New Hampshire licenses clinical social workers. They are known as Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers, or LICSWs. Clinical social work is a form of mental health practice. New Hampshire’s LICSWs are licensed by the same board that licenses mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and pastoral psychotherapists. The state’s LICSWs are licensed on the basis of education, examination, and supervised practice; also required is demonstration of good character.
In-state candidates first come under state regulation at the supervised practice stage.
The foundation is a two-year graduate degree in social work (See: Master’s in Social Work Programs in New Hampshire). The school is to be approved by the Council on Social Work Education. State rule specifies that coursework is to be primarily clinical. This will be demonstrated by coursework in at least five of nine content areas identified in state rule:
• Personality theory/ human behavior and social environment/ ego psychology / object relations
• Methods (direct practice, casework or clinical intervention)
• Psychopathology theories
• Family systems/ marriage and family dynamics/ child therapy
• Research methods (including evaluation)
• Cross-cultural development/ race relations
• Group dynamics and behaviors
• Substance abuse and chemical dependency
• Clinical internship
The CSWE directory shows a variety of concentrations (https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Directory-of-Accredited-Programs.aspx). New Hampshire’s definition of clinical is not identical; an acceptable program will not necessarily have this title.
Additional Pre-Licensure Requirements
Social work graduates will need to work under supervision for a minimum of two years and until such time as they have accrued 3,000 hours. The licensing agency can credit 1,500 hours accrued over a 12- to 24-month period as a year.
Clinical supervision is something distinct from the supervision that routinely takes place in an agency setting. The clinical supervisor will need to be a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. The experience will take place under conditions set forth in a ‘Candidate for Licensure: Supervision Agreement’. The candidate will need face-to-face supervision for an hour a week (at least 100 hours total). Supervision is to be individual.
Supervision will be provided on-site. The clinical supervisor will not always be an employee of the agency. In cases where supervision is contracted, the clinical supervisor will need to address several issues at the onset including how disagreements that may arise with the agency supervisor will be addressed; this material will be part of the supervision agreement.
The candidate will need to pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) clinical exam at some point before licensure. The examination is computer-delivered. The ASWB has provided a content outline and other resources (aswb.org).
The Application and Examination Process
Applicants will find the required forms on the site of the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice (https://www.oplc.nh.gov/mental-health/forms.htm).
The initial paperwork is to be filed before the candidate begins supervision. The prospective social worker will include his or her transcript. A small fee (currently $25) is due at this time. Supervision agreements are considered at monthly meetings. The Board meets most months. Information about upcoming meetings can be found on the Board website (https://www.oplc.nh.gov/mental-health/board-meetings.htm).
A graduate can seek approval to test after he or she has been approved as a candidate for licensure. There is a separate form; this, too, is available on the Board website. Once approved, the candidate will register with the Association of Social Work Boards and pay fees. Examinations are available by appointment at Pearson Vue testing sites. The candidate does not have to test in New Hampshire.
The license application is due at a later stage – after the candidate has met all requirements including examination.
Three references are required at the LICSW level.Ultimately, the licensing agency will require both undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
A candidate who took the ASWB exam in another state will need to provide verification. Individuals who took the exam in New Hampshire in the past may also need verification. These individuals can contact the licensing agency to see if the information is on file.
The supervisor will provide confirmation of supervision.
Application packets include forms to be used for supervision verification, references, and license verification.
The licensing agency will need criminal offender records reports from states where the applicant has lived in the recent past. This is a standard requirement regardless of whether there is criminal history. The application form includes questions about professional background as well as legal issues; ‘yes’ answers will require explication.
The application includes a space for a recent passport-quality photograph.
The application fee at the LICSW level is $150. A separate licensing fee is assessed later.
Licenses are issued for two years at a time.
Out-of-state licensees need to meet the same basic requirements: degree, examination, supervised practice. They will need to provide verification from states where they have been licensed (and, if applicable, from states where they applied but were denied licensure).
New Hampshire’s Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers are under the jurisdiction of the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice. The Board can be reached at (603) 271-2702. Rules are posted on a state government website (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/mhp.html).
Social work is a broad discipline. Not all practice is clinical. There are are jobs for individuals who graduate from Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs in New Hampshire.