Maine has multiple levels of licensing. The lower levels require a bachelor’s degree. Licensed Social Worker (LSW) is the license granted to a baccalaureate social worker who has completed a post-baccalaureate supervised work experience requirement; LSX is the conditional license one works under while one is meeting requirements for LSW.
The higher levels require a graduate degree. Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) is a non clinical license, granted to master’s degree holders. LMSW-CC is a conditional clinical license, granted to master’s graduates who are doing clinical work under supervision. An LMSW-CC is on a path to the highest level of licensing: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). LCSW is an independent, clinical license.
Licensure at any level requires a criminal background check. This costs $21. Applications have a nonrefundable $25 processing charge. Licenses are $70.
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A prospective LSW should enroll in a bachelor’s level program in social work, social welfare, or a related field. Afterward, the candidate should seek employment in a social service field and find a professional who can provide consultation.
The application packet includes a consultation agreement. This must be signed by both the prospective social worker and the consultant who will be meeting with them. The conditionally licensed social worker must have 96 consultation hours during their first 3,200 hours of employment as a social worker. The experience and consultation hours should be earned in a period of two to four years.
A prospective LMSW should enroll in a CSWE-accredited graduate program in social work or social welfare. After graduation, one can apply to the Maine Board to take the master level examination through the ASWB.
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.
The application package must include three references. After one receives their LMSW, the candidate is free to independently practice non clinical social work. This can include providing consultation for individuals with LSW or LSW conditional licenses.
If the candidate wants to practice clinical social work – performing psychosocial evaluations and diagnosing and treating mental disorders – they must apply for a LMSW-CC license. The candidate will need a consultant who is an LCSW (or, if in another state, a social worker with similar credentialing).
If a prospective social worker is interested in independent clinical practice, the candidate should enroll in a master’s or doctoral program that has a clinical focus. (If the social work program does not emphasize clinical work, the candidate will still be eligible for licensure, but the process will be longer.)
Prospective LCSWs must work under supervision for two years and receive 96 hours of consultation. The requirement is doubled for those who completed programs that were not clinically focused: four years and 192 consultation hours. There should be four consultation hours per month, and only one of the four may be in a group setting. Master social workers may work part-time, but there are time limits. Those who had a clinical concentration should complete requirements within four years; those without may take up to six. The Board considers 3,200 hours to be two years.
The Board sometimes chooses to waive a year of the post-graduate requirement. This is based on work experience that was gained before the degree.
While earning hours, the social worker must be licensed as an LMSW-CC: a Licensed Master Social Worker who is conditionally authorized to practice clinical social work.
When requirements are complete, the social worker may apply to the Maine Board for permission to take the clinical examination through the ASWB. Click here to download the application. The consultant must verify hours and make a recommendation for licensure. The applicant should secure three references, including one from their consultant and one from an LCSW, CSW-IP, or LMSW. The third may be from another social worker or from a mental health professional in another discipline.
The license renewal cycle is two years – this is the same whatever the level of license. License holders have a continuing education requirement.
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 Maine.