Mississippi licenses social workers at the bachelor’s (LSW) and master’s level. Licensure depends on passing an exam and a criminal background check (http://www.swmft.ms.gov).
The highest level of licensing, Licensed Certified Social Worker, or LCSW, requires supervised work experience. Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) is a step along the way.
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A prospective LSW must enroll in an accredited undergraduate program. You may turn in an application to the Mississippi Board of Examiners your senior year.
Board approval will allow the applicant to register for the baccalaureate level examination. It is a nationwide exam, given by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The $230 exam fee is paid to the ASWB; the candidate will find a handbook on the ASWB site. The candidate may schedule an exam at their convenience, but must attempt the exam within six months – if they don’t, thry will have to begin the application process again.
The first step is education – a candidate should enroll in a graduate social work program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or the Southern Association of College and Schools. When the candidatereaches the final 15 hours of the program, the candidate may apply to the board. The candidate will need board approval to take the master’s level ASWB exam. The master social worker will work under supervision for 24 – 36 months. If the candidate wishes to become a clinical social worker (and hold themself out as such) the candidate must have clinical experience.
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.
Board-mandated supervision is different than administrative supervision. The purpose is to guide the social worker’s professional development. The supervisor must be an LCSW who has been board approved. There is a list of approved LCSWs available on the board site. If the LMSW wishes to use a supervisor who does not have prior board approval, that person must go through an approval process. If the master social worker will be doing clinical work, his supervisor must have clinical experience. If there is no appropriate person at the supervisee’s workplace, the candidate may contract with a supervisor.
A detailed supervisory plan must be attached to the contract application and submitted to the board. Up to four hours of credit may be given for preparing it. The supervisor will evaluate the LMSW every six months; a copy of the rubric is available on the board site.
At the end of the supervisory period, the master social worker will submit an application for the LCSW license. The candidatemust have a termination form and verification form as well as three professional references.
Upon approval by the Mississippi board, the candidate will be eligible to sit for either of two ASWB examinations: clinical or advanced generalist. If the candidate wishes to use the title “clinical social worker”, the candidate must pass the clinical exam. The candidate should take the exam within 6 months of having his supervision termination approved.
Out of state candidates who have met comparable standards in another jurisdiction may be issued a license by reciprocity. One condition is that the applicant have no pending complaints or disciplinary actions.
A new candidate will need to have a fingerprint background check done no more than 180 days prior to application. The fingerprint card request form can be found on in the student application form. The fee is currently $50. A passport quality photo should be attached to the application; a notary seal must appear at the end. Click here to find the application. Applications carry a $25 nonrefundable processing fee The licensing fee should also be included with the application. The license renewal cycle is two years.
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 Mississippi.