The practice of clinical social work requires a license. In order to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or LCSW, in Connecticut, one must complete a master’s or doctorate degree, pass a national board examination, and complete a period of supervised work experience.
Licensed Master Social Worker, or LMSW, is a relatively new license within the state. It is issued to those who are fulfilling their work experience hours. Those with the LMSW license may engage in clinical social work under supervision. They may issue mental health diagnoses only in consultation with a qualified mental health professional.
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A prospective social worker should enroll in an accredited social work degree program. If the program is within the United States or one of its territories, the accrediting agency is the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). If it is located elsewhere, the degree should be judged equivalent by the CSWE.
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.
After graduation, the social worker should have official transcripts sent to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
The graduate must apply to the Department before taking the licensing exam. This will not necessarily result in a delay in beginning employment. The applicant may be granted a temporary license, good for 120 days, while the candidate completes her examination requirement. In the event the applicant fails, however, the permit becomes void.
The exam is administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Candidates will receive examination information upon Board approval. The ASWB will also be notified – then the applicant can schedule a test.
LMSWs must accrue 3,000 hours of supervised work experience before they can apply for the higher license. Thankfully, this is accomplished through paid employment. The experience can be completed within two years if the LMSW is working full time. During this time, the LMSW is also responsible for meeting continuing education requirements.
All clinical social work performed by an LMSW must be supervised by an appropriate professional. The candidate must receive 100 hours of individual supervision or consultation by an LCSW who is in good standing with the Board. If needed, the supervisee can contract with a supervisor for a fee. A list of potential supervisors can be found on the site of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. It is arranged by city.
In order for the supervision to count toward the 100 hour minimum, it must pertain to clinical social work.
The clinical supervisor is responsible for maintaining records of supervision sessions and submitting a summary to the Board. The verification form asks for dates of supervision, total number of supervision hours, and nature of work performed; it also asks if the supervisor has anything negative to report about the supervisee’s conduct. The LMSW’s employer must also fill out a verification form for the Board.
The license/ examination application is short and consist primarily of professional fitness questions. It must, however, be accompanied by the requisite fee. A recent photo should be attached to the application form. The fee is currently $315 (Click Here to download the application from the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health website).
Once approved, the social worker will again sit for an ASWB exam – this time at the clinical level.
Social workers whose licenses are in good standing in other jurisdictions and who have met ‘substantially similar’ requirements in other state may be issued reciprocal licenses. Candidates who have been licensed elsewhere must have verification sent from their licensing board.
Connecticut social workers renew their licenses annually. They are responsible for 15 continuing education credits each time with the exception of their first license period (and instances where they have been granted a waiver for special circumstances).
The Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is another good resource.
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 Connecticut.
Connecticut Department of Public Health - Clinical social Worker Licensure Page