Louisiana licenses social workers at three levels. The Registered Social Worker (RSW) designation requires a bachelor’s degree in social work. Both Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) require master’s degrees and licensing examinations. In order to be eligible for the higher license, LCSW, a social worker must fulfill a practice requirement.
Scope of practice can be found on the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners site. Baccalaureate social workers are not authorized to carry out clinical duties. Licensed master social worker’s may not do clinical work except under supervision. LMSWs must be in an employer-employee relationship or providing social work services to a government agency on a contractual basis.
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In order to get the RSW credential, a person must earn a bachelor’s degree from a program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). He may begin the application process as soon as his degree is conferred. Click here to download the application.
The prospective candidate should have an official transcript sent to the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners. A criminal background check is also required. The application itself requires a notary seal and the attachment of a passport photo; a $50 fee should accompany the application materials.
In order to get the higher credential, a person will need a master’s or doctoral degree.
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.
A candidate should have official transcripts sent to the Board after his degree posts. He must apply to the Louisiana Board for permission to take the master’s level exam through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The application fee at this level is $75, and all materials should arrive seven days before the Board meets.
Upon receipt of his approval letter, the candidate may contact the ASWB to schedule an exam. A candidate who fails a first attempt must apply to the board for permission to retake the exam. He must wait 90 days between examination attempts. SCW status may be held for a maximum of three years, provided the individual attempts the exam once during the first six months and annually thereafter. The LMSW credential will be issued after the Board receives notification of passing. A CSW credential, meanwhile, may be issued to an individual who is in the examination process.
In order to receive an LCSW, a social worker must accrue 5,760 hours of work experience. 3,840 must be under the guidance of a board-approved clinical supervisor, or LCSW-BACS. Supervision services may be contracted by either the supervisee or the agency where he works; the supervisor must, at the least, have agency consent. A database of approved supervisors can be found on the Louisiana State Board site.
In order to get credit, the master social worker must register his supervision. A $35 fee is assessed. The Board will also ask for a detailed supervision plan; the agency director will also sign the document. The supervision plan must be submitted within 60 days of the time supervision begins. If the Board asks for revisions, they should be submitted within 30 days.
The master social worker must receive 96 hours of supervision, at least half of them individual. Increments of a half hour to two hours are creditable. There should be two hours of supervision per 80 hours of practice.
A record of supervision must be maintained on an ongoing basis. After the LMSW has fulfilled his requirements, the supervisor will evaluate his skills and make a recommendation. A director at the agency will verify his employment hours.
The application fee for clinical social worker is currently $100. You may download the application by clicking here. At this stage, the social worker will take the clinical exam through the ASWB. After the candidate passes, his LCSW license can be issued.
Licenses are renewed annually. Social workers must do 20 hours of continuing education (prorated during the first year of licensure).
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 Louisiana.