Nebraska issues multiple licenses and certifications. Certified Social Worker (CSW) and Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW) confer the privilege of using restricted professional titles. There are limits on the types of activities, though, that can be carried out by individuals who hold only these designations. The CSW and CMSW are not mental health licenses.
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A social worker who seeks to practice clinically will have both a license and a certification. The license authorizes mental health practice at a particular level. The accompanying certification identifies the mental health professional’s discipline as social work and authorizes the use of additional protected titles.
Achieving Arizona Clinical Social Work Credentials
Clinical social workers may hold licensing as Licensed Mental Health Practitioners (LMHPs) or Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioners (LIMHPs). LIMHPs have a greater scope of practice. They can treat and diagnose major mental disorders without consultation or supervision.
A professional who achieves LMHP and also holds master’s level social work certification and may use the title Licensed Clinical Social Worker. A certified social worker who achieves the LIMHP, meanwhile, may use the title Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (http://dhhs.ne.gov/licensure/pages/mental-health-and-social-work-practice.aspx).
Requirements for the two licenses are in many ways similar. They can be achieved in a similar timeframe. However, there are some differences, beginning with the practicum experience.
Professionals with either classification need graduate degrees. Generally speaking, degrees are to be from programs that hold accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education, or CSWE (Master’s in Social Work programs in Nebraska). Nebraska has provisions in place for individuals who complete programs found to be equivalent. (Clinical Social Work Master’s programs)
The Licensed Mental Health Practitioner license carries a lesser practicum requirement. The practicum is to include at least 300 client contact hours (with at least 150 in a work setting face-to-face). It must be completed as part of a master’s or doctoral program. Individuals who completed the experience by September 1995 are not required to document 300 hours of practicum.
The prospective clinical social worker will accrue a minimum 3,000 hours of practice under supervision. At least 1,500 are to consist of direct client contact supervision. The supervised work experience will last at least two years,
The supervisor will discuss individual cases with the provisional licensee and provide clinical oversight, among other services. An individual who is seeking mental health licensure and social worker certification should have a clinical social worker as supervisor.
The individual will apply for a provisional license before beginning supervision. Generally, supervision requirements are to be met within five years, but an individual may re-apply once. The licensing unit credits only hours that were earned in the prior five years. The minimum timeframe is again two years.
The prospective LIMHP is expected to have completed at least 700 hours of practicum. Again, this is to be completed as part of a qualifying degree program.
The prospective LIMHP will need to have at least 1,500 hours of experience with patients with major mental disorders. Hours may be accrued under either LMHP or PLMHP licensure. The licensing unit can, however, only consider hours accrued in the prior five year period.
Clinical social workers take the ASWB licensing examination at the clinical level; this is the case with both LMHPs and LIMHPs.
Achieving Arizona Non-Clinical Social Work Credentials
The following licenses are non-qualifying for mental health practice: Certified Social Worker and Master Social Worker (when held as a stand-alone credential).
The Certified Social Worker credential is available to professionals who hold a degree in social work at the bachelor’s level. The degree-granting program is to hold accreditation through the CSWE. The licensing unit notes that there is currently no examination requirement.
The Licensed Master Social Worker certification requires a master’s degree. An individual seeking this credential will also work under supervision until he or she has accrued 3,000 qualifying hours. A graduate who has not yet earned the required hours may become a Provisionally Certified Master Social Worker. Currently it is a PCMSW requirement to arrange supervision with a qualified supervisor prior to application. Beginning July 9, 2018, this requirement will change,/p>.
Full licensure at the CMSW level is dependent on examination. An individual who will not be practicing clinically can, if he or she chooses, qualify on the basis of the ASWB Advanced Generalist exam (http://dhhs.ne.gov/licensure/pages/mental-health-and-social-work-practice.aspx).
Out-of-State Clinical Social Workers
Nebraska extends reciprocity to licensees from states with standards at least substantially equivalent. In order to qualify by reciprocity, the professional will need to have been licensed at least a year and had at least a year of recent practice. (A residency or training program may qualify.)
The Application Process
Application materials are available for download from the website of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (https://www.nebraska.gov/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/Health_and_Human_Services_System/Title-172/Chapter-002.pdf).
The applicant will submit or request a transcript. Verification of practicum or internship (if required) will be provided by the program director or other qualified person.
The licensing agency requires verification of all health-related licenses.An applicant who has had a felony or misdemeanor conviction will need to provide documentation.
Fees are prorated based on the stage in the renewal cycle.
The Examination Process
Examination permission can be granted after submission of an examination application (http://dhhs.ne.gov/licensure/pages/mental-health-and-social-work-practice.aspx). The letter of authorization will include instructions about registering with the ASWB.
Once prerequisite steps have been then, the candidate will be allowed to schedule an appointment at his or her convenience. The Pearson VUE website includes a tool to search for authorized testing centers.
Information about social work licensure is available from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (http://dhhs.ne.gov/licensure/pages/mental-health-and-social-work-practice.aspx).