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Delaware licenses clinical social workers. Licensure is necessary to practice clinical social work as defined in state code. The scope of practice includes diagnosis and treatment of biosocial dysfunction. Licensed Clinical Social Workers may treat individuals or groups who have various conditions, including chemical dependency or developmental disability.
Delaware does not have as many categories of social work licensure as some states do. Although not all social workers come under a high level of scrutiny at the state level, there are organizations that set professional standards.
Some individuals begin their careers at the bachelor’s level and later pursue the additional training necessary for licensure.
A prospective LCSW will practice clinical social work under supervision as he or she works toward meeting the post-master requirements for licensure. (Prospective independent clinical social workers around the nation complete periods of supervised practice. In some states, they hold some form of licensing during this time; Delaware is among the state’s that does not issue a transitional license.)
Education and Examination Requirements
A first step in the path to licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is to earn a master’s degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, or CSWE (CSWE Accredited Master’s in Social Work Programs in Delaware). The CSWE directory lists programs across the nation (https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Directory-of-Accredited-Programs.aspx). Master’s programs have varying areas of emphasis.
The prospective LCSW will need to pass the clinical social worker licensing examination; this is administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.
A Delaware candidate must seek permission to take the examination. Currently, this permission is valid for two years and authorizes multiple attempts, if necessary. Examinations are available on an ongoing basis at Pearson VUE testing centers around the country. A candidate who fails an examination attempt, however, must wait 90 days.
The ASWB will send results to the Delaware licensing agency.
A candidate can expect to pay $260 for examination: for the first attempt and, if necessary, for additional attempts. Preparatory resources are available on the ASWB website (https://www.aswb.org/).
Supervised Clinical Experience
The prospective licensee will need to accrue 3,200 hours of clinical experience. At least 1,600 hours are to be under the professional supervision described in Delaware code. In fulfilling this requirement, the prospective licensee is to demonstrate specific skills referenced in state code, among them, establishing treatment plans, competently assessing clinical risk, adapting interventions to maximize responsiveness, and operating within the confines of one’s own limitations (http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title24/3900.shtml). The supervisor will write evaluation reports. Ultimately, the supervisor will evaluate the prospective LCSW for licensing purposes, noting whether or not he or she satisfactorily demonstrated the various necessary skills.
The supervisee is to have an hour a week of supervisor contact with at least 100 total hours of face-to-face supervision over the course of the supervision period; this is to be individual.
Generally speaking, the supervisor is to be an LCSW. If this is not possible, the individual is to document his or her attempts to secure LCSW supervision. There are many avenues. The Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is among the organizations that one may contact. The Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) website has a search function that one can use to locate clinical social workers (https://dpronline.delaware.gov/mylicense%20weblookup/Search.aspx).
In some cases, it may be acceptable for the 1,600 hours to be carried out under the supervision of a psychologist, psychiatrist, or master’s level social worker who does not hold the LCSW credential.
The Application Process
Applications are submitted before all requirements are met. The standard is to keep them on file two years. Applications can be found on the website of the Division of Professional Regulation (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/socialworkers/forms).
The transcript is to be sent directly from the issuing institution.
The applicant will answer disclosure questions and attach explanatory information if required. The application includes a space for notary seal.
There is a nonrefundable $163 application processing fee (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/socialworkers/fees/).
Delaware requires fingerprint-based criminal background checks. The application form lists three Delaware locations. The primary location, located in Dover, currently accepts walk-ins. Other locations require appointments. Out-of-state applicants may wish to utilize their local police station.
Applicants can expect to pay $65 for processing of fingerprints. The process may take about four weeks. Applicants should make sure they have the current version of the application (for general purposes as well as for details about the fingerprinting process).
Out-of-State Social Workers
Verification is to be sent directly from any state where the applicant has held a social work license.
Reciprocity can be extended to social workers who have passed the ASWB exam and hold current clinical licensure. The licensing agency notes that professionals who were ‘grandfathered in’ by some other state without passing the exam will need to pass it before becoming licensed in Delaware (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/socialworkers/faqs/).
A candidate who has passed the required ASWB exam will apply by examination, not reciprocity, if he or she is not currently licensed. However, the individual may arrange to have confirmation of having passed the examination sent to the licensing agency. The licensing agency notes that there is a score request form on the ASWB website.
International degrees are to be evaluated by a Board-approved agency.
Licensees must, in most cases, complete a continuing education requirement. State code outlines exceptions. Delaware does not pre-approve continuing education courses, but continuing education activity must adhere to standards set down in code.
Delaware’s Licensed Clinical Social Workers are under the jurisdiction of the Board of Clinical Social Work Examiners (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/socialworkers/).
The National Association of Social Workers-Delaware is an additional resource (http://naswde.org/index.php).