Success in social work careers begins with staying abreast of the changing requirements and regulations in the professional field. Florida State University College of Social Work's online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree provides its students the ability to foster the skills necessary to stay on the cutting edge of social work practice, a part of which is being equipped to tackle the requirements to pursue professional designations like that of the Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) credential. This article examines the LCSW designation requirements step by step in the state of Tennessee to showcase how Florida State University’s online MSW degree can help you along the way.
Step One: Attain Degree from CSWE-Accredited School
Tennessee requires that all LCSW candidates first complete their MSW degree in a program and university that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduate students who enroll with Florida State University's online MSW program can rest assured that the program holds this dual designation, which means the first hurdle toward credentialing is cleared simply by graduating. Furthermore, students who enter Florida State University’s online MSW program and already hold a bachelor’s degree can take advantage of the Advanced Standing MSW program, which accelerates progress and allows students to complete their MSW degree in less time than the traditional degree path.
Step Two: Achieve LMSW Status and Gain Work Hours
Following successful graduation, prospective social work professionals in Tennessee need to acquire their Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) credential, which includes passing the Association of Social Workers Board (ASWB) master’s level exam. Once the LMSW credential is achieved, the state of Tennessee requires future LCSW hopefuls to provide documentation of at least 3,000 hours of work experience in a clinical setting. Of this experience, future LCSW candidates will need to document a minimum of 100 hours of work under the close supervision of a clinical mentor who has held the LCSW designation for a minimum of three years. Students can complete these hours in a minimum of two years but can have up to six years to fulfill the requirement. This Tennessee requirement is important because it reinforces that future LCSW candidates will have the real-world experience to smoothly enter professional practice. From this perspective, Florida State University’s online MSW degree is an ideal preparation, as the capstone fieldwork experience built into the program’s curriculum lays the foundation for such professional exposure and also helps build a network of professional connections for the students.
Step Three: Pass the ASWB Exam
Similar to the LMSW requirements, LCSW candidates will also need to achieve a passing score on the ASWB clinical level 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; those who fail the exam can retake it, however, they will need to wait to register again for 90 days and will also need to repay the $260 exam fee.
Florida State University's online MSW degree primes students for success on this broad exam by instilling the most important concepts from the social work field throughout the program’s coursework. Given this grounding, graduates from Florida State University’s online MSW program can enter the test assured that they understand the most foundational principles of the field.
Step Four: 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 Tennessee State LCSW application. Applications require these materials along with documentation of a passed background check and a $100 application fee to the Tennessee Social Work Board (this is separate from the additional $135 in fees payable for the license itself once an application is approved). Once applications are approved, new LCSW licenses are valid for two years and can be renewed by the designate with documented proof of at least 15 continuing education hours and a renewal application fee.
Following the steps for LCSW licensure in the state of Tennessee can take some expert navigating, but enrolling with Florida State University’s online MSW degree can help to keep graduates on course for their professional goals. Designed for the modern student who is adept at multitasking, Florida State University’s online MSW degree fosters the key skills and abilities needed for success in the field of social work while also leaving space in the day for students to hone their skills on the job or in other experiential settings. In short, Florida State University’s online MSW degree can give its students the necessary tools for success to make hurdles like LCSW designation easily accomplishable.