In New York, social work degree holders at the bachelors and master’s level provide social work services appropriate to their training. It takes a master’s, though, to achieve licensure. New York issues two licenses: Licensed Master Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. The LCSW is the higher license. It requires a period of postgraduate experience and a more difficult examination. It also carries more specific coursework requirements. Individuals must be at least 21 years of age to be licensed at either level.
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Social Work Education Standards
The foundation is a master’s degree in social work (Master’s of Social Work programs in New York). The program is to be registered by the Department or accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency. The Council on Social Work Education is the accrediting agency noted, though state code allows for licensure based on a successor organization or an equivalent organization. International education that is qualifying in its own jurisdiction can be reviewed.
In order to be registered, a social work program will meet curricular standards. These standards are also used in determining equivalency. Content areas are as follows:
- Social work foundation/ advanced practice
- Social welfare policy/ delivery systems
- Human behavior and its social environment
- At risk populations/ social justice/ diversity
- Professional values and ethics
- Research and evaluation
There is to be a 900-hour practicum.
A program will be 60 semester hours but may grant advanced placement to students who did their undergraduate study in social work — up to half.In most cases, social workers must have a brief training in identifying and reporting child abuse. The Education Department has provided information about acceptable providers (http://www.op.nysed.gov/training/camemo.htm).
In order to be licensed at the clinical level, the social worker must have 12 semester hours of clinical coursework in areas mandated in state code. Clinical content areas are as follows:
- Clinical social work diagnosis and assessment
- Clinical social work treatment
- Practice with general populations and special populations
The licensing agency states that these courses are to have a ‘person in environment’ focus.
It is permissible to take clinical coursework post-master to meet this requirement. However, coursework must be pursued through an acceptable educational program.
Some Clinical Social Work master’s programs are registered in New York as being qualifying for licensure at the clinical level. Prospective students can search online (http://www.nysed.gov/heds/IRPSL1.html).
Supervised Practice Requirements
An LCSW candidate will need a minimum of three years of supervised experience (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/lcsw.htm). The supervisee will carry out assessment-based treatment, psychotherapy, and diagnosis in an authorized setting. The individual must (with only limited exceptions) be licensed at the LMSW level while meeting requirements. The supervisee is to accrue at least 2,000 client contact hours. Requirements are to be met within a six-year period.
Supervisors will be LCSWs, psychiatrists, or psychologists. The supervisor is to provide at least 100 hours of individual supervision over the course of the experience period.
The Examination Process
New York utilizes ASWB examinations. It is expected that they will take the masters examination at the LMSW level, the clinical examination at the LCSW level.
The State Education Department will communicate eligibility to the ASWB. Candidates will then be able to register and pay testing fees (currently $230 at the masters level, $260 at the clinical level). Resources are available on the ASWB site. Candidates will receive an ATT; ultimately, they will schedule their own testing appointments.
Social workers can practice social work under a limited license pending examination. Limited licenses are issued for a specific setting. The social worker will need some supervision.
Social workers who passed the requisite examination in another jurisdiction may request ASWB score transfer.
Some supporting documents will be completed by third parties. The certification of education is different at the LMSW and LCSW levels.
Graduates of CSWE-accredited or New York-registered social work programs will have their school fill out a certification of education at the LMSW level. Graduates of international schools will need to provide transcripts and syllabi.
The supervisor will provide some information to the licensing agency at the onset of supervision. Part of the document will be completed by the licensee; the supervisor, however, will be the one to submit it.
Applicants seeking LCSW licensure will need to provide transcripts and syllabi if their program was not registered in New York as license-qualifying. Graduates of New York’s registered clinical social work programs are accepted as having met educational requirements on the basis of a certification of education form.
New York requires verification from applicants who have been licensed or certificated in any profession.
The combined application/ first registration fee is $294.
New York distinguishes between licensing and registration. Licenses do not expire under normal circumstances, but registration does need to be renewed.
Gaining “R” Privilege
New York LCSWs may seek “R” privilege for reimbursement purposes. Insurance plans in New York are, in many cases, required to reimburse LCSWs who hold this status; exclusions are described in state code (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/lcswprivilege.htm).
A social worker who works under supervision for an 36 additional months after LCSW licensure can gain “R” Privilege. LCSWs seeking this privilege can 1) opt for two hours of individual or group consultation a month or 2) enroll in an authorized program. Programs may be chartered by the New York Board of Regents or offered by higher learning institutions. The social worker will need to submit a plan for supervision.
LCSWs who will be seeking “R” privilege are asked to provide a copy of requirements to those who will be supervising them.
An out-of-state social worker who has been practicing clinical work under licensure for at least ten years may be eligible for endorsement. The licensing agency considers experience from the prior 15 year period.
The Social Work Unit is under the banner of the Office of the Professions. This in turn is part of the New York State Education Department. The Social Work Unit has provided contact information for individuals seeking answers to various types of questions, including those who graduated from international or non-approved programs (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/swcontact.htm).
The Office of the Professions has provided information about licensees. As of 2017, there were more social workers licensed at the LMSW level than the LCSW level (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/sw/swcounts.htm).