Social Work Licensure in New Hampshire

Social work licensure in New Hampshire is a relatively simple and straightforward process compared to many other states. Many states offer multiple social work licenses for each level of education, but New Hampshire offers just one license: the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). If you would like to become an LCSW in New Hampshire, you must have at least a master’s degree in social work from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

New Hampshire does not participate in any reciprocity agreements with other states, which means you will have to reapply for clinical licensure if you move into the state. If your master’s degree in social work is from a CSWE-accredited college or university, it will be accepted as a qualification for New Hampshire social work licensure. Similarly, your prior test scores will qualify you for licensure if you passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) clinical-level exam in your home state. Applicants licensed in other states who wish to earn an LCSW license in New Hampshire must submit a completed licensure verification form that is signed and sealed by the state that first issued their license.

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Types of Social Work Degrees in New Hampshire

If you’re interested in pursuing your social work degree in New Hampshire, you must first decide which level will help you meet your career goals. A master’s or doctoral degree will make you eligible for clinical licensure, but you can qualify for many non-clinical social work jobs in New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree. These are generally entry-level jobs in social services that don’t involve providing direct therapy to clients. Graduates with master’s degrees often pursue clinical licensure and work in counseling positions. A doctoral degree is a good foundation for those who wish to work in academia.

Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

A bachelor’s degree in social work provides foundational skills and is the quickest pathway into non-clinical work in the field. This degree takes about four years to complete and covers human behavior, research methods in social work, social welfare policy, cultural diversity, and case management. Many graduates with this degree find employment as rehabilitation case workers, behavioral management aides, and human service specialists. Some students with a bachelor’s in social work choose to continue their education and earn a master’s or doctoral degree, which may yield more opportunities for higher-paying careers in the field.

Master’s in Social Work

A master’s degree in social work will prepare graduates to earn clinical licensure. Professionals with this degree are also prepared for non-clinical roles. A master’s degree in social work takes around two years to complete, unless undergraduate coursework enables you to enter your master’s program with advanced standing, which will accelerate the completion time.

Doctorate Degree in Social Work

A doctoral degree in social work is the highest educational level you can attain in the field. These programs are intended for students who aspire to work in academia. Professionals who hold this degree are prepared for clinical and research roles, as well as to teach at the college level. These programs generally take three to five years to complete, depending on dissertation requirements. Course content covers evidence-based clinical practices, psychopathology, psychopharmacology, and neuroscience for clinicians.

How to Become a Licensed Social Worker in New Hampshire

There is only one type of social work license that can be earned in New Hampshire: the clinical social worker license. You may be eligible to work in the social work field without a license, but the LCSW license is required for those who wish to provide psychotherapy services. An LCSW is qualified for careers in all the subfields of social work, including child, family, and school social work; healthcare social work; and mental health and substance abuse social work. Read on to learn more about the requirements for this license.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

  1. Education: The first step to becoming a licensed clinical social worker in New Hampshire is earning your master’s in social work. State regulations require that this degree be earned at a college or university accredited by the CSWE. This degree takes about two years to complete.
  2. Exam: LCSW license applicants must earn a passing score on the ASWB clinical-level exam. Passing this exam demonstrates that you have a thorough understanding of the clinical, ethical, and legal standards that social workers must uphold in their practice.
  3. Experience: In order to apply for your LCSW license, you must be able to demonstrate that you have completed a minimum of two years, or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Applicants must first earn their master’s degree before they can begin to complete this requirement.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed Social Worker in New Hampshire?

To become a licensed clinical social worker in New Hampshire, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in any field and usually takes four years to complete. A master’s degree in social work is the next step. Students can earn this degree in about two years, though if your bachelor’s degree was also in social work, you may qualify for advanced standing, which would enable you to complete your master’s degree in less than two years. After you earn your master’s, you must accrue a minimum of two years, or 3,000 hours of post-MSW clinical experience.

Out of State Licensing Reciprocity in New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire does not currently offer reciprocity for social work licenses earned in any other state. Licensed clinical social workers from other states who wish to work in New Hampshire must apply for the LCSW license like any other New Hampshire resident. However, their degree and exam scores will transfer over and satisfy New Hampshire’s licensing requirements, provided their degrees were earned at a CSWE-accredited school and the exam scores are from an ASWB clinical level exam. Applicants must also submit a completed licensure verification form that is signed and sealed by the original state of licensure. Out-of-state and in-state applicants pay the same fee. There is also a $135 approved license application fee once your license is granted.

