Thursday, March 12, 2015

Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Several weeks ago, one of my bosses offered to supervise my hours for free if I ever decided to pursue my social work license.  While I've been out of grad school for nearly 5 years, I've pretty much brushed the thought aside until now because I didn't have a supervisor and didn't want to pay upwards of $120/session (totaling over $12,000 for 104 one-hour sessions) for sessions from another LCSW.  Especially when getting an LCSW actually does not guarantee a pay raise and I could be in a completely different field in the next few years!

However, the offer to supervise my hours and incorporate supervision into my work day definitely changed things. I always viewed the benefits of social work licensure as being able to gain knowledge, become a more competent practitioner, open a private practice, and work from home (if/when I burn out).  Of course, I'd also use the credential to self-advocate for a pay raise! Knowing that free supervision doesn't come around that often, I got my fingerprints taken, filled out an application, signed a check for the first time in years and mailed it all to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.  As of this week, I am officially an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW) and can start accruing hours!

Given my work hours, I expect it to be between 3-5 years before I have enough hours to take the clinical LCSW exam.  Here's what I have to do between now and then:

1) Gain 3,200 hours of supervised work experience
2) Complete 1 hour of supervision per week, totalling 104 supervised weeks
3) Pass an exam on California Law and Ethics (new as of January 2016!)
4) Complete coursework in the following:
    • Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting
    • Human Sexuality
    • Alcoholism and Other Chemical Substance Dependency
    • Spousal or Partner Abuse Assessment Detection, and Intervention
    • Aging, Long Term Care, and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse
    • California Law and Professional Ethics
I'm really not in a hurry, and view this process as another option while I figure out my life path.  Hooray for having options!

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