When preparing to enter the social work field, many students in Florida State University's online Master of Social Work (MSW) program want to make sure that they check all the boxes in the path toward achieving the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) credential. They’ve completed their degree, but what else is necessary to pursue private clinical practice or other clinical positions? This article reviews California’s LCSW requirements to help prepare those who hope to practice in that state.Graduation from CSWE-Accredited School
The first step toward LCSW licensure in the state of California is to complete an MSW degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Schools that hold this CSWE accreditation, such as Florida State University’s online MSW program, are those that have ensured that the curriculum is consistent with other similar programs across the country in its cultivation of best practices in the field.
Beyond attending an MSW program that meets this accreditation, Those who have completed their degree outside of the state of California are also required to demonstrate that the credits in the degree cover several specific fields. In addition to a minimum of 18 credits of coursework in California Law and Professional Ethics, for example, LCSW hopefuls must also take courses in the areas of Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting; Human Sexuality; Alcoholism and Other Chemical Substance Dependency; Spousal/Partner Abuse Assessment, Detection and Intervention; and Aging, Long Term Care, and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse.Register as ASW (Associate Clinical Social Worker)
With the MSW degree requirement complete, LCSW candidates must then apply to become Associate Clinical Social Workers (ASWs). This designation requires the submission of official transcripts that reflect the appropriate coursework along with a $75 application fee. It also requires that candidates pass a California Law & Ethics Exam, which assesses applicants’ knowledge on state laws. This test costs $100 and must be passed successfully for a candidate to continue pursuit of this preliminary ASW credential.Supervised Work Experience
Those who have attained the ASW credential can then take steps toward LCSW licensure, which begins with supervised work experience in a clinical role. California requires that LCSW applicants complete at least 3,000 hours of work experience in a clinical setting under the supervision of an LCSW practitioner in the state of California. These hours must be logged after your ASW status is established and also must be spread over at least two years (or 104 weeks) but within six years of MSW degree completion.Completed Licensing and Examination Packet and a Passing ASWB Score
With work experience completed, LCSW candidates can then submit their Licensing and Examination Packet to the state of California. This again requires proof of degree and work experience logged along with an application fee of $100 for those living in California and $200 for those applying from outside the state.
Once your application has been reviewed and deemed acceptable, you can receive permission to sit for the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) Clinical level exam, which includes 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 exam is $260; those who fail the exam can retake it but must wait to register again for 90 days and will also need to repay the $260 exam fee.Reign Over These Requirements at Florida State University
With a passing score on the ASWB exam, candidates in the state of California will have neared the end of their journey toward the LCSW credential, as it is the final processing of these scores that can result in the administering of your license. Beginning this intensive journey with Florida State University’s online MSW degree program can set candidates on course to move efficiently through these licensing stages. The online MSW program primes students to be well-informed, critical thinkers who can apply their mastery of the field gained in their coursework to every step of their training and preparation. Those entering Florida State University’s MSW program with a future career in California on their mind can stay on track to make that future a reality.
Check out our earlier blog post on Illinois State LCSW Requirements.