License Renewal

LCSWs in New Hampshire must renew their professional licenses every two years. This process involves a $270 fee and the completion of the requisite continuing education credits. Over the course of each two-year renewal period, LCSWs must accrue 40 hours of continuing education credits. These may cover a wide range of topics relevant to the practice of social work, and can be chosen at the discretion of social worker. However, six of the continuing-education credits must be in ethics. A maximum of 20 hours of continuing education may be earned through distance learning programs per two-year renewal period. The remaining 20 hours must be earned in-person at approved seminars and conferences.

Accredited Social Work Programs in New Hampshire

New Hampshire offers many social work programs, and it’s important to check a school’s accreditation status before making a choice. Earning your degree from a program that has been accredited by the CSWE will ensure that your master’s or doctoral degree will qualify you for licensure as a clinical social worker in New Hampshire. An accredited bachelor’s degree is usually necessary to gain acceptance into reputable master’s and doctoral social work programs. In addition, employers in this field often look for prospective employees who have graduated from CSWE-accredited programs.

What Can You Do With a Social Work Degree?

Once you graduate with a social work degree, you will be qualified for a career in a wide range of environments. You may decide that a job in child and family services, substance abuse counseling, or healthcare fits your interests. Professionals working in these fields tend to have excellent problem-solving and communication skills, in addition to higher than average levels of emotional stability and compassion. Prospective students or job candidates with a powerful urge to help those in need may find themselves attracted to the field of social work. If you feel that providing direct counseling services to clients is what you want to do, consider earning a master’s degree in social work after you finish your bachelor’s degree, as this will enable you to seek professional licensure in New Hampshire.

  • Social Worker: A social worker works directly with clients to diagnose and treat cognitive, behavioral, and emotional issues. Social workers are needed in every client demographic, including children and family care and substance abuse counseling. Earning a bachelor’s degree will mean you are qualified for entry into non-clinical positions.
  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor: Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are professionals who have the expertise to provide therapy services to individuals, couples, and families who are troubled by undesirable thoughts and behaviors. Each state sets out its own educational requirements for these counselors, although graduates with master’s degrees are able to perform a wider range of services.
  • Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist: Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with individuals at different levels of the justice system. These professionals provide social support to probationers and parolees and connect them with the necessary resources to aid in their rehabilitation. Many in this field have a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s degree may improve the chances of career advancement.
  • Social and Community Service Manager: A social and community service manager is responsible for understanding a community’s social needs and creating and implementing programs to meet these needs. Most of these professionals acquired their jobs by earning a bachelor’s degree, but certain positions or employers may require a more advanced degree.
  • Medical Social Worker: A medical social worker is often among the initial contacts for a patient entering the hospital or medical clinical setting. These social workers usually meet with patients to conduct psychosocial assessments, as well as build relevant medical histories in order to establish the proper referrals to advanced care professionals. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for this job, though some employers may prefer a master’s degree.

Salary Expectations for Social Workers in New Hampshire

A degree in social work will prepare graduates for many jobs in New Hampshire. These careers differ with regard to the requirements necessary for employment, including level of degree attainment, as well as experience in the field. The following table outlines the median salaries for several jobs in social work. These particular jobs range in salary, from $42,840 for a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselor to $72,070 for a social worker. All positions pay more than the national median salary for all occupations, which is $37,690.

Median Salary for Social Workers in New Hampshire

Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist$61,510
Social Workers$72,070
Medical Social Worker$61,790
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor$42,840
Social and Community Service Manager$46,610
Source: BLS

Professional Organizations for Social Workers in New Hampshire

Students and graduates from social work schools in New Hampshire may find joining a professional organization helpful in jump starting their careers. Members of these associations often enjoy access to academic journals, current research in social work, national conferences, and job boards, as well as opportunities for professional networking and continuing education. Below, you will find several professional organizations open to New Hampshire social work students.

  • National Association of Social Workers New Hampshire Chapter: The NASW operates a local branch in New Hampshire that carries out the mission of the nationwide organization. NASW promotes high standards among social work professionals, advocates for social policy, and provides options for the professional development of those involved in the field of social work. Members may participate in an annual conference, continuing education opportunities, and a virtual career center.
  • New Hampshire School Social Workers Association: The New Hampshire SSWA works to improve the educational experience for juvenile New Hampshire residents and their families through the professional development of school social workers. SSWA members have access to clinical collaboration and professional networking in addition to employment opportunities.
  • New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice: The New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice operates within the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification to ensure that mental health professionals practice within specified regulations and standards. This is a useful resource for students and graduates who need to know what the licensure process involves in this state.