section 505.354 or the jurisprudence examination under Section 505.3545; and

(2) satisfies the requirements for obtaining a license under this chapter other than passing the licensing and jurisprudence examinations.

(b) A temporary license is valid until the results of the first appropriate licensing and jurisprudence examinations given after the date the license is issued are available.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 20, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.101, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.3575. ISSUANCE OF LICENSES TO CERTAIN OUT-OF-STATE APPLICANTS. (a) Notwithstanding any other licensing requirement of this subchapter:

(1) the executive council may not require an applicant who is licensed in good standing in another state to pass a licensing examination conducted by the executive council under Section 505.354 if an applicant with substantially equivalent experience who resides in this state would not be required to take the licensing examination; and

(2) the executive council may issue a license to an applicant who is currently licensed in another state to independently practice social work if:

(A) after an assessment, the executive council determines that the applicant:

(i) demonstrates sufficient experience and competence;

(ii) has passed the jurisprudence examination conducted by the executive council under Section 505.3545; and

(iii) at the time of the application, is in good standing with the regulatory agency of the state in which the applicant is licensed; and

(B) the applicant presents to the executive council credentials that the applicant obtained from a national accreditation organization and the executive council determines that the requirements to obtain the credentials are sufficient to minimize any risk to public safety.

(b) When assessing the experience and competence of an applicant for the purposes of this section, the executive council may take into consideration any supervision received by the applicant in another state or jurisdiction if the executive council determines that the supervision would be taken into consideration for the purpose of licensing or certification in the state or jurisdiction in which the applicant received the supervision.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 21, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.102, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.358. PROVISIONAL LICENSE. (a) A person may apply for a provisional license as a social worker by paying the appropriate fee and filing an application with the executive council. The executive council may issue a provisional license to a person who meets the requirements of this section.

(b) An applicant for a provisional license must:

(1) be licensed or certified in good standing as a social worker in another state or jurisdiction that has licensing or certification requirements determined by the executive council to be substantially equivalent to the requirements of this chapter;

(2) have passed a national or other examination recognized by the executive council relating to the practice of social work; and

(3) be sponsored by a person licensed under this chapter with whom the provisional license holder may practice social work.

(c) An applicant is not required to comply with Subsection (b)(3) if the executive council determines that compliance constitutes a hardship to the applicant.

(d) A provisional license is valid until the date the executive council approves or denies the provisional license holder's application for a license under Section 505.359.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.103, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.359. ISSUANCE OF LICENSE TO PROVISIONAL LICENSE HOLDER. (a) The executive council shall issue an appropriate license to a provisional license holder:

(1) who passes the licensing examination under Section 505.354 and the jurisprudence examination under Section 505.3545;

(2) for whom the executive council verifies that the person satisfies the academic and experience requirements under Section 505.353; and

(3) who satisfies any other license requirements under this chapter.

(b) The executive council shall complete the processing of a provisional license holder's application for a license not later than the 180th day after the date the provisional license is issued or the date licenses are issued after successful completion of the next licensing and jurisprudence examinations, whichever date is later.

(c) The executive council may waive a license requirement for an applicant who is licensed or certified in another state if this state has entered into a reciprocity agreement with that state.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 22, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.104, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.360. PROFESSIONAL IDENTIFICATION. (a) A license holder shall use an identification provided by this section:

(1) in the professional use of the license holder's name; and

(2) in connection with any sign, directory, contract, document, pamphlet, stationery, advertisement, signature, or other means of written professional identification.

(b) A licensed master social worker shall use the identification "licensed master social worker" or the initials "LMSW."

(c) A licensed baccalaureate social worker shall use the identification "licensed baccalaureate social worker" or the initials "LBSW."

(d) Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 37.

(e) A licensed clinical social worker shall use the identification "licensed clinical social worker" or the initials "LCSW."

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 16, 37, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

SUBCHAPTER H. RENEWAL OF LICENSE AND ORDER OF RECOGNITION OF SPECIALTY


Sec. 505.401. TERM OF LICENSE; STAGGERED EXPIRATION DATES. (a) A license issued under this chapter is valid for two years.

