Beyond the exceptional academic preparation that Florida State University's online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree offers, students who complete the program also need to be aware of the requirements to pursue professional positions after graduation. Those seeking the Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) credential will need to confirm the requirements to apply for such a designation because they can vary between states. This article examines the LCSW designation requirements in the state of Louisiana to boost awareness of what the licensure process can entail and to showcase how Florida State University’s online MSW degree can help you every step of the way.
Requirement #1: Degree from CSWE-Accredited School
The state of Louisiana mandates that everyone who applies for the LCSW credential holds a degree from a program and university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Florida State University's online MSW program holds a dual designation, which means graduates from the program clear this first requirement toward licensure simply by graduating.
As an added benefit, Florida State University’s online MSW program can be completed in one of two tracks. The first is a traditional degree path, designed for incoming students without an undergraduate degree in social work. The second is an Advanced Standing program, created for those who have already attained the social work bachelor's degree. Students entering this Advanced Standing MSW program can enjoy an accelerated academic experience that results in graduation in roughly two years, as opposed to the three years needed for the traditional track.
Requirement #2: Extensive Work Hours
In addition to the completion of an accredited MSW program, LCSW candidates will also need to provide documentation of at least 5,760 hours of professional social work experience. If this is mapped against a traditional 40-hour work week, it equates to just under three years of full-time work. Of those hours, the state of Louisiana requires that at least 3,840 hours are performed under the observation of a supervisor and 96 hours are executed in a face-to-face capacity with that same supervisor. This supervisor needs to hold the LCSW credential and be a Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners (LSBSWE) Board Approved Clinical Supervisor (BACS), a dual designation often indicated as LCSW-BACS.
This requirement is to ensure that candidates seeking the LCSW credential are afforded ample opportunity to gain real-world experience and to gain insights and instruction from their LCSW-BACS supervisor. This preparation is the natural extension of the fieldwork experience that is part of Florida State University's online MSW degree curriculum. These field placements help MSW students hone in on their preferred area of practice and can also help to begin making connections within the professional social work community, which in turn might help with professional placements for these required hours.
Requirement #3: Pass the ASWB Exam
LCSW candidates will need a passing score on the Association of Social Workers Board (ASWB) exam. These exams are comprised of 170 multiple choice questions that cover a comprehensive range of concepts and skills necessary for success in the field of social work. The cost to register for the 2018 exam with the Clinical designation is $260, and a passing score typically falls between 95 and 105 correct answers. Those who fail the exam can retake it, however, they will need to wait to register again for 90 days and will need to repay the $260 exam fee.
Florida State University's online MSW degree prepares students for this broad exam by reinforcing the most important social work concepts and practices throughout the program’s coursework. Given the grounding that this curriculum provides, graduates from Florida State University’s online MSW program can emerge confident in their understanding of the field and can carry that self-assurance with them into the test.
Requirement #4: Complete LCSW Application
With degree transcripts, documented work hours, and passing ASWB exam score in hand, LCSW candidates can clear the final hurdle by completing the state of Louisiana LCSW application. Applications require these materials along with documentation of a passed background check, a $103 application fee, and a recent passport-size photo. The state of Louisiana Board of Social Work Examiners accepts online application for new and renewing LCSW candidates, which can help streamline the process, but this means you will need a digital photograph and a means for online payment. Processing time can take anywhere from one to two weeks, with updates on your application’s status posted within the online system.
The process for attaining the LCSW credential in the state of Louisiana requires a lot of hard work, but graduates from Florida State University’s online MSW degree can benefit from the outstanding academic preparation received through the program. Designed with the multi-tasking student in mind, Florida State University’s online MSW degree can equip students with the essential skills and quick-thinking abilities necessary while also keeping efficiency and the long-term success of the graduates in mind. Keep up with these requirements and the MSW degree coursework, and Florida State University can help streamline your success in the professional world.