The Idaho Board of Social Work Examiners issues three social work licenses. Licensed Baccalaureate Social Workers (LBSWs) have baccalaureate degrees. They are defined by the Board as generalist social workers; they may do supportive counseling but may not practice psychotherapy.
Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) are viewed as advanced practitioners. However, they may perform clinical services like psychotherapy only under appropriate supervision.
LBSWs and LMSWs may both receive authorization for independent practice within their scope of duty if they complete additional post-degree training.
All Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) have post-master training in a clinical setting. They may function as mental health practitioners.
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A prospective social worker begins by entering a program that has appropriate accreditation at the school and programmatic level. (The programmatic accrediting agency should be the CSWE for both bachelor's and master's programs.)
Bachelor's candidates must pass the ASWB baccalaureate exam either before or after graduation. Board approval is necessary, but may be granted when a student is in the final term (or last two quarters) of the social work program.
Master's candidates must pass the ASWB master's examination. Again, they may seek Board approval to test prior to graduation. The advantage to taking the exam sooner is that the licensing process may be completed sooner – Idaho does not issue temporary licenses to exam candidates.
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.
Bachelor's or master's level social workers who want authorization for independent practice must complete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience. They must work under the guidance of a licensed social worker who is authorized for independent practice. LBSWs may be supervised by an independent LBSW; LMSWs must be supervised by social workers with credentialing at at least the master's level.
In order to get clinical level licensing, a master social worker must have experience performing clinical services.
The clinical social work candidate has, quantitatively, the same requirement as others who are vying for independent status: 3,000 hours. However, the experience is quantitatively different. 1,750 hours must involve direct client contact in clinical social work. The remaining 1,250 hours should be in assessment, diagnosis, and other areas as appropriate.
The LCSW candidate also has more, and different, paperwork. The candidate must work under an approved supervision plan and then submit the plan to the Board before commencing -- this will ensure that the candidate is working under conditions that are acceptable to the Board.
At least 50% of the supervision hours must be with a clinical social worker who has met training and experience requirements and is registered with the Board. The remaining supervision may be provided by other mental health professionals with appropriate licensing. A master social worker who needs to locate a clinical counselor/ supervisor can find a list on the Board site.
The supervisor is responsible for providing six month supervision reports.
Candidates for clinical licensure must pass the ASWB clinical exam.
The same application is used at different levels, but different supplemental materials may be required, dependent on candidate status and the stage in the licensing process. They are found at the Board site (Click Here to be taken to the Idaho Board of Social Work Examiners applications for licensure, supervision and related material).
The application must include one professional reference on a notarized form as well as contact information for additional references. Official transcripts must be requested from the degree granting institution. (This step will be carried out later if the candidate is applying before graduation.)
Applications carry a $70 fee ($90 if applying for license by endorsement). Forms require notarization.
Social workers need 20 continuing education hours annually. The first year is an exception.
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 idaho.