(a-1) The executive council by rule shall adopt a system under which licenses and orders of recognition of specialty expire on various dates during the year.

(b) In the year in which the expiration date of an order of recognition of specialty is changed, the total renewal fee is payable.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 5.122, eff. April 2, 2015.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.105, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.405. GROUNDS FOR REFUSING RENEWAL. The executive council may refuse to renew the license of a person who fails to pay an administrative penalty imposed under Subchapter H, Chapter 507, unless enforcement of the penalty is stayed or a court has ordered that the administrative penalty is not owed.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 25, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.106, eff. September 1, 2019.

SUBCHAPTER I. DISCIPLINARY ACTION


Sec. 505.451. GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION. The executive council shall take disciplinary action under Subchapter G, Chapter 507, against a person for:

(1) violating this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter;

(2) circumventing or attempting to circumvent the requirements of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter;

(3) directly or indirectly participating in a scheme to evade the requirements of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter;

(4) engaging in unethical conduct;

(5) engaging in conduct that discredits or tends to discredit the social work profession;

(6) performing an act, allowing an omission, or making an assertion or representation that is fraudulent, deceitful, or misleading or that tends to create a misleading impression;

(7) knowingly associating with or permitting the use of a license holder's professional services or identification in connection with an enterprise that the person knows or should have known in the exercise of reasonable diligence violates this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter;

(8) knowingly associating with or permitting the use of a license holder's name, professional services or identification, or endorsement in connection with an enterprise that the person knows or should have known in the exercise of reasonable diligence is a trade, business, or professional practice of a fraudulent, deceitful, or misleading nature;

(9) directly or indirectly revealing or causing to be revealed a confidential communication transmitted to the license holder by a client or other recipient of the license holder's services unless revealing the communication is required by law;

(10) having been denied an application for a license or certificate to practice social work in another jurisdiction for a reason that the executive council determines would be a violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter;

(11) holding a license or certificate in another jurisdiction that is suspended or revoked for a reason that the executive council determines would be a violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter;

(12) having been convicted of a felony in this state, another state, or the United States;

(13) refusing to perform an act or service within the scope of the license holder's license solely because of the recipient's age, sex, race, religion, national origin, color, or political affiliation; or

(14) committing an act for which liability exists under Chapter 81, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 26, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.108, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.454. SANCTIONS FOR HOLDER OF EXPIRED LICENSE OR ORDER OF RECOGNITION OF SPECIALTY. (a) A person who holds an expired license or order of recognition of specialty under this chapter is subject to a sanction under this chapter if the executive council determines that the person violated this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter during the period in which the license or order was valid.

(b) Repealed by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.113(107), eff. September 1, 2019.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.109, eff. September 1, 2019.

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.113(107), eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 505.458. REFUND. (a) Subject to Subsection (b), the executive council may order a license holder to pay a refund to a consumer as provided in an agreement resulting from an informal settlement conference instead of or in addition to imposing an administrative penalty under this chapter.

(b) The amount of a refund ordered as provided in an agreement resulting from an informal settlement conference may not exceed the amount the consumer paid to the license holder for a service regulated by this chapter. The executive council may not require payment of other damages or estimate harm in a refund order.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 707 (S.B. 415), Sec. 27, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.110, eff. September 1, 2019.

SUBCHAPTER J. PENALTIES AND ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS


Sec. 505.502. PROHIBITED CONDUCT BY BUSINESS OR PROFESSIONAL ENTITY. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a business or professional entity may not:

(1) represent itself or another to the public as being engaged in the practice of social work or as offering social work services under an assumed, trade, business, professional, partnership, or corporate name or title;

(2) directly or indirectly use or cause to be used the term "social work," "social work services," "social work, inc.," "social workers," "licensed social workers," "licensed baccalaureate social workers," "licensed master social workers," "licensed clinical social workers," "LMSW," "LSW," "LBSW," or "LCSW," or any combination, abbreviation, or variation of those terms; or

(3) directly or indirectly use or cause to be used a term listed in Subdivision (2) in combination with any other word, letter, initial, sign, legend, or symbol on, in, or directly or indirectly as a part of:

(A) any sign, directory, contract, pamphlet, stationery, advertisement, or other document;

(B) a signature; or

(C) a trade, assumed, corporate, or other business or professional name.

