If you are considering getting your LCSW license to become a clinical social worker, there are a few additional steps that you’ll need to take beyond getting your Master’s of Social Work (MSW) or PhD degree in Social Work. First of all, it is important to note that each state has its own list of requirements, so it is in your best interest to look into what you will need to do to obtain your license in your state. All states with the exception of California will require that you pass the ASWB licensing exam and obtain a certain number of field hours with documented clinical supervision. California uses its own form of exam. In most states, you will need to complete a certain number of year (e.g., 2 years) of supervised hours. Some states allow you to sit for the exam while you are getting your hours. Others require you to have the hours under your belt beforehand. Again,you should check with your state social work board. Here is a list of state boards: https://www.socialworkguide.com/faq/licensing-boards/
In order to become licensed, you must have a degree in Social Work; other related disciplines will not qualify regardless of how closely related the curriculum is and how many cross-over social work classes that you took. There are options for becoming licensed on levels other than the clinical or advanced generalist level: the Bachelor’s level requires a BSW and the Master’s level requires an MSW degree. These degrees must be from a United States accredited school.
It is important to know which exam you will be taking and gather the appropriate materials that you will need to study for the exam. Because there are different levels of the ASWB exam, it is imperative that you register and prepare for the Clinical Level ASWB exam if your goal is to practice clinical social work, i.e., to do therapy. The questions on this exam are different from those on the other levels of the exam and are geared more toward actual scenarios that you may face in clinical practice. Aside from having a more clinical focus, the questions require higher levels of thinking and analysis. The questions on this exam also require you to use judgement.
There are great study tools and resources available to help you prepare for the ASWB licensing exam at www.SocialWorkGuide.com. Here you will find three different products to meet your needs including a comprehensive study guide (The Complete Guide to Social Work), a workshop style-book that focuses on test taking strategies designed specifically for the ASWB exam (The Strategic Guide to the ASWB Exam), and an interactive online practice exam. They can be purchased as a 3 product combination package and are also sold individually. These tools will give you all of the information that you need to feel comfortable and confident in your ability to be successful on the ASWB licensing exam.
If you have any additional questions about the different levels of exam or what you need to do to become licensed, check out www.SocialWorkGuide.com or contact your state social work board.