(a) To be eligible for a provisional license to practice as a social worker, the applicant must:
(1) Submit an application to the board;
(2) Be at least 18 years of age;
(3) Have a baccalaureate degree in a related field, as provided by legislative rule;
(4) Have obtained regular supervised employment, or the reasonable promise of regular supervised employment, contingent upon receiving a provisional license, in a critical social work workforce shortage position, area, or setting requiring a social work license: Provided, That such employment shall not be as an independent practitioner, contracted employee, sole proprietor, consultant, or other nonregular employment;
(5) Have satisfied the board that he or she merits the public trust by providing the board with three letters of recommendation from persons not related to the applicant;
(6) Not be an alcohol or drug abuser, as these terms are defined in §27-1A-11 of this code: Provided, That an applicant in an active recovery process, which may, in the discretion of the board, be evidenced by participation in an acknowledged substance abuse treatment and/or recovery program, may be considered;
(7) Not have been convicted of a felony in any jurisdiction within five years preceding the date of application for license, which conviction remains unreversed;
(8) Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in any jurisdiction if the offense for which he or she was convicted related to the practice of social work, which conviction remains unreversed; and
(9) Meet any other requirements established by the board.
(b) The board shall promulgate emergency rules, in accordance with §29A-3-15 of this code, to implement the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.
(c) A provisionally licensed social worker may become a licensed social worker by completing the following:
(1) Be continuously employed for four years as a social worker and supervised. The board shall promulgate by legislative rule the supervision requirements;
(2) Complete 12 credit hours of core social work study from a program accredited by the council on social work education, as defined by legislative rule, within the four-year provisional license period;
(3) Complete continuing education as required by legislative rule; and
(4) Pass an examination approved by the board.
(d) On or before July 1, 2020, the Legislative Auditor shall cause to be performed a performance audit of the provisional license to practice as a social worker application process and the application process by which a provisional licensee may become a licensed social worker.
(e) Any employee of the Department of Health and Human Resources with a provisional license as of the effective date of this section who opted to take the department-provided courses previously allowed has until June 30, 2022, to convert his or her license to a social work license or provisional license under this section. If the individual cannot or desires not to complete this process, he or she shall be eligible for registration as provided in §30-30-30 of this code.