Florida State University's online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree offers a dynamic curriculum designed to prepare students for the next step in their career following graduation. Whether pursuing a role as a counselor in a local non-profit organization or planning to dedicate one’s career to child welfare case work, students in the Florida State University MSW program can cultivate the skills they need to succeed while also learning about the licensing and credentialing requirements for the different states where their careers might take them. This article focuses specifically on the North Carolina state requirements to achieve the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) credential, a necessary designation for anyone who hopes to work in a clinical setting in the state.
Graduation from CSWE Accredited Program
The first requirement from the state of North Carolina to achieve LCSW licensure is to successfully complete an MSW program with a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The CSWE sets the standards for social work curricula across the country, so attending a program accredited by the organization ensures that students will enjoy an academic experience at the forefront of new advances in the field.
3,000 Hours of Professional Practice
Following degree completion, LCSW candidates must dedicate at least two years to acquiring 3,000 hours working within a professional social work practice or clinical setting. Within these logged hours, candidates will also need to document a minimum of 100 hours under the supervision of an LCSW-credentialed mentor. Up to a quarter of those hours can be in group scenarios, while the other three-quarters must involve one-on-one supervision with the licensed clinical mentor. No need to worry if it is not feasible to complete so many hours in so little time: while North Carolina mandates a minimum of two years, they allow up to a total of six years to complete this requirement.
Documented Continuing Education for Certification
During this period of supervised professional practice, candidates should also be completing continuing education credits. The state of North Carolina requires documentation for 40 hours of continuing education, which can include opportunities such as attending conferences, participating in workshops, or enrolling in online courses. This proof of completed continuing education credits needs to be included with your application to the North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board in order to receive your certification.
Passing Score on ASWB Clinical Exam
With your certification acquired, you can then register for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical level exam. These exams comprise 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, but can only do so after waiting three months (or 90 days). Those who need to take the exam again will also need to repay the $260 exam fee.
Once a candidate clears these hurdles, the last step is to complete North Carolina’s LCSW licensure application. While this might seem like a lengthy process, keep in mind that it is designed to ensure that those who wish to work in clinical social work settings have the skills, training, and experience to excel and make a difference in the lives of others.
Optimum preparation for this licensure path can begin with Florida State University’s online MSW program, which is not only CSWE-accredited but also leads the pack in terms of the exceptional education and experience the school affords its students. This is evident in the program’s Advanced Standing designation, which allows incoming students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in social work to complete their MSW degree in less time than the traditional degree path by sidestepping repetitive coursework.
The program’s commitment to innovation can also be seen in the capstone fieldwork experience, which is built in to the program’s curriculum to introduce the importance of real-world exposure and to help students feel more connected to the professional social work community. Throughout, students are exposed to the central concepts from the field so that they emerge with confidence in their skills, which can transfer well to supervised clinical practice hours or success on the ASWBE exam. Whether you aim to achieve your LCSW credential or see your MSW degree taking you in a different direction, Florida State University’s online MSW program can help you get to the next level in your career.