Social Work Licensure Requirements in New York
New York’s licensed social workers have master’s degrees. Licensing level and practices privileges are largely determined by post-master experience. Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) have some limitations on their practice. They may practice nonclinical social work without supervision, but can only practice clinical social work under supervision by a clinical social worker, psychiatrist, or psychologist.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) have completed post-master supervised practice in diagnosis, psychotherapy, and treatment planning and can independently practice either clinical or nonclinical social work. An experienced clinical social worker may earn “R” privilege – this means that in many instances, their psychotherapy services must, by law, be reimbursed by insurance companies.
The University of Southern California School of Social Work offers one of the only CSWE accredited online Master's of Social Work degrees in the country. Click Here to contact the University of Southern California School of Social Work and request additional information.
The Simmons College School of Social Work, based in Boston, MA, offers another option to earn a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Online Master of Social Work. Click Here to contact the Simmons College School of Social Work and request additional information. (*This program is NOT available to students in North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Arkansas)
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.
Becoming an LMSW in New York
A social work student should enroll in a program that is CSWE-accredited and/or has been deemed license qualifying by the New York Board. One will also need to make sure that they have training in child abuse identification and reporting. If your program was not registered in New York, you will need to submit a certificate of completion separately when you apply for licensing.
Graduates must take the master’s level licensing exam through the ASWB. In order to receive permission to register, a candidate must have an application for licensure on file with the New York Board. The combined application/ initial registration fee is $294 – it is partially refundable under some circumstances. Click here to download the application.
An LMSW who has not yet fulfilled the examination requirement may practice under a limited permit for up to a year. A limited permit is only good for a particular workplace and does not transfer. There is an additional $70 fee.
New York LCSW Requirements
An individual who intends to practice clinical social work should make sure their graduate social work program includes 12 semester hours of clinical courses that will prepare them for the LCSW role. If the required clinical courses were not included in their CSWE-accredited master’s program, they will need to make them up later.
One will need to practice for at least three years under conditions acceptable to the Board. The practice site must be an acceptable setting as defined by New York law. One's supervisor may be a Board approved clinical social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist; if a potential supervisor has not previously been granted approval, he must submit his qualifications. If there is not a qualified supervisor at the LMSW’s workplace, the employer may contract with a third-party supervisor. However, the LMSW themselves may not employ a supervisor.
The master social worker will need to accrue 2,000 qualifying client contact hours. Only those hours spent in diagnosis, assessment based treatment planning, and psychotherapy may be counted. Client contact and supervision hours should be recorded on a form provided by the Board. The necessary paperwork can be found on the LCSW section of the Board website. Find the appropriate forms here. The required examination at this level is the ASWB clinical examination. Applications should be accompanied by a $294 application/ licensing fee.
R Privilege Requirements
In order to qualify for R Privilege, a clinical social worker must practice, at minimum, an additional three years under supervision specified by the New York Board. At this point, it is an option to go into private practice. The social worker must still receive consultation from a more experienced professional, however. One option is to enroll in a program explicitly designed for this purpose (through a university or a psychotherapy institute). Another option is to have two hours a week of consultation. The supervisor must have R Privilege themselves.
Before beginning, the social worker must submit an application packet and a $100 fee. The privilege is dependent on the social worker accruing at least 2,400 additional client contact hours in psychotherapy. At least 400 client contact hours must be earned annually.
Registration should be renewed every three 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 New York.