(b) A business or professional entity may engage in conduct described by Subsection (a) if:

(1) the entity is actively engaged in the practice of social work; and

(2) the social work services that constitute the entity's practice are:

(A) personally performed by a social worker who is practicing in accordance with this chapter; or

(B) performed under the supervision of a licensed baccalaureate social worker, licensed master social worker, or licensed clinical social worker.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 505.505. APPEAL BOND NOT REQUIRED. The executive council is not required to post an appeal bond in any action arising under this chapter.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.111, eff. September 1, 2019.

Text of section as added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 19


For text of section as added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 326, Sec. 12, see other Sec. 505.507.


Sec. 505.507. CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly acts as a social worker without holding a license required under this chapter.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class B misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 505.506. REPRESENTATION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL. The attorney general shall represent the executive council in an action brought to enforce this chapter.

Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 388, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 768 (H.B. 1501), Sec. 2.112, eff. September 1, 2019.

Text of section as added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 326, Sec. 12


For Text of section as added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 19, see other Sec. 505.507.


Sec. 505.507. CRIMINAL PENALTY. (a) A person required to hold a license under this chapter commits an offense if the person knowingly acts as a social worker without holding a license issued under this chapter.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 326, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

SUBCHAPTER L. REPORTS OF CERTAIN VIOLATIONS


Sec. 505.601. REPORT OF VIOLATION. In a written, signed report to the appropriate licensing board, agency, or facility, a person licensed under this chapter may report an incident that the person has reasonable cause to believe has exposed a client to substantial risk of harm, including:

(1) a failure to provide care that conforms to the minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing professional practice;

(2) illegal billing practices; or

(3) falsification of records.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.272(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 505.602. REPORTING IMMUNITY. A person who, without malice, makes a report authorized, or reasonably believed to be authorized, under this subchapter:

(1) is immune from civil liability; and

(2) may not be subjected by the person's employer to other retaliatory action as a result of making the report.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.272(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 505.603. CAUSE OF ACTION FOR RETALIATION. (a) A person named as a defendant in a civil action or subjected by the person's employer to other retaliatory action as a result of filing a report authorized, or reasonably believed to be authorized, under this subchapter may file a counterclaim in the pending action or prove a cause of action in a subsequent suit to recover defense costs, including reasonable attorney's fees and actual and punitive damages, if the suit or retaliatory action is determined to be frivolous, unreasonable, or taken in bad faith.

(b) A person may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or otherwise discipline or discriminate against, a person who makes a report, without malice, under this subchapter.

(c) A person who makes a report under this subchapter has a cause of action against a person who violates Subsection (b) and may recover:

(1) the greater of:

(A) actual damages, including damages for mental anguish even if no other injury is shown; or

(B) $1,000;

(2) exemplary damages;

(3) court costs; and

(4) reasonable attorney's fees.

(d) In addition to the amount recovered under Subsection (c), a person whose employment is suspended or terminated in violation of this section is entitled to:

(1) reinstatement in the employee's former position or severance pay in an amount equal to three months of the employee's most recent salary; and

(2) compensation for wages lost during the period of suspension or termination.

(e) A person who brings an action under this section has the burden of proof. It is a rebuttable presumption that the person's employment was suspended or terminated for making a report under this subchapter if:

(1) the person was suspended or terminated within 60 days after the date the report was made; and

(2) the person to whom the report that is the subject of the cause of action was made or the court determines that the report was:

(A) authorized under this subchapter; and

(B) made without malice.

(f) An action under this section may be brought in a district court of the county in which:

(1) the plaintiff resides;

(2) the plaintiff was employed by the defendant; or

(3) the defendant conducts business.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.272(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.