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Oregon temporarily waives fee for social worker exam

A person sits at a computer keyboard.
Christin Hume
Oregon is temporarily suspending the fee for taking the social work licensing exam.

Oregon needs more social workers, so the state agency that regulates them is temporarily suspending its fee to take the social work licensing exam.

It’s part of a legislatively-funded effort to boost the number of behavioral health workers in the state.

Oregon Health Authority spokesperson Tim Heider said the pandemic led to large numbers of social workers exiting the workforce, and he said that was combined with a spike in demand for their services.

“It really was kind of a perfect storm and this was an attempt to kind of rebuild and retool,” said Heider.

The test costs either $230 or $260 depending on the type of certification. The fee waiver is in place until Feb. 19, 2024.

"The fee was a barrier to some people," said Heider. "We want to make sure that we have a workforce that looks and sounds like the people they serve, and this is part of that process."

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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