When you’ve completed your Florida State University's online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, you’ll be well on your way to an exciting career in the field of social work. Before you can begin a professional role in the field, though, you’ll need to meet the licensure requirements for the state in which you hope to practice in a clinical setting. This article covers the requirements for the credential of Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for the state of Illinois.Graduation from CSWE Accredited Program
The first step toward Illinois LCSW licensure is to graduate from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited MSW program. This accreditation is essential because the CSWE oversees the national standards for social work curricula. By graduating from a CSWE-accredited MSW online program, you can be sure that you’ve gained an education comparable to other MSW candidates across the country and have completed the first step toward licensure.3,000 Hours of Professional Practice
With the MSW degree in hand, LCSW candidates in Illinois must then acquire 3,000 hours working within a professional social work practice or clinical setting under supervision from a LCSW-credentialed professional. There is no time frame in which these hours need to be completed and can work at a full time or part time pace, however you will need to complete an average of a minimum of four hours a month of supervised experience to meet licensure expectations. It is also crucial that you only begin documenting these hours after graduating from your MSW program, as those are the only hours that count toward this total.Application Completion
Next, you will need to submit the appropriate application with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). This paperwork includes verification of the various components of your licensure application thus far and requires a fee of $50. This step is necessary as you cannot register for the final step, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical level exam, until you receive the IDFPR’s approval.Passing Score on ASWB Clinical Exam
Once you get the go-ahead from the IDFPR, the final step toward Illinois LCSW licensure is to pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Clinical level exam. Including 170 multiple choice questions that tackle a full range of social work concepts and skills, the ASWB Clinical level exam costs $260. Your scores will be reported to the IDFPR automatically, so if you pass you will soon after hear from the IDFPR as to when you can expect to receive your license. If you fail, you can retake the exam but can only do so after waiting for three months (or 90 days).
Beyond these requirements, one of the additional factors that the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers requests of their LCSW applicants is a strong moral fiber. This cannot necessarily be tested on an exam or examined during supervised work hours, but it is a quality that is central to Florida State University’s MSW program. Whether students enroll in the traditional program track or the 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, they are encouraged to channel their ethical core as they consider their future roles as social work professionals. This moral component, combined with the exceptional curriculum, make the Florida State University MSW program a marvelous means for students hopeful for careers in social work to start on their path toward them.