Missouri has five different classifications for social workers. All require, at the minimum, a bachelor’s degree (http://pr.mo.gov/socialworkers.asp).
LBSW is the designation for baccalaureate social workers. Their scope of duty is defined in statute 337.653. LBSWs can take on a variety of roles including community organization, crisis planning, and case management. They can counsel individuals in solving social problems but cannot offer psychotherapy. LBSWs who have an IP designation have had additional training and have been authorized to go into independent practice.
Licensed Master Social Workers have graduate education. The highest licenses, though, are Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker (LAMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW); these license holders have had additional post-master training. An LAMSW’s duties can include mediation, social planning, program administration, and some forms of counseling. However, the LAMSW can’t diagnose mental disorders and can provide psychotherapy only under supervision. Only a clinical social worker can provide independent clinical services.
Simmons College School of Social Work (SocialWork@Simmons) is offering a CSWE-accredited Online Master of Social Work program. There is no GRE required for acceptance to this program. Request information about the program.
Capella University is now offering an online Master of Social Work that is in CSWE candidacy status. The MSW program helps prepare students to enter the general or clinical practice role (in most states). Capella also offers an online Doctor of Social Work. Click Here to contact Capella University about their Master of Social Work program or Doctor of Social Work program.
Baccalaureate level social work candidates should enroll in CSWE-accredited bachelor’s programs. Afterward they must apply to the Missouri Committee for Social Work for permission to take the ASWB licensing exam at the bachelor’s level. Download the application here.
LBSWs can earn an independent designation by working under supervision for a total of 3,000 hours. The experience must be gained over a two to four year period. A supervision contract must be filled out beforehand; a registration of supervision form is required as well.
The supervisor may be an LBSW-IP, LAMSW, or LCSW who has met the Committee’s training and experience requirements. The supervisor will be responsible for evaluating the social worker’s professional fitness.
Master level social work candidates should enroll in CSWE-accredited master’s programs. They will later apply to the Missouri Committee for permission to take the master’s level ASWB examination. The application packet is the same as that used for LBSW.
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.
Once a social worker has received a license and submitted supervisory paperwork, they can begin training to become an LAMSW or LCSW. Both licenses require 3,000 hours of supervised practice over a period of two to four years. However, the requirements are completed in different practice areas.
A social worker who is working toward LCSW status must work under the supervision of a clinical social worker while the future LAMSW may work under an LAMSW. Supervisors must have training in supervision. There is a list of approved professionals on the site of the Missouri Committee for Social Workers.
Master social workers must have four hours of supervision for every four weeks that they work. Up to half the supervision hours may be in a group setting (three to six supervisees).
The supervisor will fill out an annual progress report. At the end of supervision, the supervisor will submit a supervision attestation. This includes a skill assessment as well as documentation of duties and hours. At this point, the candidate will apply to the Committee to take another licensing examination. Click here to retrieve the application. It will be either the clinical exam or the advanced generalist exam, depending on the area of practice. The social worker must remain under supervision until the higher license is issued.
Applicants at the bachelor’s or master’s level must have official transcripts sent to the board. A criminal background check is also required for licensure – this carries a $44.80 fee. Completed applications include contact information for three professional or academic references. Applications must be notarized.
Initial licensing fees depend on the stage in the renewal cycle; they can range from $30 - $60. It costs an additional $25 to register supervision.
A clinical social worker may be licensed to perform clinical social work based on either of the following. The candidate may show that they met substantially similar requirements or that they graduated from a CSWE-accredited program and has been licensed for at least five years. The renewal period 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 Missouri.