Like most states, Colorado makes a distinction between clinical and non-clinical social work. Colorado’s practice act states that graduates of social work programs at either the baccalaureate or master’s level may call themselves social workers.
What they can’t do is practice clinical social work – or use that job title. In order to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state, a prospective social worker must fulfill a supervised practice requirement and take a licensing exam and a jurisprudence exam. While working toward this status, he is registered as a Licensed Social Worker (LSW).
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LSW requirements in Colorado include completing an accredited master’s program.
You may also want to read the article "Master’s Degree in Social Work: Developing Skills and Competencies" if you have any questions about Master's of Social Work programs.
Post-graduation, a social worker will begin the licensing process as an LSW (Click Here to go to the Colorado State Board of Social Work Examiners website). There are a few steps that need to be carried out in advance. Applicants need to obtain official transcripts. They should also go online to take the Colorado Mental Health Profession’s Jurisprudence Examination. They may make more than one attempt, but must wait ten days in between. When a candidate passes, he should print out the results to include in his application packet.
The application packet must be accompanied by a processing fee. It should be sent to the Division of Professions and Occupations, Office of Licensing-Social Worker (Click Here for the Social Work Licensure application.). The fee is currently $60 at the LSW level, $70 at the LCSW level.
The next step, after application, is to fill out a Healthcare Professions Profile. Applicants will need to wait at least a few days for their information to be entered into a database, but the process should not take more than two weeks.
After the application has been approved, the social worker can register for a licensing exam with the ASWB. At this stage, he can opt for either the master, clinical, or advanced generalist test. (Before being licensed as a clinical social worker, however, he will need either the clinical or advanced generalist exam under his belt.)
Although the LCSW license is the usual credential, some candidates work under a provisional license. In order to be eligible, they must work at residential childcare facilities. They can only get credit for hours they work if they are meeting the requirements set by the board for LSWs.
Social workers who are practicing under supervision should be aware that they need to be registered in Colorado’s Registered Psychotherapist Database before they begin accruing hours unless they already hold a license that allows for the practice of psychotherapy.
In order to attain full licensure, social workers must accrue 3,360 hours of supervised work experience over a period of no less than 24 months. At least 1,680 of the hours must be spent in a role that includes testing, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, or counseling. Up to 1,200 hours may be credited for the teaching of social work or psychotherapy.
Supervision is to be provided by a clinical social worker. 96 hours of clinical supervision is required; it should be spread out over the course of the supervision period. At least 48 of the supervision hours should be individual.
At the end of the supervision period, the supervisor will submit verification to the Colorado Board. If the social worker took the master examination for LSW status, he must take one of the higher level exams before he can get his LCSW license.
The social worker must again submit an application and processing fee.
Colorado requires professional development during each renewal period.
Social workers may sign up to receive email updates from the DORA Division of Professions and Occupations.
If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to become a Social Worker in Colorado.